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It’s Back! NYC Winter Restaurant Week 2012 Breezes into Town

Twice a year Restaurant Week muscles onto our dining radar with its vaunted three course fixed price lunches and dinners. Now in its 20th year, the twice-yearly promotion timed to boost business during winter and summer slow spells attracts more than 300 restaurants including more than 30 in hotels.  This year’s first promotion, with $24.07 lunches and $35 dinners on weekdays, ends this Friday, February 10. Read more

Ricard Cocktails and Parisian Punch: Two NYC Hotels Celebrating Bastille Day Sip By Sip

It’s July 14, and ten days after celebrating the red, white and blue, we cheer the blue, white and red. Where to go if you’re feeling French today and can’t make it to the President’s garden party at the Palais de Elysee?

Sofitel New York seems an obvious choice (the world knows about its French connections). And it doesn’t disappoint. At Gaby, the hotel’s French-inflected restaurant named for one Gabrielle Chanel, live music by a French Canadian band plays from 5 pm to 9 pm. The chef has prepared a special amuse bouche featuring cheeses and prociutto. And Ricard, the anise flavored liquor that’s a French national drink, flows, if not freely, then at a special price — $5 straight, $7 Ricard cocktails. (Created in 1932 in Marseille by Paul Ricard, it’s blended from Chinese star anise, Syrian licorice and herbs from Provence.)

The Carlton isn’t as obviously French as the Sofitel, but it’s home to Millesime, the Frenchest hotel brasserie in town. In a salute to Bastille Day, a jazz band plays in the hotel lobby from 5 pm to 7 pm. From 7 pm on, the music moves to the Millesime salon, a stylish wood-paneled lounge where guests can sip champagne or down a French-inspired libation like the $16 Gige (Plymouth gin, St Germain elderflower liquor, lemon and lime juice, simple syrup, soda and fresh grapes) and Parisian Punch (house-made orange spice brandy, Haymans gin, apple cider, pineapple, cranberry and lemon juice) served in cut-glass cups for two or more ($42).

And when darkness falls, glance up at the Empire State Building. No fireworks, but it’s lighted in blue, white and red.