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Samantha Falotico

More by Samantha Falotico

I Tre Merli - Authentic Italian Food in SoHo


I Tre Merli Restaurant and Bar
463 West Broadway (Houston & Prince St)
(212) 254-8699

I Tre Merli started in the heart of Genoa but eventually brought its authentic food and wine across the seas. Located in Soho, this popular restaurant will put your taste buds on a journey to Italy with minimal travel cost.

If it isn’t the atmosphere that will draw you in, just check out their menu. It is filled of unique, fresh dishes—such as fig jam pizza and watermelon salad. Even though I was never a big fan of brussel sprouts, their perfect mix of these crunchy greens, salty pancetta, and spicy garlic turned me into a lover. 

My chicken paillard had a refreshing lemon flavor and the addition of grilled vegetables made it delectable.

My friend Sally enjoyed their famous penne vodka.

Spice Up Fall Break with Sophisticated Cuisine in the East Village


60 3rd Avenue
See map here
Reservations recommended
(212) 254-0888

Last weekend called for a celebration. It was my mom’s birthday—an excellent excuse for her to have someone cook for her instead of doing the work herself. However, restaurants near our home in New Jersey did not suffice—the occasion warranted a trip into the city for a nice, sophisticated dinner in the East Village.

Apiary is located at 11th Street and 3rd Avenue. The atmosphere of the restaurant is chic and elegant with a modern flair. Once I opened the menu, I knew we were going to face some tough decisions. In the end, our choices were perfect.

I started with the Apiary Green Salad—a simple salad of fine herbs, shallots, and red wine vinaigrette.

For my main course, I knew right off the bat that I wanted the Salmon with Caramelized Leeks and Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce. The salmon was cooked to perfection.

My mother raved about her Hamachi Crudo appetizer. My brother could not stop eating his Berkshire Pork Chop, which sat on a fluffy bed of mascarpone polenta.

Also, I will never forget the amazing smell of the brown butter and poppy sauce served atop our friend Eileen’s Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli.

Escape to Ethiopia, Just Blocks Away


1239 Amsterdam Avenue
See map here
Reservations recommended

Who needs forks and knives? Indulge in Ethiopian cuisine and eat with your hands! Does that gross you out? Well, you won’t even think twice about it after you have your first handful… And they give you a towel after your meal, so no excuses!

This past weekend, I went out to dinner with a group of friends to Massawa, an Ethiopian restaurant right near Columbia at 121st Street & Amsterdam.

To start, make sure you order their Ethiopian Spiced Tea. Especially with the onset of fall's chilly weather, their hot tea was the perfect way to begin a relaxing meal. Before checking out the menu, keep in mind that the food is meant to be shared! Ask your waiter for tips and advice regarding the serving sizes.

We had difficulty choosing what to get because they offer so many yummy meat and veggie options. In the end we decided on Dereq Tebsi (blackened beef stir-fried with onions and jalapeno peppers), Timtimo (red lentils flavored with ground herbs), and Tsebhi Hamli (collard greens cooked tenderly with garlic). All platters also come with lettuce and a few vegetable different vegetables on the side.

Foodies & Faux-Foodies Find Heaven at The Plaza


The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English
The Plaza Hotel
One West 59th Street
See map here

This summer, my friends and I took advantage of the last night of NYC’s Restaurant Week. We picked Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark and it has been our tradition ever since to try top-rated, famous NYC restaurants—preferably owned by chefs we adore. Sure it costs a lot, but with a little saving and a foodie’s heart, every penny is worth it.

Our pick for September was Todd English’s The Plaza Food Hall. Now, this is not your typical sit-down restaurant. Situated inside NYC’s Plaza Hotel, it is a“European-inspired specialty food hall offering the finest fresh, prepared and gourmet foods set in a stylish and convenient atmosphere.” There are eight different food stations offering high-quality foods, from thin-crust pizza, to dumplings, sushi, oysters, freshly carved meat, and more!

Lobster Corn Chowder

Chinese Chicken & Ginger Dumplings

Chelsea offers salvation for those ashamed to call Chipotle "Mexican food"


¡Vaya al Cocotero!
El Cocotero
228 West 18th Street
See map here

If you’re sick of the traditional UWS burrito, I highly recommend you venture down to Chelsea to get a real Spanish food fix. El Cocotero is a Venezuelan restaurant my friend Bettina raves about. Luckily, my other friend Hillary, Bettina and I had the time to venture down for lunch right before classes started. May I just say right off the bat, that once you try an arepa, you may never want to settle for a burrito again…

Bettina, being the Venezuelan native that she is, ordered for us Tequeños, a.k.a. mini fried cheese sticks (I can’t think of a better way to describe them). We are currently trying to figure out how we can make them here at school…NOMS CHEESE.

As for me, I decided to order an arepa—a baked and stuffed white corn pocket (Venezuelan pita pocket, if you will), that I had been dying to try. Mine was stuffed with guasacaca (Venezuelan guacamole!), avocado, and tomato. (Yes, I enjoy eating avocado in as many forms as possible at each meal.)

Hillary and Bettina ordered Asado Negro (slow braised beef eye round cooked in red wine & onions) complete with rice, beans, and sweet plantains. While the plate may look big, it tasted too good to leave anything unfinished.