Food and the City

February 16, 2017

Top 5 NYC Brunch Spots For You & Your Girlfriends

Getting together with your best friends can be more than a bit difficult after college, with careers, relationships, and divergent interests pulling you in different directions at virtually every moment. After a while, those “we promise we’ll see each other every day after work” plans turn into once-a-month outings, if you’re lucky. Fortunately, a weekend brunch provides the perfect opportunity to catch up on all the gossip, girl talk, and cocktails you couldn’t find time for over the week. Just head to one of these Manhattan restaurants and get in that girl-bonding time you deserve.

Jack’s Wife Freda | 224 Lafayette Street
American and Mediterranean influences combine at this adorable and intimate East Side eatery. Start your morning off right with a rosewater waffle, poached eggs with grilled tomato and haloumi, or a health-conscious breakfast bowl with quinoa, kale, and spaghetti squash. Make sure to leave room for a drink off the cocktail menu — the cantaloupe mimosa is to die for.


Sadelle’s | 463 West Broadway
If carbs are your weakness, make a pit stop at Sadelle’s this Sunday for a meal you won’t soon forget. Grab some salmon benedict on a freshly-made bagel, a plate of blueberry pancakes, or a triple-decker sandwich big enough to keep you full until work starts again on Monday morning.


Citizens of Chelsea | 401 West 25th Street
Beautiful food, beautiful people, and one of the city’s best brunches are all found at Citizens of Chelsea on West 25thStreet.  Served all day, this airy, minimalist eatery is home to brunch staples like avocado, cilantro, citrus, and feta on sourdough toast, Belgian waffles with maple butter and poached pairs, and antioxidant- and omega-3-packed breakfast bowls.


Post | 42 Avenue B
Ditch the crowds and keep things cozy with brunch at Post in Alphabet City. What this restaurant lacks in space, it more than makes up for in charm and culinary craftsmanship, with virtually every menu item made in-house, from their famous chicken sausage to homemade granola.


Upland | 345 Park Avenue
Chef Justin Smillie’s cool take on California cuisine has lured many a brunch-seeker to this Gramercy hotspot. With interior design from Roman and Williams, the firm behind the Ace Hotel and the Boom Boom Room, and a brunch menu that’s impressed the likes of President Obama (he ate a cheeseburger, btw), with options like granola and ricotta, buttermilk pancakes, and freshly-made pastries, like grapefruit pound cake, croissants, and scones.

The work never ends, but the weekend always does, so make it special with a great brunch with your girlfriends. Eat up!

February 08, 2017

Last-Minute Valentine's Day Gift For Him

Long before I became an adult, long before I had responsibilities, an apartment to clean and brand to maintain, I used to be really great at gift-giving. I would spend months mentally planning what to purchase and put great effort into coming up with the most creative and personal idea for each person. I was also 19 years old, living at home, and my only worry in the world was if my fake ID would work at the bar next weekend. Those were #thedays...

Now that I'm older, with 4,000 things on my mind at any given moment, holidays tend to creep up on me and put me into full blown panic mode when I realize I still haven't even thought about it yet. If you're also like me, then I'm sure you'd agree that same-day delivery services are a godsend to our procrastinating ways. Plus with Valentine's Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to introduce to you one of my go-to websites for when I find myself in a rut. (aka always)

My boyfriend is the biggest cookie monster on this planet. He's not that into cakes or chocolates or pastries alike, but give him some cookies and the man is in his glory. When I found Cookies by Design, I knew that I just hit the jackpot for quick, but still creative, gifts for him. Because of their quick turnaround times for delivery, my procrastination hasn't been an issue, and because I'm able to customize each cookie bouquet, I still get to tap into that thoughtful gift gifting side of me. Plus, if I need a gift on a whim, their same-day delivery bouquets are still a great option.

I mean, how freakin' cute is this bouquet??? It features 8 BIG (like, 4-6" tall) sugar cookies, and a full size Valentine's Day bear from Build-A-Bear Workshop. An edible bouquet? Sign me right the heck up. Flowers are great and all, but who wouldn't rather eat their bouquet instead? Give me sugar or give me death.

Not only does Cookies by Design have bouquets for every occasion under the sun, they also sell boxes of chocolate truffles, as well as cookie cakes and trays. Plus, you're able to shop by price, andddd they offer gluten free options. My friends and I are already planning to customize a bunch of cookies for a girlfriends birthday that's coming up, so you can literally turn to them for anything.

And finally, because you're kind of awesomeeeee, I'm giving away an extra bouquet to one lucky reader for them to gift to their sweetie this Valentine's Day. All you have to do is head to my Instagram, and comment on the photo what you're planning to do for v-day. And hey, if you're "sweetie" just happens to be you, and you're planning to chill out with some Gilmore Girls, that's cool too. (I'm also very kind of jealous)


January 30, 2017

Meet NYC's New Favorite Way To Eat Healthy

Contrary to popular belief, I actually do enjoy eating healthy. I make conscious decisions each most days to try and eat the foods that have as much nutritional value as possible, and will usually go the extra mile in making sure I have a good balance of things in my diet. It's how I'm able to off-set my, ahem, not so nutritional days, and it's been working quite beautifully for me. 

One thing I don't enjoy as much? Shopping for all of these things. 

Here in NYC, 90% of the population is always looking for gluten-free this, organic that, and "sorry, I'm on a no-sugar-for-the-rest-of-my-life diet." We clearly have very specific needs, and sometimes those needs aren't always met by the specialty stores that we have at our disposal. I'm looking at you, Trader Joes. (AND your long a** lines.)

Luckily, we have Farmbox Direct, and I'm really, really excited to talk about it today.

Meet your new best friend, aka my favorite way to get my fresh, organic and natural fruits and vegetables. I have used Farmbox Direct twice now, and both times I have been blown away by the quality of both my produce and delivery. The menu changes weekly according to what's fresh and in-season, however, you're able to make up to 5 substitutions for what goes into your box. I've swapped beets for extra potatoes and zucchini for extra apples, so it's nice to have control over your order if you'd prefer more or less of something vs. getting stuck with a fruit or vegetable that you despise. 

I have tried other services in the past where this wasn't the case, and I had a squash rot in my fridge for 2 months. True story.

For reference, this is how much stuff (!!!) you get in the medium box which is $55.95. I would easily spend that, if not more, had I just gone to the grocery store myself. Plus, not only do I not have to lug it all home, I know that by ordering through Farmbox, I'm helping out my local farmers and community, and this girl is allllll about supporting local businesses. 

Not to mention, Farmbox Direct is the only e-commerce service that has been certified by the USDA as a Certified Organic Handler, so you're getting the real deal here. They offer free delivery within Continental USA, and you never have to commit to on-going deliveries. I know that for me, 2 deliveries per month is perfect, so the fact that I'm able to customize my schedule is a major plus.

Box sizes range from small-large, in varieties ranging from only-organic, to only-natural, as well as all-juicing boxes, which I'm interested in trying next. 

Overall, I highly recommend giving the service a try if you're interested in incorporating more organic/natural foods into your diet. It's the new year, what better time to start doing just that!

Thank you for saving my fruit & vegetable life, Farmbox. I love you.

January 09, 2017

How To Adult Better in 2017

The holidays are over. You're fat, you're poor, and your skin is shit. It's January and everybody hates January. People are still adjusting back to their ~real lives~ after 2-weeks off from work that were filled with booze and 0%-17.5% responsibility. Nobody is happy, and stores start to roll-out Valentine's Day candy. Which, you're sort of okay with? But much more okay with when it gets a big fat 50% OFF sticker slapped on it the day after. I may or may not be speaking from experience.

The one good thing about January, though, is that it's the perfect time to map out your yearly goals. I'm not talking about losing 20 lbs in 4 days, or backpacking across an exotic country for 6 months (although if you can do that, do that.) I'm talking about the real, day-to-day, ADULT SHIT. Like, remembering to throw your pizza box out the same night you finish the pizza. And no, not the leftovers. Which by the way, what are pizza leftovers? Or actually going to the gyno when you're supposed to, and not canceling your appointment 6 or 7 times because you just don't feel like being violated on that particular day. I get it, trust me. A pizza box sat on my stove for 3 days last week, and the gyno - lol - new phone, who dis?

But one thing we can't argue, is that if we're subjected to having to be adults, we might as well BE adults, and do all that boring adult shit. But guess what?? It totally doesn't have to be boring, and in fact, will increase your chance of living longer by like 6000%. I made that up, but it seems right.

Here's a list of things that you should keep on top of, not just this year, but maybe, like, every year going forward? Highly reco you bookmark this tab and check it over at the end of the week to make sure you stayed on target. I say that not only to shamelessly increase my traffic, but also because I want you to SUCCEED, my friend, and turn you into a blossoming real-life adult that does real-life adult things.

1) First things first, if you don't have a job, get a job. This is rule numero uno of the Adult Handbook that I'm virtually waving in your face. Having a job isn't optional unless you fall under 1 of 3 categories: 1) You're incredibly wealthy from selling Myspace in 2006, 2) You're great-gran really loved you the most out of all of the kids and left you her $200-million dollar estate, or 3) You're under the age of 10 years old. If you don't fall under any of those categories, and most of us won't, get a job. Annoy your friends to take you to their networking events, MEET PEOPLE, take someone for coffee and pick their brain until they can't see straight. At the end of the day, people like to help people because it shameless makes them feel better about themselves. Let that someone have an ego boost and allow them to help you. Even if it doesn't lead to a job, it may lead to meeting the right person or ending up in the right place at the right time.

If this means relocating, assess your life obligations to your surroundings and decide if it's worth it. Will this be your forever job? Probably not. Most of what you're weighing on whether to leave or not will still be there when you get back. And if it's not, it was going to leave anyway, except now you got to experience a new city with new opportunities.

Bonus* if you do have a job, but fucking hate your job, LEAVE IT. Leave it right now if you have enough funds to get you by. If you don't have said available funds, save until you can leave, or even better, have something else lined up already before telling your boss. Don't stay in a toxic workplace if it causes you additional stress on top of your usual workload. Give a months notice, be kind, and gracefully peace out of that popsicle joint. (and then read the beginning of this step all over again)

2) The amount of garbage that you keep in your apartment is the amount of garbage that you keep in your life. Sounds like a Gandhi quote, I know, but nope - I just made that up. Wham. Anyway - learn what the weekly trash cycle is in your neighborhood and actually remember to put it out the night before. That goes for recycling, too. Garbage in one, and paper + glass in their own respective bag. The penguins getting strangled by your plastic coke bottle rings will thank you.

January 04, 2017

Top 5 Westchester Eats of 2016

As I look back on 2016, a lot of different memories and emotions come to surface. There was that election, a few vacations, friendships lost, friendships gained, but above all else - there was lots and lots of delicious freaking food. 

I spent a good portion of the second half of 2016 up in Westchester County, or as I'd like to call it, the sticks. Just kidding, it's not the sticks, just really inconvenient and far and a 30 minute train or $100 Uber ride away but who's counting you know? I kid, I kid, but my boyfriend was living up there at the time so needless-to-say I got very well acquainted with the suburban life. With new territory comes new eats, and I have to say, Westchester has a ton of gems that may just be worth that 30 minute train ride from the city.

Here are the top 5 things that I put in my mouth that can be found across the county:

1) Capriccio's, Croton-On-Hudson: Capriccio's to Westchester is like Joe's Pizza to us city folk. It's consistent, the locals love it, and they have perfected the plain slice. One of my biggest requirements to pass while I'm judging a pizza joint is whether or not they can impress me with a plain slice. Sure, you can wow me with a specialty mac & cheese or BBQ chicken slice, but can you make me a believer with nothing more than cheese and sauce? Capriccio's passes the test - every time. Pictured is their chicken parmigiana pizza, which is hands down amongst one of the top 5 slices that I have ever tried.

2) Sofrito's, White Plains: If I had to choose a place to brunch in White Plains, Sofrito will always be my go-to option. For $29.95, you get an appetizer, an entree, AND unlimited mimosa's & sangrias. The food is authentic, the portions are huge, and everything I've tried has always been crazy delicious. Pictured is their market salad with grilled chicken from their brunch menu, as well as the pina colada french toast hidden in the back. Which by the way, taste like an actual fucking pina colada. This cannot be missed, so gather your friends and go make some mistakes one Saturday or Sunday for brunch. Many-a-times have I left this place absolutely black-out drunk, so be careful with those sangrias. They are deadly.

January 02, 2017

HALO TOP ICE CREAM, ranked (Part 1)

In this day and age, there are a ton of things that often time feel too good to be true. The shoes you've been wanting are now 75% off and you immediately search the stitching to see how screwed up they are. The dude you like is *actually* reciprocating the same sort of feelings, so you immediately peg him as crazy or "there just has to be something wrong with him."

In a world full of skepticism, it's easy to see something like low-calorie ice cream and turn the other way. In fact, all summer long I followed this brand on Instagram, and all summer long I thought it was total BS. You're telling me that your 280 calorie pint of ice cream is going to taste just as good as my 270 calorie serving sized Ben & Jerry's? GTFO. Sorry, Charlie. I ain't buying it.

But, there came a point in my life where I did buy it. I found myself sitting in front of the fridge wearing a satin Alice & Olivia dress at 3AM after coming home from a bender with my friends, spoon in hand and Half Baked in my mouth. I woke up that next morning feeling so god damn shitty, I swore that I either: A) can't keep ice cream in the house, or B) find an alternative.

I opted to find the alternative. 

      *photo source

To date, I have tried 5 flavors from the Halo Top line, and today, I'll be ranking those 5 flavors for: taste, texture, and *flavor authenticity.* This post will be followed up will another 5-pint round up, until we ultimately end up at the OFFICIAL ranking of every flavor. So follow along, fellow creamy lovers.

Birthday Cake; 280 calories per pint 

Birthday Cake was the very first flavor that I tried from Halo Top. As someone who is obsessed with all things funfetti cake, I thought this would be a safe bet in trying out the brand for the first time. Well, I had that idea totally wrong, as you should never try the flavor that you absolutely love on the first attempt. You'll always find something wrong with it, because it's just *not* the same. Just like New Yorkers are critical of pizza from California and Boston gives a side-eye to clam chowder found in Mexico, Birthday Cake was my least favorite of the bunch. 

That's not to say that is isn't good, and in part I feel I didn't give it a fair chance, but it just lacks that birthday/funfetti cake flavor that you would expect. I also found the texture to be more icey than I did creamy, but the mixed-in sprinkles were a nice touch. I won't buy this one again, though.

*Taste: 5/10

*Texture: 4/10

*Flavor authenticity: 5/10