I just made a quick trip to New York to see clients and meet with the crown prince of spinels. He had flown in from Bangkok with these super sweet spinel crystals. They're top faceting grade and will look pretty sweet as dangling earrings with light pouring through them. Of course there's no point to being in NY without eating out. Lupa is another Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich venture. It's been around for at least ten years and it was at Eataly a couple of weeks ago that a neighboring diner convinced me to go. So. The best brussell sprouts I've ever had, crispy yet tender, simple with olive oil and lemon. Black Tuscan kale, again with olive oil and lemon, and small sections of pork jowl. This was lick the plate good. No worries. I didn't do that. The bacala was flaky and sweet. The heritage pork belly was rich and paired nicely with pickled pears and charred scallions. Dessert? An insanely good berry crisp with vanilla gelato. The bartenders were really really friendly and helpful. I can't say enough good things about this place. Go.