A (culinary day) in New York’s Lower East Side – 50 places to visit

Sons of Essex

Lower East Side Collage2

What use to be the home of millions of working class immigrants families living in pour conditions during the late 19th century has now become one of Manhattan’s prime dining and shopping area renowned for it’s countless of trendy restaurants, hipster bars, live music venues, fashionable boutiques and local art galleries. I personally love this area not only for these reasons, but most of all for it’s melting pot of cultures and explosion of creativity.  Here a quick guide to my favorite LES (eat and drink) spots. 

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The Frying Pan

THE FRYING PAN (530 west 26th street, docked at Pier 66 in Hudson River Park. Chelsea)

This week did not start fantastic. My bf just left  for a trip to NYC and I feel kinda lonely after coming home alone from a long day at work. It has been cloudy and pouring rain whole day and will continue to do so till the end of the week (it’s July!). One of my favorite warm weather outdoor spots is the Frying Pan, an old boat floating on the Hudson River now turned into an outdoor bar. Love watching the amazing sunset here. I just wish I was at the Frying Pan right now.

The Frying Pan New York

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My 29 favorite coffee and tea discoveries

 

coffee

I am a big tea drinker and not such a big coffee drinker. But I still drink about 1 cup a day (mostly lattes and flat whites). Not having a fancy looking espresso machine or being able to make specialty teas such as the teapuccino or maté laté forces me to visit the coffee shop or tea salon to have my daily cup . Now luckily with a Starbucks on every corner of the street in Manhattan, finding a cup of coffee is an easy task. Besides finding the green and white logo in abundance, New York City has a countless number of other shops where you can get your shot of of caffeine. I personally like to hunt for the more smaller shops rather than the gigantic chains. They are often more personal, cozy and sometimes even a bit hipster and great people watching instead of tourist watching. Now I must admit I am not really a connoisseur when it comes to coffee or tea and I have probably only seen the surface of what New York has to offer in terms of coffee and tea, but these are my 25 favorites so far (in random order per neighborhood)*: Continue Reading →

A (culinary) day in New York’s East Village (my 26 favorites)

East Village New York

What I love so much about New York is it’s variety of neighborhoods. Each neighborhood in New York has it’s own character, atmosphere, landscape and diversity of buildings and people. Every single neighborhood is so inspiring, great people watching and there are always new restaurants, bars and events opening up. No matter what neighborhood you live in, you will never run out of activities to do.  Since I know most of Manhattan’s neighborhoods by heart (except for the uptown neighborhoods) I decided to make a little overview with my favorite spots per neighborhood. My personal favorites are the West Village and East Village (see my post about my favorite breakfast and brunch spots in the West Village and my post about my favorite jazz bars and life music venues in the West Village Let me start with the East Village. The East Village is perhaps one of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City in terms of people and restaurants. There are countless of bars, coffee shops and restaurants (especially Japanese ones) to visit and literary all kinds of food can be found here. Here are just a few of the tons of places to visit in the Eat Village but hopefully it will help those who are not familiar with the East Village (and have only little time) to make a selection. Let me know how you liked it and off course, I’d love to hear about your favorite places in the East Village. 

Saint Marks Place East Village New York

@ Saint Marks Place

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Boozy brunch party @ Bagatelle

Bagatelle New York

BAGATELLE (1 Little West 125h street and 9th Avenue. Meatpacking district)

$$$ Food *** Ambiance *****

Up for a party during daytime? Bagatelle is well known for it’s boozy party brunches. A fun French/ Mediterranean restaurant with a St. Tropez feeling.

Bagatelle New York

The menu consists out of a selection of small French dishes. I personally like the Tartare au deux salmon (organic salmon, smoked, salmon, dill, lemon, crostini and olive oil. $14-$22) and Le Croque monsieur (Ham, Emmental, truffled béchamel. $14) and Lobster Macaroni and Boursins cheese (with asparagus, roasted tomatoes, herb breadcrumbs. $19). Continue Reading →

Jazz bars and live music venues

New York has a great Jazz scene with many talented performers. Most of them are located in the Village/ NYU area (Mac Dougal street). Many of the live music bars are still on my to do list but here are 5 that I can recommend so far:

1.CAFE WHA (115 MacDougal street annd Minetta Lane. West Village)

An iconic bar where artists such as Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen started. Café Wha has different performance every night but most bands are great. My favorite band is the Cafe Wha House band. Have a look at their schedule to see which band is playing. Free admission on Sundays and Wednesdays ($20 cover during the weekend).

Cafe Wha New York

Cafe Wha

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Rooftops

In a city full of skyscrapers you can expect tons of rooftop bars. Some with a good view, some that have no view at all but all with expensive drinks (but no entrance fee!). Besides my own apartment rooftop (the cheapest) with a 360-degree view on the Empire State en Freedom Tower these are my personal favorites (I am sorry for the blurry pictures):

1.PH-D ROOFTOP LOUNGE @ DREAM DOWNTOWN hotel (366 West 16th street and 9th Avenue. Meatpacking District). 

There are two dream hotel rooftops (AVA loung and PH-D) but PH-D is my favorite. Both view, vibe and decor are great, especially during the weekend. The party ends at approximately midnight; best time to arrive is between 7-9 pm.

Dress code: High heels, mini skirts or tight pants and sexy tops. 

PH-D Rooftop Lounge New York

View from PH-D Rooftop Lounge @ night

PH-D Rooftop Lounge New York

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Dinner and drinks @ the Brooklyn Bowl

THE BROOKLYN BOWL (61 Wythe Avenue, between N11th street and N12th street. Brooklyn, Williamsburg)

$$$ Food **** Ambiance ****

Yesterday I went for dinner to the Brooklyn Bowl. The Brooklyn Bowl is a one- stop venue for a nice evening out with a group of friends. The big warehouse kind of space consists out of three areas; there is a bar/ restaurant area, a bowling area and a dance area with a live band or DJ. The cover fee on a Saturday evening was $20 for just the entrance ($5 after midnight), an hour of bowling will costs you another $50 for a bowling lane and $5 for the shoe rental. When we arrived at about 7pm it was already a 1,5 hour wait for a dinner table and a 2 hour wait for a bowline lane (which ended up being 4,5 hours).

Bar Area Brooklyn Bowl New York

Bar/ Dining Area

Brooklyn Bowl New York

Bar / Dining Area

We started of with some beers while waiting for our table. The Brookly Bowl offers a wide selection of beers from the Brooklyn Brewery, starting at $6 each (which is pretty cheap for New York!). Continue Reading →

The Bowery hotel and other stays in New York City

Before moving to NYC I’ve visited New York City five times staying in a different hotel or apartment each time.

In Manhattan, it’s very hard to find a decent hotel for a reasonable price so unfortunately all the hotels and apartments I stayed in were pricey. Besides renting a pricey Airbnb studio with no window on the Upper East Side close to all famous museums (not so good experience because of the subway they were building right in front of the apartment) and a more affordable but extremely small room on the Lower East Side (clean room, not so clean bathroom) I stayed in the Park Lane Hotel (36 Central Park S. Midtown East), a large classic hotel with small rooms for a high price but perfectly located if you like Central Park, shopping on Fifth Avenue and visiting the city for a first time. I also have seen the Milford Plaza Hotel, I believe now called Row NYC (700, 8th Avenue between West 44th and West 45th street) a modern very impersonal hotel with even tinier but cheaper rooms, located in the heart of the theatre district around the corner of Time Square. 

Bowery Hotel

Bowery Hotel

THE BOWERY HOTEL (355 Bowery, between east 2nd and east 3rd street. Lower East)

But out of all the hotels I stayed in, the Bowery hotel located on the border of the Lower East Side and East Village is definitely my favorite. A stone’s throw away from bustling Saint Mark’s, Soho and Chinatown, ideal if you like food and shopping like I do. If you’re more into museums and tourist attractions, I would recommend staying in Midtown. 

Bowery Hotel New York

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Tapas @ Aria wine bar

ARIA WINE BAR (117 Perry street & Greenwich street. West Village, Greenwich Village)

$$$ Food ***** Ambiance ****

Last Saturday I visited Aria Wine bar for dinner. I arrived at this small neighborhood place around 9.30 pm and it was fully packed. The music was energetic, a bit of a club scene atmosphere. Most of the crowd was young and trendy, the servers friendly and welcomming. After a half hour wait my boyfriend and I were seated at one of the long community tables across another young couple.

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