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The unlovely stretch of Third Avenue that clings desperately to the appellation "Gramercy Park" when all the while you can feel the incipient Murray Hillness creeping up on you houses Rolf's, a Bavarian restaurant that harkens back to the neighborhood's early German roots. The cuisine itself seems to be what the word "stolid" was created to describe, and the prices are kind of outrageous (to a Jew, paying ten bucks for three potato pancakes feels like a whole other Holocaust), but you'll leave overly full and, of a cold winter's night, mainly satisfied (we recommend the suckling pig, the chicken schnitzel, and, actually, the aforementioned Shoah latkes). And a cold winter night is when you're going, because Rolf's around the holidays is some kind of goddamned Christmas miracle:

While most restaurants in New York trick themselves out for the season, Rolf's is the flashiest tranny crackwhore of New York Christmas restaurants. There are approximately 50,000 lights (we may be exaggerating by a few thousand, but no more), a giant tree, and pretty much all the Christmas crap you'll want to see in one setting. No matter what kind of Scrooge you are, there's something deeply amazing about being in a world of light and wonder where you're somehow transported back to the childlike sense of joy and anticipation of the holiday, plus you can get drunk. If you go before New Year's (the stuff stays up until February) make reservations; it tends to get packed at this time of year.

Rolf's, Third Avenue at 22nd Street [Menupages]