10 Cupcakes to try

In part I of the sweetness galore, I shared my favorite Ice Cream spots with you. But I had more guilty pleasures, not just ice cream but also cakes, donuts, cookies, chocolate martini’s, candy bars…. Basically everything sweet and unhealthy. Now the last sweet thing I’d like to share with you are cupcakes. I cannot imagine that there’s a less cupcake minded city than New York City. Besides the big M sign, there’s not just a coffee shop on every corner. Also a cupcake place. There’s no way that I will be able to try them all out, but here are my 10 favorites so far (in random order):

 1. A Coconut Cupcake @ DC Cupcakes 

(111 Mercer street, between Spring and Prince street. Soho)

DC Cupcakes New York

 2. Mini Cupcakes  @ Baked By Melissa (various locations all over)

Baked By Melissa New York

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My 10 favorite sweet treats (except from ice cream)

I am not just an ice cream addict. I am having a weakness for all kinds of sweets. Besides ice cream, here are ten of my all time favorite sweet treats I could eat every day at any time (in random order):

1. A Cheesecake @ Eileen’s Special Cheesecake 

(17 Cleveland Place at Kenmare street. Soho)

For light, airy and super delicious New York Cheesecake. 

Eileen's Special Cheesecake New York

2. A Classic Cheesecake @ Junior’s (various locations

For a fabulous heavy classic cheesecake at New York’s most iconic cheesecake spot. 

Juniors new York

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Chinese on the cheap

Tomorrow is Chinese New Year, the day that we scare off the ghosts and celebrate luck, welfare and success. In my family we always exchange red envelopes with yellow coins inside. Red is supposed to scare the ghosts away and yellow brings luck. We celebrate this with a big Chinese dinner party at my parent’s home or in a restaurant. With lots of Chinese food off course. Are you celebrating Chinese New Year? And if so, do you eat Chinese on Chinese New Year? If yes, here are some of my favorite no frills Chinese spots on the cheap that you might consider: 

Cafe China New York

1. Cafe China (13 East 37th street, between 5th avenue and Madisson avenue. Midtown East). $$

To my knowledge, this authentic Sichuan restaurant is the only Michelin-star restaurant where you can have a two course meal for less than $10 (11.30 am -3 pm Monday- Friday). If you like spicy, order the Tree pepper chicken, Spicy Cumin Lamb or Ma Po Tofu and Pork Dumplings on the side. If you’re not into spicy, have some Tea Smoked Duck, Kung Pao Chicken or Chinese Broccoli. 

Cafe China New York

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My 6 favorite seafoods

I eat meat much more often than I do eat seafood. Not I don’t like it, I do like it a lot but the type of seafood that I like the most are not the dishes you typically eat everyday (lobster, crab, oysters, sashimi). These type of dishes are often quite pricey in restaurants and I don’t know how to well prepare it myself (I know I should learn). I have been to some seafood restaurants but the number I have been to are still countable on three hands. Here are my favorites of those where I have been to:

1. Fish (280 Bleecker street at Jones street. West Village)

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

Fish has great reasonable priced dishes and a nice ambiance. I would go for the Famous raw bar special (6 blue point oysters or 6 clams on the half- shell with a house wine or beer. $8). A good deal I think. I can also recommend the Lobster Bisque ($6-$8)

Fish New York West Village

Famous Raw Bar Special @ Fish

Fish New York West Village

Lobster Bisque @ Fish

Fish New York West Village

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Noodles, more in Midtown West

XI’ AN FAMOUS FOODS (24 west 45th street, between 5th and 6th avenue. Midtown West).

$ Food ***  Ambiance **

Xi’An Famous Foods is a popular (very) cheap Chinese restaurant. They have several locations in Midtown, East Village, Chinatown and Flushing. Most of the meals cost you no more than $8. Like most popular walk-in places, be prepared for long lines.

It’s self service and there isn’t much seating space. Like at Totto Ramen, they often play Asian Hiphop music which I like but besides that the restaurant hasn’t a lot of ambiance.

I ordered Spicy & Tingly Beef-Hand Ripped Noodles in Soup. It wasn’t the best noodle dish I ever ate and quit spicy too, but a huge portion and definitely good value for money. $7.00-$7.50

Spicy & Tingly Beef-Hand Ripped Noodles Xi an Famous Foods New York

Photo credit:

Other popular noodle dishes are:

The Liang Pi cold-skin NoodlesChewy wheat flour noodles, tossed with vegetables and cubes of spongy gluten, in all our proprietary sauces. $4.50-$4.75

Xi An Famous Foods New York

The Spicy Cumin Lamb Hand-Ripped NoodlesLamb sautéed with onions, garlic, and scallions in Xi’an Famous Food’s secret spices, mixed with our original hand-ripped wide biangbiang noodles. $7.25-$7.50

Xi An Famous Foods New York

Photo credit: xianfamous.com

TABATA (540, 9th avenue between 39th and 40th street. Midtown West/ Hell’s Kitchen). http://www.tabataramen.com

$ Food ***  Ambiance ***

This place isn’t as tasty as the neighborhood joints Ippudo or Totto but in my opionion still good value for money.

My favorite dishes:

-Gyoza (appetizer). Seared pork dumplings. $5 per six pieces

-Wasabi Shumai (appetizer). Steamed wasabi pork dumplings. $5 per 4 pieces. The wasabi taste is not that strong as the wasabi taste of the wasabi shumai at Sake Bar Hagi and therefore not that tasty. But still good:)

-Garlic Noodle (main). My favorite dish. A deep fried garlic on salt flavored noodles, roast chicken, scallions. 9

Below the Tantan Men ($10), which is a sesame flavored noodle soup (Mild spiced ground pork with scallions).

Tabate Noodle New York


Noodles in Hell’s Kitchen: Ippudo

IPPUDO (321 W51st. between 8&9 Avenue. Midtown West, Hell’s Kitchen)

$$ Food *****   Ambiance ****

Ippudo is probably the most well-known spot for Japanese ramen in New York. Very popular, walk in only and always very crowded. In order to prevent a long wait (up to 2,5 hours) it’s best to go either very early, or very late.

Although Ippudo isn’t a fancy place, I like the fact that all the staff greets you in Japanese as soon as you enter.

My favorite dishes:

Hirata Buns (appetizer). These are steamed buns filled with your choice of pork or chicken, served with Ippudo’s original spicy buns sauce ($9 per two).

Hirate Buns Ippudo New York

Akamaru Modern (main).  This is my favorite Noodle dish. A silky “Tonkotsu” (pork) soup noodles topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” miso paste, pork chashu, cabage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil. About  $15 per bowl. You can ad additional toppings to your soup. I love the Onsen Tamago (poached egg. $2).

Akamaru Modern Ippudo New York

Tori Ramen
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Noodles in Hell’s Kitchen: Totto

TOTTO (366 W52nd st. between 8&9 Avenue. Midtown West, Hell’s Kitchen)

$$ Food **** Ambiance ***

Totto Ramen is one of my favorite noodle joints in Midtown. It’s a very tiny restaurant in the that cannot take more than 4 persons per visit.

The ambiance is low key, like a hole in the wall kind of place located in the basement of an apartment building. Every time I enter the place I have the feeling of really being in Asia; cramped seats, a lot of (Asian) youth and speakers playing asian hip hop.

Totto Ramen New York

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