Plates & Pints: BabboIn a city replete with Italian options, Mario Batali's Greenwich Village eatery still stands above the rest

An Italian restaurant in New York City isn’t exactly a novel idea. Walking around the sundry neighborhoods of the five boroughs, one can trip and fall over one ristorante and land right in another cucina. So what is it that separates one eatery from another? It comes down to quality – of ingredients, preparation, ambiance, and service. And Mario Batali’s Babbo offers all of these in spades.

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The Verdict: Channel OrangeOur track-by-track review of Frank Ocean's instant classic

SO HAVE YOU HEARD that Frank Ocean is bisexual? Of course you have. A couple of weeks ago, everyone from your Great Aunt Gertrude to Beyonce was talking about the crooner’s unexpected revelation. How will the more conservative figures in the hip hop community respond to this? Did he just come out of the closet as a marketing tactic? Is he dating Anderson Cooper? Those, to name a few, were just a few of the thousands of questions being argued into the ground both online and off.

Just a few days later, though, all the debates and deliberations came to a screeching halt. Last Monday, Ocean changed the conversation by dropping yet another stunner: his jaw-dropping debut album, Channel Orange. It’s a career-making record, one that will elevate the New Orleans native from an underground favorite to a fully-fledged superstar.

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Pwn Patrol: The Dawnguard TrailerBethesda's first Skyrim expansion is filled to the brim with blood-sucking intensity

NERDS EVERYWHERE, REJOICE! As expected, Bethesda Softworks has finally released a trailer for the much-anticipated expansion to their smash hit RPG Skyrim. Slated for release on the Xbox 360 this summer (with other platforms to follow), Dawnguard promises to open up the digital world of vampires to the Skyrim universe — which means thousands upon thousands of gamers (like me) are about shut themselves off from the real world to immerse themselves in it.

In a fictional land already littered with supernatural beings, an in-depth exploration of the vampire subculture was something lacking from the original game’s numerous storylines. Dawnguard will change all of that, offering up new locales, characters, abilities, and enemies that would wipe the floor with the glittering teenybopper lames from Twilight.

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Moustache Love: April 2012Our monthly round-up of moustache-related paraphernalia and moustachioed gents on the street

Sock It To Me

Mustache Socks

IF YOU’RE PART of the #menswear set these days, then you already know that wearing your dad’s plain black dress socks just doesn’t cut it anymore. Your personal style should be articulated through every inch of your ensemble—hosiery included. And with spring on the horizon, patterns and bright colors are all the rage right now.

But with so many folks opting for bolder options on their feet, it’s getting harder to find socks that truly stand out from the crowd—pairs that are dapper and daring with a healthy sense of humor about them.

That’s where the innovative upstarts at Sock It To Me come into play. Try on a pair of their audacious foot coverings, and you’re sure to have more than a few passersby ogling the area between your shoes and trousers.

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The Verdict: Magic CityGlitz, crime and sex on the beach

NOSTALGIA FOR POST-WWII America has swept across popular culture like a monstrous tidal wave. Sparked by the stunning success of AMC’s Mad Men, demand for retro cars, mod-style suits, and skinny ties have skyrocketed. Inevitably, every TV producer in the country has seen the trend gaining momentum with little sign of slowing down and found a way to toss their felt fedoras in the ring. The mad rush to the ‘60s table has led to a number of unfortunate endeavors—just last fall, The Playboy Club and Pan-Am quickly found their ways off the air.

The latest drama to cash in on the phenomenon is Magic City, which aired its first episode on Starz this past Friday. Because of its 1958 setting, throwback style, and a cast full of smoldering actors and actresses, the most immediate and obvious comparison is to Mad Men. But this is no midtown ad agency we’re dealing with here.

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