I think most New Yorkers derive lots of pleasure from experiencing pain. Who really wants to live in a place with about 9 million tense/angsty people crammed tightly into 300 square miles (plus all the tourists), where the streets are ALWAYS crowded and noisy (further complicated by the tourists), and that has raging and extreme climate (not caused by tourists, but I wish I could blame them) – from the bone chilling winters filled with snow and sleet storms, to the aggravatingly hot and humid summers that are only amplified by the concrete jungle? In the winters, you have to haul on the heavy down jackets and thick, heavy boots. In the summer, even being naked won’t be cool and drafty enough. New Yorkers must LOVE this sort of pain – but then, you have days like today – where the temperature is in the mid 70s, there is a playful and refreshing breeze, and everyone’s temperament is pleasant! What a dream! The weather must have driven out all the grouches. And I now realize that New Yorkers put up with the annual pain only to really appreciate perfect days like today.
And on perfect New York days, what to do, what to do? Enjoy the rare occasion by spending the most of it wandering and exploring the Big Apple!
62 Carmine Street [West Village, West 4th, Houston]
Manhattan, NY 10014
I’m sure everyone has seen this Chase Bank commercial, and after seeing it, I just HAD to try Sweet Revenge. What a great concept right? What could possibly be better then having both a sugar and alcohol buzz? Sweet Revenge offers creative cupcake flavors ($3.50ish) with unique wine or beer pairings ($10ish). The signature cupcakes (offered daily) include Sweet Revenge (peanut butter cake & frosting), Pure (vanilla cake & frosting), Dirty (chocolate cake & frosting), and Crimson & Cream (raspberry red velvet & cream cheese frosting). The special flavors alternate daily, with rarities such as Bird of Paradise (lemon cake & mango frosting), Ma Cherie (cherry filled black velvet & cherry ganache frosting), and Casablanca (pistachio cardamom cake & rose frosting). These yummy flavors are specially paired with complimenting alcohols.
Steph and I ordered the Crimson & Cream with Raspberry Bellini, as well as the Casablanca with an Italian elixir of love – Il Vino dell’Amore Moscato Spumante. First impression – sooo cuute & such eye candy! On further observation, Casablanca cake was a bit dry, but frosting made up for that. Also, the rosewater is very muted in the frosting – I loove rose (thanks Ici!), but neither Steph or I could detect the rose. The moscato was delish – sweet, lush, passionate and velvety. Paired really nicely with the Casablanca. The Crimson & Cream cake was dense but not dry, though we thought it could have used a tad bit more cream cheese frosting. Raspberry Bellini was beyond perfect. This little spot is great for post-dinner dates (boys, take notes!), and happy hour (sangria pitcher for only $15), and totally caters to those who are suckers for all things cute (me! and prob most women). Definitely coming back again!
200 5th Avenue [23rd Street]
Manhattan, NY 10010
Celebrity Chef Mario Batali’s newest creation, Eataly is a large Italian food hall and marketplace, located right across from the Flat Iron Building and Madison Square Park (home to Shake Shack). Among others, there is a gelateria, rotisserie, fresh pasta stand, and pastry shop, as well produce and deli counters (fresh & made-on-site mozzarella!). Shelves upon shelves are lined with various (and even rare) pasta noodles, sauces and confections (good gift ideas), as well as fun kitchen gadgets and sommelier tools. Tucked between those spaces are a variety of restaurants and food counters. Sooo much has already been written about Eataly, and anything else is just redundant.
My friend Bonnie and I sat down at La Pizza & Pasta counter, and watched as Nepolitan masters (from the Rossopomodoro chain) performed their craft, throwing a flurry of white flour in all directions. Directly across from us, an authentic gold-tiled oven roared and seared the pizza to a crisp crust. We ordered the Capricciosa pizza, with fresh Eataly mozzarella, mushrooms, ham, artichoke hearts, parmigiano reggiano, black olives, fresh basil over a tomato sauce. I’m not a huge thin-crust pizza fan (more of a Chicago girl myself), but the pizza was good – melty, stringy, fresh mozzarella was to die for! Ingredients were soo fresh, you could taste the difference!
Bonnie and I also split Pasta al Forna al Ragu, or a beef, pork and veal lasagna – the ragu was delicious! Good balance of flavors, and I really liked the different types of meat. The fresh lasagna really made a difference in texture – so much more tender than dry/not-fresh pasta. Yuuum.
And while we’re in the area, why not hit the City Bakery (3 West 18th Street, b/w 5th & 6th Ave) for a pretzel croissant? Though quick word of advice – get the croissant and indulge in the hot chocolate, but DO NOT get the coffee (mine was acrid and sour – looks like they burnt the beans upon brewing. sigh).
City Bakery makes a killer pretzel croissant – beautiful lamination and texture, delicious tasting (though a bit heavy handed with the salt), buttery and rich. I’m definitely coming back for another croissant. One just ain’t gonna do it. Thanks Colleen for taking us here!
Just a hop and a walk away, the Union Square Green Market abounds in the season’s wealth. In my humble opinion, nothing in Manhattan will beat the freshness, abundance, and quality of California’s produce (I miss home!) – but the Green Market works in a pinch. Now in season, beautiful sugar snap peas, spring onions, and early heirloom tomatoes. I picked up a few herb plants for my apartment too ($2 each plant, what a steal!).
Beautiful rainbow kale.
A perfect day in Manhattan – out and about roaming the city for good food finds. Just what I needed before I start my full-time job on Monday (ahhhh adulthood!). Wish me luck 🙂
Thanks for visiting,
PS. Not to be misleading, but this is a compilation of several ‘perfect days’ – hope you enjoy!