Tag Archives: cheap eats

Eye For Style Recommends: GRUB STREET

For one day only, Hester Street Fair will literally transform into “Grub Street, USA” with picket fences, eating parks galore, and over 40 exclusive food vendors selected personally by Grub Street and New York Magazine.

Curated by the folks at Grub Street, the editorial staff has invited their favorite food purveyors and restaurants to participate in their first ever ALL FOOD, all day event. From the best restaurants, to trucks and carts, to neighborhood joints from all across the 5 boroughs, this mouth-watering event will give you a taste of the finest morsels New York has to offer. All in one place!

Plus, to add even a little more spice to the mix, Santos Party House will whip this smorgasbord into even more than your average eating fest, providing the necessary ingredients to dance off some of those extra calories you’ll be packing on. Shake liberally so as to avoid impending food coma!

Just make sure to leave room for dessert, kids. This is surely destined to be the most exciting food festival on the Lower East Side this fall – or I promise to eat my words as well. Gulp.

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To view more of my food photography, please visit my website: eyeforstyle.net.

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Best Pizza & Ice Cream Dates in Greenwich Village

 


Pizza and ice cream is a perfect way to kick off a summer date night, especially in Greenwich Village where exceptional options abound on practically every corner. Luckily, I’ve taken the guess work out of it for you by crafting some terrific pairings. You may wish for a bit more of a walk in between courses, or slightly “healthier” options, so feel free to mix it up and create a combination of destinations that best suit your date’s taste. Be sure to print this list and the complete Eye For Style map before you head out so as to have all your options easily at hand. Trust me, she’ll admire your take-charge thoughtfulness, guys. Once you’re both stuffed to the gills, take a stroll mano a mano appreciating the uber-romantic vibe that is The Village, before you grab some libations at one of the many cool watering holes in the area. If you follow this plan (adding your own brand of charm and some witty reparte, of course), you should score that lengthy kiss on the stoop come evening’s end. And who knows what may follow. You can thank me later…

EAST VILLAGE DATES:

South Brooklyn Pizza & NYC Icy - 122 1st Ave ; 100 Ave A  171 Ave A (as of 6/2011)

SBP is the newbie in the ‘hood, having just opened 3 months ago, but it’s already garnered a well-deserved reputation. They only do one kind of pizza – margherita – which is frankly phenomenal. They occassionally have their “square” pizza with which they’ll experiment with a variety of ingredients, like mushroom or sausage, at their whim. I’d eat your first slice plain, so you can really taste the flavors of the basil, mozzarella, and tomato. The EVOO is so delicious you can actually taste the kalamata olive from whence it came. This is not a pizza where you want to sop up the oil with a napkin. Instead, have fun sexily licking it off your fingers (hey, it makes for some good foreplay). On your second slice, try the toppings they have mixed up fresh on the counter – a sick roasted garlic spread or marinated green peppers – for a completely different flavored slice. You might want to save the kissing for later, but it’s well worth it. Slices are $4 each, whole pies will run you $28.

NYC Icy is a relative newbie in the ‘hood, having just opened up their pop-up stand on Ave A @ E 7th a month ago (though they used to have a permanent location on Ave B). It’s a very no frills establishment, just a couple of big freezers and a cash register. Check the sandwich board for the day’s special samplings, a rotating array of over 200 flavors, most of which are more creamy than icy, with some dairy-free options as well. My favorites are Mexican hot cocoa (with a swift chili pepper kick), earl grey (with a hint of cream and lemon), and the ultimate: mango with fresh basil (which also pairs extremely well with spicy Thai food).

Artichoke Pizza & Sundaes and Cones – 328 E 14th St ; 95 E 10th St

Artichoke only fires up 4 types of pizza – classic margherita, artichoke (with a cheesy, creamy sauce), crab, and Sicilian – and they’re all freaking delicious. Don’t let the long line keep you away – spend the time getting to know each other better! Grab your  $4 slice, cop a squat on a nearby stoop and enjoy the bustling scene on 14th Street, as seating at this joint is highly coveted and minimal at best.  Better yet, call ahead and order a whole pie, then head southeast to nearby Tompkins Square Park for a pizza alfresco picnic in the very secluded section of the park bordering 10th Street where there’s tons of tables and virtually never any people. Take a stroll east and do some window shopping along 9th or 10th Street, two of the loveliest blocks in the EV, until you across 3rd Avenue and arrive at:

Sundaes & Cones has some of the most interesting, Asian-centric ice cream flavors around – wasabi, red bean, taro, green tea – to name a few. I personally adore the sesame and lychee in a big ol’ waffle cone. They have other traditionally American flavors as well, but why not try something new? Show off your adventurous, open-minded side. Chicks dig that.

Motorino & Momofuku Milk Bar – 349 E 12th St ; 207 2nd Ave

Motorino specializes in neopolitana style pizza – with a thin, but not too thin crust that bubbles around the outskirts. The ingredients are super fresh and flavorful, and the price is fairly reasonable at $18 a pie (no slices here). I could easily eat a whole one myself if I’m really hungry and wish they were a bit larger, but it’s no big deal. Gotta save room for ice cream! I’ve especially enjoyed the soppressata piccante, as well as the sweet sausage and cremini with kalamata olive, but I think the real draw here is the brussel sprout and pancetta pie.

I must confess that I’ve not actually had the soft serve with various whacky toppings to choose at Momofuku Milk Bar because every time I’ve gone, the line is so damn long that I’m just not in the mood and have opted to head elsewhere. The place has a long line and great reputation for a reason though, so if you’ve got some company to kill the time, I’d stick it out. If you don’t have the patience, Veniero’s Pasticceria is right around the corner, as is most of the selections on this list. Someday, Momofuku, someday!

Luzzo’s & Alphabet Scoop – 211 2nd Ave ; 543 E 11th St

This place is small and can sometimes be crowded, but it’s one of the best authentic neopolitian pizzas in Manhattan. It’s also one of the only places that still uses a coal-fired oven and you can taste the difference. The crust is thin and slightly charred, a bit soft, but not overly chewy. The pies are big, but once you get started, you don’t want to stop (which is hopefully the direction your date will be taking later in the evening.) Luzzo’s is by no means cheap, clocking in at around $23 – 28 a pie, but the basil and mozzarella are fresh and delicious to be sure, making it very worthy of experiencing.

Alphabet Scoop is actually a non-profit organization that “changes lives one scoop at a time”. They employ neighborhood kids in an effort to teach responsibility and keep them out of trouble on the streets, connecting the local youth with personal adult mentors off-site. This artisanal ice cream is homemade right on the premises with fresh ingredients. Portions are large and prices are fair. Your date will most definitely appreciate your thoughtful, civic-minded generosity, scoring you some brownie points. Remember, supporting important causes is hot!

Two Boots & Lula’s Sweet Apothecary – 42 Ave A ; 516 E 6th St

I love the classic Italian meets Louisana bayou flavor combinations that Two Boots employs here. I also love the clever way they name their pizzas after indie movie characters and trailblazing music icons. Cleopatra Jones (sweet sausage with tri-color peppers) and The Newman (of Seinfeld fame aka sopressata and sausage on a white pie) are my go-to favorites at this joint. When I’m feeling particularly spicy though, The Bird (as in local EV resident and saxophonist, Charlie Parker) – a white pie topped with spicy buffalo wings, bleu cheese, and jalapeno – is in a league of its own and hits the spot. So wrong, it’s right. This pizza will definitely generate a little heat and then you might just want to rent a movie, instead of go out on the town. Which is convenient because, in addition to the pizzeria, the location on Avenue A is also a super cheap video store with tons of great noir, classics, and cult flicks. Cuddle up and enjoy the film, but before you go home, head to:

Lula’s Sweet Apothecary – vegan ice cream never tasted so good! I dare to you try their dairy/gluten-free fare and tell me that it’s not equally as delicious as its sugar-filled counterparts. Lula’s flavors are truly unique and rotate daily. The staff is super friendly and they happily offer copious samples, which can be a double-edged sword because it tends to make the indecisive line move a bit slow. (It’s not a relationship, it’s ice cream, people. Make a commitment and move on). Lula’s has soft serve too, with a “twist” if you like the two flavors swirled, cake batter being a favorite. They make a killer banana split with an assortment of natural toppings to choose from as well. The ambience of the place is a throw back to the days of real ol’ fashioned ice cream parlors and can be quite a romantic scene if you nab stools in the bay window.

Want an even healthier option? Try opting for a smoothie at Liquiteria (@ 170 2nd Ave) or Juicy Lucy’s (@ 85 Ave A). These juice bars are equally as delicious as any other sweet treat you’ll find in the area. So, if you’re looking for something cold, utterly fresh and supremely yummy in the tummy, don’t hesitate to give these places a try. You won’t be disappointed. A wide variety of healthy and exotic flavors abound here!

Once you’ve worked your way through the EV, you and your sweetie will surely want to try these WEST VILLAGE DATES:

Numero 28 Carmine & Cones Ice Cream Artisans

Bleecker Street Pizza & L’Arte Del Gelato

John’s Pizzeria & Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven

Famous Joe’s & Grom

Two Boots To Go West & People’s Pops

Lombardi’s & Ciao Bella

With healthier option: Gusto Organics

Or go to Eye For Style maps for the complete list of Greenwich Village pizza & ice cream dates!

And how about a “make your own pizza” date? Pizza a Casa now has workshops & classes at their LES location. Now that’s amore!

*****

Update as of 7/30/11:

There are 5 new cool treats vendors in the East Village that are definitely worth sampling this summer:

People’s Pops Pop Up – 118 E 7th St; serving: popsicles & shave ice, through October 15

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream – 48 1/2 E 7th St

Goat Town – 511 E 5th St

Timi’s Gelateria Classica - 37 St. Mark’s Place; mobile cart @ 145 Ave A

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop – opening any day now, on E 7th St @ Ave A

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Best Cheap Eats in the East Village

Sure, the economy sucks, but that’s no excuse for not eating well, especially in the East Village, where starving artists co-mingle with a thriving Latino population, and even the most jaded Upper East Siders will “slum it” for evening to partake in the hipster fabulousness of the non-stop, late night cocktail/party scene that is synonymous with the LES.  Hard times or not, everyone loves a good bargain, and these haunts won’t disappoint – your taste buds or wallet. And for those of you who, come the wee hours are stumbling aimlessly in uncharted territory, begging for something tasty to soak up all that you’ve just imbibed, I’ve made it easy for you. Print this Top 10 list and the complete Eye For Style map before you head out. You can thank me later…

1. Artichoke Pizza328 E 14th St @ 1st – 2nd Ave

Hands down, the best slice in the ‘hood. They only fire up 4 types of pizza – classic margherita, artichoke (with a cheesy, creamy sauce), crab, and Sicilian – and they’re all freaking delicious. Don’t let the long line and erratic hours keep you away. It’s worth it. Grab your slice, cop a squat on a nearby stoop and enjoy the bustling scene on 14th Street, as seating at this joint is highly coveted and minimal at best.  Better yet, head southeast to nearby Tompkins Square Park for an alfresco pizza picnic – a perfect, cheap summer date on your way for drinks at one of the many cool watering holes on Avenue B and C.

2. Snack Dragon Taco Shack199 E 3rd St @ Ave B

Amazingly delicious tacos for only $5! I love the carne asada and the fish tacos remind me of being in California, where good and plentiful Mexican food abounds. It’s a lot more difficult to find it here in Manhattan, but these tacos fit the bill nicely when my cravings stir. These tacos are full of flavor, very simply prepared with that winning combo of onion, cilantro, and salsa. The place is really small and quirky. I honestly have no idea when it’s open and they don’t have a phone. You just have to take a gamble and walk over there. If they are open, you’re in for a tasty treat. Get one of each to really fill you up and some of their fresh berry lemonade to wash it all down.

3. Mama’s Food Shop200 E 3rd St @ Ave B

This place is down home, comfort food done right – huge platters of mac & cheese, fried chicken, collard greens and salads – all made with fresh, local ingredients. You can get a heaping plate of food for $13, practically enough for 2 meals. Pick your protein and add a couple of lovely side salads, or opt for an all veggie salad medley.  Stay and enjoy the eclectic décor, a mish-mash of retro furniture that makes you feel like your hangin’ out on Mama’s back porch in the South somewhere, chillin’ with your neighbors, shootin’ the breeze. And make sure you say yes please to a piece of cobbler.

4. Paul’s Da Burger Joint131 2nd Ave @ St. Mark’s Place

Wow, what a freaking good burger! So far, the best one I’ve had in NYC. So huge and juicy, once you pick it up and start eating it, it’s hard to put down. The bun will get soggy from all the drippings quickly, so I suggest you dive in with full abandon and power through until you finally surrender. If you manage to finish one of these monsters, and still have room, I suggest you head down the block to my next pick, for the best french fries at:

5. Pomme Frites123 2nd Ave @ St. Mark’s Place

These Belgium, thick cut fries are absolutely outstanding. Even a “small” here is a huge pile of golden crispy potato magic, all wrapped up in a white paper cone. And what’s even better than the fries? The 40+ mayo and mustard based sauces that you can pick from to accompany them! Do ask for the sauce on the side though. They do tend to be a little too liberal with it, which can be overkill and potentially make the fries soggy. They’re a great snack to share with a friend and goes great with a Paul’s Burger, if you’ve got the stomach for both. I double-dog dare ya.

6. Dumpling Man100 St. Mark’s Place @ 1st Ave

Between the hours of 3 – 5 pm, you can get a 6 piece seared dumpling plate and a drink for a mere $3.50. That’s cheap – and filling! When I’ve gone to Dumpling Man during other hours of the day, I’ve opted for the “Mix It Up”, whereby you can choose a combination of their dumpling offerings: chicken, pork, veggie, shrimp, “surprise”, or sweet. I probably like the pork best, which is somewhat curious because I’m not a big pork fan and typically don’t eat it a lot, but they do have the most flavor. The chicken ones are great too and have been voted “best chicken dumplings” according to various local foodie rags. The “surprise” dumplings of the day are usually especially yummy, often with stuffed with combinations of ingredients like ginger and scallions, yam or spinach, lemongrass and chestnuts. They also have daily soup specials, like corn & quinoa or traditional miso.

7. Mamoun’s Falafel22 St. Mark’s Place @ 2nd – 3rd

I’m a big fan of the chicken or lamb shish kebob sandwich, for a whopping $5. It comes with a lot of juicy, flavorful meat stuffed in a pita with iceberg lettuce, chopped tomato, parsley, onion, and a delicious spoonful of tahini sauce.  The falafel, hummus, and baba ganouj are also all very good in their own right and only $2 – 3 a pop. Put ‘em in a sandwich or go for the plate, which is even more food for just a couple bucks extra. This is good, delicious, filling food, right in the thick of the St. Mark’s punk and street vending madness.

8.  S’mac345 E 12th St @ 1st Ave

Mac and cheese made 10 different ways and served in a skillet. What’s not to love? Choose from old school versions like the all-american or 4-cheese, or something with a bit of a twist like the nepoletana pizza. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, try the parisienne (with figs and shitake mushrooms), spicy cajun or masala-style varieties. Whether you want just a nosh or are hungrier for a major munch, S’mac delivers a variety of sizes and some unique flavor combinations that really satisfy.

9. Café Orlin41 St. Mark’s Place @ 2nd Ave

This place has some of the best everyday brunch in the city for super reasonable prices. I’m a creature of habit when it comes to what I usually order – pumpkin pancakes slathered in cinammon vanilla yogurt and/or their mushroom shallot scramble with toast. Everything on the menu sounds delightful though and the portions are substantial. Try and get a spot on their sidewalk patio. It’s a bit of a squeeze, but you’re in prime position to watch all the activity bustling along St. Mark’s Place. I haven’t been here for dinner yet, but I have visited their sister restaurant, Café Mogador, located just a few doors down for one hell of a memorable meal with friends. Both these places serve up sophisicated, Middle Eastern and Meditterranean fare, without breaking the bank.

10. Westville East173 Ave A @ E 11th St

This place has spectacular food, for carnivores and vegetarians alike. One of my favorite things on the menu is their veggie plate – a mound of your choice of the latest seasonal farmers market vegetables. Eggs and burgers are also not to be missed. The space is beautiful, airy and open. Floor to ceiling windows line both facades of the building, providing lots of opportunity for hipster watching along Avenue A. It’s cheap AND healthy, which is a major plus in my opinion, and often not easy to find around these parts.

Want to know my favorite Cheap Eats in the West Village? Click here for the latest Eye For Style map.

For Time Out New York’s picks for Best Cheap Eats in NYC, check out this week’s cover story.

What are your favorite cheap eats? Comment below with your personal picks. All recommendations welcome!

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Afternoon Delight at Dumpling Man

My new mid-afternoon not-so-guilty pleasure is Dumpling Man on St. Mark’s Place, where between the hours of 3 – 5 pm, you can get a 6 piece seared dumpling plate and a soda or water for a mere $3.50. That’s cheap – and filling! When I’ve gone to Dumpling Man during other hours of the day, I’ve opted for the “Mix It Up”, whereby you can choose a combination of their offerings: chicken, pork, veggie, shrimp, “surprise” (the dumpling of the day), and sweet (a desserty type pumpkin or banana) dumpling. It’s a great way to try them all, play a game of which is which, and determine which you like best. A small catch about the $3.50 special is – no mixin’ it up. You can only choose one type of dumpling and they must be seared (not steamed). No biggie. I probably like the pork best, which is somewhat curious because I’m not a big pork fan in general and I typically don’t eat it a lot, but they do have the most flavor. The chicken are great too and have been voted “best chicken dumplings” according to various local foodie rags. The shrimp and veggie hold their own, and the special “surprise” dumplings of the day are especially yummy, often with stuffed with combinations of fresh ingredients like ginger and scallions, yam or spinach, lemongrass and chestnuts. They also have daily soup specials, like corn & quinoa or traditional miso. I always love being able to taste a bit of everything, so I say bring a friend and share a couple orders. Create your own mix up! For $3.50 you can’t go wrong.

And be sure you get the whole experience at least once by eating in at the counter and watching as the dumpling ladies fold these delicious bundles of yumminess right before your eyes. After that, you’ll probably start fantasizing about them come 3 pm everyday, and luckily Dumpling Man rewards such behavior, bringing people back for more and more by providing a frequent eaters card which earns you a free order of dumplings after you’ve purchased 10.  Just don’t forget the dumpling sauce – or the sriracha for that super spicy KICK!

Dumpling Man, 100 St. Marks Place, between 1st Ave and Ave A, East Village, NYC

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