Kalo Pascha! Top Restaurants for Greek Orthodox Easter Dining

Did you miss the recent sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding in theaters? No worries —you can still celebrate some of the best Greek family traditions on May 1 during Orthodox Easter. Featuring not only healthy Mediterranean cuisine that’s vegetarian-friendly, but earthy, unctuous lamb rubbed with herbs and garlic, roasted, spit-fired or added to soups, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re Greek or not, make a new tradition with a taste of the Old Country at one of these delicious restaurants for Greek Orthodox Easter dining.

Ouzo Bay, Baltimore, Maryland
The weeks leading up to Easter are a great time for Ouzo Bay to showcase their year-round signature dish of fresh whole fish during this period when most Greeks abstain from eating meat. But after the late-night mass the evening before Easter, the tables become boisterous with the spirit of community and celebration not only of the holiest of days but of the feast: whole roasted lamb, platters of lamb chops and shanks, family-style sides of fasolakia (braised green beans), gigantes (giant lima beans), spanakorizo (Spanish rice), horta (sautéed greens), and other roasted vegetables. Ouzo Bay offers its full dinner menu on Greek Easter Sunday with many of the same dishes and several traditional desserts to satisfy anyone whose sweet tooth wasn’t fulfilled by their Easter basket, including baklava, galaktoboureko (vanilla custard), and sokolatopita (chocolate cake). Make a reservation at Ouzo Bay.

Restaurants for Greek Orthodox Easter Dining

Loi Estiatorio, New York, New York
Holidays are always about family in Greece, says Maria Loi, but none makes her smile more than Easter. “It was a special time for me because my father would let me help him roast the lamb and work with the meat, like one of the boys,” she said. “I want everyone to experience the same happiness and joy I do!” She brings smiles to the masses with the spit-roasted whole lamb she grew up making in Roumeli in central Greece. “The lamb from Roumeli is always better, as is the tsoureki (a traditional sweet Greek Easter bread) because of the flora in the region – everything tastes brighter, cleaner, and fresher, so much so that often people will seek to spend their Easter holiday with family in Roumeli. I was very lucky to have grown up there!” Some of her seasonal specialties include kokoretsi (lamb intestines wrapped around seasoned offal) and magheritsa (lamb offal soup), though Loi Estiatorio regulars can also enjoy her crowd-pleaser, the feta mac n’ cheese. “When I was growing up, we ate a very similar dish, and my siblings and I loved it,” Loi said. “When I came to the States, I saw how popular the American version was but also how rich and fattening it was. I thought to myself that I could make it better and healthier, with Greek olive oil and feta cheese … and I was right!” Wrap up your meal with her take on sokolatopitaMake a reservation at Loi Estiatorio.

Restaurants for Greek Orthodox Easter Dining

Kipos Greek Taverna, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Most chefs wouldn’t embrace fasting, but for chef Giorgios Bakatsias it’s an important ritual and a tribute to his childhood growing up in Karpenisi, Greece, with his parents, brother Terry, and sister Olga, who now cook with him at Kipos. “Fasting cleanses the soul and your palate,” he says. “It’s not just a religious act but … [it] makes me able to distinguish and identify different flavors” afterward. Eggs play an important role not just for eating, but for play: each year eggs hand-dyed by Olga are used by diners to try and crack each others’ on Sunday. It is believed that the diner with the last egg will enjoy a year of good fortune. Terry’s rolo kima, a Greek Easter meatloaf, is stuffed with egg, as is the sweet braided tsoureki bread. And, the star of the show is savory roasted lamb with garlic, oregano, thyme, and olive oil. Make a reservation at Kipos Greek Taverna.

Restaurants for Greek Orthodox Easter Dining

Pelekasis at Wink & Nod, Boston, Massachusetts
One of chef Brendan Pelley’s earliest food memories is the smell of slow-roasted lamb with garlic, so this season’s specialty of leg of lamb with horta (lemon-braised greens), lamb-fat-roasted potatoes, rosemary, garlic and herb puree is no surprise. Feeding four to eight people, Pelley’s $150 feast (prepared with 24 hours’ advance notice) is an homage to what his family ate on Greek Easter and his papou (grandfather), who helmed weekly Sunday lamb roasts. Pelekasis — Pelley’s original family name—is an exclusive pop-up inside Wink & Nod that is so popular its run has been extended through June. Make a reservation at Wink & Nod.

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Boston Marathon Bites + Brews: The Best Post-Run Spots in The Hub

Lace up and then tie one on. Boston is a sneaker town, thanks, of course, to the celebrated Boston Marathon, which happening today — for the 120th time. Running is a way of life in Boston — year-round; even a blizzard won’t stop runners in their tracks here. They are truly Boston Strong, after all. There are many running routes, in this storied city, the most popular include the Esplanade/Charles River loop, the Emerald Necklace which begins at Boston Common and dangles to Franklin Park, Castle Island in Southie, and the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. You can always run the Freedom Trail, too. There are also many post-run spots along the way at which to to grab a craft beer — a perfectly carbalicious recovery drink — and a bite, perfect for Boston Marathon finishers or the more casual runner looking to burn calories before they get their grub on. On your mark, get set, let’s dine!

ArtBar, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The patio at this palette-and-palate-pleasing restaurant is a springtime spot for sprinters and joggers alike — especially those scurrying along the Charles River, thanks to ArtBar’s location on the running path that hugs the Charles. Throw in those patio fire pits for convo and cocktails after you’ve hit your stride(s). On Marathon Monday, it’s executive chef Brian Dandro is offering his Marathon 26.2 menu—for runners, friends, families, and fans. A buffet will feature pasta specials like gemelli, whole grain penne and gluten-free pasta (on request) served with classic marina, lamb bolognese, traditional pesto, and grilled chicken. Plus more carbs: breadsticks, ciabatta rolls, and kalamata rolls. On race day, throw back a commemorative Samuel Adams 26.2 brew or order a bottle of wine (Kenwood Yulupa Cuvee Special; $26.20 bottle, and refuel with a multi-course special menu for $26.20 — Chicken Wings (garlic, ginger, lime, sriracha, glazed peanuts), the ArtBar Burger (Niman Ranch chuck, cheddar, bacon, aioli, shoestring onions, brioche bun), a Lamb Burger (feta, chimichurri, pretzel bun), or a Porcini Mushroom Ravioli (wild mushrooms, English peas, Grana Padano broth, mascarpone, pea shoots and toasted panko); and, for dessert, the ginger crème brûlée tart hits the spot. But don’t expect ArtBar to throw in the towel after the marathon. It will be the place-to-see-and-be-seen all spring and summer, a perfect spot for runners to rewind and refuel. Make a reservation at ArtBar.

Boston Marathon

 

Mooo, Boston, Massachusetts
Luxury boutique hotel XV Beacon is home to this whimsically-named steakhouse, which is ideal for a beer and, you guessed it, a steak. Located in Beacon Hill about a mile from the Boston Marathon finish line, Moo is particularly well-suited for a post-nosh run along the Charles or through the cobblestoned streets of downtown Boston. A hoppy Harpoon IPA can help you replenish (with 14.5 to 16.5 grams of carbs per beer and 165 calories you’ll reload those carbs in no time.) Or, hoist a heartier German Radeberger Pilsner. The Whales Tale Pale Ale, a citrusy local pale ale brewed on Nantucket, is refreshing on a hot day. Light snacks include Japanese Wagyu Beef Dumplings (a mix of Kobe beef, sautéed onions, seasonings, and a Japanese dumping wrap with a ginger soy dressing). Or, go with the Shrimp Scampi (served with housemade linguini noodles —there’s a gluten-free option, too — and sautéed Gulf shrimp), for primo carb and protein reloading. Make a reservation at Mooo.

Boston Marathon

Post 390, Boston, Massachusetts
This tavern gets high fives for a lively spot for drinks (there’s a dining room here, but honestly, for a post-run meal, the tavern is perfect.) Think local craft beers and charcuterie, cheese plates, and tavern faves like Grilled Flatbreads (the Margherita with snipped basil is a favorite), a grilled Greek Steak Salad (with tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, feta, red wine vinaigrette), and the signature Post 390 Burger or Lobster Roll. Wash it back with a local draft, such as a Jack’s Abby, House Lager Landbier, brewed in nearby Framingham. Make a reservation at Post 390.

Boston Marathon

Grill 23 & Bar, Boston, Massachusetts
You’ll want to run to this Back Bay steakhouse and seafood grill for the new bar menu that includes fun shareable items and a cocktail menu created by master sommelier Brahm Callahan. Menu standouts include the Laughing Bird Shrimp Louie (with grilled avocado, fried egg, and celery root crisps) and the Foie Gras Sliders (buns are swapped out for two halves of a homemade cider doughnut sandwiching a “decadent slab” of foie gras slathered with jalapeno jelly). Or, go for the Grill 23 Six Shooter (a spicy cerveza-base brings a kick to the region’s best oysters) Craving a burger instead? A new premium burger menu (think silver-domed service) takes the bar burger to new levels here; the Beef Burger is served with truffle cheddar, black garlic, arugula, and oven-cured tomato, for instance. Make a reservation at Grill 23 & Bar.

Boston Marathon

State Street Provisions, Boston, Massachusetts
After your run along the scenic waterfront, zip over to this newish hotspot with its parlor-like space on the waterfront, a backstroke from the New England Aquarium. You’ll want a cold one after clocking those running miles, and State Street features only beers from New England craft brewers including Baxter Tarnation Lager and Cisco Shark Tracker, two draft beers that are befitting rewards for your hard run. Pair your suds with the housemade Rigatoni (braised beef cheek, oyster mushrooms, Brussels sprout leaves and poached egg). Or, opt for the Seared Tuna Sandwich (grilled portabella, miso aioli, spiced pickled root vegetables). Make a reservation at State Street Provisions.

Boston Marathon

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts
OAK is located near the Esplanade and Back Bay, so there are some terrific running paths nearby. Add to that Oak’s local beer selections and it’s a win-win. And, once patio season is in full swing, Oak is a perfect post-run spot. Bites include fried chicken wings (chipotle piquillo pepper barbecue with a saffron dipping sauce), Three Cheese Mac & Cheese (confit pork shoulder, béchamel, cheese blend), the Oak Burger (caramelized onions, Nueske’s bacon, Vermont cheddar, special sauce and brioche), and a New England Lobster Roll (with old bay fries and coleslaw). Wash it down with a local draft like Harpoon IPA, Oak Unfiltered White or a Mystic Saison “Table Beer.” Make a reservation at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen.

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Tax Day 2016 Dining Splurges: Where to Spend Your Refund

April showers bring May flowers or if you’re really lucky, the month itself brings a big fat tax refund. Since experiences bring more happiness than possessions, a big splurge dinner on the town seems like the perfect way to spend it. Here are some top picks Tax Day 2016 dining splurges to live and eat large if only for one night. please note that the most exclusive wines are available in extremely limited quantities, so it’s best to inquire ahead of time if you have your heart set on a particularly splurge-y selection.

Daniel, New York, New York
Daniel Boulud’s flagship restaurant on the Upper East Side just off of Central Park is the epitome of contemporary French extravagance. The seven-course tasting menu clocks in at $234 or $459 with wine pairings and includes signature dishes like velvety Minted Pea Soup with chicken mousse and Louisiana crayfish and garlic pennycress and can include courses of langoustines, beef, and quail with foie gras. The wine list has selections such as Chateau D’Yquem 1918 for $10,000 or Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 2009 for $15,000. Or if you’re celebrating with similarly flush-with-cash friends, how about a magnum? You can’t go wrong with the Domaine Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru “Cros Parantoux”1995 for $20,000. Make a reservation at Daniel.

Tax Day 2016 Dining Splurges

Providence, Los Angeles, California
Chef Michael Cimarusti’s 2-Michelin star paean to fine dining in the heart of Los Angeles features the chef’s menu, a 12-course tasting menu with sustainable seafood from the U.S. and beyond, as well as other delicacies like prized A5 wagyu beef. Decadent touches include ossetra caviar and white truffle and black truffle fondue. It’s $220 or $325 with wine pairings. But if you’re really looking to splash out, begin your evening with a bottle of 1998 Krug Clos d’Ambonnay Champagne for $3,500 and then move on to a bottle of 2012 La Tâche Domaine de la Romanée-Conti for $4,000. Finish the evening with a bottle to remember in the way of a 1959 Staatsweingut Kloster Eberbach Riesling Auslese for $3,500. Make a reservation at Providence.

Tax Day 2016 Dining Splurges

Saison, San Francisco, California
Chef Joshua Skenes and sommelier Mark Bright have crafted one of the most unique high-end dining environments at Saison, with its open floor plan encompassing the dining room, bar, lounge, and kitchen — effectively removing all walls. The goal is to bring diners into the chef’s world, in this case, a minimalist redesign of the California Electric Light Company building. Dishes have vague and poetic names such as Fire in the Sky Beet, Bone Marrow Roasted over Coals and Sea Urchin, Liquid Toast. The prix-fixe Discovery menu is a luxe $398 for about 16 courses with an additional $298 for wine pairings. But if you want to really max out the credit cards (assuming you can pay it off with your return dough), you might consider ordering the Domaine Georges Roumier ‘Bonnes-Mares’ Grand Cru 2009 for $15,408 or ending the experience on a truly sweet note with Château D’Yquem Premiere Cru Supérieur, Sauternes 1942 for $6,888. Make a reservation at Saison.

Tax Day 2016 Dining Splurges

StripSteak by Michael Mina, Miami, Florida
Located in the historic Fontainebleau hotel on Collins Avenue in Miami, StripSteak is swank and clubby with its wood tones and rich browns. Start your meal with rare golden osetra caviar service for $295, and then indulge in a beefy entrée like the 50-ounce Australian tomahawk for $150 or the Japanese Miyazaki prefecture A5 striploin for $32 per ounce. Then gild the lily with add-on extras like half a Maine lobster tail or seared foie gras. The restaurant prides itself on having one of the largest pre-embargo Cuban cigar collections in Miami, all dating back to 1962 and earlier with prices generally in the $100-200 range but topping out at $395 for a 6-inch Montecristo. To accompany your stogie, choose a tableside Japanese whisky ceremony or perhaps a glass of 25-year Macallan for $370. Make a reservation at StripSteak by Michael Mina.

Tax Day 2016 Dining Splurges

Grace, Chicago, Illinois
This Michelin three-star restaurant is also one of the biggest splurges in Chicago. Elegant and understated, chef Curtis Duffy’s Windy City gem is upscale without being fussy. The menu offers an 8-12 course tasting menu format at $235. The dishes are described in classic minimalist style such as Alaskan King Crab, sudachi, cucumber, lemon mint or Pig Tail, endive, cauliflower, oxalis. Many dishes have Asian accents and the vegetarian “flora” menu is as captivating as the “fauna” menu, which showcases seafood and protein. The wine list features saves and splurges among 1,400 selections. Teetotalers can splurge on bespoke teas that cost upwards of $20 each. Make a reservation at Grace.

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Stoked: 15 Restaurants for Delicious Fireside Dining in New England

Winter won’t release its grip on the Northeast just yet, but you can turn up the heat with fireside dining in New England. We’ve rounded up 15 places that’ll get you stoked for going out to eat when there’s a chill in the air.

Sea Glass at Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
There’s typically a dog curled up in front of the fireplace at stylish Sea Glass, a restaurant in the Inn by the Sea just outside of Portland. The fireplace in the lounge is perfect for pets — and a chow of sustainable seafood fresh from Maine’s coastal water and local produce (lobster shrimp dumplings and scallops with risotto) is perfect for you. For your canine companion, order the Meat Roaf off the gourmet pet menu. Book a table at Sea Glass at Inn by the Sea.

Fireside Dining in New England

Bistro du Midi, Boston, Massachusetts
Channel Provence with chef Robert Sisca’s French-inspired menu (prior to opening Bistro du Midi, the chef worked at the celebrated Le Bernardin in New York City) and views of Boston’s Monet-esque Public’s Garden. The restaurant has a fireplace, oui, oui, and a menu that features French treats such as Bouillabaisse du Midi (saffron-scented broth, rouille, gruyere) and Foie Gras Terrine (chocolate foie gras truffle, macerated cherries). There’s also a proper selection of pates and charcuterie that practically demand you accessorize with a scarf before indulging. Make a reservation at Bistro du Midi.

Fireside Dining in New England

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, Boston, Massachusetts
There are two fireplaces at this Back Bay restaurant in the Fairmont Copley Plaza. One is a double-sided fireplace that adds warmth to both the main and semi-private dining rooms, and another fireplace is located behind the bar. Best bets for cozy winter meals: The Charcuterie Board, New England Pot Roast (short ribs, horseradish potato puree, root vegetable, braising jus) and, for fireside brunch, the Breakfast Mac ‘n Cheese (smoked bacon, fried egg, buttery croissant crumbs) is a hearty hearth choice. Make a reservation at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen.

Fireside Dining in New England

Precinct Kitchen + Bar, Boston, Massachusetts
Surrender to a meal in front of the “great” fireplace in this repurposed Boston Police Headquarters, which showcases classic Boston cuisine with a thick accent on local and regional produce. Think Shuck for a Buck (dollar oysters daily from 4-6PM), New England Wellfleet Chowder, Seared Georges Bank Scallops, Sweet Maine Shrimp, and Maine Lobster Sliders. Make a reservation at Precinct Kitchen + Bar.

Fireside Dining in New England

Deuxave, Boston, Massachusetts
Deuxave serves modern French cuisine against a backdrop of its mood-setting gas fireplace and a menu that features treats like pan seared local scallops with parsnip frite, chanterelle mushrooms, pickled carrot, and pancetta salad with pepita aioli. Julia Child’s France meets Julia Child’s Boston. Make a reservation at Deuxave.

Fireside Dining in New England

CHOPPS American Bar and Grill at Marriott Boston Burlington, Burlington, Massachusetts
Chopps has a larger-than-life fireplace enclosed by glass in its Great Room, a communal setting with original art hanging on the walls and comfy nooks to create the perfect winter respite. Sip cocktails and savor apps like yellowfin tuna tartar, calamari and Maine lobster rolls. Make a reservation at CHOPPS American Bar and Grill at Marriott Boston Burlington.

Fireside Dining in New England

Natalie’s at Camden Harbour Inn, Camden, Maine
Cuddled in the Camden Harbour Inn, Natalie’s fireside nook menu features wintry whimsical items like the Winter Salad with dilly dally greens, beets, farro, and almonds, and Natalie’s Burger with pork belly, Brussels sprouts, black garlic, and Fresno peppers. Be sure to leave room for the Dutch Stroopwafel with housemade hot chocolate, black cardamom marshmallow, and carob-vanilla ice cream. Make a reservation at Natalie’s at Camden Harbour Inn.

Fireside Dining in New England

MET Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts
One of Newbury Street’s dining darlings, Met Back Bay has savory and sweet offerings to banish a chill. Along with the fabulous fireplace in the downstairs bar area, take advantage of Meatball Mondays and the Hot Chocolate experience (four mini sampling glasses that can be adulterated with Bailey’s or Amaretto). Make a reservation at MET Back Bay.

Fireside Dining in New England

Antico Forno, Boston, Massachusetts 
This North End restaurant serves up authentic rustic, Italian dishes like brick-oven pizzas, including the Salsiccia e Broccoletti (homemade Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, fresh homemade mozzarella and fresh cherry tomatoes). Between the cuisine and the fireplace, it’s as cozy as your nonna’s house. Make a reservation at Antico Forno.

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