Remember a few weeks ago when I told you I was in New York? Well, I thought it was about time I shared some pictures from my adventures there.
During the day, I was hustling from one appointment to the next, securing next season’s makeup buys. But at night, I was running around, tasting as much of the city’s fabulous food as I possibly could!
The first night in town we went to one of my favorite places in New York: a little, tiny restaurant in SoHo called Café Habana. Although it is a great stop at any time of year, on a hot August night, it’s the best. I seem to enjoy it most when my clothes are sticking to my back just a bit and the only way to beat the heat seems to be to wait until the sun goes down. It has the energy of an underground salsa club mixed with the life and grit of the street.
On these balmy, Summer nights, Café Habana pumps the music, gets the fans going (no air conditioner here, friends!) and brings out one plate after the next of no fuss Cuban food. While I wish I could say this place is a secret, it is really the complete opposite. We waited in line for 2+ hours for a table (which was totally worth it), but as a result, ended up eating what my gal pals and I deemed “reverse dinner”.
“Reverse dinner” is defined by the fact that you eat in the complete wrong order- an order that your mother would never approve of, starting with dessert first! Once we realized that we weren’t going to eat until 9:30 at best, we made our way to a little place down the street called Little Cupcake Bakeshop.
Besides being adorable, this place also boasts some pretty unusual and difficult to resist flavor combinations. I settled in for a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich slice, but there were SO many more to choose from.
For instance, there was this pretty baby, which I believe was pistachio:
And then there was this cutesy polka dot version. If Minnie Mouse was a cake, I’m pretty sure she’d be this one:
After our cake fest, my friends Lauren, Ali and I made it to Café Habana, which true to tradition, did not disappoint. The highlight was their famous corn, which was grilled, and then seasoned with a fabulous combination of mayonnaise, cheese and chili powder. Garnished with lime wedges, it was a light, fresh and irresistible.
Lauren and Ali going at it. Yum, yum, yummmm.
The next night, we wandered out to the Meatpacking District for a little slice of Paris.
Another of my favorite haunts is Pastis, a fairly well-know bistro where one can stuff themselves silly with little to no trouble whatsoever. Wrong outfit choice for stuffing oneself silly (I really have no idea where the Steak Frites went), but I happen to think that one must look tres chic for doing any kind of French anything…
Like Cafe Habana, the atmosphere at Pastis will charm the pants off of you, but in a completely different way. This place is not tiny. In fact, by New York standards it is huge, and there are waiters and bus boys and bar backs running around everywhere to ensure that the bustling crowd has everything they need. It’s a well-oiled, carb-fueled machine and I love it!
The lighting is low and the drinks are plentiful, which means that the average dinner here could easily take a few hours, (like any good European meal should). And you wouldn’t want to go any faster, I assure you. The appetizers and the company are just too good for that…
There was Roasted Eggplant and Arugula Salad with chickpeas and feta:
Piping hot Mac n Cheese with thick chunks of bacon:
And meat! Boy, was there ever meat:
Between the four of us, there were burgers, steaks and hearty sandwiches, which prompted a late night, sixty block walk home just so we could justify the gorging.
Yes, that’s right- sixty blocks. I’m fairly confident that’s how far one must walk in order to burn off just a fraction of the calories in this meal!
The last meal I have to mention to you is not fancy. In fact, it doesn’t even come from a sit down restaurant. And a HUGE meal will only set you back $7.
In California, a really fabulous falafel can be hard to come by, but in New York, it is 100% possible to stumble across one around the corner from your Midtown hotel. And that’s exactly what I did. Enter Soom Soom, the falafel joint, keeper of my heart!
Not only is this place dirt cheap and incredibly tasty, but it also offers something completely unique: personalized topings a plenty! They have a giant salad bar that houses at least thirty different options to customize your falafel.
It was so good that I ate there twice. Twice in less than 24 hours! Not necessarily something I’d normally admit, but since I can’t get these glorious fried little balls on a normal basis, I’d like to consider it ok.
And you won’t tell anyone, will you? Pretty please? I’m banking on it…
The Petite Aesthete