477 Broome Street
1000 Third Avenue
The right equipment has been known to enhance performance -- in the kitchen, that is. Pro and amateur gourmands alike load up on cooking paraphernalia at Broadway Panhandler, which started out as a supplier to the U.S. Army during World War II. Verbena's chef-owner, Diane Forley, counts it among her favorites -- it stocks the brands she uses in her restaurant, All-Clad saute pans and Bourgeat pots. There are also 580 different types of pots, pans, and skillets; helpful salespeople to hold your hand through the selection process; and great discounts. And the Panhandler's uber-organized, well-lit interior makes it a pleasure to idle there even for the mere window-shopper.
The aptly named Main Course at Bloomingdale's, complete with "open-air kitchens," has nearly a dozen brands everything from Calphalon to Le Creuset -- and a staff that'll deconstruct high-tech kitchenspeak like hard-anodized and heat-shielded. Stop by in the evening or on the weekend -- it may mean battling the crowds and registering brides, but you'll get to sample some cooking demonstrations and free finger food.
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