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Taking a Gourmet Bite Out of the Big Apple

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This week I am back in New York City for Univision Communication's upfront presentation and as always, I can't wait to be back in the restaurant capital of the world. Many may think that Paris, or Madrid has better places to eat, but I can assure you, the variety of good food that you find here is second to none.

Here are some of my favorite things to do while in the gourmet apple:

For breakfast I usually go to Le Pain Quotidien on 7th Ave & 58th St. I love the organic bread, juices, and the charcuterie and cheese tray.

For lunch, one of my favorites is Asiate in the Mandarin Oriental, not least because it has the best view in New York. Go for lunch and enjoy the view of Central Park - breathtaking. The price of the prix fix lunch is even better.

If I am in the mood for Italian, I go down to Il Mulino. Here, for a change, the amount of food is proportionate to the amount of the bill. The pasta, the fish, and the veal chop are fantastic. As an aside, the guys who have been cooking in the kitchen for years are from Cuenca, Ecuador, not Naples. Learn something Arizona....

If you don't want to spend that much but want to eat really well and meet interesting people, go down to Il Posto Accanto in Alphabet City. This is without a doubt one of my favorite restaurants in NYC, and I only discovered it about a year ago. Owners Beatriz and Julio should have their own television show. She makes the sweetest grilled calamari in Manhattan and her hand-made pasta with porcini mushrooms is second to none. Besides the food, talking to Beatriz and husband Julio - a Dominican dead ringer for Spike Lee - makes the trip worthwhile.

For Spanish Tapas I go to Casa Mono. Smaller than a Manhattan studio apartment, more crowded than an UGG sale, Mario Batali really learned about Spanish food after all his PBS trips here with Gwyneth Paltrow. All the small plates and wines are exceptional.

For dinner, Daniel is still one of my favorites. Yes, you need a jacket and tie, but you feel like you are in Paris "sans" the 8 hour flight and Parisian attitude. Remember that half the people serving you are Hispanics. The chef's tasting menu is the way to go. There is no better master of public relations than Chef Daniel Boulud.

For Japanese, Sushi of Gari on 78th Street is as good as eating in Tokyo and far cheaper than another one of my favorites, Masa, in Columbus Circle. Please consider Masa only if you work in the banking business, received money from the bailout, or work at AIG.

For Sunday brunch, go to Balthazar, if you can get in. If not, walk a few blocks to Chinatown for some dim sum.

Other favorites include Mylos in Midtown, for the fresh fish and beautiful setting, BG at Bergdorf Goodman because you can shop and eat well, all in one place, Joel Robuchon at the Four Seasons Hotel, and Fiorellos for the thinnest pizza and good antipasto after a performance at Lincoln Center.

After this restaurant tour, I am walking back to Miami....

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