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Best greasy spoons of NYC

Who needs designer burgers? According to a recent survey of restaurant spending prepared for The Post by finance-data site, when it comes to New Yorkers’ favorite dining destinations, the local greasy spoon frequently cracks the neighborhood Top 10. And that’s only counting the ones that take credit cards. Imagine how diners would rank if all the cash-only venues were considered, too. Just thinking about it makes us hungry for a $5 grilled cheese with bacon right around the corner from the apartment. Cheap, satisfying and local. So to commemorate the rise of the greasy spoon from dish pit to front-page news, we crisscrossed the city in search of the best casual, community-supported places to eat. Here are some of our favorites — and they might be yours, too!

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Out of the Hot Tub and Into the Vineyard

CHANCES are, when you think Marin County, you think crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods, whale watching, oysters, and cheese. (If you're a little older and of a certain leaning, perhaps you think of people sitting in hot tubs eating California Cheeseburgers.)

Or, maybe you are wondering, where the heck is Marin? (Answer: It's that county between San Francisco and Napa/Sonoma.) No matter where you fall on the Marin question, you're probably not thinking wine. But, get this: There were grapes in Marin before Napa. Until there weren't.

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Super Pigskin Pig Out - Super Bowl Party Menu Playbook is Easy Study

FOR those of you who think Super Bowl sans classics (wings, Colts) is like Thanksgiving without turkey, our "Traditional" Super Bowl menu is for you. Speaking of which, according to author Frederick Kaufman, the Super Bowl has surpassed Thanksgiving as the premiere national food holiday. Kaufman also says, "The real American stomach is revealed on Super Bowl Sunday, when we are unencumbered by tradition and choose our favorite foods to celebrate."

This is exactly how we think you should plan your party: Choose your favorite foods and celebrate with the Giants. The best party is the one that's easy and fun for the host (guests will notice if you're not with them in front of the TV).

Food Network's Guy Fieri agrees. "Many Super Bowl foods can be made the day before," he says, "so you don't have to be yelling 'What's the score' from the other room during the game." Fieri, a Raiders fan married to - brace yourself - a Pats fan, also suggests letting guests put their own food together, when possible. Cook the wings, he says, then have bowls of different sauces on the table.

Complete story and recipes online: The Post's Super Pigskin Pig Out

Big Apple Chowder Rules

THE Giants aren't the only underdog in New York. Manhattan clam chowder isn't known as a favorite either, but that doesn't mean it can't beat its northern competition, that ubiquitous hueless brew. What kind of a color is white anyway? No color at all. Sorry, New England Clam Chowder, New Yorkers like color and personality in their soup.

During a recent visit to the Oyster Bar at Grand Central, we noticed that 4 of 6 soup eaters at our counter were slurping down the good stuff. Is that a normal ratio? It depends on the day, says waitress Mary McNamara, who has noticed a continuing rise in requests for Manhattan. "I think it's the cream," she says. "People have had enough of it."

You got that right.

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Tabasco's Paul McIlhenny

AVERY ISLAND, La. ( -- Dozens of entrepreneurial hot sauce bottles line up on a typical grocery store shelf, but only two or three boast significant market share. Tops among them is Tabasco, which has been made by the McIlhenny Company out of Avery Island, La., since 1868. The company, still family-run and privately held, won't disclose its financials, but analysts estimate that the iconic brand -- which supplies countless bars, first-class airline cabins and the U.S. military with bottles of its red sauce -- owns about 20%-25% of the market.

McIlhenny, which grows its peppers all over the western hemisphere, sells six flavors of Tabasco, but none come close the numbers of its bestseller, the original red. International business comprises 40% of the company's overall sales. Up next: Expansion into emerging markets like Brazil, China, and Eastern Europe.

After a recent factory tour on Avery Island, sat down with Paul McIlhenny, the fourth-generation president and CEO, who shared his company's startup story.

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