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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Commute

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I never

look up

on my walk

to work,

but today I

counted windows,

rolled my

fingertips over

crumbling bricks,

stared down

the scaffolding,

and took just

a moment

for the

cloudless Tuesday

morning sky.

There’s More To This

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Like sushi rolls, restaurants are even better with something special inside.

I don’t actually eat real sushi… yet. I’m still getting past the fact that most things that are raw are also slimy which is proving to be rather difficult. I can, however, now eat a piece or two of yellowtail sashimi and hold it together, which is a great improvement from immediately gagging on salmon roe (This is still a thing. However, I’m just accepting it because my sister, a true sushi lover, has the same reaction to such an ingredient). I now also exercise zero restraint on California rolls, anything with fruit inside, tempura things, and salmon teriyaki.

Salmon teriyaki is the real MVP. Moving on before a massive tangent happens…

While I might not be fully qualified to weigh in on the cuisine, don’t count me out just yet. A place’s overall vibe is just as, if not more, important. And as far as vibes go, Shokudo is where it’s at.

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It’s a neat and tidy little place with some funk. There’s a solid playlist of pop hits everyone genuinely loves, with a strong emphasis on the new and improved Justin Bieber, and none of that super repetitive junk. The menu is not overwhelming, and even has a few things for those of us who don’t prefer our fish still swimming.

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Delicious Miso action for starters…

I went the bento box route because I secretly wanted a taste of everything anyway, while my sister went for a modified poke bowl (pictured below). Shokudo took what has become a very trendy (and usually overpriced) dish and dialed it back a little, letting simplicity shine through. It’s true testament to the whole experience. My compartmentalized array of little delicacies was nothing to scoff at either.

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And now you’ve gotten all the way to end of my first food post in a very, very long time and I haven’t even clarified what makes Shokudo so special. The building that houses Shokudo actually has quite the history; my grandparents used to own it. The bottom floor was once my grandfather’s pharmacy. Places with remaining bits of New York City history are becoming fewer and farther between. If you take a seat and look up, you’ll notice there are beams running across the ceiling. They are one of the only remaining original elements of the space. Everything else has been fully transformed.

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Even so, Shokudo is a little oasis amongst all of the Hell’s Kitchen movement. I think even my grandfather, who was one tough cookie, would have given it his stamp of approval; his granddaughters certainly did!


Shokudo

658 9th Ave (Corner of 46th St)
New York, NY 10036

http://www.shokudonyc.com/

Best In Snow

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Rooftops aren’t just for sweltering August days anymore.

After Saturday brunch at The Crooked Knife on 30th Street (I tried to write a whole blog post on the experience, but I have to say I struggled. The place was real hipster but was nothing outstanding, and is likely best with a very specific crowd. Anyways, back to the good stuff…) 230 Fifth seemed like the only reasonable after-party… at 5:30 PM. Never too early?

The entrance, which looks at the Flatiron Building, is nothing too extravagant for a bar that is actually a rather famous event space, and therefore my preconceived notions slowly melted away.

It’s free to take an elevator ride to the top. The inside portion of the bar is a cross between a sports bar and a very luxury club, but the outside is what really seals the deal. If you still use Facebook, you’ve likely seen the viral video about the bar in NYC with igloos on the roof. This is that bar!

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The igloos are hard to come by. You’ll likely have to make friends with whomever is already zipped inside, or you need to already be a large enough group to take over an entire one and scare other visitors away. They are comfortably warm, seat about 12 – 14 people, and each is a different color, which makes finding your way back easier (Ours was red!).

The outdoor bar sort of resembles a line of drive-through windows. It’s very expensive. However, I purchased a Hot Chocolate spiked with Bailey’s, and quickly ignored how much I ended up paying for it because it was just so. damn. good (I feel the same way about Irish cream as I do about chorizo. If it’s there, I must have it, because everything tastes better with it. Kahlua Hot Chocolate is also an option at 230 Fifth, but choose wisely. I’m rambling… sorry… ).

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We were very pleased with ourselves!

And if hot chocolate doesn’t quite sell you on a 230 Fifth visit, perhaps this will:

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Now, go ahead and cross “standing inside a snow-globe” off your bucket list.

Nothing beats a snowy, million-dollar view.


230 Fifth Rooftop Garden Bar & Restaurant

230 5th Ave

New York, NY 10001

http://www.230-fifth.com/

Throwback Thursday: Secret Sweets

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It’s not news that I’m so many levels of obsessed with the city of Boston. I’m really not sure why, as it’s pretty obvious that hardcore New York blood courses through my veins, but I can’t get enough of it. I think it’s beyond quaint, unpretentious but still gritty, inviting but full of tough love all at once. Back in March, my cousin Jamie and I went up for a girls weekend, and were lucky enough to be shown around by two native Bostonians.

They took us bar-hopping, and were determined to show us the itty bitty city’s little gems, like standing-only taverns and the wonder that is cans of Downeast Cider (which is brewed in Massachusetts!). But of all the places we stopped at on our “tour,” my favorite was Modern Pastry.

Modern Pastry is known as the rival to the infamous Mike’s Pastry in North End. Any cannoli flavor you could ever dream of exists between these two pastry shops alone. They’re both marvelous, but this really isn’t new information; the lines for Mike’s and for Modern Pastry are always out the door and down the block.

Here’s the secret: skip the line at Modern Pastry and walk straight towards the back of the bakery, where you’ll see a sign on the right-hand wall that looks like this:

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It’s not just decoration…

I was so in love the moment we walked downstairs.

love film reaction disney vintage

Basically me ^ GIF Credit: Giphy

There’s a hidden bar beneath Modern Pastry with ample seating. Feast your eyes upon the Boston paraphernalia decorating the walls, or anything that’s playing on their countless TVs. You can find your usual suspects on the drink menu, but they also have a full list of sweet pastry-themed cocktails (see the Boston Crème martini below, because how could I not?).

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The cherry on top of it all? You’ll also be given a menu of all the treats that are available upstairs. You can order any pastry your heart desires and someone will bring it down to you.

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Relationship Status: This cannoli.

No waiting, no lines, no crowds- just you, your martini, a cannoli, and some friends. It’s definitively what heaven must be like.

Just be careful about coming back upstairs with melted chocolate on your fingers, or those poor souls on the line down the block might get suspicious…


Modern Pastry

257 Hanover St

Boston, MA 02113

http://www.modernpastry.com/

 

Back To School

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LIM College tends to get lost in the sauce in the Hunger Games-esque battle that is New York City universities. With major players like FIT and NYU, it’s easy for it to go unnoticed. I personally don’t know anyone who goes to LIM, but I did get well-acquainted with their resident café, Pickler & Co.

The small café is a sandwich counter and a coffee bar snuggled inside of one of LIM’s Midtown buildings. There’s one big table, about eight chairs, three stools facing the old-fashioned windows, a classic sandwich shop menu, and that’s it.

I ordered a Chicken Tender Wrap: lettuce, chicken fingers, cheddar, honey mustard and a whole wheat wrap. The three people ahead of me and the two behind me (All actual adults on their lunch breaks, for some more context…) ordered exactly the same thing. It was the same kind of sandwich my college best friend and I used to get after a particularly bad week or a tough exam. A kind of comfort food, I suppose, except most of the food in our college cafeteria was one step above, if not equivalent to literal plastic (Admittedly, some days the nostalgia takes hold and I actually miss it…?). Pickler & Co.’s was the real deal.

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I ate the other half before remembering to take a picture. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In the name of a real review, I ordered a coffee too (Really channeling my inner university student here because that would make it my second cup of the day, whoops?). Nothing crazy, just an iced coffee, but a good one. So good, in fact, that I entertained the idea of revamping my mini top coffee shop list. You have a choice to flavor it, if that kind of thing suits your fancy. I’ve been told September means pumpkin-flavored things are socially acceptable again. This one was Caramel…

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Thanks, Pickler & Co., for taking me back to my NYC student roots for a hot second. I can’t possibly think of a better use for my lunch breaks.


Pickler & Co.

216 E 45th St

New York, NY 10017

http://www.picklernyc.com/

Throwback Thursday: This Happened

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I lowkey cried when this came out but I was (and still am) very, very proud.

Since I started working with The Turn It Around Project in February 2016, I’ve been afforded a few awesome opportunities to share my story and hear others share theirs. The most unique and humbling of those, however, was the chance to be in this video!

The video was shot in mid-June in Tompkins Square Park as part of a project with HooplaHa, a website that pushes out only positive and uplifting content on all of their platforms, which I believe is so necessary in the world we live in today. Together with Turn It Around’s founder, Abbe, and two incredibly fun members of the HooplaHa team, we spent the day chatting away and doing a substantial amount of giggling.

I don’t really talk about being bullied as a teenager or about my social anxiety because I prefer to try not to use it as an excuse for my actions, if possible. When I started university in 2012, I made it a quiet, personal project of mine to get comfortable talking about things I struggle with and being who I am. It’s a project I am still working on today: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Thanks to The Turn It Around Project, I am that much closer to being the person I have always wanted to be. I am part of a community that is proud of progress in general. It will always be a privilege to be a part of the team, and the video is something I will cherish forever. Read the full story on HooplaHa here, and come join the movement with us here!

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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/