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/

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/

 

Melted

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The strap of

my shoe hung limp

The thread

mangled and matted

to the side of my left foot

The subway grates searing

into my heel

Dusted black

By crumpled napkins

And bottle caps from last night.

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/