Portuguese Octopus from Al Vicoletto

Sometimes the tastiest food is right under your nose. Case in point: Al Vicoletto which is quite literally across the street from where I work. My boss wanted to meet me for lunch and suggested Al Vicoletto, an Italian restaurant in Union Square. He chose a pasta dish, but I wasn't really in a pasta mood so I scoured the menu for something else. The Grilled Portuguese Octopus ($15) caught my eye, as I love octopus when it's done right, but it's not a food I have too often.

Chicken Rice (Com Ga) from Bird's Eye Vietnamese

While looking around at all the lunch options available at the Winter Brooklyn Flea & Smorgasburg this past weekend, I was drawn to Bird's Eye Vietnamese. I'm always eager to try something new, and I'm definitely not as familiar with Vietnamese food as I am with some other cuisines. I ordered the Com Ga ($11), which is basically chicken rice, with fresh sliced chicken, ginger fish sauce, herb aioli, cured egg yolk, Vietnamese herbs & pickled vegetables. Chicken rice sounds like a simple dish, but Com Ga is deceiving in this regard. It is anything but simple, with complex flavors making this one tasty meal. 

Chilly Penguin Religieuse

This adorable little penguin religieuse ($7) from Dominique Ansel is almost too cute to eat. But make sure you do, because he is divine! This little guy is all bundled up for winter with his earmuffs and scarf made of marshmallow. His eyes, beak and wings are crafted from white and dark chocolate. The choux pastry is filled with  Mexican hot chocolate cream with a hint of chili.

Chocolate-Raspberry Croissant from Épicerie Boulud

Colored croissants are not as common in the US as they are in Europe. This beautiful, striking Chocolate-Raspberry Croissant ($4) from Daniel Boulud takes 3 days to make. It is unique in the fact that the layers are so precise, you could count them, and the outside is crunchy, with a sweet, buttery inside. But be fair warned: this croissant is not for the faint of heart. It is sinfully rich and decadent. The brains behind this candy-striped creation is Francois Brunet, who is in charge of the bread and viennoiserie at all of Boulud's restaurants across the city.