5 NYC Takes On Dessert

Ah the rush you get when you bite into a sweet concoction designed to perfectly end to a meal or to just brighten up your day.

Sometimes I’m more excited about dessert than I am about the actual meal (actually, that’s a lie, I love both equally).

Anyway, one thing’s for sure, New York City has some of the most unique and decadent dessert offerings in the country and maybe even the world!

So let’s get to it.

5.)Spot Dessert Bar

Taken from Yelp page

Picture taken from Yelp page

This place, as the name suggests, serves dessert exclusively and wow are they amazing. I’ve been here on a couple of occasions and it’s always been crowded, granted it’s right smack in the middle of St. Marks place which explains why (and it’s open til pretty late too!). Their desserts are kind of Asian/American fusion, their presentation is impeccable and the combination of flavors in every expertly crafted dessert is worth coming back to again and again.

13 St Marks Pl b/t 3rd Ave & Astor Pl in East Village
New York, NY10003

4.) Beard Papa’s Cream Puffs

Taken by Melanie T.

Taken by Melanie T.

Mmmmmm, cream puffs. Who doesn’t love cream puffs?
And I can guarantee that once you try the cream puffs this place has to offer you’ll never go back to those frozen things Costco calls cream puffs!
It’s no wonder they’re considered the world’s best cream puffs, their pastries are super fresh and easy on the wallet too.

2167 Broadway b/t 77th St & 76th St in Upper West Side
New York, NY10024

3. Bee’s Knees Baking Company

bees knees

Taken from Yelp

You said what? Cake? IN A CUP!?
Sign me up!
I’ve never been that big on conventional cake anyway, but these cake cups are delicious. And this place is one of my favorite neighborhoods of all time. Honestly, I’m pretty sure the West Village is everyone’s favorite neighborhood (it explains why property there is so crazy expensive, even for NY standards). So when you’re walking around perusing the little boutiques and cute stores, make sure to stop by this little gem of a bakery.

113 W 10th St b/t Greenwich Ave & 6th Ave in West Village
New York, NY 10011

2.Rice to Riches

rice to riches

Taken by Nicole S.

Okay, so I grew up in a country where everyone ate arroz con leche, which is pretty much Latin American rice pudding. And I never really fostered much of a liking for it.
That is until I tried Rice to Riches, oh my God. I never knew rice pudding could be so darn good.
So many different flavors and options for combinations and toppings and augh their containers and spoons are the cutest thing ever, and the best part is you to keep them! They’re totally reusable, talk about being eco-friendly and yummy all at the same time.

37 Spring St b/t Mulberry St & Mott St in Nolita
New York, NY10012

1.) Serendipity

Taken by Richy N.

Taken by Richy N.

Ah Serendipity, the love hate relationship I have with you is real. The line to get into this place is usually eternal but I must say their desserts are on point.
They are of course most famously known for their Frozen Hot Chocolate, I’m sure you’re wondering why you didn’t come up with first, totally simple idea, totally amazing.
Their sundaes are also pretty unbeatable. So if you’re not that big on the idea of drinking a hot chocolate cold, you have options my friend.

225 E 60th St b/t 3rd Ave & 2nd Ave in Upper East Side
New York, NY10022

Honorable Mention:

Wafels and Dinges, La Duree, Almond and Big Gay Ice Cream are all favorites of ours too but I’m afraid we couldn’t do more than 5, ’cause that would defeat the purpose now wouldn’t it?

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

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Top 5 Cheap Thrift Shops

You guessed it! Our next post is about the best thrift stores! We understand Macklemore’s love for thrift shopping; it surely is a blast! New York is the ultimate destination for vintage lovers, but knowing where to find the best items for a low cost is tough. We composed a list of the top 5 cheapest thrift shops that we are sure you will be pleased with, and have a great time in.

It always feels nice to go to a clothing store and make an expensive purchase. However, there is no better feeling than when you buy a what-should-be $50 item for a fifth of the price! Then, you feel like a real champ. After going to these thriftiques, you and your bank account will be satisfied.

  1. AuH20

 84 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003 – between 2nd Avenue & 1st Avenue in East Village

Walking into this store is always stressful because you want to buy everything, but you can’t. The selection of clothes, jewelry, and shoes are eclectic. The quality of the hand-me-downs was great: no holes, no stains, and no smell! I found great brand names on the $5 rack and on the $10 rack. This place is great if you have a budget because the highest priced items cost $15.

 

2.  East Village Thrift Shop

 186 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003 – between 11th Street & 12th Street in East Village

This shop is like the Salvation Army meets Goodwill; it is an all-in-one shop. Whether you are shopping for accessories, knickknacks, home goods, or men’s/women’s clothing, this place has got it all. I was so surprised that for a small store, there was so much to look at.   All the items were reasonably priced, especially for the name brands. The prices ranged from $2.99 to $20. I bought 4 pairs of jeans for $20. Who won? That would be me. It can be you too!

 

  1. No Relation Vintage

204 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10009 – between 12th Street & 13th Street in the East Village

If you are into vintage, this is the place for you. I found vintage overalls, band tees, army jackets, jean jackets, fur coats, and so much more. It has a great selection for both men and women. I came to look for inspiration for a cool outfit, and I found it here. I purchased a vintage Elton John tee and Levi shorts, worth $5 each. Items here run from $3 to $40. The deals were fantastic, with some justified high prices as well. This thriftique will make you think twice before shopping at a chain store.

  1. Rena Reborn

117 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10009 – between 1st Avenue & Avenue A in East Village

Rena Reborn is a small store with a LOT to offer. Out of all five shops, this one has the biggest assortment of women’s clothing.   As I flipped through the racks, it seemed to be a never-ending supply of clothes. This rack held $1 pieces of clothing, so I couldn’t help myself! Additionally, there was a $5 rack of clothing. Don’t expect to walk out of here empty handed!

 

  1. Unique Thrift Store

408 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 – Downtown Brooklyn

I never know what I’ll find here, but I am sure that it’s always going to be vintage and unique. This thriftique is extremely organized and the staff is friendly! You will find yourself coming here often because every week there is a sale. There is a great selection of home décor as well as clothing for men and women. The prices vary from $3 to $30. Everything in this store has personality, so you can’t go wrong!

 

Thrifting with the Master

What, what, what, what?  Who else knows better how to thrift than Macklemore?  Click this link and watch the master discuss his number one thrift tip, his style, and his favorite find.  Hint, hint…The next Top 5 post has something to do with this.  Stay tuned!

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5cKXPCj0G0

 

Top 5 Hidden Restaurants

Walking around the city, you can find a lot of restaurants varying in shapes, and sizes.   Some are very large and some are so small, earning the title as “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants. Eateries even differ in presence. Yes, you read that right. Most are visible in appearance, whereas others are hardly noticeable.

These dining rooms are so low key that they look like regular buildings. When passing by, one could easily mistake it as abandoned vicinity and would never expect it to be a dining room. Some are discreetly hidden behind a wall. Good luck trying to find these places!

 

  1. Zenkichi

77 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11211 – between Wythe Avenue & Berry Street in Williamsburg

Photo Taken by Jeff Bachner.

Photo Taken by Jeff Bachner.

I had the hardest time trying to find this place the first time I came here.  Yes, believe it or not, there is a restaurant encased behind those wooden planks. The inside is even harder to navigate through; black wood as well as mirrors takes the space on the walls, making it seem like a maze. The purpose of this is to experience a private dining style. Not only is Zenkichi known for its great disguise, its also known for its exceptional Japanese cuisine.  The prices range from $4.95 to a whopping $65, which is for an 8-course meal per person – total steal!

 

  1. No Name Bar

597 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11222 – between Driggs Avenue & Nassau Avenue in Greenpoint

Photo Taken by nyc.thedrinknation.com.

Photo Taken by nyc.thedrinknation.com.

What I found memorable about this eatery, beside its shabby and plain exterior, is its awesome name. You would never know the name of the restaurant because it is not exhibited on the front of the restaurant like a normal restaurant would. If you ask anyone that works there what the actual name is, expect to get this as your answer: “The No Name Bar.” It’s confusing, but different and unforgettable. This place serves Thai food, and its ramen noodles make this hidden gem a hit. The price ranges from $10 to $15, so you won’t feel bad about breaking the bank!

 

  1. Kuma Inn

113 Ludlow Street, New York, NY 10002 – between Rivington Street & Delancey Street in Lower East Side

Photo Taken by Marriet Hagpie.

Photo Taken by Marriet Hagpie.

We can be thankful that this restaurant at least has its name painted on the doorway. Don’t let the ragged surface of this restaurant fool you.   I found this to be a great place for a cozy and satisfying meal. They have several signature dishes on the menu, from a yellowfin tuna tartare to grilled salmon. Also, it is BYO beer and wine. The food is excellent in price, ranging from $2 to $15. We promise you are inn for a treat.

 

  1. Freemans Restaurant

8 Rivington Street, End of Freeman Alley, New York, NY 10002 – between Freeman Alley & Chrystie Street in Lower East Side

Photo Taken by www.eateryrow.com.

Photo Taken by http://www.eateryrow.com.

Tucked away in Freeman’s Alley glitters the location’s namesake restaurant. Styled as a hunting lodge, it serves a rustic American cuisine. This eatery offers breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, and dessert.  When I came here, I was told to order the artichoke dip because it is the star dish at Freemans Restaurant.  Hands down, it was the best artichoke dip I have ever eaten.  The food prices range from $6 to $26. Even without the glittering lights from the lamps, this hideaway would still shine.

 

  1. Hudson Clearwater

447 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 – between Morton Street & Barrow Street in West Village

Photo Taken by romancingthecity.wordpress.com.

Photo Taken by romancingthecity.wordpress.com.

This place is so disguised that once I walked in, I felt like I stumbled across a secret. The main entrance is this picture above. After you walk through this, you enter a patio. Towards the back of the patio is another entrance to an indoor dining area. The indoor restaurant has an entrance on Morton Street, but it is not used. The food is perfectly portioned rustic American cuisine.  Some favorites are the grilled hanger steak and the butternut-squash cake. What’s great about this place is every dish is made with fresh ingredients from local farms. The food prices are affordable, starting from $3 to $27.

 

Top 5 Best Oyster and Seafood Happy Hours

Just last year, a friend introduced me to one of the best times of the day.  I am not talking about a period of time where drinks are discounted.  I am talking about a seafood and oyster happy hour.  This is like your five-o’clock-somewhere-happy hour, but cooler.  Seafood can be overpriced and very expensive.  Thankfully, there are certain restaurants around NYC offering this enjoyable hour with extremely cheap and affordable prices.

Heading to one of these five places – or all five – is the perfect way to end a long week. Chow down on some Blue Points for a low price.  Include drink deals and the occasional cheap seafood specials and you’ll find some of the happiest happy hours in the city.  Get slurpin’.

1. The Mermaid Inn
568 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10024 – between 88th Street in Upper West Side96 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003 – between 5th Street and 6th Street in East Village

Photo Taken by Gulsah G.

Photo Taken by Gulsah G.

Luckily, we have two tasty places to choose from.  From Tuesday to Thursday, 5pm to 7pm, and Friday to Sunday, 4pm to 7pm, their seafood happy hour menus are offered.  Little neck oysters and West Coast oysters are $1.  Their snack bar serves $7 shrimp & avocado slider, $6 fried coleslaw and clam sliders, $3 shrimp corndogs, mini mermaid fish tacos, mini spring pea soup, and fried oysters.  It’s not over yet.  During this period, wine by the glass goes for $6, draft beers are $5, and cocktails are $7.  When I went here, I had to wait on a bit of a lengthy line, so get there about a half hour early!  But don’t worry, the wait is TOTALLY worth it.  

2.BLT Fish Shack

21 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011 – between Avenue Of The Americas & 5th Ave in Flatiron
This restaurant definitely deserved a spot in our top 5 specifically for it’s friendly staff, comfortable interior, and for it’s delicious array of seafood specials.  My friend and I went here during happy hour, and we got $1 littleneck and $1 Blue Point oysters.  This special is offered with top-neck clams Monday through Friday from 5pm to 7pm.  While you wait, the bartender brings you fresh bread covered in melted cheese.  Yep, I just described heaven for you. 

3. Maison Premiere

298 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 – between 2nd Street & 1st Street in Williamsburg

Photo taken by Kirsten Kay Theon.

Photo taken by Kirsten Kay Theon.

Photo Taken by Robb Report.

Photo Taken by Robb Report.

 

 

 

 

 

While I ate my seafood, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in an old Parisian cafe.  What’s as beautiful as the interior?  The seafood happy hour!  Monday through Friday, from 4 to 7pm, and on Saturday and Sunday, from 11am to 1pm, EVERY oyster on the menu goes for $1.  There’s over twenty oysters to choose from!  As you sit at the bar, the chefs shuck away at the oysters for you.  There aren’t any drink specials during this time, however, there is a cool beverage fountain to get drinks from.  A bronze statue of Napoleon is placed at the top of the fountain, overlooking the place.  

4. The John Dory

1196 Broadway, New York, NY 10001 – between 28th Street and 29th Street in Midtown West

Photo Taken by Melissa Hom.

Photo Taken by Melissa Hom.

This seafood restaurant is a fun place to go to because of its bright furniture and its friendly staff.  The John Dory Oyster Bar is a part of the Ace Hotel, and what a great asset it is.  The happy hour here is $18, and is offered from Monday through Friday from 5 to 7pm and 11pm to midnight.  This deal includes six clams or Oysters, and a glass of beer or sparking wine.  On Saturdays and Sunday, the special is given from noon to 7pm.  It is common to order the Parker House rolls and sea whelks with garlic butter while you wait for your meal.  Awesome?  Shuck yea!

5. Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar

95 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003 – East Village
Photo Taken by Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar.

Photo Taken by Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar.

Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar serves as a hidden gem in the East Village.  This hole-in-the-wall place is fully committed to its seafood and its drinks, which are from the New York area.  Happy hour is served from 5 to 7pm on the daily.  For $12, you can get a draft beer and 6 oysters.  When I came, I watched the chefs shuck my oysters, and I chose draught beers from a list that updates frequently.  Here, you get the best of both worlds:  the beer and the seafood.  You’ll thank me later.

Top 5 Funky Toy Stores

Whether you are shopping for toys for your little sibling or for yourself, New York City is chock-full of toy stores.  These listed shops aren’t your infamous or typical toy stores like Toys”R”Us or FAO Schwarz.  Don’t get me wrong, these places do bring me happiness, but they don’t have that quirky element that makes them stand out.

I love shopping for clothes the way I love pursuing around toy boutiques.  I’m sure we can all collectively agree that it brings out the kid in us.  I know for myself whenever I walked into each of these stores, I either channel my inner five-year-old or I reminisce on the special memories I had with those trinkets.  If the big city seems too serious for you or you feel like you need to take a brief break from reality, then this is the list for you.

1. KidRobot

126 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012 – between Greene St & Wooster St in SoHo

126 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012

Photo taken by Esther K.

After walking into this store, I couldn’t help but feel like a kid in a candy shop.  The unique vinyl and plush toys surely lured me in and overwhelmed me with their bright colors.  It is eye candy for sure.  Some of these items are pricey and some of them are reasonable, but there is something in here for everyone.

2. Forbidden Planet

832 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 – between 13th St & 12th St in Greenwich Village, Union Square, East Village

Photo taken by Emma G.

Photo taken by Emma G.

Confession:  I’m a total fangirl.  I love comics, anime manga collectibles, graphic t-shirts, and action figures.  This store is a fangirl and fanboy heaven.  I spent about 2 or 3 hours in here, getting lost in the merchandise and talking for hours with the quirky, knowledgable staff.  The products and the overall experience were beyond enjoyable.

3. Toy Tokyo

91 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003 – between 6th St & 5th St in East Village

Toy Tokyo

Photo taken by J-collabo.org

This store is personally one of my favorites.  When I walk in here, I feel like I am in a museum:  everything is clustered together by collection and displayed in glass cases.  What makes these toys so special is that they are hard to find anywhere else nowadays.  The rare novelties range from Japanese figurines to GI Joe’s to classic Voltron figures.  Toy Tokyoconnects you to your childhood and to some of your favorite comics.  I felt like I needed to buy everything when I was there!

4. My Plastic Heart

210 Forsyth Street, New York, NY 10002 – between Houston St & Stanton St in Lower East Side

Photo taken by Vincent Y.

Photo taken by Vincent Y.

This may be a small store, but it has so much to offer.  It’s an art gallery AND a toy store!  When I first went here, I remember there was an artist working on the white wall, setting his pieces up to be displayed and soon purchased.  There was so much to look at that between the art covering the walls and the impressive art toys.  This store will not hurt your wallet, and it is worth the visit!

5. oo35mm

81 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013 – between Canal St & Bayard St in Chinatown

Photo taken by Kelly N.

Photo taken by Kelly N.

0035mm isn’t your average toy store.  Not only does it carry toys, but it carries skin care products and jewelry.  I love going in here to check out the neat toys as well as the beauty accessories.  This gem carries toys and skincare products that are not available in every shop. Every time I walk in, they have a great selection of products and a staff that is eager to help.

Top 5 Hole in the Wall Restaurants

I don’t know about you guys but I LOVE GOOD FOOD! Growing up in an Indian household in a Latin American country really forces you to learn to appreciate flavor. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do, along with sleeping and Amazon shopping (Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, this girl has no life but hey! I enjoy a sedentary state when I’m not interning or going to school). These might not be the best spots to impress a first date but they’re pretty darn cheap and their food is delicious even though the ambiance is not all that impressive.

5.Pure Thai Cookhouse

JuneSLR-074 Photo Cred: http://www.twofatbellies.com

This place is tiny tiny and gets mad crowded on the weekends so if you’re not willing to wait for a table I would recommend going on a weekday/night. My best friend and I were checking out an Off Broadway show and we were starving afterwards so we came across this place after a quick Nearby search on Yelp and decided to give it a try. This is the place you go to if you want to have your usual Thai dishes (except they will blow your mind because you’ll finally realize that all this time you were living a lie by eating mediocre Thai takeout).

766 9th Ave
New York, NY10019
b/t 51st St & 52nd St in Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West, Theater District

4.Great Burrito

01-The-Great-BurritoPhoto Cred: http://www.mightysweet.com

This Mexican place in Chelsea is probably one of the dingiest places I’ve ever been to eat. However, it’s definitely worth noting that it was probably one of the yummiest! Their enchiladas are to die for and they’re so cheap. They have quite a variety of Mexican dishes and they all look like they were made by the Mexican grandmother you wish you had.

100 W 23rd St
New York, NY10011b/t Avenue Of The Americas & 7th Ave in Chelsea

3.Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle

dumplingaPhoto Cred: http://www.feistyfoodie.com

So I had bookmarked this place on Yelp ages ago but I only got around to going about a week ago. After watching my friend get tattooed at a tattoo parlor in Chinatown we ran over to this little spot to grab a quick yet extremely satisfying dinner. Their noodles and dumplings are handmade in house perfection, you can actually hear the guy slapping around the noodles as you eat. And the best part is it’s probably the cheapest Chinese meal you could expect to eat anywhere in Manhattan, $3 for 12 dumplings? And $9 for 50?! Um, yes please!

144 E Broadway
New York, NY10002
b/t Pike St & East Broadway in Chinatown, Lower East Side

2.Esperanto

Photo Cred: http://www.eyechow.com

This remotely located Brazilian place is a long time favorite of mine, I used to live on Avenue C so it was literally a couple of steps away. And man, can I just tell you, their brunch deal is TO DIE FOR! $12.50 for a drink (Orange juice, mimosa, bloody mary or screw driver), an entree and coffee or tea. Their regular menu is a little pricier but it’s so worth it and the place is really cute, it’s a great spot to catch up with friends over some drinks or to grab a super satisfying meal if you’re hungover.

145 Ave C
New York, NY10009
East Village, Alphabet City

1.Margon

cubanPhoto Cred: http://www.cheapassfood.com

Hands down the best Cuban sandwich in Manhattan. If you’re ever craving a good Cuban I would recommend trekking up to the 30 Rock vicinity to pick up a perfectly toasted sandwich from Margon, it’s heavenly. I’m not even a fan of pickles or mustard but this sandwich is too good to pass up. I intern in the area and I look forward to lunch time so I can get my Cubano fix and go!

136 W 46th St
New York, NY10036
b/t Avenue Of The Americas & 7th Ave in Midtown West, Theater District

So next time you’re craving some yummy cheap noms, try one of these places out and let me know how it went!

-Ashi

Welcome to Our Blog!

Hi there!  We are Ashika and Stefanie, two college students living in Manhattan who like to explore and discover its quirky, hidden gems.  Being that we go to college in the city, we don’t limit ourselves to a five block radius from our school.  Yes, Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty are definitely hot spots, but we want to stray away from that and give you the inside scoop of what the city really has to offer.  We’ll be giving you the top five options of each topic based off of our experiences and Yelp reviews.

Feel free to ask us any questions or give us suggestions that you might have about New York, or just about anything.  We hope we can open your eyes to the best things that you can do and see in the New York Metropolitan area.

Enjoy!

 

Ashika and Stefanie