The Babylon Bean has excellent taste. And I don’t just mean the food and drink! They have an eye for decorations and a good ear for music! Whether I’m hear catching up with a friend over a good cup of coffee or working on a paper, this spot is without a doubt one of my favorites in Babylon.
Although I love my starbucks, there’s nothing quite like a traditional coffee shop. I’d much prefer the mismatched drinkware or the piping hot herbal teas paired with a freshly homemade pastry. Now that’s what I’m talking about. The Babylon Bean has ample parking in the back and on the street so you won’t have to worry about nabbing a spot. And inside, they have small tables or large couches to choose from. It has a cozy yet funky kinda vibe with the unique artwork hanging up on the walls. Best part is… they’re local artists which is very cool.
As for their drinks, how can you go wrong? I’ve had their chai latte, “almond joy” latte, hot chocolate, regular coffee… and it was all excellent. As well as, last time my friend and I came we shared their chocolate coffee crumb cake which was heavenly. (I think we managed to get every single crumb!)
Looking forward to attending one of their open mic nights! Rock on Babylon Bean! This adorable spot is a must-try.
17 Fire Island Ave
Babylon, NY 11702
Hello my fellow food friends,
I hope you had a fantastic holiday season and New Year Celebration. Looking back, 2014 was a crazy year filled with amazing memories, a trip to Italy and of course delicious eats! I’ve had the opportunity to explore Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island more than ever. Along the way, I’ve discovered my love for new foods thanks to the help of my friends and food-lovers.
This year I’ve tried:
-Xiao Long Bao (Soup dumplings)
-The famous DKA from Dominique Ansel’s bakery (no cronut yet…. it’s on my list)
Etc., Etc., Etc. (to name a few!)
To my readers…. thank you so much, for taking the time to hear what I have to say. I hope you enjoy my perspective and maybe someplace I visit will become your next stop! So here’s to another year of GREAT food, WONDERFUL people and LONG LASTING memories.
Vittorio’s is a restaurant noted for their vast wine selection. Zagat’s rated and recipient of an excellence award from Wine Spectator, this place is first-class. With over 70 wines to choose from, you’re sure to have a great night.
Low lighting, rustic decorations and warm ambiance makes this restaurant welcoming. There’s a smaller bar area (pub style) where you can either get a drink while you’re waiting for your table or you can have bar service and eat there. *For the dining area, you need reservations. Since we did not know that, we settled for an equally delicious meal at the bar.
Wine costs about $9-12 per glass (for most selections there). They bring you huge slices of homemade bread and olive oil which was nice. We all ordered different meals and (with my family) we aren’t afraid to share. So I can give you a bit more insight!
I had the: Marinated Skirt Steak. WOW. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that was the best skirt steak I’ve ever had. It was perfectly charred yet tender and the flavor just resonated throughout it all. It’s 20 oz. which was a bit much for me but I was glad to share. It comes with the silkiest, buttery mashed potatoes and steamed/season veggies. Simple plate done right.
Other plates my family got:
-Penne with Prosciutto: giant chunks of tomato and roasted red peppers. And the prosciutto really made the dish unique.
-Shrimp Scampi: lightly breaded shrimp atop of sage risotto. Another stellar dish.
Vittorio’s is a star in the fine-dining world. Great Italian/American style food that’s simple yet elevated. This restaurant is perfect for any occasion. Date, family-night, friends… you name it.
184 Broadway Amityville, NY 11701
What’s not to love about the Witches Brew? This gothic/eclectic styled coffee shop was the home to many high school hangouts several years back. There is a pretty diverse crowd here which is nice to see. The Witches Brew is everything I look for in a coffee house:
-Oversized comfy couches
-Funky menu items (food & drink!)
They have STELLAR teas here. Me being such a big Tea-Drinker, I know that every visit will be a great one. During the fall season, the pumpkin and chai make it’s guest appearance. My favorite! The cookies, cakes and other assortments of snacks are enough to convince me to travel to Hempstead anytime. Don’t forget this is a CASH only place! I have to make sure to go back here soon. It’s been a while and I’m waaay overdue for a nice chai latte and a giant ooey-gooey cookie.
Weekends can bring the crowds, so plan to wait a bit. And yes, the drinks may be a tad bit pricey but you’re paying for the ambiance, the service and good company! And as you can see by the other reviews, this coffee house is loved by many.
*I could totally picture the cast of FRIENDS hanging out here. This is like the hip version of Central Perk.
311 Hempstead Tpke
West Hempstead, NY 11552
K-town has always been one of my favorite places to visit. It’s a lot more hustling and bustling these days than it used to be. I guess people are discovering their love for Korean food! That being said… the restaurants have gone up quite a bit in prices. However, Woorijip is one of the more reasonable establishments around.
Inside this little nook is a bright, clean place with a surprisingly decent amount of seating. Woorijip cranks out tons of delicious food daily. They have a pretty big buffet with both cold/hot choices. What’s delicious: bulgogi (shredded korean beef), kimbap, kimchi (fermented cabbage… Spicy good.), japchae (glass noodles), squid, noodles, dumplings and more! They also have some more familiar items like fried rice and garlic chicken. They have trays and containers that are weighed by the lb. (I think $7.99/lb) You can slide down the buffet and beyond that they sell individual containers with food as well… If you’re in a rush or more of a “on-the-go” type. It’s also great because if you’re not familiar with the Korean cuisine, you can try a bunch of things and for a decent price. Total win. Yeah for being adventurous!
I’m not sure if they weight the food factoring out the tray and container… but I hope they do cause that wouldn’t be cool. But my meal was a little less than $10. Not too shabby! (And for a plate that I almost didn’t finish.) And that was with a water bottle too. ($1)
It seriously doesn’t get any better than this. Can’t wait to come back. If you’re a beginner to Korean food, come to Woorijip. You won’t be disappointed.
12 W 32nd St
New York, NY 10001
For my first Persian/Iranian food experience, I’m so glad it was at Sufiya’s. From dining there, it has a predominant Mediterranean feel but with those additional cultural influences. I pass by here frequently, but never noticed this place! The shopping complex is currently renovating their storefronts, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled when driving along. It can be easily missed.
First impression? What a classy, cozy spot. Beautiful paintings/decorations with a spacious feel. And since it was a nice night outside, they opened up the front doors and let the cool brisk air in. That was a nice touch. Even though I looked at the menu briefly beforehand, I still couldn’t decide on what to eat. Oh, the choices! They have a dinner special (Mon-Thurs) after 3pm for $12.95, you can choose from an array of entrees with white or basmati rice. Very reasonable prices here.
I ended up on getting the Lamb Shish Kebab which came with Green Rice (seasoned with Saffron and other spices), a grilled tortilla and roasted veggies — onion, peppers, tomatoes. It was fantastic. To be honest, that’s the best lamb I’ve had in a long time. It was seasoned and salted perfectly. And I really enjoyed the grilled veggies… it added a healthy touch to the meal. The portions were also a good size. I couldn’t finish my meal.
We also ordered the Falafel appetizer which was very good. Crispy and flavorful. The dusting of paprika and parsley was a nice addition too. The staff were helpful and patient with my questions while I was ordering. And they really made me feel welcome there as a first-timer. I will DEFINITELY be back and I’m looking forward to trying their other menu items!
P.S. They have belly-dancing on certain nights. Sounds fun!
P.P.S. I was too full that night, BUT if you check-in to Yelp, you get a free dessert.
I have been found guilty… of never trying Shake Shack until recently.
Seriously. Where have you been all my life?!
This SS is located right in the middle of Madison Square Park. The perfect place to grab a burger and a shake. Here’s some of my first impressions:
-They serve dog treats? Interesting!
-They give you the buzzers that you use in restaurants to know when your food is ready. Aka you can walk around the park and still get your food piping hot!
-Such cute to-go food containers.
-Reasonable prices? Sweet flavors? Heck yes.
I loved the organization of it. The staff was super friendly. One guy came around with free samples of the custard which was a nice surprise. Like many other places, I’ve heard so much hype… and this 100% matched it! I tried a vanilla shake which was fantastic… it brought me right back to my childhood — getting milkshakes right off the ice cream truck. The burgers are juicy and overflowing with LTO love which is what I (and hopefully everyone) look for in a burger. The fries are crisp, crunchy and pillow-y on the inside. Shall I go on? They also have a cute stand on the side of the kiosk where you can get free water, condiments, utensils/cutlery, etc. Super convenient. Super unhealthy. And SO WORTH IT.
*Not to mention… not only was it beautiful weather at the time, but there was a jazz festival going on yesterday so I think that added to the overall ambiance/AMAZINGNESS that is SS. Smooth Jazz, Sweet Shakes and Sunny Weather…. first experience was a positive one! This is definitely my favorite location of all the shacks in Manhattan.
Madison Square Park
E 23rd St & Madison Ave
New York, NY 10010
After visiting Bien Cuit, you’ll never look at pastries the same way again. Is it possible to love something without even trying it yet? That’s how I felt about this little bakery.
To preface this review, I have a short story…
As most of my family/friends know, I hardly ever watch TV. But when I do it’s usually a show about food of some sorts. This brings me to my next point: “Unique Sweets” featured Bien Cuit on one of their episodes and whenever I watch these shows, I make sure to make a mental note to visit ESPECIALLY when it’s close by. Just from the images and descriptions, I knew I had to visit. Their featured item was the elusive Chocolate Almond Croissant… double baked in brandy. I’m such a visual person and was immediately enticed when watching the show. More or less, I was sold.
Bien Cuit, meaning “well done” is certainly appropriate. All of the desserts here are carefully crafted down to the very last bite. Upon arrival, the storefront is simple/minimalist and reflects the rustic nature of the inside. Although its spacious, there isn’t much seating to go around. I was there on a mission. My friend was cooking me dinner that night and I can never go empty-handed. So I asked the girl at the counter for suggestions (she was very helpful) and I ended up deciding on three pastries:
-Huckleberry Danish with Yuzu Curd, Huckleberry Jam: Flaky, tart and very flavorful. Those berries certainly packed a punch. This was my wildcard if you will. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t had this fruit before, so take a chance on it. It’s good.
-Apple Cardamom Danish with Pureed Apple and Cardamom Strudel: Second favorite of the night. I’m a HUGE fan of apple desserts so this was a win-win. The unique pairing of flavors certainly works.
-(The true star of Bien Cuit) Chocolate Almond Croissant/Twice-baked with Brandy: If you have to pick an item, CHOOSE THIS. You can thank me later. It’s everything a croissant should be — flaky, soft, buttery, nutty (from the almond paste)… you get the idea. And the fact that its baked in brandy? Say no more. It’s a true showstopper.
Yes, Bien Cuit may be a tad bit on the pricier side. But I can guarantee the quality is there within every single bite. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
120 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
I feel like I’ve just hit the jackpot.
And by jackpot, I mean I’ve discovered delicious, cheap, fresh food in the most unexpected place imaginable. Yes, I’m talking about in the basement of a hare krishna temple. Don’t you just love that?
You can wander past this place without doing a double take. There’s no large neon sign. No flyers. No people advertising outside. It’s good ol’ fashioned word-of-mouth marketing and of course many thanks to all of you. When you walk in, look past the man that sits by the door and past the temple services and to your right you will find Govinda’s. Picture this: Walk down a flight of stairs into what looks like a much-needed-rennovation space that reminds me of an older catering hall/cafeteria. The walls are a interesting shade of green and it’s a veryyyy casual atmosphere. And….. I love all of it.
The staff here is incredibly friendly and always have a smile on their faces. If you look at the sign on the wall (see picture) it’ll tell you the price breakdown. Everything is made that day (buffet style) and fresh out of the kitchen. Their desserts for the most part are vegan so if you have dietary restrictions, always ask! They’re very accommodating.
As for the food. Holy cow (irony, I know) this stuff is GOOD. No GREAT. They offer vegetarian/vegan options without sacrificing any flavor. I’ve been able to each lunch here (Mon-Fri 12:00-3:30pm) a few times and their star dish IMO has to be the eggplant parm. It’s not your traditional eggplant parm by any means in that there’s a underlying hint of curry with every bite. Super “meaty” and cheesy. I’ve also had their: pumpkin soup, quinoa salad, curry chickpeas, roasted curry potatoes/veggies, vegan cookies and cupcakes. Their meals come with their own homemade multigrain bread which is pretty stellar like everything else.
Not only are the portions pretty hefty (I have yet to finish my full lunch), but they’re very reasonably priced. Everything I’ve had here has been nothing short of amazing. I’m looking forward to becoming one of their “regulars”.
305 Schermerhorn St
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Disclaimer: I take my cupcakes very seriously. I’m by all means no expert, but then again my taste buds don’t lie. And with that being said, YOU SHOULD GO TO MOLLYS.
Despite the fact that this place is freakin’ adorable, they produce some really sweet treats. With the combination of those swing seats and the childhood decorations, Molly’s truly transports people of all ages back to the good ol’ times.
I came here with a food tour group and out of all the places listed on the tour description, this was one of the spots I was looking most forward to. I was told that what makes this establishment unique is that they were one of the few places to come up with the “interactive/customized” approach. Here you can pick a cake base, a frosting, a cake filling and even some toppings if that tickles your fancy. Their daily selections vary so make sure to ask at the counter. I truly wanted to sample everything in the bakery, it was tempting.* As for my cupcake: moist, buttery, held the frosting magnificently, dense enough and with the perfect note of sweetness. They also even have a sprinkle station if the cuteness factor hasn’t reached its limit yet.
They also have ice cream, cookies, pies and more but they’re best known for their cupcakes. I also saw that with every purchase donations are made to help schools in the community. Fun fact, am I right?
Overall, I’d have to give that coveted gold star we always wanted as a kid to Molly’s. They offer a fun, engaging, bright environment…. the workers are friendly and let’s be honest… who doesn’t love cupcakes?**
*I didn’t wanna be THAT person on tour.
**If that person is you, I’d like to meet you. I’ll change your mind, I promise!
228 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014