From high-calorie desserts and over-the-top spa treatments to our critics' picks for the best TV series to binge-watch, movies to stream and books to lose track of time with, Newsday's ultimate binge guide to Long Island is here to help you be as bad as you want to be.
Food & drinks Decadent indulgences
From sweet to savory, these guilty pleasure dishes deliver other-level satisfaction.
BONE MARROW The deep, fatty innards of the oh-so-trendy bone marrow are smeared with gremolata and bacon-onion jam, $19 at Harleys American Grille in Farmingdale.
JUMBO ROLL Climb a mountain, or eat one at this sushi spot. This specialty Miru Mountain roll features crunchy spicy tuna, avocado, spicy crab salad with a cream sauce, mango aioli and lemon white sauce on top. $13 at Koi Kokoro Japanese Kitchen in Islip.
SEAFOOD TOWER Tiered platters of seafood dominate the menu at Virgola Oyster & Wine Bar in Patchogue. Pile them high with combinations of oysters, scallops, salmon crudo, ceviche, shrimp cocktail, tuna tartare, salmon roe and black caviar, $50-$100.
$1,450 BOTTLE OF WINE From the exquisite wine cellar at The Carltun in East Meadow, go for broke with the first-growth Bordeau Chateau Latour 1970 at $1,450 or the almost mythic Burgundy Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, ranging from $1,400 to $4,500.
LUXE MACARONS You may not be able to afford any of the apparel at Hirshleifers in Manhasset, one of Long Island’s toniest boutiques. But stashed among the Christian Louboutin stilettos and Brunello Cucinelli jumpsuits is a comparatively reasonable luxury: Macarons from the Parisan pastry shop Ladurée, $21 for six.
CANDY SUSHI A confectionery twist on sushi involves gummy fish and sweetened puffed rice standing in for the real thing, $12.99 at Manny's Sweet Treats in Mineola.
42-OUNCE STEAK You and someone you really care about can dig into the 42-ounce Tomahawk steak. $120 at Doma Land and Sea in Cedarhurst.
'FAT' BLOODY MARY It's gluttony in a glass, or a whole meal. The Triple Threat Bloody Mary comes topped with thick-cut maple-glazed bacon, shrimp cocktail, a mini burger slider, thyme, olives and tomato. $28 at Chadwicks American Chop House & Bar in Rockville Centre.
1,620-CALORIE CHEESECAKE Clocking in at 1,620 calories — per slice — a decadent piece of Oreo Dream Extreme cheesecake layers the iconic sandwich cookies with fudge cake, mousse and chocolate icing. Don’t pass up the whipped cream. $8.95 at The Cheesecake Factory in Bay Shore, Huntington, Lake Grove and Westbury.
$56 LOBSTER Celebrity chef David Burke gets playful with the Angry Lobster, a 1½-pounder delicately arranged like a flower on a frond and accented with lemon, chiles and basil. The best $56 we spent all year, at Red Salt Room restaurant at the Garden City Hotel.
BURRATA BAR Take yourself out for decadent cheese. Order at your table or take a seat at the mozzarella and wine bar and sample the Burrata al Tartufo (black truffles). $16 at One North Mediterranean Soul in Jericho.
Erica Marcus and Corin Hirsch
Spa & beauty Treat yourself
Luxury spa treatments and other stylish splurges:
24K GOLD FACIAL Among the most luscious, lavish facials of all, this customized 90-minute 24 Karat gold facial includes dermaplaning, exfoliating, extractions and a real 24 K gold mask, $350 at Skin by Valentina and Katerina in Roslyn.
CHAMPAGNE BATH Relax with a decadent yet therapeutic detoxifying treatment that combines warm seaweed mud with gentle Champagne bubbles. "It's beyond," says Corinne O'Hara, marketing manager at Drew Patrick Spa in Bay Shore, who recently had the wrap. "You feel refreshed and lighter on your feet, like you were dipped in a Champagne glass." $120 for 50 minutes.
OVER-THE-TOP SNEAKERS If you’re into sneakers that go w-a-y beyond, consider these wild metallic hiking kicks that include bejeweled removable straps. A major splurge, $1,590 by Gucci at Neiman Marcus, Roosevelt Field and neimanmarcus.com.
LUXE NAILS Go (way) beyond the average mani with Kassandra Fernández, an independent nail artist at Pink Nails & More in Merrick who does sculpted acrylics with hand-painted designs and Swarovski crystals. Prices vary, but this set cost $70 and took about 90 minutes.
FIVE GOLD RINGS Why wear just one band when you can wear five? This set of stackables does the trick. $19 at Lord & Taylor stores and lordandtaylor.com.
ROSE-COLORED GLASSES Indulge your inner child and see the world through funky, rose-colored sunglasses with these new funky, cat’s eye frames emblazoned with "Disney Eyes” graphics, $200 by Karen Walker x Disney Eyes For You at Saks Fifth Avenue and saksfifthavenue.com.
HAUTE SHAVE The luxurious Gold Standard Steam shave package, $40, at Gold Coast Barbers in Syosset includes a warm eucalyptus scented steam, pre-shave oils, condition cream, a hot lather shave and a natural mint post shave balm. “It’s the most relaxing thing you can do,” says shop co-owner Chase Nelson.
MINK EYELASHES Synthetic mink lashes come in "bombshell" sets at Envious Lashes in Commack where master lash stylist/owner Clementine Richardson has worked on celebs and mere mortals alike. There are three to six strands applied per lash to create soft, dark, feathery mink-like appearance for drama queens, $350-$500.
For the kids Family fun
Indulge the kids a bit more? Why sure, with some oh-so-fun outings packed with eye-popping treats:
VIP BOWLING Something luxe to do with their “spare” time: Head to the VIP suite at All-Star Bowling in Riverhead for a gathering at the swanky, neon-lit space, that’ll get you two lanes, shoes included, and food, $42.95 to $53.95 per person per hour; up to six people per lane.
KIDDIE SPA DAY With some of that holiday money they got from the grandparents, the kids can head over to Seriously Spoiled Salon and Spa in Patchogue and Dix Hills for the 2-1/2-hour Ultimate Day of Decadence — they'll wear a pink robe and slippers and sip fizzy pink lemonade before settling in for a mani/pedi (note the dessert-themed bath bombs and sugar scrubs), a chocolate facial, makeup and their choice of hair styles trimmed with dessert-scented accesories, $119.95 includes lunch.
EXTREME SUNDAE Give them “The World” — as in the so-called sundae at International Delight Café in Bellmore that’s made of 3.5 gallons of gelato, four Belgian waffles and as many toppings as your child and their friends want. Small ($75) feeds 12 to 15; large ($85) feeds 15 to 20.
TAKE A BIG SPIN There are carousels — and then there’s Nunley’s Carousel, Long Island’s largest in terms of the number of animals. The 42 total includes one lion — and 41 horses (as well as 28 animals, such as owls, hiding in the horses). At $2 a ride, it may be affordable enough to let the kids see how many different horses they can try in one visit — or get 15 rides for $20. The century-old restored ride is located next to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.
ENORMOUS PIZZA They’ll need lots of hands to bite into a slice of the 30-inch "party pizza" pie (starts at $59.99) at Nina’s Pizza and Restaurant in Northport. It takes 30 minutes for the owners to prepare it, so be sure to have something for the kids to do beforehand.
Valerie Kellogg and Ian J. Stark
Books Literary escapes
Page-turners to satisfy marathon reading sessions:
'KINGDOM OF THE BLIND' What’s better than reading a satisfying mystery like “Kingdom of the Blind” (Minotaur, $28.99)? Knowing there are 13 more waiting for you. This cozy series, featuring a provincial policeman in a small Quebec village, is just right for holiday bingeing.
'CHURCHILL' Andrew Roberts’ hefty 1,000-page bio, “Churchill: Walking With Destiny” (Viking, $40), has won raves for its exhaustive and absorbing portrait of the great British statesman. At 982 pages (plus notes), it should keep you busy well into 2019.
'RITZ & ESCOFFIER' Luke Barr’s lively history (Clarkson Potter, $26) chronicles the collaboration of high-end hotelier César Ritz and famed chef Georges Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel in Belle Époque London. Now you’ll know where the term “ritzy” comes from.
'ASYMMETRY' Few debut novels make waves like Lisa Halliday's acclaimed debut, “Asymmetry” (S&S, $16 paper), which had critics puzzling how Part I (about the affair between a publishing assistant and an older writer) and Part II (about an Iraqi-American detained at Heathrow Airport) fit together. And is that writer really a thinly veiled Philip Roth?
'HUNGOVER' If you literally overindulge over the holidays, seek out “Hungover:The Morning After and One Man’s Quest for the Cure” (Penguin, $17 paper). Journalist Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall explores the history and science of the syndrome, and travels the world in search of remedies. Pickled herring, anyone?
Entertainment TV shows, movies & music
Hanging out at home. Holiday season. Lots of time or some time on your hands. The TV — or laptop, or phone, or name-your-device — stares at you, wondering, waiting . . . well?
All of this is both the prescription and prerequisite for a binge. But what to binge? The TV isn't going to get up and turn itself on. Your move. So here are five worthy suggestions:
'FOREVER' This Amazon Prime 8-episode series, created by Alan Yang ("Parks and Recreation"), with Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen, launched in September, which raises the obvious question — has enough time passed or not to attach the usual "spoiler alert" warning, or should I just go ahead go ahead and tell you what this is all about? In the interest of preserving the surprise, which is not all that surprising, really, and obvious by the third episode anyway, we'll opt instead for discretion. "Forever" is essentially the (mostly comic) portrait of a marriage, with a standout performance by Rudolph, and lots of big-name cameos -- from Catherine Keener to Peter Weller.
'MOSAIC' This HBO six-parter directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Ed Solomon, about a successful children's book author (Sharon Stone) who is murdered, arrived last winter, then promptly disappeared without a trace. A shame because it was filled with excellent performances by some accomplished actors (Stone, Frederick Weller, Beau Bridges, Devin Ratray to name a few). Best of all, it was addictive as hell. (Available on HBO Go)
'GET SHORTY' You've read the (Elmore Leonard) novel and seen the (John Travolta) movie about the hit man who goes Hollywood, but I'm guessing you probably haven't yet seen this Davey Holmes adaptation which first launched on the lesser-known Epix in 2017, and has now landed on the service that ate the world -- Netflix. In this, Chris O'Dowd plays enforcer Miles Daly, who with partner, Louis Darnell (Sean Bridgers) discovers a whole new line of work. He gets a little help from a reluctant new friend, schlock D-list producer, Rick Moreweather (Ray Romano, in a funny, scene-stealer of a performance). "Shorty" draws you in to its sordid world, and there you shall remain.
'A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL' I loved this Amazon Prime three-parter about the former English memeber of Parliament Jeremy Thorpe who seduced a stable boy, one Norman Josiffe, thereby demolishing his promising career and very nearly the entire government. But the performances? Ah, the performances — Hugh Grant, as Thorpe, in a career-re-defining role, and Ben Whishaw as Josiffe, in yet one more reminder why he is one of the most gifted actors of his generation. Written by Russell T. Davies ("Doctor Who," "Queer as Folk") and directed by Oscar nominee Stephen Frears ("The Queen"), "Scandal" is superb.
'PARTS UNKNOWN' Netflix has stockpiled Seasons 6,7,8, 9 and 10, but if you're looking for earlier seasons, there's always Amazon Prime. Anthony Bourdain died in June, leaving behind a genuine TV treasure, full of heart, compassion and love. Then, there's the food. To call "Unknown" a travelogue is like calling "The Sopranos" a "crime drama" or Bruce Springsteen "a guy who plays rock songs." It's a travelogue — sure — but so, so much more: An exploration of the world, of politics, and especially of humanity, both Bourdain's and the countless people he meets along the way. This show is a classic, which will be with us for a long time. Binge now and see why.
So you couldn’t get to a theater to see all the Long Island-based documentaries released this year. Lucky for you, they’ve all found their way to video-on-demand. Here’s your home-viewing sextuple bill:
'KILLER BEES' Shaquille O’Neal signed on as a producer for this story of the Bridgehampton High School basketball team — a stronghold of local African-American culture in a region increasingly defined as a vacation spot for the wealthy.
'THE LAST RACE' Bellmore native Michael Dweck, a photographer by profession, turned to film to create an audiovisual portrait of the Riverhead Raceway. Innovative camerawork — Dweck mounted them to nearly every part of the cars — makes this debut film a cinematic standout.
'THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS' Born on Long Island but separated at birth, three brothers reunite by chance as young men and discover a dark secret about their murky background. It’s a fascinatingly tangled story, skillfully unspooled for maximum jaw-drop effect by director Tim Wardle.
'BAD REPUTATION' The story of Joan Jett, the go-it-alone rocker behind “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and other aggressively catchy hits. (The rest of the world may not know she’s been a Long Beach resident for some 40 years.) Featuring interviews with Billie Joe Armstrong, Iggy Pop, Deborah Harry and many more.
'SCIENCE FAIR' Island Park native Darren Foster and Cristina Costantini directed this upbeat doc about high school kids from around the world who gather to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair. The school to beat: Jericho High, led by the formidable Dr. Serena McCalla. I gave it four stars.
'ROLL WITH ME' In 2015, Gabriel Cordell, a paraplegic and recovering addict, rolled his standard-issue wheelchair across the United States from Santa Monica, California, to his hometown of West Hempstead. This shoestring-budget documentary was made by a somewhat random group of misfits — all with issues of their own — and they often become part of the story. Ava DuVernay’s Array company picked up this title and delivered it to Netflix.
4-STAR MOVIES TO BINGE ON
Looking for the best of the best? Here are the three movies that earned four-star reviews from Newsday film critic Rafer Guzmán. They’re available on video-on-demand.
'ROMA' Alfonso Cuarón’s ode to the Mexico City of his childhood, focusing on nonprofessional actress Yalitza Aparicio as a pregnant housemaid and shot in dazzling black and white, seems too beautiful to view on a small screen. Then again, Cuarón made the movie for Netflix.
'WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?' Morgan Neville’s documentary on children’s television host Fred Rogers is so moving that you’ll feel like a child all over again. The love that radiates both from its subject and his admirers feels like exactly what we’ve been missing from the world.
'HEREDITARY' Toni Collette plays a woman whose family seems to be cursed in this almost too-effective horror masterpiece from first-time feature-director Ari Aster. Disorienting and highly disturbing, “Hereditary” isn’t for everyone: Critics and art-house audiences adored it, but moviegoers overall gave it a near-failing D+ CinemaScore. You’ve been warned.
Ultimate LI playlist
It was a great year for music from Long Island artists. Newsday’s Spotify playlist, The LI Sound, collects the best new songs and some classics from the area’s history. Here’s a look at some 2018 highlights to keep you listening all week:
TAKING BACK SUNDAY, “All Ready to Go” (Craft) The Long Beach-based rockers and newly minted Long Island Music Hall of Famers twist their classic sound into something tougher and catchier.
MORGAN SAINT, “Sinner Boy” (Epic) The Mattituck native pulls elements of trap and dance into her edgy pop.
CHUCK D AS MISTACHUCK, “Blacknificent” (SpitSlam) The Roosevelt rapper leads by example when he declares, “Be about something. Our significance is infinite.”
SUNFLOWER BEAN, “Come for Me” (Mom + Pop) The Glen Head band glams up its indie-rock and throws in a stack of Haim-like vocals.
WINNETKA BOWLING LEAGUE, "On the 5" (RCA) Seaford native Matthew Koma is back in a band, with his brother Kris Mazzarisi on drums, but the dreamy sound is feeling California.
JON BELLION, “Let’s Begin” (Capitol) The Lake Grove native gets a benediction from RZA and leads Roc Marciano, B Keyz and Travis Mendes through a hip-hop groove.
KING NEPTUNE, “Terrify Me” (King Neptune) Long Beach’s Ian Kenny shows off his dark side on the raging rocker.
THE LEMON TWIGS, “Queen of My School” (4AD) Hicksville’s D’Addario brothers crank up the glam rock in their ambitious musical about a chimpanzee who goes to high school.
BEKON, “17” (Bekon) Amityville’s Bekon, one of Kendrick Lamar’s collaborators, steps into the spotlight with a lovely ballad.
LIL PEEP, “Cry Alone” (Autnmy/Columbia) The late Long Beach rapper rages against his hometown, with dramatic effect.
HOODIE ALLEN FEAT. CHRYSTAL “Operation” (Hoodie Allen) The Plainview native amps up his playful side with a string of good-time rhymes.
NICKODEMUS FEAT. FEMINA, “Inmortales (Body Move)” (Wonderwheel) Femina’s rhymes are fierce and Nickodemus gives her multiculti grooves to ride.
CHRISETTE MICHELE, “Get Wasted” (Rich Hipster) The Patchogue native is in her neo-soul element, as she declares, “Hello! Hello! Hello! I’m fly!”
MADISON BEER, “Dead” (Access) The Jericho native delivers one of the best kiss-off lines in pop this year — “You say you can’t live without me, then why aren’t you dead yet?”
BOHEMIANS, “Grow” (Bohemians) The Manorville band offers up four minutes of synth-pop heaven.