Top 10 Takeaways of My Time in Italy

When we walk into a new place, meet a new person, or encounter a new situation, we go in with preconceptions. Upon arriving, we make snap judgments to gain a sense of control and organization of the world in our mind.

I can’t explain in words what my preconception of Italy was before traveling there, I only know now that my senses were shocked in the best way by how wrong I was compared to the beautiful place, rich culture, and incredible people I encountered there. Continue reading “Top 10 Takeaways of My Time in Italy”

Discovering Tuscany: Pisa Edition

Getting lost in these streets is easy. You can explore the wonders down a side street, have a 5th cone of gelato because nothing beats that sweet substance to cool off on a 90 degree Italian day, or lay out on the lawn of Piazza dei Miracoli, mesmerized by the leaning tower. Continue reading “Discovering Tuscany: Pisa Edition”

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New York Flavors

I’m drooling just looking at these images again. If you’re ever in New York, you’ll have to try some of these places, as the food (and fellowship I had over the food) was some of the best.

FoodofNewYorkFrom top left to right:
Brother Jimmy’s BBQ: I passed this place on the corner of 31st and 8th everyday to and from the metro,  and it took Jason and Kai to search for Happy Hour food spots and find this place to actually get me there. Sure enough, their appetizers and several food selections were half off from 4-7p.m. Delicious BBQ Chicken Quesadilla for $5 and basket of sweet potato fries pictured here.

Caffe Bene: There are several of these coffee and pastry shops scattered around the city, and I enjoyed the ambiance here once with mi madre and once solo for an afternoon with my laptop and thoughts. I had to try the Paris Brest (since I had one in Paris almost a year ago) and Iced Maple Caramel Macchiato. The Paris Brest was scrumptious, the Macchiato could’ve been exchanged for something less syrupy.

Milk Bar: Yummy, creamy ice cream in Chelsea Market (which is a must-visit as you venture along the Highline), albeit overpriced for what you get.

Cake Boss: One of many perks of working at Fox: free food! Cake Boss was on Fox and Friends in the morning, and there was quite a bit of leftovers in the green room, so I snagged a sliver of the yummy, moist, full of frosting cake. If you visit New York, it’s kind of a given to visit Cake Boss, and why not buy just one expensive cupcake in your life? This is definitely the place to do it.

2nd Row left to right:
The Good Batch: Ice cream sandwiches are my new obsession. And The Good Batch, an ice cream sandwich vendor set up every weekend at Smorgasburg, Brooklyn’s summer food flea market, never let me down with their creative creations. The sandwich pictured first is the Almond Toffee-an almond macaroon cookie, vanilla ice cream, toffee layer, and almonds. That was my second time at Smorgasburg; once this girl likes something she’ll do anything for more! The picture on the far right, same row, under Cake Boss was the first time I fell in love with The Good Batch. I’ll be attempting to recreate the Coffee Caramel someday soon: brown butter salty cookie, layer of caramel cream, and crushed espresso beans in coffee ice cream.

Your local deli: I passed countless deli’s to and from work every day, never taking the time to stop because I’d had oatmeal for breakfast or was on to the next meeting up with a friend. I found out my last morning in the city what a delicious, cheap meal I’d been missing out on. Sawyer was sweet enough to wake up early and travel from Upper West to Chelsea just to see me off, but thankfully we liked our New York bagels at this local deli right around the corner from my place. I wish I’d listened to people who said NY bagels were the best-they were right. Toasted cinnamon raisin with cream cheese and jelly and a latte on the side? Yes, please.

The Melt Shop: Thankfully I listened to recommendations to this place, because Sarah and I had our “last supper” together here. It was a sad farewell, but at least our belly’s were full of scrumptious grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. It was great in summer, so I can only imagine how it would warm the soul right up in fall and winter in the Big Apple. I got the Grilled Chicken grilled cheese and switched harvati for gruyere cheese (my new favorite, as Kai can attest to). The tomato soup was out of this world, so definitely check this place out when in NY.

3rd Row left to right:
Chinatown: Boba in Chinatown. Not much to say about it except there was too much boba in the tea.

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs: Everything in my health freak mind was screaming “no” against putting mystery meat and cheesy fries in my body. But it turned out delicious, so I definitely don’t regret the few calories.

(Top picture)Magnolia Bakery: Cupcakes from Magnolia are another essential try when visiting New York. The only problem is that they can be pretty hit or miss. The red velvet cupcake I’m holding in that picture with Sarah, the other Booking Unit intern, was chalky and dry. Somewhat unfortunate, but I’m sure you’ll have better luck than me.

(Bottom picture)Bakery downtown I can’t remember the name of: I went to this cute coffee shop for frozen s’mores with Erika on her last day; she got one of the s’mores, and I got that salted caramel pastry that was delectable. The friend date was too sad though because there was goodbye at the end of it.

Bean and Bean: Delicious Iced Chai Latte at this downtown coffeeshop.

Sweet Revenge: This place is absolutely in my Top 3 places to see in New York! They have selected pairs between cupcakes and beers or wines that go well together. Boy, did my dulce de leche cupcake and wine taste fantastically amazing. And it was spent with a sweet new friend, Kelsey, so it was even better.

Los Tacos: The Chelsea Market has any and all culinary varieties you could wish for. This taco joint in the center always has a line around the corner because they are famous for their fabulous meat, salsa, and guac in those tiny taco shells. Aaaand, I’m drooling.

4th row left to right:
Jack’s Coffee: The coffee was good, but the atmosphere of Greenwich Village is what truly has my heart. Any coffee shop in that neighborhood is worth checking out.

Paris Baguette: I had my eyes on this place right away because of its name; then I went inside and truly fell in love. The desserts were different in a good way, so tempting, and the caramel macaroon brownie I devoured was very agreeable coupled with the vanilla latte.

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop: This place had the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life. Sawyer and I trekked across the city to get there, but it was so worth it!

Aroma Coffee: Good coffee, and the cute little chocolates they hand out with it melt in your mouth.

S’Mac: This is one of those unique, must-see places in NYC. This little restaurant makes variations of mac and cheese, and boy, are those changes delicious! Jason and Kai got the sampler platter so they could try a little bit of everything. I recommend doing that as well.

Luna Ice Cream: Coney Island was surprisingly one of my most favorite memories from New York. Luna ice cream was a cute ice cream shop along the street of shops parallel to the amusement parks, beach, and water. Me: pistachio with sprinkles. Erika: Chocolate with sprinkles.

 Housing Works Bookstore Cafe: This was the coolest cafe, with its spiral stairs leading to an open second balcony of book rows, chairs and tables scattered for studying or coffee dates, and yummy tomato pesto sandwiches for a hungry tall girl.

5th row left to right:
Kissaten Jin: 
I was wasting time one afternoon after work while waiting for Kai, so I hopped into this hole-in-the-wall restaurant and ordered one of their homemade sodas. They do it better than America, ‘cus that pop was better than anything I’ve ever tried…I may have been biased though because it was pink.

The Grey Dog: I’m especially proud of this find, because it had amazing coffee and SCRUMPTIOUS food! Pictured was getting a cappuccino and blogging for a couple hours; the second time I went with Jason and Kai during our 4 hour bike ride was when I experienced the amazing, unique food they serve. Unfortunately, they don’t have wifi; found that out the first time I went. But the place is always packed, has a great vibe, and serves quality food.

Koronet Pizza: Decent pizza for about $5 that was as big as my head! Did it for the laughs, not the calories!

Artichoke Pizza: Experienced this tourist attraction with a friend from my hometown. Next time I’m there, I’m going to actually get the artichoke pizza…it’s much better than the other kinds in my humble opinion, and I don’t even like artichoke. It’s just ooey, gooey, greasy fantasia.

Raw Organics: A bit overpriced, but if you’re an extreme health nut, this is the place for you. Everything is organic. Hence the name.

Tre Cafe: Adorable little breakfast to brunch cafe that I enjoyed with some awesome intern friends. Pictured were the most delectable pancakes smothered in chocolate sauce, syrup, and baked cinnamon apples…mmm.

Insomnia Cookies: Also a must-try in the Big Apple. Of course the city that never sleeps would have a cookie store open all night, because there are plenty of drunk people around the clock craving some cookies. Thankfully Insomnia doesn’t sacrifice their delicious taste even if drunk people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference; us sober people thank you.

There you have my New York City food suggestions! There were so many other places I loved that I didn’t include on here. Rosa Mexicano serves only the most delicious Mexican food with fresh guacamole made right in front of you, Shake Shack was a popular favorite that I never got a chance to try, wood-fired pizza at Via Tribunali was on point, and pastries and coffee at Paris Baguette were wonderful.

I hope you find this list helpful…but I’m sure you’ll discover your own hidden gems in the sprawling city.

stay lovely,
the tall girl