Brunch Like Dan Humphrey

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It’s a weekend! No more 6 AM alarm, zombie walking to Starbucks, and then pounding your work computer as it refuses to open up your emails! What should you be doing on a weekend? Wake up past 10 AM and then head out for brunch — not breakfast but brunch. What I recently learned was that although brunch is fun with friends and families there are some weekends when alone time is the best. Dudley’s has you covered — whether you’re solo or with a group.

Inside Dudley’s there are tables that and a bar but along the side of the window’s there is a high top table for individuals to eat and sit while reading, writing, or just solely pondering about life.

Located in the heart of Lower East Side — feel free to release your inner Dan Humphrey-ism and people watch to find the love of your life that strikes your heart.

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A dynamic brunch menu for everyone. Not only does it cater to those who strictly eat healthy but they also have heavy carb and protein filled dishes as well as dishes for those who eat small.

The table is small and it easy for one to feel cramped. The tables are close to one another; therefore, it may be recommended to save your most private conversation and chat with your friends or families for elsewhere.

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The Norwegian Eggs is a popular dish for all eggs benedict lovers with a twist as it features smoked salmon instead of bacon. The ciabatta bread was crunchy but not hard to bite into. The poached egg was runny and combined with the hollandaise sauce made it a perfect combination as both the sauce and the yolk would melt into the bread. To consider eggs benedict healthy is rare; however, Dudley’s made this dish feel healthy — perhaps it was the presence of the salad. However, to me the salad fell a bit flat and I wished there were home fries instead. To up the quality of the salad they should combine and mix different greens and provide a slice of lemon on the side. The best way to spruce up a salad is to sprinkle lemon on top.

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A simple and not so extravagant restaurant but allows you to feel comfortable — especially when alone. Most restaurants can feel intimidating when you are alone. I’ve dealt with plenty side eye glances when eating and reading alone in a restaurant/cafe before but in Dudley’s it seems to be the occasional norm. Will I go back to Dudley’s? Perhaps, the food was not outstanding but the atmosphere was friendly that I am willing to give their dish another chance. It could be that the Norwegian Eggs was not the right dish for me and that I should have opted for something else — one never knows if you do not give it a second chance! If you’re looking for a brunch place with friends, go somewhere else but if you want a no frill and simple brunch place for yourself then Dudley’s is the way to go!

Address: 85 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Website: http://www.dudleysnyc.com/http://www.dudleysnyc.com/

Tea Time With Friends

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After brunch what do girl’s do, you ask? Why, we go for dessert! No afternoon chat with friends is ever complete without a slice of cake on the side. Luckily, not only is NYC filled with brunch spots but there are equally if not more dessert shops wherever you are — be it UES, LES, Midtown, Soho, etc.

Lady M first arrived to NYC in 2004; however, I remember it boosted in popularity while I was in college, which was 2012-2013. After opening up a shop in Bryant Park it soon became the coveted spot to try the Mille Crepes Cake. The intricate and delicacy of how the cake is structured intrigues those who take a bite. The Mille Crepes is made from twenty layers of thin handmade crepes and cream filling. The Matcha Mille Crepes is the popular sought after dish; however, I decided to try something new — Strawberry Mille Crepe.

Interestingly, the texture is different from what you would expect. I expected the texture to be more bread-like, perhaps similar to a sponge cake, instead it was creamy. As I took a bite out of the cake I tasted and felt more cream than bread — it shows how shockingly thin the handmade crepes are! The pieces of strawberries within the twenty layers accentuated the taste of strawberries within the cream. It reminded me of the Korean Whipped Cream Strawberry Cake from Paris Baguette. Although, there is no prominent cream, the cake almost tastes as if it is made solely out of cream. If I didn’t have brunch an hour before visiting Lady M I would have finished two Mille Crepes Cakes.

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Most people do take out; however I chose to sit in and eat, partly, because the weather was too cold and I wanted to warm myself down. The drink’s are a bit more on the pricey side and are mediocre; however, the cakes and pastries are delicious! Don’t come with high expectations for drinks but do come hungry for the desserts — or take a whole cake home and share the delightful goodness with your whole family!

The Bryant Park location does have a line at times because it is located in a bustling area; therefore, take out may be an ideal option. Keep in mind that if you do chose to take out the cakes, make sure to refrigerate them within an hour or two after purchase to elongate and maintain the quality of the cakes.

Address: They have three locations (UES, Bryant Park, The Plaza Food Hall)

  • UES: 41 East 78th Streeet, NY, NY 10075
  • Bryant Park: 36 West 40th Street, NY, NY 10018
  • The Plaza Food Hall: 36 West 40th Street, NY, NY 10018

Website: https://www.ladym.com/

Cha Cha Your Way To Matcha

Growing up my favorite color was pink. Ask anyone around me and they’ll be able to tell you that my middle name was “Pink” because  was always dressed from head to toe in pink and loved everything that was pink! Although I’m not a child anymore the one thing that has never failed to change is my love for the color pink! Cha Cha Matcha, a cafe, loved by all celebrities, which has been the main reason behind the bustling business every single day presents a retro cafe that masters in matcha latter. This cafe already had me at the color pink but the fact that it also curates high-quality matcha latter further peaks my interest. After all, I am a matcha killer and love all matcha related drinks and pastries.

Since this place is highly sought after not by only locals but also tourists it can get very busy! It may be better to go on a sunny day because the chances of finding a seat are so slim that this may have to be a takeaway cafe for majority of those who come. The weekends are especially busy; therefore, do not expect to chill and relax inside the cafe with friends.

As the name of the cafe mentions it all — matcha is their specialty and offer drinks that vary in the level of matcha present. The pastries are matcha related, as well! Ordering, luckily, is a speedy process! Even though the line looks long, you’ll be ordering your drink in no time!

I ordered the Coconut Matcha Latte along with a Matcha Banana Bread — both were delightful! The Coconut Matcha Latte used Coconut Milk instead of Regular Milk and the Matcha taste was strong and present. The art at the top made me feel as if the drink was made with care and love — I’m being too mushy, aren’t I? The Matcha Banana Bread was an interesting color; however, the lighting makes it hard to detect the true color — so go look for yourself! The Matcha was very much present in the Bread; however, it did not takeaway the essence of the Banana bread! I really liked the bread and would go back for more! I wish they sold it in loaves since I would love to take some home! What would make the bread better is if they added tiny chocolate chip pieces but that’s just the chocolate lover in me speaking!

Not only is the decor of the restaurant nicely presented but the cup also is cute and witty! The play on words with “matcha” is clever and it makes me smile every single time I take a sip! Although, the line is overbearingly long, since the quality of the latte is great and fits my tastebuds I definitely will be back — not once but plenty of times! Perhaps, next time along with purchasing the bread again, I’ll also try their soft serve — only once the weather gets warmer!

Website: https://chachamatcha.com/

Address: 373 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

Eat With Two Hands

What better way to spend a cold snowy day in the city than eating a healthy and filling brunch with “two hands” while staring at cute Australian men in Two Hands Cafe at Little Italy!

After all the best weekend’s are those that we sleep in and indulge in brunch. Lately, I’ve been eating way too much sweets so to cut down on sweet’s and sugar I opted for a more healthy-style brunch — enter Two Hands! It’s a small cafe/restaurant (there should be a word that morphs these two together, seriously); therefore, expect wait time! The best part of this place is that they take your number and will text you when it is your turn, which allows you to wander around the nearby streets instead of having to wait in the tiny outside space for your turn to arrive. My friend and I checked out Cha Cha Matcha and ended up waiting for 43 minutes (we actually counted)! We arrived around 12:30PM and left around 1:45PM and there still was a wait — that shows how popular they are! People were trekking in the snow for this place!

The service was pleasant, the waiters and waitresses really do have an Australian accent and it is completely swoon worthy! They give you time to look through the menu and choose what you want to eat. Food is served quickly and it’s warm and fresh! Afterwards, they don’t bother you until you point out that you’re ready for the check! It really makes having a conversation with a friend easier when someone isn’t constantly checking up on you every five minutes! I get service is everything but no need to be a complete nuisance! This is why I love places, like Two Hands, who don’t repeatedly come to our table asking how we are doing.

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The brunch menu is not as extensive but it has a bit of something for everyone. For those who want something sweet can opt for the Croissant, Banana Bread, Granola, or Acai Bowl! For the rest of those who want a hearty yet healthy meal can choose the Zoe’s Market Platter, which is what I chose! They also offer sandwich’s, which are good, as well! As for those trendsetter’s, you can eat the Avo Toast and instagram that to raise up your likes and followers!

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The cafe is simple but nice with pictures of landscapes on the wall as well as flowers and twinkling lights hanging from the ceiling. The best part is the tables are wiped clean, which makes the dining experience much more pleasant! I got too excited when my friend pointed out that our food was arriving!

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Top to bottom: The Verona Sandwich and Zoe’s Market Plate

My friend ordered the Verona Sandwich, which is an upgrade from just the Avo Toast because you get Basil Pesto and double the sourdough bread — I’m trying to justify reasons on why one should venture away from the Avo Toast! As much as I love the Avocado toast trend — it really is just smashed avocado on bread! However, the real winner was the Zoe’s Market Plate which has two eggs of any style with avocado, watercress, roasted tomatoes, sweet potato, pickled beets, and quinoa — essentially everything I love since I am a huge avocado and sweet potato fan! I chose poached egg as my egg style and the runny yolk was the best dressing for my salad! Roasted tomato was amazing and the juice was oozing! The sweet potato was warm and soft! Lastly, I loved how the avocado was smashed rather than cut, it definitely refined the salad more and made eating the quinoa a bit more bearable as I could taste more avocado than quinoa after mixing the two! Next time, I would get this dish again but perhaps I’ll add an additional side protein, smoked salmon or prosciutto would make a nice choice!

Overall, I really enjoyed this healthy brunch experience! Not all brunch has to be solely french toasts and egg benedicts! Sometimes the best brunch can also be the healthiest brunch!

Address: 164 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

Website: Two Hands

 

Tumbling Around The Pisa

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Recollections of my trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Immediately arriving in Florence I knew the first trip I had to make was to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. After all, it’s not common to see a tower that looks like it’s about to fall on you during your daily strolls from work to home or school to work, vice versa. I can attest to the fact that the tower does lean and looks highly unstable in person but lo and behold it is standing strong after leaning for more than 840 years!

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The highlight of the trip is being able to take unique photos with the leaning tower as the background! The pictures that people take are very diverse as some people kick the Pisa, or hold on to the Pisa, or some take pictures rolling around the grass in front of the Pisa. I instead jumped up straight in front of the Pisato emphasize the leaning of the tower. I also took one where I “attempted” to kick the Pisa! Sorry Pisa, hopefully I didn’t hurt you too much!

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The train ticket from Florence to Pisa was 16 euros (round trip). However, keep in mind that all you will be doing is taking pictures and if you want going up the tower. Some may feel highly unsatisfied with the trip but it is what you make of it!  Therefore, I definitely recommend you go up the Pisa tower, it’ll be a fun memory as you walk up the leaning tower around the circling staircase! I also highly recommend you save your money and walk to the tower from the train station. After all it is only a thirty minute walk and you can grab a gelato on the way while saving your money!

If you’re in Florence, spare half a day for a trip to visit the Pisa! You can go in the morning and in the afternoon view sights in Florence! The Pisa will not mess up your schedule because of how short the trip is and close it is to Florence compared to other places, which may require a whole day.

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Oh Pompi, the master of all sweets in Rome! Why must you make it hard on me by serving both gelato and tiramisu?

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Gelato is hard to pass up in Rome,or anywhere in Europe, because of how common and often it pops up on the streets.

Being that it was summer when I visited Rome I was slowly melting because of the intense heat wave; therefore, for my second trip to Pompi instead of a tiramisu I opted for a cold gelato.

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I chose the piccolo (mini) size, which was 2 euros and I was able to choose two different flavors. Although, this is much cheaper than Il Gelato di San Crispino, it is important to keep in mind that Pompi is not a specialized gelato house.

I picked the classic tiramisu flavor because Pompi is the king of all tiramisu shops along with the pistachio. The tiramisu gelato had strong hints of espresso and the pistachio gelato had chunky pieces of the pistachio nuts.

Quite frankly, the tiramisu bodes well in Pompi because that is what they mainly serve and are known for whereas the gelato failed to stand out to me because it reminded me of supermarket gelato. There was no distinct taste or flavor that pushed the gelato to the next level.

I definitely do recommend visiting Pompi at least once but strictly for their tiramisu! After all, they are the master of all tiramisu dishes! Once you try a tiramisu from them, you’ll be back everyday until you leave Rome! If you do crave gelato, you can check it out but leave it for elsewhere! If you’re not gelato crazy and would rather save money on gelato then check out Pompi’s gelato selection! If you’re a gelato fanatic, check out Il Gelato di San Crispino instead!

Fun tip: Rome is the home for the Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday. One of my favorite scenes, personally, is the one where she eats a gelato on the Spanish steps! However, tourists and locals, or anyone in general, is not allowed to bring their gelato to the Spanish steps! As much as you want to impersonate Hepburn and take a famous gelato photo, save it because the fine is not worth wasting your money on!

Instead take a picture on the left side of the Spanish steps (orientation as if you were looking down the steps, in front of the pink flowers having the cameraman angled on the right side of you (cameraman orientation as if he/she is looking up the stairs) if you want the best and closest picture to the one featured in Roman Holiday. 

Lastly, wherever you eat a gelato, Buon Appetito!

Sweet Tooth Pompi

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Pompi hits the ballpark for all those who have a sweet tooth — whether you’re into tiramisu or gelato, it has it all in multiple flavors!

Backing up a bit, gelato is a famous frozen treat all around Europe; however, tiramisu is a popular dessert dish in Italy. Tiramisu is directly translated to “cheer me up or lift me up” in Italian and the name is befitting in many ways. First off, the sweet dessert is made of ladyfingers dipped in coffee, battered with high energy content ingredients sugar and egg, layered with mascarpone cheese, and sprinkled with cocoa at the top. As you can tell with sugar, egg, and coffee mixed together it’s hard not to be “lifted” up after consumption!

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Over time because of its popularity the dish soon expanded by replacing coffee with different ingredients such as berries, pistachio, banana, chocolate, etc. Personally, I know when I’m feeling burnt out or sad what I need is a bit of sweetness in my life and that usually comes in the form of a tiramisu nicely packaged with hoards of strawberries on the top!

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Bar Pompi in Rome has become a favorite among locals and tourists because of its close proximity to the Spanish Steps and due to its presentation. They have reinvented the classic dish to fit the modern trends of customizing it to the needs of everyone. Coffee is not a strong suit for everyone and knowing that they create flavors that offer fruits or chocolate or nut as a replacement to coffee. They’re not leaving behind the classic history of tiramisu but instead they are advancing it to fit those with the most adventurous taste palates.

Once you see the display of all their tiramisu’s it’ll take you forever to choose one. Elizabeth Gilbert ate her heart out in Italy and so can you. Don’t be ashamed to pick up two for yourself, after all I did!

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From L to R: Mixed Berries and Strawberries

Since I am a huge fruit person, I picked both the strawberry and the mixed berry tiramisu! After eating a whole bunch of classic coffee tiramisu at Gilli’s, I decided it was time to spruce up my taste buds! The only difference between the two is that one has solely strawberries and the other is a mixture of both blueberries and raspberries. The mascarpone cream tastes exactly like vanilla pudding and the ladyfingers are at the bottom resembling the texture of Nilla Wafers. All in all, it reminds me of Magnolia’s Banana Pudding… Mhm, yummy!

The price for each tiramisu is four euros, similarly, in the city a slice of cake can range from four to eight dollars; therefore, the price is reasonable! The only complaint I have is that there are no seating chairs inside except for a standing table. After walking around everywhere in the heat it is nice to sit inside once in a while. However, you lose some and take some! Instead, you can take out your tiramisu and sit near the Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna)!

The destination is really close from the Spagna metro stop and the Spanish Steps (perhaps only 2 minutes).

TIP: You pay in the cashier first, which then they will give you a ticket! Afterwards, you make your way to the counter and when it’s your turn, choose the tiramisu flavor you wish to eat!

Official address: Via della Croce, 82 Roma