An afternoon eating on the Upper West Side

If you don't live on the Upper West Side you most likely never come up here. You work in midtown and you play below 14th street. I get it cool kid. Why come to the land of Upper West Side when there is so much to eat/do downtown? I'll give you a few good reasons:

On a Saturday morning as you're nursing a hangover, try to make your way up to UWS for an oasis in the city and some of the best bagels in NYC.

1. Absolute Bagels-  Incredible fresh baked bagels that have become an institution on the UWS. They're very generous with the cream cheese too so you're welcome in advance.

Whole wheat bagel, cream cheese and smoked salmon

Whole wheat bagel, cream cheese and smoked salmon

Feeling full? Walk it off in Riverside Park. As you walk alongside the Hudson River you can stop by the 103rd street dog run and wonder how your roommate would feel about you getting a dog. Don't be sad! If you ask nicely the dog owners may let you play with the pups. All this dog sight seeing must be wearing you out so grab a drink from Ellington in the Park, right across the dog park.

2. Ellington in the Park- They have great cocktails and a good selection of beer at an affordable price. If the bagel was not filling then go for the cheeseburger here. It's worth the calories.

Delicious local beer (instagram credit: @dietzycat) 

Delicious local beer (instagram credit: @dietzycat) 

It's mid afternoon and either you're not hungry (because you've had a bagel and/or a burger) or you are. In case you are then check out:

3. Xi'Ans Famous Foods- The hand pulled noodles are incredible. You cannot go wrong with the beef or lamb noodles. Just do it.

Spicy lamb noodles

Spicy lamb noodles

4. Fishtag- Great mediterranean food in a vibrant atmosphere. The lamb burger is worth the hype.

Shrimp ceviche special (instagram credit: @mpsalikas)

Shrimp ceviche special (instagram credit: @mpsalikas)

5. Sushi Yasaka- My favorite sushi spot second to Sushi Nakazawa. The price and quality makes me a regular here. The lunch deals include a 2 roll combo (with soup and salad) for $12 and a three roll combo (with soup and salad) for $16.

Spicy tuna (front), salmon avocado (back), california roll (right) 

Spicy tuna (front), salmon avocado (back), california roll (right) 

Take a break from eating before you explode and see what's happening in the Museum of Natural History. The suggestive donation will help you stay on budget after all that eating and the museum is easy to get lost in. Alternatively, Central Park is right across the museum if you're in the mood for more nature or to take pictures for Instagram. 

It's around 6pm and happy hour is fast approaching. You want to get a little buzzed before you go back down, right? I suggest E's Bar, Jake's Dilemma or my personal favorite iced margarita joint, The Heights (purely because of college nostalgia). 

Potato chips (instagram credit: @hungryhippie_)

Potato chips (instagram credit: @hungryhippie_)

See you back up here soon!

Gentilly remind me why I don't live in NOLA

Gentilly is bringing NOLA flair to Carmine Street which is a nice change to the neighborhood since it has long been home to Italian and Mediterranean food. If you've never been to NOLA you are in for a treat. If you have been to NOLA you are still very much in for a treat. As you walk through the door into Gentllly, you'll notice the French windows, the iron wrought work on the ceiling and an unusually spacious seating area, all of which are typical of NOLA architecture. As I sat down at my booth and looked through the list of Sazeracs, Hurricanes and twists on traditional NOLA drinks, I crossed my fingers and hoped that they would serve doughy beignets. Not only did I get doughy beignets but I scored a ridiculous happy hour deal. Between the hours of 5-7pm, Gentilly serves $1 crawfish and corn beignets, oysters with the works and shrimp in old bay seasoning. There is also discounted prices on select wines, draft beer and well cocktails. Gentilly transported me back to NOLA, the French 75s, crawfish and the beignets which I am still dreaming about. 

Spicy crawfish and corn beignets ($1 each for happy hour)

Spicy crawfish and corn beignets ($1 each for happy hour)

Shrimp in old bay seasoning ($1 each for happy hour). It was spicy which I prefer however, the seasoning was too salty. 

Shrimp in old bay seasoning ($1 each for happy hour). It was spicy which I prefer however, the seasoning was too salty. 

Oysters with hot sauce, mignonette, lemon and house remoulade ($1 each for happy hour)

Oysters with hot sauce, mignonette, lemon and house remoulade ($1 each for happy hour)

Low country boil- mussels, swordfish, potatoes, clams, shrimp, corn, spicy broth and bread. Although the broth was a bit saltier than I prefer, I absolutely loved the swordfish which was cooked just well enough.

Low country boil- mussels, swordfish, potatoes, clams, shrimp, corn, spicy broth and bread. Although the broth was a bit saltier than I prefer, I absolutely loved the swordfish which was cooked just well enough.

Beignets!

Beignets!

Key lime pie (just like something your grandma would make)

Key lime pie (just like something your grandma would make)

Favorites

Spicy crawfish & corn beignets- I can't stop thinking about these beignets. The crawfish and corn stuffing was creamy, soft and spicy. The beignet was fried just enough so that it maintained the outside crispiness without making it too dry.

Beignets- Dare I say that I liked these better than the infamous Cafe Du Monde beignets? The beignets were doughy, dipped in caramel sauce and topped with powdered sugar. I enjoyed the fact that they were not overbearingly sweet which allowed me to eat them all! 

Key Lime Pie- This key lime pie will give your grandmother a run for her money. The crust was soft and flaky while the key lime had the perfect consistency (almost like a mousse) with a tangy punch. I generally do not like pies but I could not stop eating this. 

 

Stay fueled, my friends.

I did not want to like coffee. While others debated over where the best coffee grounds came from and how dark they like their brew, I would always much rather sip on good old fashioned tea. Then something called getting a job happened and by 2pm everyday since, my productivity levels would skyrocket down or worse...I'd almost fall asleep at my desk. I had no option but to turn to the dark side (literally) and so I gave in. Like most New Yorkers I am now a coffee drinker. I have come to appreciate and notice what good coffee tastes like and I can tell you that the free coffee at my job is intolerable compared to the variety of coffees out in the city.  Therefore, I frequently venture into the world of midtown in pursuit of quality coffee. Here are some  of the coffee gems I've found thus far. 

1. Culture Espresso- I loved the vibe of this place. You can sit at the communal table, or lounge in the sofas or people watch on the bar stools. The coffee is rich  and Culture also offers a good selection of pastries.

2. Hole in the Wall- Hole in the Wall is pretty much like a hole in the wall (or inside of the building). They offer yummy lattes, lunch options like soup and they have donuts from Dough! Although there is no seating available, it is the best spot to grab your afternoon cup of coffee and keep grinding (haha get it?). 

3.Gregory's Coffee- Gregory's has a couple of locations but I frequent the one on East 40th street which is on a quieter block, offers ample seating and of course great coffee. The macchiatos are delicious and their speciality brews are quite popular. 

Credit source- instagram: @w.hound 

Credit source- instagram: @w.hound 

4. Blue Bottle- Oh Blue Bottle is my favorite so of course I want to give it all the praise in the world. I will say their cappuccinos, lattes and drip coffees are delicious but, nothing will compare to their NOLA cold brew. I could drink that everyday if it didn't break my budget. Blue Bottle is the perfect place for Friday treat yoself.

Credit source- instagram: @motaso_taso

Credit source- instagram: @motaso_taso