Babylon Bean

coffeecake

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

(631) 587-7729

thebabylonbean.com

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Going Nuts For Doughnuts!

doughnutplant

I don’t like donuts. I don’t know, maybe its because they can be cloyingly sweet at times, the powdered ones make such a mess or possibly because I feel like crap after I eat them. Nonetheless, I usually try to avoid them. However, the Doughnut Plant is the exception to the rule. They’re sophisticated bites with really out-of-the-box flavor combinations.

For my birthday, my friends created a food tour for me with all my favorite spots (including some new ones) and the DP was on the list. The best thing about my college friends is that we’re expert share-ers. So everyone in my party each tried a different flavor both from the cake side and the yeast side.

For the Yeast flavors – the Valrhona Chocolate, PB&J Square
Cake flavors – Tres Leches, Green Tea, Carrot Cake

My favorites were… the Tres Leches which was such an unexpected taste. This “three milks cake” was soft, buttery and had that nice milk-sweetness from the glaze. The Valrhona packed a punch in chocolate goodness and was super rich. And lastly, the PB&J Square… I mean, what’s not to love? Turning a classic childhood memory into a decadent dessert. And a donut nonetheless! Genius.

Yeah they’re a bit pricey. But can you really put a price on sugar-y happiness? (Wow, that was horrible.) But in all seriousness. Take all that change in your piggy bank, head to the DP and try something new…. Be adventurous. You won’t regret it, they’re the best in the area.

379 Grand St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 505-3700
doughnutplant.com

 

Ooh, The Witches Brew

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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 coucheswitches brew food
-Vintage decorations
-Funky menu items (food & drink!)
-Smooth music
*Awesome friends.
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

(516) 489-9482

A Trip to Woorijip

woorijip_sign              woorikip

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

 

(212) 244-1115

woorijipnyc.com

Govinda’s

Govindas-meal

 

 

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
(718) 855-6714
https://www.facebook.com/govindaslunch

 

Pies, Pies, Pies!

pie2

Ever hear of that phrase “little slice of heaven”?
Ever experience perfection in a pie?
No? Okay. Hop on a bus, temporarily kidnap your friends car, take a hot air balloon, … whatever you need to do… to get to Briermere Farms in Riverhead.

All jokes aside, I would drive all the way out from Seaford to Riverhead just for these treasures. They’re that amazing. The little store/shack is open your typical 9am-5pm* hours with an extended 1/2 an hour on the weekends till 5:30pm. All of the pies are baked right on the farm from scratch. There’s no pre-prepped ingredients or fillings. All the fruit is grown on site. Could you ask for more? Talk about fresh and local.

How can anyone doc a star from here? Okay, yes they may be a bit pricey… ranging from $15-$22 per pie. But the quality speaks for itself. It’s lip smacking good. Briermere’s flavors range from the common apple, blueberry, cherry, peach… to strawberry rhubarb, boysenberry, apricot and coconut meringue! Every pie I’ve ever had was nothing short of delicious.

pie1

My typical experience visiting Briermere’s: **
I’m driving along Sound Ave, counting down the minutes until I reach the farm. I manage to find a spot somewhere on the grass (probably by someone’s corn field) and dodge traffic like a pro. I usually arrive mid-day, so by this point all the popular flavors are slowly dwindling. As I reach the front, there’s one Apple Crisp left. I see from the corner of my eye… someone trying to cut ahead. The next thing you know we’re in an all out brawl. Fruits are flying everywhere, people are cheering, and there’s just no going back.

The fruits are juicy&tart and the crust is a perfect foundation of flaky&buttery goodness. This is a true gem of Long Island. Been coming here for years and I’ve never been disappointed. I hope you love them as much as I do.
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*Yeah they SAY 5pm, but you better get your butt there sooner because they run out fasttttt.
**Okay this never really happened. But I’d like to think I’d go to these lengths for a Briermere pie. Dramatic license people.

SkyIce-Ice Baby!

PC: Yelp

PC: Yelp

Where else can you get ice cream in flavors like: Durian, Black Sesame Seaweed, White Miso and Almond & Thai Tea? One word my friends: SkyIce.

What an adorable part of Park Slope! My college friend suggested this place and when I looked at the menu as well as the reviews, I was pretty excited to check this eatery out. At a glance, SkyIce is undoubtedly cozy, casual and a decent size. During the warmer weather they open up the windows and you can people watch to your hearts content. The decor is very charming with their wooden benches and tables, hardwood floors and exposed brick. We sat down right away and glanced at the menu…. It was selective but covered all the basics of a Thai establishment.

I ordered the Spicy Noodle (extra spicy of course) with chicken. It was just the right amount of heat. As well as with the addition of egg, bell pepper, onion and carrot balanced out the dish pretty well. (For $9.75- good portion too.)

PC: Yelp

PC: Yelp

drunken noodle-skyice

Spicy Noodle With Chicken

Yes the dinner was good but what we REALLY came for was that “ice, ice baby!”* I have to say, choosing two flavors was a difficult feat. However, I rose above and made my mind: Thai Tea and White Miso Almond. I tried a safe and a unsafe flavor. Luckily I loved both. The Thai Tea tasted like the drink itself in ice cream form. I could eat that every day, for real. As for the White Miso Almond… totally unexpected combination of flavors, but they WORKED. And well I might add. If you’re feeling a bit risky, go for that one. I was tempted to convince my friend to go for the sampler, but we were too full. Next time, we’ll just go straight for the ice cream.

SkyIce may be advertise sweet and savory, but in a battle between the both… I think the sweet takes the gold in this case. Can’t wait to come back on a nice hot summer day.

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*Stuck in my head the ENTIRE time I wrote this review. Damn you Vanilla Ice.