New York

The Woodstock

Think of some of your favorite things.........

Ding! Timer's up.

 

Was pizza or alcohol on that list? If not, why do you even follow me anyway? Assuming you guys have the same priorities as me (living the best life possible) I'm thrilled to announce that I have found your new heaven. It's called The Woodstock and it's located in New York's Meatpacking District. In a nutshell: The Woodstock is a swanky, vintage pizza and cocktail bar. I'm not talking cheap slices and vodka sodas. I'm talking about nice gourmet pies and cool, creative cocktails (think, a drink in a light bulb type vibes).

Not only does this place deliver in the food/drink department, but walking into The Woodstock is like taking a quick time travel trip back to the 70's. (And that's always great, because I think we all need an excuse to escape modern day 2018 considering our political climate right now.)

You've got a pink pool table, retro sofas and armchairs, a lava lamp, community tables and a cute bar with a glowing backdrop. 

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After you take all your Instagrams in the cool space like I did, you'll most likely want to enjoy some pizza and drinks. Here's a lineup to consider. The only time I ever think it's okay to make a lineup with a list of girls' names is if those girls' names are actually the names of pizzas on a menu. This is the case at The Woodstock.

Sophia

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Grace

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Gloria

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Janice

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And this is how fun weekends are made.

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Yaso Tangbao

 

Yaso Tangbao: for when you're walking down E 42nd and a fierce dumpling craving overcomes you and won't go away until you satisfy the itch ASAP. This little spot has two Brooklyn locations and one Midtown East location and is ideal for fast noodles, dumplings and rice on the go.

Chicken Soup Dumplings with Activated Charcoal

Chicken Shao Mai (Sticky Rice Dumplings)

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Sweet & Sour Pork Ribs Dry Noodles

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Steamed Vegetable Baos

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Steamed Curry Chicken Baos

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Braised Pork Meatballs over Rice with Egg

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Honshu

 

With only a 10-30 minute commute from NYC (depending which part of the island you're commuting from), Jersey City is basically part of Manhattan at this point. If you have time to go to Brooklyn, you have time to go to Jersey City.

This little city may be small, but it's packed with some great restaurants. One of these restaurants is Honshu. Now, imagine an omakase dinner made with fish from the same supplier as your favorite New York sushi restaurant, but for a fraction of the price. That's what Honshu offers. If you're not familiar with omakase, it's a Japanese tradition where you let the chef choose your order. What the chef chooses varies depending on the freshest catches of the day. That being said, the average cost of omakase in New York ranges anywhere from $150-$500 a person. There are some menus that are $1000 a person. It's a lot. 

At Honshu, the price is around $75 for the ultimate 13-course Omakase experience with essentially the same fish that you would be getting from a trendy NYC establishment. I'd say that's a steal. The menu changes every day, but here's a look at my experience. 

We kicked off the meal with toro tartar with quail egg, botan shrimp and 2 years aged soy; firefly squid; and shigoku with sea urchin, salmon roe, and ponzu foam. Who knew a whole squid could be so tender?

Next up: golden eye snapper with yuzu jelly and beet; gold line seabream with ponzu black agar; and baby seabream with wasabi steam (AKA pure wasabi, not the paste).

Then, things get adventurous with a monkfish liver pâté topped with salmon roe and sesame seeds. This is known to be the "foie gras of the sea."

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A seared scallop with uni and fresh wasabi is a little more familiar.

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Then we're surprised with another flavorful trio: baby barracuda with yuzu-kozo and garlic chip, butter fish with apple spice garlic, and seared cajun pepper salmon belly with salmon skin, ikura and wasabi aioli. The salmon belly was lights out delicious. 

The shrimp was a surprise.

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And the meal ended with a unique twist on the classic hand roll with Spanish blue fin tuna belly. 

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Eons Greek

Remember when fast casual food was considered unhealthy and full of poor quality ingredients? I feel like we've made extreme strides since the heydays of McDonalds and Chipotle. Don't get me wrong, I love McDonald's and Chipotle (to some, they are probably still in their "heyday"), but I'm not going to eat from those chains during the week. As a matter of fact, I rarely eat at McDonald's and Chipotle because I get nervous about the quality of ingredients and I don't want to regularly put questionable food into my body.

Anyway, I digress. McDonald's and Chipotle are not the point of this article. The point of my writing this is that I found a great fast casual restaurant that serves Greek meals with high quality ingredients, wild seafood (with the exception of their organic, farmed salmon), and anti-biotic, hormone-free meats. This place is called Eons, and it's truly magical. 

There are three locations to this fast casual Greek food restaurant: one in Murray Hill NYC, Paramus NJ (501 Rt. 17 South), and Fresh Meadows, New York (61-42 188th St.) If you work or live nearby one of them, I highly recommend you go. 

Why? As if high quality ingredients and fresh seafood and meat isn't enough....their menu is full of a diverse selection of bases and toppings that give you the opportunity to make yourself a new, delicious lunch bowl every time. Unless you go, like every day for a few months, but still...that's a lot of options. 

Here's what I went for during my lunch break:

BOWL #1

  • Base: salad
  • Protein: wild shrimp
  • Sides: farro salad (AKA Eons salad) and Greek salad
  • Spread: Tzatziki 
  • Dressing: olive oil & lemon
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BOWL #2

  • Base: brown rice
  • Protein: organic salmon
  • Sides: lentil salad and zucchini
  • Spread: hummus
  • Dressing: lemon olive oil 
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BOWL #3

  • Base: salad
  • Protein: wild octopus
  • Sides: chickpea salad and beet salad
  • Spread: garlic spread
  • Dressing: lemon olive oil (can you tell I love lemon and olive oil?)
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BOWL #4

  • Base: white rice
  • Protein: domestic grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free lamb
  • Sides: potatoes and gigante beans 
  • Spread: garlic spread
  • Dressing: spicy tomato

BOWL #5

  • Base: pita bowl 
  • Protein: hormone and antibiotic free chicken and grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic free steak
  • Sides: mixed green salad and Greek salad
  • Spread: feta cheese
  • Dressing: spicy feta (this stuff is amazing!)

I've never seen fast casual like this before and will definitely be going back.

Ipanema

I know you've heard of Little Italy, but did you know there's a Little Brazil, too? In the heart of midtown, it's Brazilian/Portuguese food galore. What's Brazilian food you ask? It's basically a dream. Fried things. Cheese everywhere. Fried cheese. Coconuts. Meats on meats on meats. Need I say more? 

One standout place I visited in Little Brazil with authentic Brazilian cuisine was Ipanema. Like every lunch I go to, I started off with a nice cocktail. When in Little Brazil, order the Caipirinha. 

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When in Little Brazil (or literally anywhere else in the world) also order anything and everything fried or cheesy. In this case, we did croquettes and their pao de queijo (basically Portuguese for cheesy bread). This cheesy bread is the reason I now am a huge Portuguese cuisine fan. They were on this trend since day 1 and they should be recognized for that. I have no pics because it look just like bread and let's be real, that would probably bore you, but I can assure you that it's delicious and worth getting at least 2 baskets.

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Moving onto heavier things...let me introduce you to the Bitoque. This is a Portuguese culinary staple and another reason that I now am a huge Portuguese food fan. Bitoque is aged NY strip in a beer and garlic sauce topped with a fried egg and served with potatoes. If someone ever questions the theory that beer makes everything better, point them in the direction of the nearest Portuguese restaurant and give them Bitoque.

Moving on from the turf and taking you to the surf. Here's another super cool and delicious Portuguese dish: camurão no coco. This is sautéed shrimp in a creamy coconut sauce, served inside of a fresh water coconut. I don't know about you, but I always feel like my best self when I am eating or drinking something out of a coconut. It's just so tropical chic, right? 

On the other side of things, the grilled octopus may not be served in a fancy coconut but it stands out for it's tenderness and purity. You can tell this octopus was not only alive, probably yesterday, but that the ingredients used to cook it are of the utmost quality.  

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So next time Little Italy is over crowded with cannoli eaters, do something different and venture off to Little Brazil for an exciting date full of cheese, fried food, meat and fresh seafood. 

Sushi of Gari

 

347 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

I can now add “being classy” to my list of life accomplishments. Seriously, tell me something that’s more “high class New Yorker” than Michelin star sushi, fine art…and dining with a fine artist at a Michelin star sushi restaurant. That’s what I found myself doing the other day because life tends to throw me random adventures full of color and caviar these days. It was “quite magnificent,” my classy self would say. Or, as my normal self would put it, it was cool AF.

The restaurant I’m talking about was Sushi of Gari and the artist I dined with was Elizabeth Sutton. She’s got some great work and recently released some custom pieces for Sushi of Gari, as she’s a die-hard sushi lover and has been going there for her omakase for years. So needless to say, she’s a self-proclaimed sushi expert and showed us how to eat sushi the “Elizabeth Sutton way” at Sushi of Gari.

Before we get to the soosh, check out some of this girl’s art in the restaurant.

 Courtesy of Taylor Adami for The Know

Courtesy of Taylor Adami for The Know

 Courtesy of Taylor Adami for The Know

Courtesy of Taylor Adami for The Know

Now the sushi. Elizabeth put together our lineup:

1. Tuna yuke

2. Salmon tomato

3. Fluke with quail egg

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4. Yellowtail with mexican jalapeno sauce

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5. Tuna tofu with chili sauce

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6. Chutoro with wasabi soy sauce

7. Snapper with black pepper and sea salt

8. Chutoro with ponzu

9. Toro scallion roll, light rice

Just like her artwork, the sushi Elizabeth selected had pops of color and bright flavor. It was a light Michelin star lunch. 

8 Downtown Bars for Any Mood

We're always looking for bars to not only fit our mood, but also the moods of the people we're with. In my opinion, there's a huge difference between the bar I go to with best friends, from my favorite college bar with dollar shots, or the bar where I bring my parents. And then there's the best bar options for different date scenarios. Dollar shots on a first date is probably not the move (or is it...). So I have combed the downtown streets, sat at every bar, drank every drink and am bringing you 8 answers to the age-long question "what bar should we go to?"

For a lowkey date:

Sel Rrose (SoHo)

Sel Rrose has a low key vibe to it, cozy corner booths for date night, an extensive cocktail menu with all original combinations, and $1 fresh oysters. Aphrodisiacs, corner booths and alcohol always make for a successful date.

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For a boozy Mexican dinner with friends or after work drinks:

Añejo (TriBeCa)

Añejo is an energetic spot with bangin' Mexican food and a long list of tequila based drinks. If you're looking to get a little tequila weird tonight, Añejo is your spot.

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For the bougie drinkers who Snapchat their bottle service 

Beauty & Essex (LES)

At first glance, it looks like a pawn shop for repurposed jewelry. But dig a little deeper and you'll find crystal chandelier, dim lighting and glamorous leather sofas throughout. Not to mention a long cocktail menu including their signature gimlets.

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For drinks with your girls

Miss Paradis (Nolita)

The vibe here is California girl. I'd start my GNO here with some rosé or a chic cocktail and then move on to the harder stuff elsewhere.

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For an easy drink after work

Clancey (LES)

At first glance this bar is pretty unassuming, but their cocktail list is anything but. They can whip up any drink your heart desires and their downstairs turns up after hours.

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For upscale drinks with bar snacks

Stanton Social (LES) 

A little more on the boujee side, this bar has two floors, a long and extensive drink menu and some seriously buttery beef sliders.

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A bar your parents can get down with 

Lelabar (Greenwich Village)

This is a great place to bring your parents because they'll love the wine list and charcuterie (at least mine did...). The vibes are pretty intimate and dim lighted, so not a bad quick date spot for just wine and apps. It is a really small space, with just one oval shaped bar in the center of the room so I don't recommend bringing a large crew.

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For something a little different 

BoCaphe (SoHo)

If you want to mix things up but still keep it casual, BoCaphe is a cool spot to try. The food is half French, half Vietnamese and the drink options are pretty unique. And by unique I'm talking charcoal infused cocktails... 

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Sunday in Brooklyn

 

Sunday in Brooklyn

348 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Don't let the name fool you, this Williamsburg staple serves some sexy ass breakfast every day of the week. We're talking charred avocado brioche breakfast sandwiches and hazelnut maple malted pancakes Monday-Sunday.

With their rustic Brooklyn decor, the vibe is also ideal for pretty much any brunch occasion. Whether it be a birthday breakfast with friends, a weekday lunch date with colleagues, or smoked salmon Saturdays with your sister, the food here won't fail you.

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Malted Pancakes 

Fluffy pancakes made with malt, topped with hazelnut maple praline sauce and a pad of brown butter. Unless you live under Patrick Star's rock, you've probably seen these before. They soak hazelnuts in maple syrup overnight and it turns into Nutella's hotter older sister.

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Roast Beef Sandwich 

Roast Beef, cheddar, crispy Potatoes, pickled peppers, black pepper mayo all sitting in between a warm brioche bun.

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Cocoa Almond Coffee Cake & maple Cheddar Biscuit 

Two must-have sides. The coffee cake is soft and and sweet and the cheddar biscuit is cheesy, buttery, flaky...talk dirty to me.

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Brussels Sprout Toast

Toast with shredded brussels, persimmon sambal, almond and a fried egg.

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Sausage Egg & Cheese

Egg & sausage, gochujang aioli, crispy potatoes, cheddar and (optional) charred avocado on brioche.

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Smoked Fish

Smoked salmon and black cod pastrami with rye sour cream, onion, pickled vegetables with whole wheat toasts.

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SUGARCANE

SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill

 

55 Water St Suite 1A, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Located just steps from some of New York City’s most Instagrammable spots, like the Washington Street view of the Manhattan Bridge and Jane’s Carousel, sits SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill. This new spot is nestled into an old warehouse built in the 1860’s in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

SUGARCANE’s mantra is “kick back, eat well and stay awhile,” which is easy during their Sunday brunch while you’re serenaded by a small brass band in the corner, playing anything from holiday classics to current hits. There’s something about listening to a brass rendition of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” that makes the food taste a little better. 

But before the band catches your eye, you’ll likely notice when you walk into SUGARCANE that you’re surrounded by THREE kitchens. Why does one restaurant need three kitchens, you might ask? The menu boasts three vastly different styles: open fire grilling, raw bar and traditional kitchen cuisine. Each kitchen operates on its own, but the dishes mesh together as if it all came from the hands of one chef.

I started off my brunch the way I often start most things in life: with alcohol. The cocktail menu is certainly up to par with SUGARCANE's food selection. Per the waiter’s recommendation, I grabbed the Leche de Tigre, a coconut milk-based concoction with brandy, yuzu, simple syrup and a bit of cilantro sprinkled on top. It was fresh, delicious and set the tone perfectly for the meal ahead.

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The first course featured a plate of warm, pillowy vanilla bean beignets with a size of hazelnut ganache.

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Then I got a taste of the extensive raw bar, hako sake salmon topped with pickled cucumber. When I think of brunch, sushi definitely isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but these cubes of deliciousness gave me a change of heart. They were so good, I forgot to add soy sauce.

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Next, the main event. I’d consider myself a bit of a breakfast connoisseur, I could eat it for every meal. What I loved about the menu here was that it included all of the breakfast classics but with very welcomed twists that elevated the dishes to an entirely new level.

I started off with a toad in a hole. Don't worry this isn't a literal name. A toad in a hole is a simple creation that features a sunny side up egg cooked inside a cutout piece of toast. But with the addition of melted robiola cheese, black truffles and truffle oil, I literally almost fainted when I took my first bite.

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The simple steak and eggs was combined with another breakfast staple, eggs benedict, which created a yolky masterpiece topped with oxtail rather than the traditional sirloin or ham.

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And finally, the duck confit and waffle topped with a sunny side up duck egg was crispy and the perfect amount of sweet, winning the award for my favorite dish of the day.

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And just when I thought I couldn’t eat anymore, brunch dessert is a thing and at SUGARCANE they're doing it big. Enter this dulce de leche soaked french toast with caramelized apples and a dollop of cinnamon ice cream. My stomach was saying no, but my taste buds were telling me yes. My taste buds always win, obvioulsy.

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Sola Pasta Bar

 

330 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

I'm just going to go out and say it. I've found the new perfect first date spot for everyone. Unless you're gluten-free or a child of the devil, you will love Sola Pasta Bar. At this place, the chef makes fresh pasta dishes right in front of your eyes. Seriously, there's a kitchen in the center of the room, so you can watch (and smell) the magic happening. Why is this great for a first date? Well, if you have nothing to talk about, there's literally a free show right in front of you. You also kind of have to sit next to each other with the bar-style seating arrangements. And if the date's going well, then you can end your night Lady in the Tramp style with one long spaghetti noodle and a walk around the cute surroudning neighborhood in Soho. How romantic?!?! 

A little taste of what you can get:

Spaghettoni Cacio e Pepe 

You can never go wrong.

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Trofie Pomodorini e Mozzarella

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Caserecce alle vongole

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Burgers at Chefs Club Counter

 

62 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

Do you ever watch a TV show and wonder what the food in the scene tastes like? When I was a kid, I would literally try to make my own Krabby Patties because they just sounded so damn good when Squidward would freak out on the show. Maybe I'm weird, but I think about TV food often. That's where this unique popup at Chefs Club Counter came in! From December 18th-24th, Chef Alvin Cailan (best known for his work in LA at Eggslut) decided to make all of our cartoon food dreams come true. He released a "7 days of Bobs Burgers" menu, studded with creative takes on the traditional American sandwich. Here was the lineup.

Monday, December 18

Baby You Can Chive My Car Burger, with beef patty, sour cream + mustard spread, chives, fried pickles

Tuesday, December 19

Don't You Four Cheddar 'bout Me Burger, with beef patty, four different cheddars, lettuce, bacon, onion

Wednesday, December 20

 Foot Feta-ish Burger/Never Been Feta, with beef patty, feta, arugula, mayo, mustard

Thursday, December 21

 Dark Side of the Shroom Burger, with beef patty, shiitake, pineapple, teriyaki sauce

Friday, December 22

Hit Me with Your Best Shallot Burger, with beef patty, caramelized Shallots, chèvre spread, arugula

Saturday, December 23

We're Here, We're Gruyère, Get Used to it Burger, with beef patty, sweet pickles, gruyère, caramelized onions, au jus dipped bun

Sunday, December 24

Bet it all on Black Garlic Burger, with beef patty, mozzarella, spinach, black garlic spread

For those of you that missed out like I did, it's ok. Don't worry, there's still an awesome lineup of burgers here until February inspired by some of the best chefs in the biz right now. Some of these include:

Daniel Humm Burger by Chef Daniel Humm

"Chef of San Pellegrino Worlds Best Restaurant 2017. Chicken Patties with Truffle, Gruyere Cheese, and Pickled Shallots on a Warm Soft Potato Bun. Served with a side of French Fries." If you're into being extra, this is your ideal burger. You may as well order a bottle of Dom Perignon as a light beverage on the side.

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Supreme by Alvin Cailan

"Organic Grass-fed Beef Patty with American Cheese, Alvin’s “Special Sauce,” Lettuce, Onions and Pickles, served on a Warm Soft Sesame Bun. Served with a side of French Fries." This burger stands true to the idea that simple is always better. I don't know what it was, but this burger tasted like it invented the Cheeseburger. It was the God of all Burger Gods.

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Jean Georges Burger by Jean Georges

"Michelin Guide Top 5 French Chefs in USA. Organic Grass-Fed Beef, Pepper Jack Cheese, Avocado, Crispy Red Onions, and Russian Dressing on a Warm Soft Potato Bun. Served with a side of French Fries."

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Char Sue

 

Char Sue  

119 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

It may be categorized under "Asian Restaurant," but Char Sue is so much more than that. It's more like an "Original Asian Creative Concept" restaurant...if those are a thing. The chef puts an original and fresh twist on all his dishes, and knows how to roast a mean duck too, which is always extremely important if you ask me. So if you're looking to mix things up, expand your palette and try something different and innovative, I recommend heading to Char Sue for dinner.

Here's the breakdown of everything I ate:

Green Papaya Salad

Made with red curry, tofu skin, salt & pepper shrimp: the green papaya salad is a commonly found dish throughout Southeast Asia. The chef at Char Sue julienned and tossed the green papaya with cilantro, scallions, sweet Japanese tofu and red curry dressing and then topped with fresh red chilies. The baby shrimp are fried and presented on the plate with the head, skin and tails fully attached for you to eat. I ate the skin but the heads were making me think about those little shrimp in the movie Shark Tale and I just couldn't do it. You decide... 

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Five Spiced Duck Wings

Forget chicken wings, Char Sue is whippin' up some seriously tender duck wings with a sweet glaze to match. My mouth just watered writing that. Because it's that good. Since chefs are often reluctant to utilize duck in multiple ways, the owner describes this dish as his "homage to the underdog." They confit the duck wings for several hours to rid them of any toughness. Then the wings are tossed in fish sauce and palm sugar, followed by a sugar glaze. Lastly, they're topped with sesame and scallion with pickled cucumbers as a garnish.

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Roast Duck over Noodles

Arguably Char Sue's signature dish, this roast duck is served with fresh herbs, frisée and pickles with the choice of: egg noodles or rice noodles. This duck is inspired by the time-honored classic Chinese Peking duck. Mirroring the same crispy skin with succulent and juicy meat, the ducks are treated in a similar style as Peking duck with of course... a few twists! The duck takes multiple days to prepare as it is marinated with sugar, Chinese wine and a Sichuan peppercorn spice blend before roasting. It's worth the wait.

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They present it to you sliced up like that over the noodles, but I got to get a behind the scenes look of how the duck comes out after several days of prep. Vegetarians look away!

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Smoked Bone Broth Ramen

For those interested in a little less duck and a little more customizability: this ramen dish lets you choose from the broth of chicken, pork, duck or beef. Prior to making the broth, the bones are all smoked in order to add that extra smoky flavor to the soup. And add-on options are spicy ground pork, pork belly, roasted tomato, poached egg and corn. All paired with thin noodles, cabbage and scallions.

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Coconut Leche Flan

And in order to continue my range of Asian customaries, I finished the meal off with the popular Filipino dessert: flan.

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Street Taco

 

358 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Mexican restaurants are great. I'm a firm believer that you can really never have too many spots to grab a taco or margarita (pitcher.) They are great for happy hour, for catching up with a friend, for date night, for birthdays, for get togethers, even for a "meet the parents" kind of occasion if your S/O's parents know how to get down with the fun. Street Taco is a new Mexican spot in Gramercy that's great for all of that. This space is fun and energetic and the food and drinks are appetizing and energizing. 

I tried basically one of everything so you don't have to.

Mexican street corn pops

This is a winner.

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Cheese dip

The only way you can go wrong with this is if you're lactose intolerant.

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Yuca Fries

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Carne Asada Quesadilla

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Tacos ON tacos.

Click link to see all the tacos they have. But I can guarantee there's a taco for everyone.

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Buenos noches.

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Bar Gonzo

 

511 9th Ave, New York, NY 10018

Ladies and gentle friends, I have found the newest cool spot in midtown (hard to believe the two go together, I know.) But please let me introduce you to the new, 70's themed, disco inspired Bar Gonzo. This place is bitch'n. Can you dig it? I can dig it. I Googled 70's slang terms, can you tell? Busted!

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Going to Bar Gonzo is like entering the set of That's 70's Show. Get your feathered blowouts ready and put your bell bottoms on for a night out on the town...or even just for lunch. It's got great cocktails, chill vibes and delish food. It would make a super fun date spot or great for a girl's night out. 

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DRANKS

Brighten up your day (or night) with these refreshing cocktails.

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Peacock in Hand

Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, pineapple, campari, lime, agavi nectar and tabasco

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Ginger mint lemonade

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NOMS

Too much, too much pizza

Pepperoni, four cheese blend, olive oil and Sunday Supper's tomato sauce

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Marinated seafood salad

Coastal Italian marinated seafood- mussels, octopus, charred shrimp, grilled bread, saffron aioli and parsley salad

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Chorizo burger

 Say cheese.

Say cheese.

Good vibes all around.

EDEN Local

 

508 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

Weekday breakfast spots in NYC are hard to find. Weekday breakfast spots in Hell's Kitchen are even harder to find. Enter EDEN Local: farm to table fresh eats all the way on the west side of the island. EDEN Local has more than just breakfast -- they've got lunch and dinner menus with options for almost anyone. It's that well-rounded restaurant you can take your family, friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, you name it, out to eat with options ranging from healthy to cheeseburger.

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I wanted to swing by EDEN Local for breakfast, since I love finding great breakfast spots in the city where I can post up and do some work. This place is great for that. If you're feeling healthy during the week: avocado toast on multigrain bread.

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If it's Friday, and you want a little taste of indulgence: matcha pancakes.

 Sue me, I like syrup.

Sue me, I like syrup.

Shakshuka for any and every day.

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Then, we have fresh-squeezed green juice to help you feel like a glistening goddess full of nutrients after you accidentally drink all the maple syrup.

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Khe-Yo

 

157 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

I never thought the words "cozy" and "Southeast Asian food" would go together, but apparently they do. Located in the heart of Tribeca on Duane St, Khe-Yo is a dimly lit, brick-walled den packed with vibin' customers and vibrant Laotian food. Raise your hand if you don't know much to anything about Laotian food. Ok, now put your hand back on the mousepad or iPhone you're reading this on and keep scrolling.

Khe-Yo has a Southeast Asian inspired menu with a lot of Laotian influence. Chef Soulayphet "Phet" Schwader grew up eating traditional Laotian food cooked by his mother, who is from the beautiful, tiny country, and her recipes inspired the menu at Khe-Yo. The best thing about Laotian food is that they use sticky rice to eat everything. Let me explain. Laotian food is finger food, and you start your meal with hand fulls of sticky rice to dip into different sauces (it's like having bread and butter at an American restaurant...but more fun, like Play-Doh). Not only do you start with sticky rice, but you incorporate it throughout the meal as an edible utensil. So, basically, you're making little cups of sticky rice and stuffing delicious foods into them and then eating a rice-wrapped ball of deliciousness. I can get down with that. 

Another staple: the unofficial national dish of Laos, the Laap salad. Laap salad is traditionally a meat salad on a bed of sour, spicy and bright flavors, like papaya. The menu at Khe-Yo takes a lot of unique twists and turns, veering off from tradition and and adding some innovation. The Laap salad here is made with duck, but the night we went, we got the special: foie gras, tuna and bone marrow Laap salad. Yes, I did see my cardiologist the next day. This was served with a side of shrimp crisps that we used as our edible utensil. Loving this whole edible utensil thing.

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With that, came crunchy coconut rice with spicy lime leaf sausage and baby iceberg. We ate it with a fork and realized that was cheating, so we decided to put it on the lettuce leaves. Not sure if we did it right, here.

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And no round of small plates is complete without chicken "lollipops" AKA sticky chicken wangs.

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Main courses had to be eaten with utensils or else my boyfriend and I would have taken a shower in coconut curry broth. No, that's not supposed to be sexy. These here are pork curry noodles.

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And finally, wok seared lobster and noodles AKA Pad See Ew with yu choy and thai basil. Pad See Ew is my favorite Thai dish of all time, and I didn't know Laos was also in on the game. This rendition has chunks of sweet lobster meat. How can you go wrong?

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We finished off our meal with rice pudding and what they call a "palate cleanser," which was the best concord grape sorbet I've ever had. I don't have photos of these because I was too excited.  That rice pudding is what dreams are made of, and I'm not even into rice pudding. The Laotian people do it right.

Hole in the Wall Coffee

 

Hole in the Wall Coffee

15 Cliff St, New York, NY 10038

Don't let the name fool you, Hole in the Wall Coffee has much more than lattes and cappuccinos. This off the grid eatery is actually the hungover soul's dream destination. Walk in with your hood up and sunglasses on, grab a seat and order quick service coffee and insane brunch dishes. The menu here will have you mildly excited for your next case of the Sunday morning aches.

Brioche egg sandwich

Giant. Cheesy. Brioche. Egg Sandwich.

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Wild Mushroom and Avocado Toast

If you're feeling mildly healthy hungover.

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Brioche French toast

If you've just given up and want to lay in bed all day.

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Pulled pork benedict

If you're trying to find your soul because you lost it last night.

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Clinton Hall

 

Clinton Hall 

19 Fulton St, New York, NY 10038

Ever wonder where circus clowns do brunch? If you have wondered, it's likely you're single. But! It's also likely they go to Clinton Hall. 

Located down in the Seaport, with life-sized jenga, arcade games and waffle ice cream sundaes, this place is like a little kids dream come true. And for those grown adults who go to this spot on the reg...meet me by the ping pong table.

With items like doughnut grilled cheese and fondue burgers, this menu is anything but standard. And since we're cleansing after Thanksgiving, we obviously opted for the low cal option of carnival waffles layered with ice cream, hot fudge, cotton candy and caramel popcorn #FitLife. 

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They also have a burger called "Crunchy Sombrero" with oaxaca cheese blend, pico de gallo, avocado mayo, and Fritos corn chips. 10 points if you know how to pronounce oaxaca! 20 if you know what it means... 

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Our personal favorite was the waffle fries piled high with cheddar cheese, jalapeño and scallions. Essentially, if french fries and nachos had a baby:

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When you still have room for more, order the GIANT soft pretzel paired with sides of hot cheese, fluff and mustard. And may "hot cheese" be the last thing you think of before going to sleep at night.

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L'ADRESSE

 

L'ADRESSE

5 Bryant Park, 1065 6th Ave, New York, NY 10018

Are you the kind of person that gets anxiety when you have to pick the place for a business meeting? You Google cool places but you're worried they will actually be the size of a closet, have no seats and only serve black coffee in Styrofoam cups? Or am I the only one...

Well, if you have this dilemma on a daily basis and you need a good centrally located midtown spot to meet your business breakfast/lunch/coffee/drinks meeting needs, L'ADRESSE is the place. It's got a sophisticated, yet chill vibe and it's a spacious room with tons of seats and natural light. Not only do they have coffee, but they've got foamy cappuccinos, matcha lattes, wine....and mimosas 7 days a week during breakfast. So literally whatever vibe you're going for, it's there. 

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Breakfast

Eggs Benedict 

Aesthetically pleasing, and palate pleasing. 

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Matcha French Toast 

Finally, a French toast that isn't stacked 6000 feet high and smothered in whipped cream. It's appropriate to order French toast on your business meeting, here.

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Green Smoothie Bowl

There really is something for everyone. Bring your hipster friends, your vegan pals, your Grandma eating a high fiber diet...

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Lunch

Beet quinoa salad

Pro tip: if you're on a date, don't order the salad that's prettier than them.

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Cauliflower soup

The most delicious, healthy and beautiful comfort food there is.

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Truffle burger

Because no restaurant is really a restaurant unless they serve something covered in truffles shavings.

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Supermoon Bakehouse

 

Supermoon Bakehouse

120 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

This retro new bakeshop is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. For starters, your treats are packaged in a metallic silver rainbow drawer. I honestly have no further explanation than that.

Aside from the fact that everyone working here has cool accents that made me feel like a mere peasant in comparison, their cruffins and cronuts are also made up of flavor hybrids out of this world.

Their flavor palette takes the average croissant and combines it with all things tumeric, matcha, lychee and more. Much more. And their motto is: “stay wild, moon child.” I’m telling you…these people could not get any cooler.

And the stuffed “Ti-Rum-Isu” coffee cruffin and apple pie donut made me want to dance on tables and scream from a rooftop. So I did just that! (Just kidding… or am I…)

Some of our favorites: 

Banana split sundae twice baked croissant with carmelized sous vide whole bananas, banana caramel sauce, creme patissiere, chocolate almond creme, topped with chocolate fudge, banana caramel, dehydrated banana, gold leaf and torched meringue. Just typing that out makes me feel like I need to go to the gym right now.

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“Ti-Rum-Isu” Expresso creme patisserie filled cruffen topped with a white chocolate créme fraiche, expresso rum sugar syrup pipette, expresso jelly, dark chocolate, white chocolate & expresso chocolate shards.

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Apple pie donut: dual core spiced brioche donut filled with chunky apple caramel pie filling and cinnamon creme patissiere, topped with pie crust crumble.

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"Golden Boy Donut"  made in a golden turmeric brioche, filled with milk chocolate salted caramel, rolled in sugar and topped with a milk and white chocolate shard.

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