As a follow-up from yesterday’s heavy post, I did want to thank those of you who reached out. I really appreciate all of the warm thoughts and prayers you guys are offering up on behalf of Kourtney’s family and friends, and know others share that gratitude as well.
Today, I definitely felt the urge to lighten the mood, so I’ll move forward with that coffee shop review I mentioned yesterday… A while back, my friend and I met for espresso at Cafe Grumpy: a local coffee shop in Chelsea that’s been around for a few years. Lena Dunham’s Girls’ character works (did work? I’m not caught up) at the Green Point location. Since I’m nowhere near cool enough for Brooklyn, I decided to see what my work neighborhood’s location had to offer.
I didn’t photograph the latte art or take any fancy shots of the chill ambiance because I am the worst ever, but the feeling of “cool” definitely plagued the air. Maybe that was because we got seats by the ill-shutting door and it was eight degrees outside? I’d settle for an even mix of both.
The latte was strong, the coffee was smooth, and I ordered something titled a “jalapeño cheddar biscuit” that was the size of my extended hand (because how could you not?) that absolutely changed my life. Other than that, I think it’s simultaneously cool and sort of silly that they don’t have wifi. Cool for fostering an un-plugged atmosphere of socialization and relaxation/uncool for the obvious reason that the wiffy (Nick Miller’s pronunciation, heyyyy New Girl fans) being kind of THE thing niche coffee shops have going for them.
I’m kind of a sucker for a fine selection of coffees and freshly baked pastries, so the fact each Cafe Grumpy location offers both is huge. Overall, it was nice experience, and I’d go back for more of those jalapeño cheddar pieces of heaven alone.
As soon as I heard about BarBacon — a single focused restaurant that opened a few months back in Hell’s Kitchen, I
forced nicely asked one of my friends to accompany me on a visit. A restaurant that centralized on the winning (and artery clogging) bacon and beer combo — what could be better?
We started with the Tasting, which included four kinds of bacon: jalapeño, spicy pepper, maple and smoked applewood. Each was delectable, but we deemed the jalapeño as our favorite. Before going, I noticed that Yelp reviewers were loving on the grilled cheese and lobster roll. A common thought after doing some preliminary research would be to order said grilled cheese and/or lobster roll, but my friend and I aren’t really the trend-following type (just kittens we met working in fashion), so she went for the pulled pork sandwich and I opted to check out the lobster bisque. Both entrees were phenomenal.
If I went back again (and against the health-conscious part of my brain’s better judgement, I would), I think I would cave and try the grilled cheese. And probably not go at 7pm on a Friday since it’s the end of their happy hour (4-7pm is half off well drinks and beers) and they don’t take reservations. Overall, it’s a cute joint. If you’re the meat-eating type and ever find yourself in Hell’s Kitchen, it’s worth checking out.
Last week, a friend told me about a new-ish donut shop that opened up a few streets over from my apartment. It was allegedly getting rave reviews, and was known for its huge, doughy pastries PLUS it serves the smoothest coffee this side of the Hudson: Blue Bottle. He didn’t have to say much more to convince me to check it out on my day off.
Dough Loco is located in a small hole-in-the-wall hipster shop on Park and 97th. I went in the early afternoon on a Thursday and it was dead — literally zero customers inside — which should have been awesome… except they didn’t have wi-fi and the guy behind the counter was giving off some awkward vibes, so I decided to indulge in my fit of gluttony in Central Park.
The donuts I decided to try were the Maple Miso, per all of awesome the Yelp reviews I read, and the Raspberry Sriracha because HELLO, RASPBERRY SRIRACHA?!?! Also, the Yelp reviews were all “they’re SO big — there’s no way any normal sized person could eat more than one — really even an entire donut!” Needless to say I ate both, fulfilling my need to constantly affirm my impending obesity. They were big, doughy, just the right amount of sweet, and ever so satisfying. The Maple Miso was fine — really just tasted like a regular sweet donut to me. The Raspberry Sriracha, as the name obviously suggests, is where it’s AT. The Yelp reviews also foiled me into thinking it was going to be heavy on the raspberry flavor and light on the spiciness of the hot sauce — not the case. I got a fun little kick with each bite, and wouldn’t hesitate to call it the best donut I’ve ever tasted. [Disclaimer: I’m not a donut enthusiast, so keep it in your pants, Doughnut Plant obsessives.] Regardless, Dough Loco is a great, trendy addition to the UES/East Harlem hoods, and I’ll definitely be back.
Every day calls for coffee, but some days, you just need a latte. And not a fake, sugar-filled, 7-11 style “Skinny Cow Mocha” that comes out of a push-spout on a “coffee” machine, but real espresso poured over steamed and foamed milk. Enter Sullivan Street Bakery.
SSB is actually known for their no-knead bread, from which they make excellent pastries, pizzas, and loaves of all shapes and sizes. I wasn’t very hungry so I stuck with the drink and some fancy-sounding pastry with a name I didn’t know how to correctly pronounce. While the pastry was sweeter and smaller than what I had hoped, the dough didn’t disappoint. Being a former barista myself, I was also able to appreciate the latte art and the over-looked essence of being able to sit down, relax, and slowly sip the steamed beverage.
That snack cost me just under $10, and while I expected to pay more for that than something comparable at Dunkin’ Donuts, I thought it was a little much for such a small lunch. Regardless, the experience of sitting in a corner of a cutesy bakery sipping on an overpriced, frilly drink while reading that morning’s AM New York (something’s gotta give) was just what I needed. I visited the Chelsea location, but Jim Lahey also owns another (the main) SSB location in Hell’s Kitchen and a renowned pizza restaurant, Co., also in Chelsea.
My friend and I recently had a dinner date at New York’s favorite meatballery (that sounds like a thing, right?). TMS has five locations in the city (we went to the one in Chelsea) and is known for their completely customizable menu. You choose your type of ball, sauce, and how you’d like it (i.e. on a salad, in a sandwich, etc.). I had only been once before (during the two months that I was a vegetarian, so it doesn’t count) and my friend had never been, so we were excited to get our meat on.
I choose the spicy pork balls with classic tomato sauce aside of the roasted veggies of the day: brussel sprouts. My friend ordered the chicken balls on top of carrot and thyme risotto with a side salad. We both loved what we had, although I wish they had turkey balls on the menu…for some reason eating chicken in a ball weirds me out.
Because we’re both fatties and my friend heard amazing things about their ice cream sandwiches, we decided to splurge on dessert. We both had brown sugar ice cream (which was unreal!); he sandwiched it between snicker doodle cookies and I with the daily cookie: pecan devils food cake. I raved and raved about it so much in the following days that my colleague at work walked down on her lunch break and tried my creation for herself. :)
P.S. The era of bad cell phone pictures on here is coming to a close soon, I swear. You’ll just have to bear with me for a littttttle while longer. Sorry!
The past few weeks have been very work-centered for me, so when a good friend asked me to catch up over dinner this past weekend, I jumped at the opportunity. She was craving crab, so after she conducted some internet research, we decided to hit up The Boil, a seafood restaurant in the Lower East Side.
This local spot’s core competency is that after “boiling” your critter (i.e. shrimp, lobster, clams, etc.), they combine it with a sauce and spice-level of choice, shake vigorously, and serve it in a plastic bag. The real fun is in sloppily maneuvering through your sauced-up friend(s) with plastic gloves and de-gutting them before eating. It’s very hands-on, a little murdery, and probably not the best first date joint — unless you have absolutely no inhibitions in which case I’m indefinitely envious.
If these official Yelp reviews don’t sell it for you; Go. For. The. Garlic. Bread. But, seriously. That bread is heaven-sent and like $2. Done and done.
The Boil is definitely a one-of-a-kind seafood joint, even in the plentiful land of restaurant options that is NYC. My friend and I both really enjoyed ourselves, and although beheading two pounds of shrimp isn’t something I see happening again my personal near future, I’d go back sooner rather than later for the experience alone.
When I say I never go to the West Village, I mean I never go to the West Village. But somehow, despite being one of the furthest places from my apartment in the island of Manhattan, I found myself in the West Village three times last week [and admittedly, wanting to go more]. My most recent excursion was to partake in my favorite New York cliché: Sunday brunch.
My friend Allison has talked up Philip Marie‘s brunch to me for the better part of two years, but due to my extreme laziness on my days off, I’ve never made the trek until this past weekend. And I have to say, it’s quite upsetting that I waited so long.
For one, CANDY BACON PANCAKES WITH MASCARPONE is a real item that lives on their menu. They had me at candy bacon. I obviously indulged myself like the ravenous bacon-obsessed monster I am, and they did. not. disappoint. According to my friends, the crab cakes eggs benedict, egg white frittata and croissant french toast were also great menu choices.
In addition to the tasty fare, our friendly waiter was the very opposite of the rude, brunch-hating wait staff that the spot was rumored to have, and we were lucky enough to get the best seat in the house. The food, the company, and the ambiance made this into one of the best Sunday “drunches” I’ve had in a while, and I’m thrilled to add Philip Marie into my regular brunch rotation.
What are your favorite brunch spots in the city?
Happy Friday to all, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of my dearest friends, Jorge! May the next quarter of a century present as many adventurous and prosperous fortunes to you as your first!
Jorge and I (along with a few other friends) stumbled into this fantastic West Village beer garden called Houston Hall last Sunday, and needless to say it was a very pleasant surprise. The restaurant/pub opened earlier this year, and apparently the location was converted from a functional parking garage. Their beers were hoppy, their grilled cheese menu was one of the best I’ve seen, and their atmosphere and ambiance was truly unique. Having so many options of restaurants and bars in the city, I often don’t frequent the same place twice, but I can honestly say I can’t wait to head back here.
P.S. I didn’t forget Feminist Friday! My intentions are not to always take the easy way outs, but for this week, here’s a great interview with Anna Holmes, the founding editor of jezebel.com, who strongly believes that this f-word doesn’t deserve the negative connotations it often carries.
Enjoy the last few days of summer this weekend!