Linnea Covington

Correspondent

  • New York City, NY, USA

Linnea Covington is a correspondent who lives in New York and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Covington moved from Denver to Brooklyn 10 years ago, and has been eating, drinking and exploring the city ever since. From gourmet pizza, to the best place to get fresh pasta, to the hottest cocktail bar, she hunts and conquers them all. Also keen on travel, Covington has flown around the world, tasting her way through the cuisines of India, Israel, Europe, Canada and, of course, the United States. She also writes for BlackBook magazine, Tea Magazine, Zagat and Today.com, among others.

  • On April 30, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What are the best Mexican restaurants in New York City?

    With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, now is the perfect time to think about Mexican food in the city. Personally, I fell blessed to have such a good California-style burrito place next door to me (Villa Pancho), but for those looking for Mexican bites in the city, there are plenty of more upscale options.

    1. Gran Electrica: With chef David Goody, this colorful eatery in DUMBO, Brooklyn churns out tasty, regional Mexican dishes including creamy chili rellenos, pozole verde, and a succulent torta ahogada, which is a sandwich with roasted pork and onions. Go for the food, and stay for a round of expertly crafted margaritas, like their signature one with lime salt and agave syrup.

    2. Empellon Cocina: When this chic restaurant opened in the East Village, it brought not only great food, but the idea that Mexican food was more than burritos and tacos, it was an art. Here, chef Alex Stupak churns out squid in a black mole sauce with chorizo mayonnaise, tacos stuffed with short rib pastrami, and smoked cashew salsa, all with a flare that cannot be matched.

    3. Fonda: There are two locations of chef Roberto Santibañez’s Fonda restaurants, one in Brooklyn and the other in Manhattan’s Alphabet City. Here, the Mexican chef serves fresh guacamole tailored to your tastes, carne asada stuffed taquitos, chicken flautas topped with pasilla de Oaxaca salsa, and cochinita pibil, a traditional dish from the Yucatan.

    4. Maya: The theme of Richard Sandoval’s Midtown eatery is “modern Mexican,” which you can see in dishes like huarache flatbread with goat cheese, Bloody Mary-laced ceviche, and roasted striped bass with cactus salad. Everything I have tried on the menu is solid, but one of the best reasons to go isn’t found on the plate, it’s found in a glass of one of their house-infused tequilas.

    5. Rosa Mexicano: This mini-chain has worked hard to bring authentic Mexican flavors to the plate, and each of their restaurants sing of quality and good, solid ingredients. One the best guacamoles I have ever had was consumed at their Union Square location. The Enchiladas de Mole de Xico are divine, and I can’t leave the place without getting an order of the duck tinga tacos.
  • On April 29, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What are the best Chinese restaurants in New York City?

    Did you know New York has three Chinatowns? The one most people are aware of is in Manhattan, but there are two more; one in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and another in Flushing, Queens. So, it’s understood we get some of the best Chinese food here. Of course, not all the good Chinese food is found in Chinatown, there are plenty great places in other neighborhoods too. Of those, here are my top five places to go.

    Mission Chinese: Last year, Danny Bowien opened up the second branch of his popular San Francisco restaurant in New York, on the Lower East Side. The lines are long but it’s worth it to sit in his low-lit, cramped den of Chinese-fusion delights. My favorite dish is the wonderfully spicy mapo tofu, which is laced with mouth-numbing Szechuan peppercorns. He also does a fun Kung-po Pastrami dish that tips the hat to NYC, and spicy peanut noodles with braised lamb neck.

    Yunnan Kitchen: Focusing on foods from the Yunnan province in China, chef Travis Post has wowed diners with his grasp on this cuisine. At the charming Lower East Side restaurant, try the crispy chicken shao kao, fried pork belly with Yunnan spices, or the striking chrysanthemum salad with soy-chili vinaigrette. Follow that with a pot of pu’erh tea, and get to know these bold flavors.

    Num Wah Tea Parlor: This is my favorite place to get dim sum, and it’s the oldest dim sum parlor in the whole city. You can still see traces of the original set up, the mirrors are vintage, the booths look ancient, and there is a strong historical vibe in every nook and cranny. The space is airy and not as hectic as some of the major dim sum palaces nearby, which is another reason to go.

    Café China: Head to this Midtown Chinese restaurant for their spicy dan dan noodles, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Here, they specialize in classic dishes, including tea-smoked duck, double-cooked pork with smoked tofu and leek, and sautéed lotus root. The setting is comfortable and charming, with a 1930s vibe.

    Xi’an Famous Foods: For a completely surprising entry into Chinese food, this tiny shop in the East Village (they have one in Chinatown too) raises the bar. First, their food stems from the ancient Xi’an region, which is considered the first capital of China. The flavors that they display include rich cumin lamb “burgers,” tingly beef tossed with hand-ripped noodles, and their specialty, spicy and tingly lamb face salad. The food is cheap, spicy, and perfect for a nosh while gallivanting around.
  • On April 26, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What are the best places to buy shoes in New York City?

    In the city there are three types of shoe people. One wears the hottest, highest, most uncomfortable shoes in the name of fashion and takes cabs everywhere. The second type doesn’t care what’s on their feet as long as it’s comfortable since they walk around. The third type, and I would put myself into this category, likes cute, fun and functional footwear. No, I won’t be prancing about in six-inch heels, but you won’t catch me wearing Converse to the opera. So, it’s with this note about myself that I give you my three favorite places to buy shoes.

    1. John Fluevog: There is something about Fluevogs that just scream comfort. Is it the chunky heel and sturdy leather? Or maybe it’s the non-slick sole and ability to get your shoes pre-stretched. Either way, I love the style, feel, and fit of these babies, and in NYC we are lucky to have a brick and mortar store to go try them on in.

    2. Shoegasm: Though the name isn’t my favorite, there are plenty of options here that make me forget the bad pun. They sell in stylish footwear by a slew of makers, from Kenneth Cole to Chinese Laundry to Hush Puppies. Chances are with their large selection, you will find what you want.

    3. Shoe Market: This little shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn packs a lot of personality and a lot of chic finds. The collection is expertly curated by owners Dana Schwister and Erika Vala so you know you don’t have to dig to find a good pair.
  • On April 24, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What are the best free museums in New York City?

    Not everyone knows this, especially visitors, but the Metropolitan Museum of Art is actually “pay what you can.” This means you don’t have to fork over the suggested donation of $25, instead, you can do what I do and pay $1 to visit. Of course, if you have more to give, it is for a good cause. The Guggenheim too does a “pay what you wish,” though it’s only Saturdays from 5:45 to 7:45pm.

    While most other museums in the city don’t have that stellar deal, many do have free nights or times when you can visit without paying a cent. Want to see some Picassos and Warhols free? Head to the Museum of Modern Art on Fridays between 4 and 8pm for Target Free Friday Nights and, though the lines are long, you save $25 off the usual entry fee.

    Once a month, the Brooklyn Museum hosts a Target First Saturdays party from 5 to 11pm the first Saturday of the month. Not only can you see the exhibits free, but they have DJs, dancing, food, drinks, and all sorts of entertainment. On the quieter end, the Rubin Museum of Art shows Himalayan works, and every Friday from 6 to 10pm admission is free.

    At the Bronx Museum admission is always free, a recent development they started to help bring the community in more. For a dose of fashion, you can see the Fashion Institute of Technology’s museum free of charge, and since the Smithsonian Institution runs the National Museum of the American Indian, it’s also gratis.  Of course, I can’t leave off this list of free museums without mentioning the Forbes Galleries in the lobby of Forbes Magazine's headquarters. From 10am to 4pm, Tue, Wed, Fri, and Sat, you can wander in and take a look, though they do recommend calling first to make sure it’s open.
  • On April 22, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What is the best new restaurant in New York City?

    Every week, it feels like there are always great restaurants opening up in New York, and it’s hard to choose which ones to go to. Yet, here are three I recently tried and adored, so hopefully you will too.

    Little Prince: In step with the French revival, Little Prince opened recently in SoHo and serves classic bistro fair with a few twists. Namely, the French Onion Soup Burger that was a “secret” item, but in a scant few weeks was so popular, and so not a secret, that they added it to the menu. It’s good, but what really stole my heart was their beef tartare. Not only was the tender meat super fresh, but also it had a nice heat radiating from the addition of chili oil. Other dishes like the Israeli couscous prove solid too, all with a classic French elegance and richness.

    Barraca: There aren’t many places to get paella in the city, and luckily at Hector Sanz and chef Jesus Nunez’s new joint they make some of the best. Each order comes with two flavors, like the negra with squid ink-infused rice, artichoke, monkfish, and shrimp, and de fideu with Mediterranean noodles, cuttlefish, sausage, and shrimp. I also loved their sangria menu, especially the sangria de la mancha, a bold blend made with saffron-infused passion fruit, Verdejo, rum and clementine, and the girly compostela, which combined white wine, sake, apple-rosemary purée, and lemongrass. Also, next door is the team’s new, new café, Melibea, which focuses on Mediterranean fare.

    Greenwich Project: Owned by the same people behind Mulberry Project and Vinatta Project, this cozy restaurant and bar evoke a townhouse with a modern art twist. The setting is bright, the service friendly, and the drinks divine. Try the BKLYN ‘76, a spring-like gin concoction laced with rosemary honey, sparkling wine, and lavender bitters. Pair that with a plate of chef Carmine Di Giovanni’s fried squid Ink pasta with prawn, delicate artichoke fritte with black pepper aioli, and the fresh lobster cavatelli with crawfish and ramps.
  • On April 22, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What is the best new restaurant in New York City?

    Every week, it feels like there are always great restaurants opening up in New York, and it’s hard to choose which ones to go to. Yet, here are three I recently tried and adored, so hopefully you will too.

    Little Prince: In step with the French revival, Little Prince opened recently in SoHo and serves classic bistro fair with a few twists. Namely, the French Onion Soup Burger that was a “secret” item, but in a scant few weeks was so popular, and so not a secret, that they added it to the menu. It’s good, but what really stole my heart was their beef tartare. Not only was the tender meat super fresh, but also it had a nice heat radiating from the addition of chili oil. Other dishes like the Israeli couscous prove solid too, all with a classic French elegance and richness.

    Barraca: There aren’t many places to get paella in the city, and luckily at Hector Sanz and chef Jesus Nunez’s new joint they make some of the best. Each order comes with two flavors, like the negra with squid ink-infused rice, artichoke, monkfish, and shrimp, and de fideu with Mediterranean noodles, cuttlefish, sausage, and shrimp. I also loved their sangria menu, especially the sangria de la mancha, a bold blend made with saffron-infused passion fruit, Verdejo, rum and clementine, and the girly compostela, which combined white wine, sake, apple-rosemary purée, and lemongrass. Also, next door is the team’s new, new café, Melibea, which focuses on Mediterranean fare.

    Greenwich Project: Owned by the same people behind Mulberry Project and Vinatta Project, this cozy restaurant and bar evoke a townhouse with a modern art twist. The setting is bright, the service friendly, and the drinks divine. Try the BKLYN ‘76, a spring-like gin concoction laced with rosemary honey, sparkling wine, and lavender bitters. Pair that with a plate of chef Carmine Di Giovanni’s fried squid Ink pasta with prawn, delicate artichoke fritte with black pepper aioli, and the fresh lobster cavatelli with crawfish and ramps.
  • On April 19, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What are the best events this weekend in New York City?

    For the week of April 19-21, there are some awesome events happening in the city. First up, I am excited to hit up the first ever New York City Hot Sauce Expo this weekend at the East River State Park in Brooklyn. For $10, you can sample dozens of hot sauces from makers all around the country, most with fun names like Evil Seed Sauce Company, Dragon’s Blood Elixir, and Hot-cha Waa-cha Sauce and Spice Company. The expo runs Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm, and in between flaming samples, you can watch the spicy cookie competition, and the hot pizza eating challenge.

    Also this weekend, the free Brooklyn Zine Fest is going on at Public Assembly in Williamsburg. There, over 80 writers and artists will showcase their homemade publications, most pocket-sized, which means, you can carry a lot home.

    For movie buffs, right now the Tribeca Film Festival is going on. Here, they have around 90 films from independent drams, documentaries, short animation, and celebrity-filled comedies. On Friday you can go the free screening of Beetlejuice at the Tribeca Drive-In (Brookfield Place Plaza, 220 Vesey St. at West St.), or go check out Sunday’s A Case of You, with Justin Long and Evan Rachel Wood, which revolve around a fake online profile and flirty love. Another recommendation is Richard Linklater’s new film Before Midnight, the third one in the “before and after” series with Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply, which runs on Monday.

    Finally, on another film note, Friday also welcomes the Lebowski Fest, which if you have seen the Cohen Brother’s classic The Big Lebowski you will know what to expect. That’s right, Dudes, bowling, and White Russians, all at Bowlmor Lanes.
  • On April 17, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What are the best yoga studios in New York City?

    Photo by Lyn Tally Even after all these years in the spotlight, yoga remains a popular pastime for all sorts for folks. That means there are hundreds of yoga studios in the city to get your downward facing dog and sun salutations going. Some of the best include Greenhouse Holistic in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Here, they offer an array of classes from Ashtanga yoga to pilates to Vinyasa. They have four studios within walking distance to each other, so finding one to match your schedule is easy.

    In Chelsea, YoGanesh YoGa is a charming, intimate studio that hosts three to five classes a day. With different levels of Vinyasa, Kripaulu, and Hatha, this yoga studio works well for beginners, plus, their instructors are hands-on and friendly so you really get the most out of the stretches and breathing exercises.

    Another good bet for friendly yoga is found at the Laughing Lotus. This studio started in 1999 on a rooftop playground, and now, they have venues all the way from New York to San Francisco. No wonder, this is one of the most approachable means to yoga out there, as their class listings prove easy to comprehend and let you know what the level of each one is. Plus, they have a Lotus Rocks course that incorporates fun music and a lot of energy.

    On the sleeker side, uptown, at Pure Yoga, they meld class with classic poses. You can go for their invigorating Hot Power Yoga, the calmer Kundalini, or for an even more calming course, go for the Slow Flow Meditation.
  • On April 17, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What are the best yoga studios in New York City?

    Photo by Lyn Tally Even after all these years in the spotlight, yoga remains a popular pastime for all sorts for folks. That means there are hundreds of yoga studios in the city to get your downward facing dog and sun salutations going. Some of the best include Greenhouse Holistic in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Here, they offer an array of classes from Ashtanga yoga to pilates to Vinyasa. They have four studios within walking distance to each other, so finding one to match your schedule is easy.

    In Chelsea, YoGanesh YoGa is a charming, intimate studio that hosts three to five classes a day. With different levels of Vinyasa, Kripaulu, and Hatha, this yoga studio works well for beginners, plus, their instructors are hands-on and friendly so you really get the most out of the stretches and breathing exercises.

    Another good bet for friendly yoga is found at the Laughing Lotus. This studio started in 1999 on a rooftop playground, and now, they have venues all the way from New York to San Francisco. No wonder, this is one of the most approachable means to yoga out there, as their class listings prove easy to comprehend and let you know what the level of each one is. Plus, they have a Lotus Rocks course that incorporates fun music and a lot of energy.

    On the sleeker side, uptown, at Pure Yoga, they meld class with classic poses. You can go for their invigorating Hot Power Yoga, the calmer Kundalini, or for an even more calming course, go for the Slow Flow Meditation.
  • On April 17, 2013
    Mary Connelly is now following Linnea Covington
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  • On April 15, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What is New York City’s dining scene like?

    No matter what you want to eat, or how and where you want eat it, there is something for every mood in the city, which is one of the top reasons New York is such a foodie place. For the person who fancies getting in on the haute dining scene where people feast to be seen eating and drinking, you can head to Graydon Carter’s newly revamped Beatrice Inn. There, as you down Manhattans, you might see Chloë Sevigny and Diane von Furstenberg tipping back a glass of champagne and nibbling on a wedge salad.

    If you are looking for something more hip, head to an eatery in Williamsburg where just saying you have been there gives you cred. One of the best places for this is Diner, a quaint and cozy American food restaurant that has a long waiting list, distant waiters, but carries a lot of weight with hipster gourmands.

    Those looking for an authentic scene that showcases New York culture, try going to Marco Polo on a weekend night. Between the solid Italian food and heavy Brooklyn accents wafting through the dining room, it feels like you are eating with the Sopranos as bowls of fettuccini, fresh mozzarella, and giant goblets of red wine whisk by, carried by waiters from the mother country.

    Another great place to head for a true New York melting pot food scene is Jing Fong, a dim sum place in Chinatown where little Chinese women push around carts laden with dumplings, steamed vegetables, shrimp wrapped in rice paper, and sticky pork buns. They might not know English, but if you point to what you want it’s understood.

    On the other end of the spectrum, there is the fine-dining view, which New York is great at. In this scene, you have professional waiters, stiff white linins, and an often hefty bill. But it’s worth the price tag, especially if you go to Eleven Madison Park or Per Se, both Forbes Travel Guide Star winners.
  • On April 12, 2013
  • On April 12, 2013