Very Bad Blogging

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In my struggle effort to reach the coveted title of “semi-functioning adult,” I realized I’ve fallen into this hole of forgetting to carve out time for food adventures. Neglecting the blog and all of the wonderful things there are to eat in this world is the last thing I want to be doing, so I offer you some notes on three Manhattan spots that have taken the internet by storm. Let’s raise our desserts to making time to do what you love.


Milk & Cream Cereal BarLittle Italy

My old roommate and I actually stumbled upon Milk & Cream by accident, on a gray Saturday afternoon in May. It plays upon the success of Momofuku’s infamous and ever Instagram-worthy cereal milk ice cream, but on a major sugar high. If you go traditional, you’ll be allowed one cereal choice to blend into your ice cream and one topping, all in a cup or in a The Konery cone (As a heads up, the Birthday Cake Konery cone is pretty but is not a good choice.) If you’re fancier, go for a Signature Blend. No worries about the size of the line, the staff is totally on it!

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Personal fav: Vanilla ice cream with Cinnamon Toast Crunch blended in, topped with chocolate chips *drools*.


DOGreenwich Village

DO now has adorable storefront Greenwich Village, after churning out edible, egg-less cookie dough from a kitchen in Kips Bay for quite a few years.

It’s sugary, creative, and actually feels kind of naughty… like you should be eating all of whatever you order before whomever used to bake cookies with you comes back to scold you for sticking your fingers in the raw dough and give you a lecture on the dangers of eating uncooked eggs. However, just like back in the day, one scoop is probably all you need, even without the raw eggs; it’s very dense. Prepare yourself for a minor food comatose shortly following.


EgglooChinatown

When my friend Kendra comes to town, all we do is eat. So when she told me she wanted to find Eggloo, I knew it was going to be good.

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And it was. It’s not fancy, just fun. You have your choice of bubble waffle and your choice of ice cream. Oh, and your topping limit is uncapped. Smother your whole life in mini M & M’s and chocolate Pocky while you can.

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Mad for Molly’s

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I believe we’re at a point in our relationship in which I can introduce you to my first true love; its time we had a serious talk about Molly’s Cupcakes.

Molly’s came into my life when I moved to New York as a freshmen at university. My cousin Jamie took me there in her quest to properly introduce me to the city (She succeeded. Some of my most favorite places in Manhattan are ones we’ve visited together!). Now, I take literally everyone to Molly’s. Friends, family, visitors from out of state or other countries… I even send random people there if they look lost on the street.

Why so great, you ask? It’s a West Village cupcake shop, just on the outskirts of Soho, right before you hit all the NYU madness. There’s only one in the whole entirety of New York (and a handful in the midwest United States, but I digress).

Most of their cupcakes are filled, meaning that if you stab right through the top of one with a fork, something delicious will ooze out all over the place. What they’re filled with all depends on what you get. There are endless options stuffed with cream, Nutella, peanut butter, chocolate, fruit preserve, icing, and even cake batter or “raw” cookie dough.

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It’s literally dripping cake batter. 

There are a few seats along the counter that are actually playground swings, and the rest of the room is reminiscent of elementary school. It’s complete with board games and card games for you to play with, like the ones you weren’t allowed to play with unless it was recess. They’re all yours to enjoy here!

I’d highly recommend that those games are best paired with a Birthday Cake or Boston Cream cupcake, and maybe a cappuccino in a mug the size of your face… but you’ll just have to meet Molly’s and see how easy it is to unconditionally adore it.


Molly’s Cupcakes

228 Bleecker St.

New York, NY 10014

http://www.mollyscupcakes.com/

Goin’ Up on a Thursday

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I’ve honestly tried to get into Thursday Kitchen three separate times.

I saw it first on The Infatuation, which is my favorite website for unique places to try that aren’t totally out-of-control expensive. They’ve even got an app, which works wonders in a pinch (I will admit to using it when restaurants I chose fall through, which happens more than I’d like to admit…)

They reviewed it, it took one read of the post for my one-track mind to become entirely enthralled by the Korean fushion menu, and then I failed to make a visit work each time until my third try – a rainy Thursday evening. We’ve really redefined “third times the charm” here, people.

You must start with the alcoholic Capri suns. Thursday Kitchen has gained a lot of press for these, and they’re positively sinful. Like, sinful to the point of absolutely do not leave without ordering one but once you do, probably just stay seated for a while. The lemon one wins the gold medal.

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Lemon & Strawberry drinks!

The staff suggests 4-6 of their plates for two people; we ended up with 6. The Angry Potatoes are a great start. They aren’t too heavy and will cushion the punch from the drinks. I’d also recommend the Korean fried chicken. It’s a classic done right. You really cannot go wrong with it: a sweet, sticky sauce, sesame seeds, fried popcorn-sized chicken. Honestly, I’m already reminiscing.

The Hwe Soba came highly recommended. I wasn’t in love with the raw tuna, as I’m still learning to conquer the sashimi-ish food group. It was also very spicy, with a big hit off the back end of every bite, even the noodles. It’s a bit of a struggle unless you’re really into that sort of thing. I had to abort mission. My friend was a huge fan though.

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Clearly, we dove right in…

On the other hand, the salmon was one of the best things we tried. The salmon is cooked with beets, making it appear raw. It’s fully cooked so perfectly that it isn’t even fishy. Only four pieces per dish though, so share nicely if you can.

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The Korean gnocchi was my personal favorite. A lot of other reviews gave this dish a thumbs down. Understandably, after some heat from the other dishes, the sauce will end up tasting the same. The fix is to take the garlic aioli and spread it out over the gnocchi, which takes the dish from “meh” to marvelous. It’s very garlicky, but it doesn’t burn. The texturized pieces are cauliflower, and those little suckers will run from your chopsticks like nobody’s business. Chase them down and eat those too.

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And of course for dessert, the Popcorn Ice Cream was a unanimous, immediate decision. In addition to all of its caramel corn glory, it really takes the heat off after the soba and the gnocchi.

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I promise that even if you end up waiting outside on East 9th St., it is a stellar place to try (Forewarning: Thursday Kitchen is a snuggly, small place, but they do not take reservations!) Just make one of those drinks the first thing you order as your well-deserved reward.


Thursday Kitchen

424 E 9th St

New York, NY 10009

https://thursdaykitchennyc.com/

 

The Remedy

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Lately I’ve been finding myself to be a little lost. Not the good kind of lost, more of an “I can’t figure out which way is up” kind of lost, and therefore in need of some love– which arrived just in time in the form of Sunday brunch.

The fix: A classic, wholesome, adorable corner eatery called Perla Café. At night their menu leans Italian, but their brunch is simply a small, quality menu with just a touch of fun. There’s a charming and inviting staff armed with an arsenal of recommendations. The first thing our waitress asked was if we had any allergies. Thankfully, we didn’t have anything too alarming to challenge the kitchen with, but it was obvious they were prepared to make changes and be accommodating.

It’s not a boozy brunch. Well, I guess technically you could make it boozy like you can do with most things in New York City, but why taint it? It balances perfectly somewhere in between healthy haven and artisanal masterpieces just as it is. Their coffee is to die for (Macchiato and Almond Milk Iced Latte pictured below). The iced latte was the perfect wake-up on a slightly-oppressively hot morning, and paired perfectly with my dish of choice: Parmesan biscuits, poached eggs, Italian sausage and a broccoli rabe pesto (Adjustable for my vegetarian friends, by the way!). The broccoli rabe is not at all broccoli-ish, the poached eggs don’t explode all over your whole life, and the biscuits and sausage are a great touch. You would think the four different ingredients would compete with one another for the top spot, but rather they do a well-choreographed little dance with every scoop, making my heart and my stomach very, very happy.

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Bring a friend to share the love with, or don’t and just feel the love yourself; it’s the best place for it. Whether you’ve got loads of catching up to do, or you’ve been finding yourself kind of down and hug isn’t so attainable (I understand, we New Yorkers tend not to be so friendly…), I can promise you one thing: Perla Café will do the trick.


Perla Cafe

234 West 4th Street

New York, NY 10014

http://www.perlanyc.com/

All That & A Breakdancing Bunny

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A New York take on street food and street art from around the world? Sign me up. Immediately.

Vandal New York is the newest addition to Chef Chris Santos’s repertoire of fun restaurants. It exploded onto the scene with a frenzy of media attention, including a star-studded opening party. Naturally that would lead one to believe that the restaurant is geared solely for the pretentious New York partygoer types, but Vandal is so much more of a hidden gem than expected.

Foremost, I would have to say that Vandal’s menu is far tastier than that of its siblings, The Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex. All three of the restaurants do some version of the shared tapas-style dishes with a twist, but Vandal’s menu reigns supreme. The clientele, atmosphere, and staff are also incredibly laid back. The servers are wearing Converse and sensible black wedges, and welcome you with a smile instead of scanning your outfit.

Take your pick; everything is great. Vandal is most famous for the Crispy Bao Buns. I say the Knish Reubens should be their claim to fame, because how do you even get corned beef to taste that good? Also the Cacio E Pepe Arancini, because it’s a ball of fried pasta with Parmesan sauce. The skirt steak with spicy chorizo fried rice was the table favorite. Although you might not want to, remember that it’s intended to be shared. Eat the spicy rice last. It burns your tastebuds but it’ll hurt so good.

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Crispy Bao Buns

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Knish Reubens

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Clockwise from the left: Thai Papaya Rolls, Sticky Rice Buns, Fish Tacos, Arancini

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Skirt Steak & Spicy Chorizo Rice

As for dessert: Tell them it’s your birthday because free chocolate cupcake (with delicious pretty icing). Order one of everything, except for the Irish coffee milkshake- order that for yourself and don’t share it with anyone else. Order two because they’re adorable (or I could just take the extra off your hands for you, if that’s cool…).

There really aren’t any drawbacks, except maybe that drinks are expensive. But with all of this other incredible stuff happening, it doesn’t even matter.

And on your way out, take a peek at the infamous Vandal bunny. He’s eleven feet tall and has his own Instagram. Give him a kiss for me and tell him I’ll see him again real soon!


Vandal New York

199 Bowery

New York, NY 10002

http://www.vandalnewyork.com/

 

Vegan Burgers

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I know what you’re thinking.

Before you get your panties in a bunch over the potential that someone in New York City ruined burgers by making them out of vegetables and other strange healthy things, just hear me out.

Other bloggers rave about by CHLOE., a cafe in the West Village. The storefront is precious, and everything on the menu is vegan. In addition, nothing contains cholesterol, added preservatives and/or artificial flavors, and some menu items are gluten-free. My cousin, who is vegetarian, came to NYC for a visit, giving us both the best excuse to try it.

Like any typical burger joint, you order at the counter and then grab a seat to wait for your food to be ready. Seats are a hot commodity at by CHLOE., and the line is almost always out the door. I wanted to put their Classic Burger to the test, while my cousin went with the Internet’s favorite, the Guac Burger. We also tested the air-baked fries.

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The Classic Burger is a tempeh, lentil, chia and walnut conglomeration. It comes on a potato bun with pickles, onion, spinach and a ketchup made from beets. Though thinner than your typical burger, if you didn’t warn me that it wasn’t made out of meat, I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. The only big difference was a strong flavor from the pickles, which was still great. The air-baked fries are not as crisp as your regular French fries, but they may actually taste better. Though they are a bit soft, we still found ourselves wondering how we finished all of our fries so fast…

No worries, old-fashioned burgers and fries have not been destroyed. In fact, the vegan versions very much do their counterparts justice. I’m intrigued, obsessed, and I need to go back for more. So basically, if you’re looking to switch it up and get a little adventurous, come with, because by CHLOE. is the place.


by CHLOE.

185 Bleecker St.

New York, NY 10012

http://bychefchloe.com/

Gettin’ Down in Noodletown

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For the holidays I bought my dad a book titled 1001 Restaurants You Must Experience Before You Die. At first it was kind of a gag until he actually wound up loving it, and now it lives in the kitchen at my parents’ house and has been referenced quite a few times. Of course, I thumbed through it before wrapping it up for him- a quick perusal of the New York section. Everything had 875,692 dollar signs next to it, a sure sign that I’d never come up with the money or get a reservation…except for Great New York Noodletown.

Months later I finally got my life organized enough to make time to try it, because c’mon, it’s called Noodletown. Upon further research, I found out that it’s an Anthony Bourdain favorite. Its around $7-8 per dish and their dishes are substantial, therefore costing less than potentially anything else Manhattan (Kidding, but still…). No reservations necessary. Roast Pork Wonton Soup fixes everything because it’s like a hug in a bowl. How could you possibly say no?!

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The meat is perfect. It tastes like a spare rib without the greasy artificial sauce, salty and drenched in broth. The wontons are shrimp (which is NOT CLARIFIED on the menu, please be careful if you have an allergy!), and they come with the tails removed, completely cooked and wrapped tightly. There’s also a boatload of thin, ramen-like noodles in the bottom, and no fork for you to tackle them with, so you’re just supposed to have at it with your chopsticks. Shovel and slurp to your heart’s content as long as your table has agreed that it’s a judgement-free zone.

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Dragged my roommate along with me, her fried rice was also amazing!

Nothing is greasy, nothing is dripping oil, and everything is authentic. It’s a no frills kind of place, but you’ll still feel right at home.


Great New York Noodletown

28 Bowery

New York, NY 10013

http://greatnynoodletown.com/

Juicehead

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(Full disclosure: I googled “Juice Jokes” for about 20 minutes before starting this post.)

I have a pressed juice problem. It’s as bad, if not worse, than my coffee shop problem.

I know it’s really hipster, and that some of them aren’t all that healthy for you anyway, and that they don’t substitute for an actual meal (OK, neither does coffee, but hey, we absolutely all do that thing where we down a coffee on the run instead of real food). But to be fair, I genuinely enjoy trying different types of pressed juice, and not just because someone declared it trendy.

Enter Joe & The Juice, a juice shop I stumbled upon in Copenhagen Airport. I was fighting off a mild cold from the chilly Scandinavian weather, and went in searching for anything that was going to guarantee that my cold wasn’t going to get worse. I purchased an Immunity, which consists of red grapefruit, passion fruit, and apple. It was sticky and sweet and exactly what I needed before a rather choppy flight to Stockholm.

When a sign went up that Joe & The Juice was opening its first USA location in Soho, my favorite New York City neighborhood, I just about died. I then proceeded to scream and fangirl every time I walked by the sign (Very normal, obviously…).

It’s now open, and the vibe is incredible: coffee shop clientele with a gym-rat kind of menu, attractive people behind the counter, and pretty solid playlist played at a pretty solid volume. It’s unlike any juice place I’ve ever been in before.

The menu gets pretty earthy, but by some sorcery, very little of it actually tastes as nauseatingly green as it sounds. I went with a Joe’s Green Mile on my first (of what is soon to be many) NYC visits, which contains avocado, broccoli, apple, spinach, and lemon. I hate avocado and dared myself to try it. It’s the prettiest green color and it tastes like lemonade. I’m convinced it’s magic.

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Their coffees, which I’ve yet to try, are ordered by color as opposed to size, which is just about the cutest idea ever. No, the “pink latte” isn’t actually pink, which in all honesty is mildly disappointing, but it is the biggest size and the prettiest cup.

The only catch is that the cool vibe, color-coded coffee, and magic healthy juice is not at all cheap. But, if you crammed that many vegetables into something I actually want to drink, I’m still pretty much all about it.

Staying in Joe & The Juice forever, OK cool, bye.


Joe & The Juice

67 Spring St

New York, NY 10012

https://www.joejuice.com/

Search tool for all other international locations: https://www.joejuice.com/stores/

 

Tapas Make Everything Better

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Sometimes, Yelp is on point.

A rather unassuming- looking West Village haunt I found online, Café Espanol is by far one of the best places for tapas in NYC. It’s not flashy, and nothing on the menu has a “twist”; it’s just really quality, homemade Spanish cuisine. The place is nestled between possibly 785 other bars and restaurants, and the entrance is itty-bitty, but it opens up to a wonderfully-sized place with a couple different rooms to diffuse the chatter.

Order half a pitcher of sangria, because that’s all you’ll need. You can go traditional Spanish and order tapas, which is my favorite, or do a full meal. Mondays are Lobster night, but on my most recent visit, my friend and I still did tapas. My personal favorite is the gambas al ajillo, (just make sure you’re well-acquainted with your friend across from you, because the garlic sauce is no joke). There’s also a combination plate of jamon serrano, chorizo and manchego that’s not to be missed, and an enormous plate of patatas bravas that’ll definitely clear your sinuses (and also make a great base for all the leftover garlic sauce from the gambas al ajillo, just saying…) Three tapas for two people to split to too few, and five is too many, so I’d shoot for four (Or you could just go ham, no pun intended, and order basically everything, whatever works!). Plus, Café Espanol leaves the bread out on the table for you when you arrive, with the undoubtedly the best homemade Spanish olive oil in existence for you to drown it in.

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Your relentless search for quality tapas has now ended. Seriously, it’s addictive (Thank me later).


Cafe Espanol

172 Bleecker St

New York, NY 10012

http://cafeespanol.com/

Two Thumbs Up For Two Hands

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Is an affinity for coffee shops and breakfast places something you automatically acquire when you’ve been living in NYC for almost four years? Because I most definitely have and it’s most definitely a problem.

Two Hands has been on my radar for basically ever, since I started seeing it pop up on multiple other food blogs. I followed them on Instagram as a continuous reminder to stop by (Fair warning, their Insta-game is strong, and you will want to eat or take a picture of everything. No judgment here, I promise my roommates and I left our coffees for longer than we should’ve just so we could get the perfect shot, and we weren’t the only ones doing it…). Today, my two amazing roommates and I decided to make a date of it, and got breakfast together.

The place is so many levels of cute. Get there early, because even at 9 AM on a Friday, only about an hour after they’ve officially opened, we snagged the very last table that could accommodate a party of more than two people. A little cafe with fairy lights strung across the ceiling, they have enough choices of fresh juice, coffee, milkshakes, and smoothies on the menu to sufficiently overwhelm you. The juices are all brightly-colored, and come in Mason jar mugs. The smoothies, too. However, full disclosure: I’m the biggest coffee drinker of the three of us, but all three of us intentionally ordered a hot cappuccino or latte just so we could get the pretty design on the top. It was a great choice though; they were amazing.

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Their food selection is not as expansive, but there pretty much isn’t a single thing on the menu that doesn’t sound fantastic. I chose the acai bowl, which is basically a deconstructed smoothie. I think my only suggestion would be a few less chia seeds, because there’s a lot of them. Other than that, the fruit, granola, seeds, coconut and chocolate combination was all I could ever want and then some.

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Clockwise from the top: Granola Bowl and latte, Avocado Toast and cappuccino, and my Acai Bowl and cappuccino

We were sorry to have to leave and return to our homework, especially after we made friends with one of the waiters and tried to make our coffees last as long as humanly possible so we could people-watch. Two thumbs up from us for Two Hands!


Two Hands

164 Mott St

New York, NY 10013

http://www.twohandsnyc.com/

And, if you really want to indulge in the breakfast food porn: https://instagram.com/twohandsnyc/?hl=en