Best of Burgers: Black Tap Craft Burgers

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Where: Black Tap Craft Burger, 248 W 14th St., Meatpacking

What: We were lured into Black Tap Craft Burgers in the Meatpacking district by photos of their incredible milkshakes, and were pleasantly surprised by the rest of their menu. While we didn’t end up getting milkshakes, we did try their Texan, Californian with a fried egg, and Steak Au Poivre burgers. All of our selections came with fries that you could also swap out for sweet potato fries or brussels sprouts. Each burger was stuffed full, making for flavorful bites and a hearty meal.

Black Craft’s Meatpacking space is fun and trendy, with chalkboards, mirrors, and TVs lining the walls. In addition, the large, open space featured a communal table, as well as booths and smaller seating options. On a Friday night, the restaurant was bustling, but the service was still quick and attentive.

Definitely head to Black Tap, in either SoHo or Meatpacking, for a filling meal and fun night!

Best of Health Food: by CHLOE.


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Where: by CHLOE., 185 Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village

What: It’s only been open for about three months, but by CHLOE is already the most popular spot on the block. The restaurant was packed when we went for dinner on a Thursday, with a line out the door to order food. Once we made it to the front, we had trouble choosing from their menu of salads, burgers and sandwiches, pasta, and sides, because everything looked so good. We ended up getting the pesto meatball sandwich, the sweet potato mac and cheese, the sweet potato fries, and a pomegranate lemonade.

Everything at by CHLOE is vegan, but we would have never guessed. The mac and cheese was one of the creamiest and tastiest we’ve ever had, and the pesto meatball sandwich was actually made with portobello mushrooms and vegetables, but still tasted delicious.

The decor is also a main draw of the restaurant. The space was very full, but still offered a good amount of seating between a large communal table, tables for two, and a few outdoor seats. The space also included two fun hanging chairs, striped floors, and colorful tiles, along with well-designed signage, packaging, and placemats.

The only thing we were upset about was the fact that we didn’t get to try their selection of ice creams and desserts!

Best of Comfort Food: Veselka

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What: With the days getting shorter and the air getting crisper, there’s nothing more satisfying than comfort foods. On a windy Sunday, we headed to Veselka, in the East Village, to warm up with some of their Ukrainian specialties.

We had to wait a little while for a table since we came at prime lunchtime, but once we were seated we got straight to choosing our meals. Their menu includes Ukrainian plates like pirogies, goulash, and beef stroganoff, along with plenty of classic options like mac and cheese and hamburgers. They serve breakfast too, and are open 24 hours, so there’s never a bad time to go to Veselka. We decided on the Monte Cristo brunch sandwich, which was served on challah bread with turkey, cheese, maple mustard sauce, and a side of sweet potatoes, two large plates of pirogies, and a side of potato pancake. The pirogi plates can be made up of any combination of eight pirogies. Their flavors include potato, cheese, sweet potato, meat, spinach and cream cheese, sauerkraut and mushroom, and arugula and goat cheese, along with seasonal specials. They can be boiled or fried, and each plate comes with sour cream, onions, and apple sauce. We tried the potato, sweet potato, meat, and arugula and cheese. Everything we ordered was delicious, filling, and warm.

It’s hard to stray from their delicious pirogies, but we know we’ll be back to Veselka to try the rest of their amazing Ukrainian dishes!

Best of Italian: Motorino Pizza

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Where: Motorino Pizza, 349 East 12th Street, East Village

What: We stopped by Motorino on a recent fall night, and were welcomed into the shop’s warm, energetic atmosphere. The restaurant, small with tables lined closely together, was cozy and bustling. With large front windows, striped walls, tiled ceilings, and soft lighting, Motorino offers a quaint little spot for authentic Italian pizza. While we had to wait briefly for a table, we were served quickly by friendly, attentive staff.

For our meal, we shared the soppressata piccante and brussels sprout pizzas. The soppressata, made with a red sauce base, was flavorful and had the perfect amount of spiciness. The brussels sprout, created with a white base, was one of the best pizzas we’ve had so far. With both brussels sprout and smoked pancetta, this pizza offered a hearty bite. On both our pies, the crusts were perfectly crisp on the outside and doughy on the inside. While the pizzas are on the smaller side than normal, they are perfect for sharing or taking home as leftovers.

With other locations in SoHo and Williamsburg, Motorino offers a great choice for well-priced and delicious New York pizza!

Is it Worth the Hype: San Gennaro Festival

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Where: Feast of San Gennaro, Little Italy

What: For 11 days a year, the streets of Little Italy are closed off. But this time, it isn’t for construction or traffic problems, it’s for the Feast of San Gennaro. The festival, which took place from September 10-20 this year, combines a mix of restaurants, food stands, carnival games, and shops. Each day, it opens around lunch, and closes at 11 PM (or midnight on Fridays and Saturdays).

We visited the festival on a Sunday night. There are plenty of food options, both savory and sweet, from food stands, but we decided to sit down and eat dinner at a restaurant, then try out different desserts from the stands. We had dinner at the appropriately name Da Gennaro Restaurant, where we had no trouble getting a seat even amongst the crowded streets, because they had lots of additional outdoor seating set up along the street. We ordered the carbonara, cannelloni, and rigatoni. The menu was extensive, and contained every classic Little Italy specialty.

Afterwards, we walked through the streets, and stopped for fried oreos (not exactly Italian, but definitely still a fun and classic street fair treat) and a Sfogliatelle Ricce, which is an Italian pastry filled with ricotta cheese. It was almost like a cross between a croissant and a cannoli.

If you’re brave enough to stand the crowds, the Feast of San Gennaro is a fun and delicious outing in New York City! It’s only once a year, so you’ll have to wait until next September to partake in it again, but we think it’s worth the wait.

Best of Ice Cream: Mikey Likes It Ice Cream


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Where: Mikey Likes It Ice Cream, 199 Avenue A, East Village

What: Mikey’s may be a tiny ice cream shop in the East Village, but its sweet treats and offerings are some of the best we’ve had yet. Mikey Likes It offers both regular and seasonal gourmet ice cream flavors. From simple scoops to our choice of a red velvet waffle ice cream sandwich, the shop offers a wide range of choices to suit any ice cream craving. The waffles we got, combined with our flavor choices of Cool Runnings and The Nutty Professor, made for the perfect dessert towards the end of summer.

Situated in the lively neighborhood of the East Village in a cool, vibrant shop, Mikey Likes it is your perfect ice cream stop!

Best of Asian: Momofuku Noodle Bar

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Where: Momofuku Noodle Bar, 171 1st Avenue, East Village

What: For lunch, we stopped by the East Village’s famous ramen restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar. Previously, we posted about their sweet treats at their Milk Bar, but this time we opted for their savory asian menu. First, we split an order of the Al Pastor pork buns. These came with pork, pineapple, avocado smash, pickled red onions, and cilantro placed in between a folded, soft bun. Additionally, we tried out the Momofuku ramen bowl, made of pork belly, pork shoulder, and poached egg mixed in with their noodles, broth, and scallions. We found the bowl slightly on the salty side, but we added some of their sauce to create a kick of spice and extra flavor.

Inside Momofuku, communal tables and bar seating make for the majority of the seating space. The large windows at the front of the restaurant provide lots of natural light throughout, making for an open and airy-feeling dining experience.

Best of Ice Cream: I-CE NY

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Where: I CE New York, 101 Macdougal St., Greenwich Village

What: It seems like at least once a year, a new ice cream trend hits New York. This time, it’s ice cream rolls. The frozen treat, which is popular in Thailand, is made right in front of you after you order. First you choose a base, mix-ins, and toppings. Then, everything is combined on a frozen slab and spread out into a thin sheet. Finally, the ice cream is pushed into rolls and toppings are added.

We checked out I CE New York a few days after it opened. Their menu lists a great selection of flavors and toppings. We both ordered a large size, since you could choose two mix-ins and two toppings (instead of just one each) for only a dollar extra. We got one vanilla flavor with strawberry and raspberry mix-ins and condensed milk, chocolate chips, and kiwi on top, and one chocolate flavor with brownie and chocolate chips mixed in and condensed milk, fruit loops, pocky, and whipped cream.

Watching our ice cream being made was almost mesmerizing, but the results were even better. The ice cream is very creamy and pudding-like. We sat at one of the few tables in the small shop, and enjoyed a conversation with one of the owners, who explained to us that the shop is popular in Thailand, and that this was their first ever US store.

We can’t wait to go back and experiment with more flavor combinations!

Best of Brunch: The Grey Dog

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Where: The Grey Dog, 90 University Place, Greenwich Village

What: The Grey Dog serves food all day long, but our favorite time to stop in is during breakfast. Their menu includes classic items such as oatmeal, pancakes, omelettes, and eggs, along with sides, baked goods, coffee, and juice. When you arrive, you can place your order at the counter and pay, and your food is brought to your table when it is ready.

On a weekday morning, we ordered an egg sandwich, a breakfast quesadilla, a blackberry-yogurt muffin, and the french toast. All came in well-sized portions. The egg sandwich was served on a croissant and came with a side of home fries. The breakfast quesadilla was filled with mostly scrambled egg, which made it hearty and filling. The french toast came with fruit, syrup, and powdered sugar.

A meal at Grey Dog feels like being home and eating your favorite. It’s not too fussy, but the food is always fresh and delicious. The service is fast, making it a great option for a nicer but quick weekday breakfast. And, they have four locations in downtown Manhattan, so if you’re in the area theres probably a Grey Dog close to you.

Best of Froyo: Off the Wall Frozen Yogurt

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Where: Off the Wall Frozen Yogurt, 4 W 14th St., Union Square (and other locations)

What: What’s the best part of frozen yogurt? The toppings. And at Off the Wall, they put a serious emphasis on serving them in a fun way. Nine of their most popular toppings are displayed vertically on their wall, where you can lift a lever to add just the right amount of M&Ms, sprinkles, Reese’s Pieces, and more right into your cup.

Before you start topping, Off the Wall has over a dozen frozen yogurt flavors to choose from, including specials, non-fat, and sorbets. After sampling a few flavors (ask the cashiers to get sampling cups for you!), we chose to get a mix of flavors, including Cake Batter, Chocolate, Vanilla, and Salted Caramel. Then, we added toppings from their toppings wall, and added a few more from the counter, which had more candy, fruit, and sauces. The prices were comparable to other frozen yogurt shops in NYC.

We chose a larger table near the front, but Off the Wall has plenty of seating options, including fun curved booth seating along one wall, small tables, and large group tables. The whole space was fun and inviting, even up to the ceiling, which featured fruit stenciling. If you’re looking for a fun and tasty froyo experience, be sure to stop by Off the Wall!