I am a food lover who just moved to lower manhattan (tribeca) from California. I generally eat out every night, but I don't know the city or anyone in it.
I'm sure there must be plenty of "dinner clubs" (groups of people who get together and try a new restaurant each week) here in the city, and I can't think of a better place than here on Chowhoud to ask for advice on which groups/organizations are best.
A little about my interests (in case it helps you recommend the right group)... My primary interest is in getting to know where the good restaurants are in manhattan. A secondary interest is meeting people and making new friends, since I don't know anyone here. For me, restaurants are all about the FOOD, so I Iove owner-chef restaurants off the beaten path with really great food. Some of my favorites are places like Zax in San Francisco (now gone), and Canyon in Ft. Lauderdale.
I detest pretentiousness, and wouldn't be caught dead in places like The Ivy or Koi in Los Angeles, where mediocre food is served up with undue attention to presentation, and eveyone there is so caught up in who they are seeing or being seen with that they don't notice that the food really isn't worth the obscene prices being charged. In other words, if there is any risk of being seen at the table next to where Paris Hilton is sitting, I would prefer not to go there in the first place! Ditto for "celebrity restaurants" that are owned by someone famous and cater to ignorant tourists who are easily deceived by high prices and emphasis on presentation. (Although I must admit the Blue Door at the Delano on South Beach is pretty damned good, and I think it's still owned by Madonna).
I generally prefer gourmet food, but on the healthier side. One thing I really liked about California was that health-consciousness is so pervasive there. Things like all-you-can-eat lasagne or the world's largest/biggest/most fattening <whatever> are not so appealing to me, whereas eclectic, healthy, multi-cultural cuisine gets a big thumbs up. I love Dim Sum, good Thai food (oh how I crave the Som Tam I fell in love with in Chiang Mai), prefer northern Italian over southern, etc.
I also love wine, so a club/organization that does tastings in addition to dining out events would be even better.
I welcome any and all advice. Thanks in advance for sharing your insights!
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