Sweet, sweet cupcakes at Tu Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery. Who needs wheat?
Boutique cupcake shops have been popping up everywhere around New York City since the days of Sex and the City. They’ve been perching on corners all over Manhattan, taunting me and other gluten-free gluttons with their mounds of buttercream frosting and indulgent flavors. Luckily, there is one deliciously sweet haven for those of us who don’t eat wheat-based foods: Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery in the East Village. Tu-Lu’s is Manhattan’s only 100% dedicated Gluten-Free Bakery, and it is definitely setting the standard for g-free sweets.
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No Comments | Posted on February 22, 2013 | Categories: Dining, East Village, From the Blog, Under $20
Looking for an adventurous night with your special sweetheart? Grab a spicy dinner at Panna II Garden Indian Restaurant (East Village) while you whisper sweet things to each other under the beautiful Christmas lights that are strung from the ceiling and illuminate your chicken tandoori.
Once you’ve soaked in each other (and the cheapness of a combination masala), waltz over to Mercury Lounge (East Village) to see a low-brow band in a cool venue. It would be safe to check who’s playing before heading over, but where’s the adventure in that? Tickets are usually sold at the door for less than $20 each. Be sure to bring cash only for Panna Il Garden.
If your life isn’t Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (the modern When Harry Met Sally), and would like a quieter night, you can never go wrong with Casimir. A casual French bistro on the brink of Alphabet City and East Village, the location is perfect for a light stroll through Tompkins Square Park just off the corner of this tiny restaurant.
If the East Village isn’t your ideal date location, there’s also Weather Up in TriBeCa, which is a bit more upscale than, but equally fun as, the Alligator Lounge in Williamsburg.
Looking to sneak that loved one out of their lunch break for a nice brunch? Try the all-time favorite fix-prix Bruschetteria on the Lower East Side. Order a warm, grilled chicken panini, or the frisee salad with apples, gorgonzola cheese, pumpkin seeds, for $12.50 with coffee or tea, with either a glass of wine or sweet orange juice. Just be careful: they’re cash only as well.
Inside New York 2013 can be purchased here.
No Comments | Posted on January 29, 2013 | Categories: From the Blog
This past Thursday, I set out to the East Village with only a $20 bill and a metrocard in my wallet, a camera, and an empty stomach. This is how I spent my $20 – no more – and still had plenty to nosh on and fill my time.
11:00am: I left my room in a rush to get to the Village so I hadn’t had breakfast. I stopped at Think Coffee and ordered a cranberry-pistachio biscotti with a small café au lait. I sat down at an empty table next to a guy who seemed to be writing the Great American Novel from the look of his faraway gaze and the profuse scribbles in his notebook. While I ate, I read through the chalkboard menu behind the counter and immediately regretted not getting the oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, and honey for just $5.25. Still, I was satisfied after I ate, and I was also able to walk away knowing what I’d ordered had been fairly traded.
Money left: $15.34
Think Coffee, 123 4th Avenue
12:40pm: I walked past thrift stores, homes, and the Hell’s Angels headquarters. One thrift store that caught my eye was the Cure Thrift Shop. Although unfortunately several of the cutest items would have severely cut down my chances of having enough money for a decent lunch, I bookmarked one craving for another day – a basket-woven, varnished purse that cost $15. I walked into St. Mark’s Bookstore but was unable to find a discount on Michel Foucault. I walked to 1st Avenue and then walked south until I was just short of Houston Street, which left me thirsty. I stopped at Juicy Lucy’s Juice Bar on the corner East 1st St. and 1st Avenue. I ordered a Hangover Cure with pineapple, lemon, and apple. Frothy, with slivers of the fruit still in it, and sweet, the juice was a wonderful treat to have while sitting under an umbrella at 1st Street Park between Houston and 1st Avenue.
Money left: $12.09
Juicy Lucy’s Juice Bar, 1st St. and 1st Avenue
1:30pm: I walked back north, traversed a few avenues, and somehow ended up at Rena Reborn at 117 East 7th St. The entire store had an extra 20 percent off listed prices. I went through the racks inside, and then outside, where they dropped to as low as $5. I found a robin’s-egg-blue dress slit up the sides and embroidered flowers at the hem. It fit like a tailored piece. It was originally $5 but the 20 percent off brought it to $4. What’s more, it fit my body perfectly, and I was going to wear it like any other dress I had. It wouldn’t become the “thrift store piece that was alright but I bought it because it was cheap.” Success? Plenty.
Money left: $8.09
Rena Reborn, 117 E. 7th St.
3:30pm: I stopped at Sushi Lounge and ordered the “shumai” dish – 6 pieces of shrimp-filled steamed dumplings. When it arrived, the plate was cutely ordered with wasabi and soy sauce, and a random sprig of lettuce, but that didn’t make the dumplings any bigger. They were in fact very delicious and had they been just three times larger, I would have had no complaints.
I decided to try to spend the last 2 dollars on a post-late-lunch dinner. I wasn’t done hunting just yet.
Price: $6.09 (including tax and tip)
Money left: $2.00
Sushi Lounge 132 St. Mark’s Place
5:45pm: I looked around. I walked far and wide, as far as Houston St. and then as north as SoHo. I came upon East Village Cheese – brie for as low as $2 a pound. But I didn’t like cheese by itself, and I would waste my remaining dollars just to show I could spend them.
Then I walked down St. Mark’s Place and came upon 2 Bros Pizza. $1 per pizza slice – including tax. After I stopped feeling slightly silly for having passed it on my way to Sushi Lounge, I bought 2 slices and went to Cooper Union to sit on the ledge of one of its buildings. Cheap, surprisingly decent pizza and a seat in the shade: perfect.
Money left: $0.00
2 Bros Pizza, 36 St. Mark’s Place
No Comments | Posted on June 4, 2012 | Categories: From the Blog
Courtesy of nycgovparks.org
On August 7, 1988, Tompkins Square Park erupted in a riot. The New York Times declared that it started as a result of the East Village’s changing demographics, which included the wealthy and the less fortunate, many of whom took up residence in Tompkins Square Park. “Some wanted the police to curb disorder in the park, while others insisted that using it freely was a political right,” wrote the Times. At the time of the protest, there was a crowd protesting an imposed curfew, to which the police then allegedly responded forcefully, causing the riot to break out. Bottles were thrown and many were injured.
No Comments | Posted on August 7, 2011 | Categories: East Village, From the Blog, History, Manhattan
Image thanks to Le Caire Lounge
Walking into Le Caire, I had no idea what to expect, but I was lured there by the promise of a sexy, relaxing Mediterranean evening, and that’s exactly what I got. Nestled in a little building on the Lower East Side with red silk curtains, flickering candles, Moroccan chandeliers and the faint aroma of hookah wafting out the door, Le Caire allowed me to step into another world and forget about all my New York troubles– in the span of a New York minute.
I was greeted at the door by the friendly manager and his hostess and then seated on a plush red bench near the window, where I was free to peruse the extensive drink menu. My roommate and I chose to try Le Caire’s specialty: the mojito cocktails. While all the varieties on offer are delicious, there are two especially worth trying: The Hurricane, a tantalizingly exotic mix of light and dark rum, amaretto, grenadine, sour mix and pineapple juice; and the Raspberry Mojito, made with Bacardi rum, raspberry liqueur, club soda, fresh mint, and sugar. My roommate especially loved the former because it retained the tastiness of a mojito without leaving an overwhelming minty aftertaste. My personal favorite was the latter, which was slightly more traditional in its ingredients but still a sweet and sexy drink.
While we could easily have spent the whole night just sampling their various cocktails, my roommate and I thought it best to try some of Le Caire’s food – something we highly recommend you do as well. Le Caire may be known for their drinks and ambiance, but their appetizers are equally deserving of mention. The sesame-studded falafel, served with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, warm pita bread and tahini dip, is simply divine; in fact, it may just be the best falafel I’ve tasted in New York so far. Better yet, however, is the hummus. Admittedly, neither my roommate nor I was the biggest fan of hummus before we came to Le Caire, but after one bite of this delicious, mouth-watering, smooth spread, we were instantly hooked. My recommendation? Don’t leave Le Caire without trying it.
Unfortunately, the night had to come to an end early for me as I had work the next day, but I left with the thought of Le Caire’s falafel and hummus on my mind. I’ll be sure to go back soon to have some more, but until then, I’ll remember Le Caire as one of the best places to go in the city for a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
-Simone Marie Martelle
1 Comment | Posted on July 27, 2011 | Categories: East Village, From the Blog
Remember back when you were little, and your mom would make you macaroni and cheese for lunch? How did she do it? Did she get the kind in a box? Was it Kraft? Annie’s? Or was it Easy Mac? Or did she make it from scratch? I’ve always felt there is a distinction in taste between homemade mac & cheese and from the box mac & cheese. While the store bought mac has the delicious flavors of processed food and preservatives, homemade just always tasted more like cheese. It was gooey and delicious. This is the way mac and cheese is made at Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese, more commonly known as S’MAC.
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No Comments | Posted on July 20, 2011 | Categories: Dining, East Village, From the Blog
Tucked away on the side of the street, with chalk signs, wildflowers and wide-open doors decorated with pretzels hanging on a string, Sigmund’s Pretzelshop feels like an old-fashioned bakery you’d stumble upon on a side street in Europe rather than in the dense and bustling Alphabet City. However, if you’re a fan of chewy carbs served up with charm, this little pretzel shop will instantly become one of your favorite places in the city.
Walking into the shop, I made a beeline for the heavenly-scented ‘just baked’ pretzels that lay on display on the counter. As soon as I reached the counter, though, I was instantly faced with a dilemma: which pretzel to choose? They were each only $3 and there were so many options: regular salted, sesame, poppy, sunflower- or pumpkin-seeded, garlic parsley, jalapeno cheddar, feta olive, and cinnamon raisin (my personal favorite). To make my decision even more agonizing, each pretzel came with a choice of dip, from regular butter to peanut butter to herbed goat cheese. In the end, after much internal and external debate, I decided to try the salted and cinnamon raisin pretzels with Nutella and honey-mustard dips. All were absolutely delicious.
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2 Comments | Posted on July 6, 2011 | Categories: East Village, From the Blog, Manhattan, Neighborhoods
A hidden gem in the East Village, Yakiniku West, is the perfect spot to grab dinner before a weekend night of barhopping. If you are looking for a cheap meal, affordable drinks, and an intimate place that can comfortably accommodate a large group of friends, then you will surely love this Japanese grill.
From the moment you step in the door, you are transported to the Far East for a dining experience like no other—you are even asked to remove your shoes before you enter. Set perfectly around square tables are seat cushions, giving you the ultimate Japanese BBQ experience. At the center of the wooden tables, built in grills are surrounded by a variety of sauces and spices.
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No Comments | Posted on July 8, 2010 | Categories: Dining, East Village, From the Blog
Photo by Michael Molina
“I am dressed in an old Cavs sweater. You?” I say on the phone to renowned stand-up comedian Mike Lawrence, who replies on the other line: “I’m wearing a Wolverine t-shirt. This is like some kind of awful blind date.”
My mission for the night: follow Mike to each of his comedy sets across the city.
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3 Comments | Posted on March 31, 2010 | Categories: Event-Related, From the Blog, Lower East Side, Nightlife