5 Best Things I Ate (Drank?): Manhattan Coffee Shops

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I haven’t a clue how I’m going to make this series work for all of the things there are to eat and drink in New York City, but I’ll try. Starting with the caffeine here of course, because once you go cute coffee shops, you never go back.


Black Cat LES

Where to find: 172 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

Coffee shops are not rare on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This one, however, is home to my favorite iced latte. Black Cat is a funky hole-in-the-wall that sits pretty deep on Rivington Street. It’s a little warm inside, which makes it perfect for a chilly day. If it’s too hot, go in anyway, and check out all of their décor. Look up too- all of the fun quotes and writing reaches the ceiling, too.

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Ground Support

Where to find: 399 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012

The location is the selling point for Ground Support. It occupies the most precious corner of West Broadway, just steps from Laduree’s Downtown NYC location. It’s always crowded and the line is always out the door. If you catch it at a good time, take your pick, because everything on the menu looks good: breakfast sandwiches, artisan muffins (any of their muffins… seriously, any of them.), coffee creations, the works. There is a nice place to sit if the weather is cooperative next to the Eileen Fisher store.

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Raspberry. Pumpkim. Muffin. Photocredit: My sister 😉


Birch Coffee

Where to find: My favorite is their 13th Street location in Chelsea, but you can see their other locations here.

A dinky, very hipster, no seats kind of place. Everyone who works there is cool and wears fedoras or bohemian jewelry unironically. Everyone who stops in is fabulous and probably brilliant and probably works somewhere really trendy. Go if you are fabulous. Go if you are not yet fabulous but are attempting to acquire fabulousness and brilliance by diffusion (Me…).

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Ground Central

Where to find: View all Ground Central locations here.

A different entity from the aforementioned Ground Support, Ground Central is an amped-up version of whatever fast-casual place you get your caffeine fix from every morning. They brew La Colombe coffee, which technically is another NYC coffee shop chain, but is also an outstandingly delicious brand of coffee beans. I’m not expert on different types of coffee beans, but if you asked me what type of coffee I want in my hand right now, it would be La Colombe with almond milk in a Ground Central cup.

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Reusing pictures here, but this never stops being relevant. Photocredit: 9two5 Fit


Project Cozy

Where to find: 398 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

I love places that make you want to stay forever.

Project Cozy is Soho’s newest coffee spot, having taken over a space just south of Houston St. that has rotated residents for the past year or so. They pride themselves upon being “Cozy as Fck,” which I think is an odd slogan that never stops being amazing. There’s ample seating, nice staff, and a fantastic view down Centre St. that definitely got all my creative gears going… except I totally didn’t have my laptop with me. Note for next time, because there will be a next time.

Bonus: They’re also a juice bar. Get the Kale Yeah smoothie.

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The Birthday That Never Ends

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… Because I won’t let it.

My birthday always falls on or around Thanksgiving, which I fully use as an excuse to make it last over a week. A family dinner at Bodega Negra was the final bow for my birthday week this year, because everyone I know is sick of me using that as an excuse, and I can’t think of a better way to have ended it.

Located beneath the ever-opulent and fabulous Dream Downtown Hotel (Just sit in the lobby for a little while, best people-watching in NYC!) Bodega Negra is a dark and cozy tequila bar and Mexican restaurant. The dim light forces everyone to pull out their iPhone flashlights to read the menu, but hey, it’s part of the experience for sure.

They’ll sell you on their signature cocktail, which unfortunately involved the one fruit I’m allergic too, but the pitcher of traditional margarita my family split? Stellar, strong, and worth it. They can make any of their cocktails in a pitcher for sharing, but I’d highly suggest going traditional. Bonus points for the extra salt on our glasses, too.

We went backwards, starting with tacos and then later deciding we wanted to keep snacking. The skirt steak (which was still smoking when it arrived to our table) is a must, though they are spicier than they appear, even if you accidentally drop half of the salsa roja on your plate.  The pork belly, which has a very mild green salsa on it, is basically a bacon taco, and the fish is a strong contender too.

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Steak tacos on the left, two Pork Belly tacos on the top right, and two Fish tacos on the bottom right (Also, awesome taco stand…)

We ordered appetizers for round two: jalapeno rellenos, street corn, and a massive quesadilla that was more like the best white pizza I’ve ever had.  I was a little too spice-shy to give one of the jalapenos a try, but there was street corn so I was perfectly happy (Things I didn’t know existed until I lived in Austin… You grill corn and cover it in cheese. It’s epic, though I’m still wondering why I had to move to Texas to discover this is a thing…)

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The grand finale is the Don Huevo dessert, which is probably the only thing you’ll see if you troll the geotag for the restaurant on Instagram. It’s a white chocolate orb with a cute little mustache, and he’s brought to your table with hot caramel sauce, only to be dumped over his head so he melts dramatically to reveal a molten-dark chocolate cake. I feared it would be over-rated and more for show than flavor, but as soon as I managed to get a scoopful of the cake, I was proven wrong. I distinctly remember asking the table for the best way to describe the cake, as the intensity of the chocolate, the sweet caramel, and the residual melted white chocolate had left me pretty much speechless (Which is very, very hard to do) and regretting having eaten so much quesadilla about a half hour earlier.

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A big, white chocolate orb with a mustache-sized thank you to my incredible family for helping me end my birthday week on the highest of high notes, and with dark chocolate cake!


Bodega Negra

355 W 16th St

New York, NY 10011

http://bodeganegranyc.com/

 

The “Last” Weekend

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This was my last official weekend in New York City! Finals are happening, my friends are starting to head home, and the longest/shortest semester in the history of ever is coming to close (That’s confusing. Basically, this semester went way too fast and is never-ending all at the same time, and I genuinely don’t know how I feel about it, but anyway….).

In celebration, two of my closest friends and I decided to have a little Saturday afternoon out. It started at The Strand in Union Square, which is a book heaven for, well, basically everyone, whether you like books or not. We picked up everything in the store and then decided to only buy three items or so between the three of us. I am now the proud owner of a book signed by the one and only Tim Gunn, if you were wondering… (#fangirling).

We then moved on to lunch at Hotel Tortuga in the East Village. I’m not a huge Mexican food fan, unfortunately, but I have to admit the place was pretty good. Their lunch special is only eight bucks, and you can pick from a menu of substantial options. My friends were a little more adventurous, and I went safe just ordered tacos (but their Grilled Steak is OUTSTANDING.).

We killed some time people-watching in Washington Square Park and enjoying the incredible weather, before making a stop at Amorino University Place. Amorino Gelato, an Italian chain, is famous for making the gelato flowers, and I tried it for the first time in the Galleria Lafayette in Paris. In celebration of (almost) surviving our semester, we each got one. They were worth every penny (See mine below- Cookie Butter, Milk Chocolate and Caramel flavors. The caramel is my favorite. The chocolate is good, but is a little overpowering.)

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From there we disbanded to attempt to be productive (Actually, they went to their room to be productive. I kind of gave myself the day off, if that’s even a thing you can do during finals week…?). I used the very last day on my unlimited metrocard to the fullest extent, and headed to Chelsea Market, which is one of my favorite places in all of New York City. Aside from the food (Think Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, but a little smaller!), there is also a stellar flea market permanently in the back. It’s a little hard to find, but they have some crazy cool stuff. I had lost one of my rings from my favorite stand, Cynthia Rybakoff, so I treated myself to a replacement.

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Before heading home to actually be productive, I took a detour through the West Village. I don’t spend much time in the West Village area, so it was nice to see it alive on such a beautiful day. It also was the perfect opportunity for me to stop at 66 Perry St. It may seem unassuming at first, but this is actually Carrie Bradshaw’s front stoop from Sex and the City. It’s crazy cool to see it in person, and the best possible end to my day to preemptively celebrate the beginning of summer.

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Thank you for a wonderful semester, New York City. See you in the fall, hope you’re ready!