good deals

Groupon NYC deal of the day: Angelina Pizzabar $10 for $20

Archestratus, the first food critic, praised Italian cuisine's "top-quality and seasonal" ingredients and "fair-to-middling" ability to tranquilize out-of-control mayors. Today's Groupon similarly stuns, and rightfully so:  Angelina Pizzaabr
for $10, you get $20 worth of food and drinks at Angelina Pizzabar.

Angelina Pizzabar extends the traditions of Italian comfort food to New York diners with a menu of handmade, mouth-bound Italian favorites. Attack Angelina Pizzabar's recipe roster, starting with an antipasto such as crispy calamari ($6) or clams casino ($8) with sweet peppers, onions, and bacon. Meatballers can opt for a traditional pasta dish, such as linguine with sautéed baby clams ($14), lasagna ($12), or spaghetti with homemade meatballs ($14), whereas foodies looking to curry favor with Angelina will go for the restaurant's array of pizzas . All pizzas are baked in a wood-fired brick oven with a revolving stone floor, using fresh ingredients such as rosemary, garlic, and olive pits flung into the flames for added flavor.

Groupon deal for the day: NYC's Le Caire Lounge

Le Caire LoungeA good hookah lounge is like a good science experiment-full of flavorful smoke and best enjoyed with a hummus appetizer and the lab partner you have a crush on.

Today's Groupon treats the senses to a sensual sensory experience: for $15, you get $30 worth of fruitily smoldering hookahs, signature cocktails, and Mediterranean meals at Le Caire Lounge on East 3rd Street.

Dare I say, smoking?

Seattle Gourmet Coffee a great home brew

Emerald City Blend is wonderful wake-me-up

Always on the alert for a great tasting new coffee to brew at home, I was delighted to taste test the micro-roasted coffees of Seattle Gourmet Coffee.

The master roasters at Seattle Gourmet Coffee sent me three pounds of beans, one each of Emerald City Blend, Northwest, and Sorrento.

Grinding was a delight as I inhaled the rich and aromatic aroma of the coffees. If the nose of these coffees is any indication - dark, nutty and potent. The kitchen was filled with an enticing invitation to perk a pot.

I tried the Sorrento first. Billed as a darker Italian style roast, typical of Southern Italy, I found it to be lighter than I was expecting. Smooth and low acid, I recommend a higher coffee to water ratio to achieve a fuller bodied brew. 

Northwest,  a medium-bodied roast with a smooth and spicy finish, was next.  This coffee is balanced and has an amazing depth of flavor.  A real bargain at $11.95 per pound.

When I think of Emerald City, I think of the bejeweled fantasy city of the Wizard of Oz.  Now, after tasting Seattle Gourmet Coffee's blend of African, South and Central American, and Indian coffee beans, I'll be dreaming of a hot and tasty cup of java.

Emerald City Blend with its luxurious mouthfeel and intense flavor was by far the favorite. 

Seattle Gourmet Coffees can be bought online and the company also offers a Coffee of the Month Club (a terrific value at $50 for one pound per month, plus shipping & handling, as well as a 30% discount on future purchases ). 

Seattle Gourmet Coffee is offering 10% off your order with the following promotional code: BURKE 1.

$49 for Four Hours of Personal Assistant Services and Complimentary Membership to Lambent Services ($410 Value)

Get your personal assistant for a steal - $49

Who doesn't need their own personal assistant?  I sure do. 

Get your Groupon with today's special: $49 for Four Hours of Personal Assistant Services and Complimentary Membership to Lambent Services ($410 Value).

Lambent is a personal-assistant agency that staffs an elite group of intelligent, motivated, and personable individuals, ready to work with busy people to free them from life's quotidian minutiae and onuses.

Many of Lambent's assistants are college graduates (some Ivy League), who are sharp enough to organize your schedule, brainstorm with you about projects, do your taxes, and plan tax-schedule presentations around Jai-Alai matches. The assistant selection process is designed to make perfect matches.

As always, read the fine print.

Lunch for 2 just $6 with Groupon

Get your Groupon going.

Today's Groupon rolls $12 worth of fresh fish, shrimp, eel, and soy sauce into a rolling rice ball that can roll into your mouth for $6 at Oms/b Rice Ball Cafe.

Twelve dollars doesn't sound like much for a meal, but it'll get you an entire lunch or two at Oms/b, the rice ball specialists that New York magazine named Best Japanese Fast Food in 2004.

Oms/b's name comes from omusubi, the Japanese word for rice balls and the French word for cattle prod. Omusubi, which are rice formed into triangular or oval shapes stuffed with different kinds of meat and sauce and usually wrapped in seaweed, are an extremely popular Japanese lunch eaten in Japan.

They're sort of like a cooked, portable type of sushi that's perfect for on-the-go vocations such as spy, marathon spy-cyclist, or spydiver.

Get your Groupon and attain NIrvana with five yoga classes for $35


Whether you're a yoga vet or just yoga-curious, today's Groupon for five classes at Prana Mandir Yoga Studio for only $35 helps you improve flexibility and reduce stress.

Choose among four classes at the center-Kundalini, Vinyasa, Meditation, and Intro to Yoga-each taught by one of Prana Mandir's experienced instructors.

Founder and creative director Lea Kraemer has taught yoga for more than a decade and her studio has been featured by NY Wellness Examiner and Time Out New York.

Don't forget to read the fine print.

$59 for One-Month Unlimited Pass to Bikram Yoga

Whether you're a yoga vet or just yoga-curious, today's Groupon is for you. For just $59, you get a one-month unlimited pass to Bikram Yoga Studios. With four locations throughout Manhattan and more than 250 classes offered each week, Bikram's convenience and variety make it easy to fit yoga into your busy schedule.

So what exactly is Bikram yoga? It's a series of 26 Hatha yoga postures and two Pranayama breathing exercises designed to challenge and rejuvenate you no matter what your fitness level. This 90-minute class is conducted in a heated room to let you detoxify through perspiration. During that hour and a half, you'll strengthen your body inside and out by working every muscle, tendon, ligament, joint, and organ. Imagine how good activating those muscles and joints will feel after years of neglect.

As always, read the fione print.

Gourmet on Tour offers deals for culinary travel

Gourmet on Tour delivers the world to foodies

U.K.-based culinary travel group, Gourmet on Tour is offering extra nights free on select tours in Italy and France.

Established in 2000 by former publishing professional Judith von Prockl, the travel agency offers culinary adventure, wine tours and tastings and cooking courses for "foodies who want to see the world a little differently."

From private tours to small groups to solo tours, Gourmet on Tour offers excursions throughout Europe, in Asia, Northern Africa and the United States. 

Pravda meets Perestroika with a new value menu

The Russian Experience, a tasting menu

Pravda (281 Lafayette St.), has the reputation of being a high end caviar bar where Caspian Sea Sevruga runs $350 for two and one may choose from over 70 vodkas.

But owners Ana Opitz and Keith McNally recently re-envisioned the romanticized Russian speak-easy with vaulted ceilings and Czech light fixtures inscribed in Russian.  

The restaurateurs have developed an inexpensive menu where guests can have an authentic dining experience with cured meats, artisanal cheeses, pates, and pickled herring - the kind of simple sturdy meal one might find served daily in an Eastern European kitchen.

Affable but media shy chef Peter Cheng is very hands on, very precise in executing the items on the Russian-inspired menu, originally developed by Elaine Sterling. 

"Peter tries every dish," says Opitz, during a conversation shared over Russian tea and Ukrainian vodka. Cheng has been chef at Pravda since its inception, as have many of the front of the house staff. 

Opitz, a German native, says the new menu is reflective of the belt-tightening of an uncertain economy, but also evokes memories of childhood visits to East Germany where she was struck by how people managed and survived in spite of so many shortages.

"It's simple fare," she says. "The kind of traditional meal you might have at the end of the day."

The new menu items are $8 each and may be accompanied by either a half bottle ($42) or whole bottle ($84) of Russian Standard Platinum Vodka for the full Russian effect. There is a full range of vodkas starting at $8 a shot in addition to bottle service.

The regular menu is available too, featuring appetizers like Borscht ($9), Crispy Horseradish Oysters ($15) or Spinach & Cheese Pirozhki ($8) and classic entrees like Beef Stroganoff ($23) or Lamb Shashlik ($19). Of course, there is the Caviar with Blini. 

When Pravda was conceived and the lease signed on the cavernous unfinished basement space in 1995, Opitz and McNally were faced with neighborhood protests exacerbated by bureaucratic red tape as well as limited supplies of Eastern European vodkas.

The two restaurateurs first envisioned a space evocative of the Russian Constructivism art movement of the 20s. They knew they wanted a vodka bar and infused vodkas and they hired Sterling to develop their menu.  

With a year of delays, Pravda lost Sterling to a private chef's position which she continues to hold to this day; however, she agreed to get the restaurant up and running, acting as consultant for the first three years.  Sterling remains a good friend and supporter.

When you slip into the darkened Pravda dining room, try The Gogol, a specialty martini made with house-infused horseradish vodka and garnished with a pickled quail egg  - spicy, smooth and intoxicating vodka goodness ($13).
On Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays until 8 pm, buy a friend their favorite cocktail or martini and Pravda will buy yours.