1.  
  2. Pine Intermezzo at Elizabeth Restaurant, Chicago. Chef Iliana Regan gathers up spruce and blends it with sugar, water and CO2. How does it taste? Sharp, sweet, and fragrant. I’ll call it a drinkable Glade Plug-In. Great [expletive-omitted] stuff. It’s part of a tasting menu that generally runs $100-$165, depending on the day of the week. See my full writeup over here.

     
  3. Tangerine granita. Popcorn mousse. Olive oil emulsion. Dried citrus segments. Malt crumble. Pulverized caramel popcorn. Presto! Chef Fabian Von Hauske has turned sand into candy. Really [expletive-omitted] good. Part of Contra's $55, five-course menu. STRONG BUY. 

     
  4. Chicken Breast. Mushrooms. Blood Pudding. Almonds. Looks like an abstract rendition of Continental drift, right? See South America separating from Africa? And guess what? Tastes really good. The iron and funk of the boudin noir make up for the brilliant neutrality of the bird. Part of Contra’s $55 five course menu. Rating: STRONG BUY. (Photographer: Ryan Sutton). 

     
  5. Meet Thomas Waugh. He’s serving New York’s best cocktails

     
  6. Japanese Sardines. One of the cheapest and most delicious items on the menu at ZZ’s Clam Bar, which I award three stars in my Bloomberg News column and slideshow this week. Notice how the blueberry puree on top evokes the fish’s bloodline. Very elegant. Cost: $18. Rating: STRONG BUY. 

     
  7. The $56 Carpaccio. Tuna. Foie gras. Razor clams. Bone marrow. Boom. One of the fine offerings at ZZ’s Clam Bar, which I award three stars in my Bloomberg News review. Check out the slideshow too. All photos by me.  

     
  8. The End of Summer. Or more specifically, a hot lobster roll photographed at LUNCH in Napeague, on the East End of Long Island. 

     
  9. Putting on lipstick in a cab. 

     
  10. Lafayette’s Saucisson au Chocolat. Marshmallows, pistachios, cherries, chocolate ganache. Pastry Chef: Jen Yee. Cost: $14. Rating: BUY. 

     
  11. Dry-aged squab, before and after. This is the type of debauchery that happens near the end of The Restaurant at Meadowood’s $500 counter meal. Most of the 22-course meal is vegetable-heavy, but chef Christopher Kostow indulges diners with about four protein-rich courses before dessert. This is one of them. 

    The birds are hung for 2-3 weeks, then roasted over coals and applewood. On the plate we have tart blackberries, tiny radishes confited in squab fat, and a puree of squab liver. The flavor is quite clean, quite neutral for a squab. The texture is achingly tender from dry-aging. The skin is crispy as Pekin duck. And a scattering of rose geraniums anoint the whole affair with tiny bursts of floral pungency. Gorgeous stuff. 

     
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  13. Post-Sandy Long Beach. A Work in Progress. 

     
  14. East Village, 18 July 2013. 

     
  15. San Jose. Home of Peace. Tier B. Headstone 35. Adrienne Leigh Boardman (1987-2009). I miss her dearly. Especially when I dine alone.