Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Hey guys, sorry for the lack of posts recently. Life has been pretty busy, I'm
also pretty lazy, but thankfully the discovery of delicious foods has not come to a halt. 

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Mostly because you can walk miles in the city, eating and exploring, without sweating buckets. Also, the scenery of the city during the fall is one of the most beautiful things in the world to me. 

After seeing a picture of this fat burrito on Instagram, my bestfriend Millicia, made it a mission of ours to find it. So this weekend, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather, and set out to try it for ourselves. 

La Gringa Taqueria on Christopher St in the West Village is a quaint spot with an edgy vibe. A Dia de los Muertos skull mural is hand painted on a large wall, two seater wooden tables line the small restaurant, and other cool art is hung up along the walls. The playlist was pretty legit too, had me and Millicia singing along most of the time haha. 
La Gringa serves burritos, tacos, naked burritos, nachos, quesadillas, and salads. They have multiple topping options, which you pick out in pretty much an assembly line order. We both decided on a chicken burrito with the works. It was probably one of the best burritos I've ever had. Largely in part to the fresh guac and the option of adding sweet plantains, which no other place I've been to has given me. It was so huge, I could really only finish half my portion. Look at this chubby baby below! (Extra guac on the side because why not? Haha). 

I would definitely make my way back there, or even head over to their Brooklyn location since it's slightly more convenient. You wil not be disappointed , that's a definite. 

After the party is the after party, and by after party I mean dessert. This dessert day was a two-parter. We couldn't decide between going to a place for cookies we knew would be delicious or trying a new doughnut spot we'd never been to before. Both within walking distance of La Gringa, we stopped at Milk & Cookies on Commerce Street first. 

Milk & Cookies is a well known spot in the West Village for baked goods. They have numerous options for cookies, brownies, cakes, and even ice cream. They do walking food tours and have a recipe book (that the owner will come out and sign if she is in the shop at the time of purchase). Millicia got a double chocolate cookie and I got a milk chocolate salted caramel one. It was a large soft cookie filled with caramel and ooey gooey milk chocolate chips... Simply delicious. It made me want to try them all and wish that I had gotten more than one. I can't wait to go back. 

A little further, we decided to go to a newly opened place called Doughnut Project on Morton Street. They are rightfully known for the innovative flavors including beet and ricotta filled, and salt, pepper & olive oil.  Another small shop filled with cool art but very limited seating space. They serve coffee from the Brooklyn Roasting Company as well. We decided to get two and split them, Lemon Drop (lemon curd filled with a lemon glaze) and The Costanza (salted chocolate with a butter pretzel crumble). I've definitely heard wonderful things about this place, but to be honest I was slightly disappointed with the quality of the doughnuts. The flavors were there but the doughnuts seemed a little stale, I'm not sure if we just ended up being there on an off day but I was expecting better. I did enjoy the Lemon Drop more than The Constanza. Millicia didn't really enjoy either, commenting that they may have been too rich for her taste. 
All in all, we learned with dessert, that sometimes playing it safe is okay & that nothing beats a Dough doughnut in NYC and we should probably stop trying to find one that does. 

We ended our excursion that day with a trip to One World Observatory. Which was probably one of the most amazing experiences ever. A 360 degree view of the one of the greatest cities in the world from the highest building in the Western Hemisphere is something that is pretty hard to beat. Experiencing it with your best friend since the womb makes it even more priceless. A very very successful day in my book. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

San Gennaro Feast-ing

This year I had the pleasure of working a few days in the Coconut Stand at the San Gennaro Feast. Which means, for those five days that I was there, I ate really-really good! For those of you who don't know what the San Gennaro Feast is, it is an 11 day feast in Little Italy, NYC along Mulberry Street. The feast honors the Patron Saint of Naples. This was the 89th (yes 89th) annual feast, it has been held in the month of September since September 19, 1926 when the Italian immigrants in Little Italy lined the street of Mulberry to celebrate the day in 305 A.D. when Saint Gennaro was martyred. The feast as extended from one day to eleven and annually attracts over a million people each year.

During this time, the streets are lined with vendors, live entertainment, games, and people. My favorite part about all of this was the cornucopia of food that was there for my taking. I made it a point to try something different everyday. So enjoy....

Luckily for me I was right across from the Pip's Pit Stand, serving you the best sausage & peppers, braciole, grilled chicken, and Philly cheesesteaks i've ever had a feast. The food was fresh, delicious, and flowing. The first day that I was there, I obviously had a sweet sausage & pepper sandwich and unfortunately forgot to document the deliciousness in a picture because I was so hungry haha. The sausage was fresh and seasoned wonderfully. It was cooked perfectly and wasn't burned which is something I really hate and the breast was nice and fresh. I did happen to have a grilled chicken, cheese, onion & peppers sandwich too from Pip's Pit. The chicken was coated in yogurt so it was really tender and tasty, anything with cheese on it is delicious as well. I was never disappointed whenever I got anything to eat from there. The braciole was also stuffed with parmesan cheese and basil which I heard was to die for. I didn't get a chance to try it, but it's first on my list next time!
The delicious grilled chicken, cheese, pepper and onions sandwich is up above.

My second favorite food, under cheese is rice, so naturally I'm a sucker for rice balls. Arancini Bro's serves up some really great batches of balls, so I hit that spot one of the days that I was there too. They give you 3 balls for $6 or 6 balls for $10. I decided to get 3, the Al Burro (Prosciutto-Cotto, Béchamel, Mozzarella, Saffron), the Bianco Rosso Verde (Basil Pesto with Mozzarella & Cherry-Tomato), and the Spinach and Ricotta (pictured below). My favorite out of all three was the spinach and ricotta. They were all really delicious though. Arancini Bro's has a knack for creating a traditionally toasty riceball with decadent fillings that are always delicious and give your taste buds a punch. I'm never disappointed. You can usually find that all different feasts, right now I know for sure they are at Madison Square Eats. Check out their website for more info

There isn't only Italian style food at the feast, vendors from all backgrounds come and fill the streets for those 11 days. Something that I've been dying to try but never got the chance to before was an Arepa. It's a Mexican style dish that is basically cornbread filled with mozzarella cheese and then fried on a grill. Like a cornbread grilled cheese, and honestly who doesn't love both of those things? It was magical. Filled with cheese and tasty cornbread that melted in your mouth. I would eat one everyday if it wasn't so unhealthy. I'll definitely be making some homemade ones in the near future. 

One of the days I was there, I just wanted something that was going to be filling and familiar to me. I walked up and down a few blocks and I finally settled on a burger. Little did I know that it was from a burger truck that has won multiple awards. After I ate the Bacon cheese burger with caramelized onions from the Hard Times Sundaes truck, I understood why it had one so many awards. Cooked to perfection and seasoned so perfectly especially for a burger that is made on a truck. The truck is located on Avenue U in Brooklyn and has seasonal homemade frozen treats (hence the sundaes), as well as burgers, chili, hot dogs, and fries. They even have an online ordering option for the winter so you don't have to stand in the cold (real MVP's, am i right?). You may have heard about them on Fox 5 News or in magazines such as Esquire and EatUP New York! I can't wait to make my way over there to try some of their other hits. You can follow them on facebook and also on their website

While I working the stand, I've seen a lot of people walking around with sticks of swirled potatoes that looked like this: 
(My friend photobombin there in the back, hiiiiiii Diffles!).
So I was curious and had to try some myself, once I heard that they could season them all different ways I was fit to try it out. I settled on Garlic & Parmasean seasoned. They were sooooo yummy. Like fresh potato chips that were seasoned perfectly and weren't so crunchy. It didn't lose it's natural potato like consistency that you usually find with bagged chips and it was actually pretty filling. I can't wait to try some different flavors.

And what would be eating if there weren't any desserts?

Naturally I stuffed my face with typical feast foods that included zeppoles (Italian fried donuts), cannoli, and fried oreos. All which were delcicious, I even had a cookies & cream cannoli because I like to be different haha.

But what really took the cake of the feast for me were the stuffed donuts that I had from Carnivale Stuffed Donuts Truck who had a stand across from me at the feast. They take plain donuts, stuff them with all different types of fillings and them top with icing, sauces, and a bunch of other stuff. The donuts are warm, soft, and delicious. I bought a couple different types including oreo, s'mores, reeses' and traditional nutella. All of them were huge hits in the house, I should've gotten more on the last day to bring home but I unfortunately forgot to stop before I left. I'll definitely be tracking their truck down to get another taste. You can follow them on Facebook, they are usually located in the NY/NJ area. You will not be disappointed, that's for sure. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Throwback Thursday Deliciousness

Last month I spent a week in the overwhelming sweaty Sunshine State, Florida. While there I didn't get to do as much eating as I would've enjoyed, but I did get to hit up some favorite spots as well as some new ones. 

One of our favorite places to visit while there is the Beach Comber Resort in Pompano Beach. With overnight accommodations, a private pool, private beach, and good dining, who would miss out on a trip here? Usually we go there for the day and use the private beach and pool, but the deliciously small menu doesn't hurt either. With dishes ranging from mahi mahi to burgers, there are options for everyone. 

I'm a really big seafood lover, so when I saw "Tropical Lump Crabcake" I was automatically in. Served on a bed of greens with a chipotle ranch sauce, and a tropical chilled avocado salsa, I was automatically in heaven. 
 This dish was the perfect of hot and cold with a little kick of spice from the chipotle ranch sauce. My only real complaint that it was over and maybe I could've used a little more avocado (but in reality, who couldn't use more avocado always?). For anyone who knows me personally, you would not be surprised by my choice of this dish based on only the fact that it had some type of ranch. I'm OBSESSED with ranch so maybe my opinion of the dish is a little biased, but that's okay there wasn't even a crumb left. 

My uncle is another fish lover, he went with the Fish Tacos. Mahi Mahi topped with a key lime coleslaw, cilantro sour cream, cheddar, and fresh pico de gallo on three warm tortillas served with chips and salsa (naturally). If I had the chance to try them I would've, but considering he demolished the dish in 5 minutes I'm guessing they were pretty good haha. 
I did get to steal some chips and salsa and it was pretty good. Crunchy chips and refreshing salsa. 

The meal also consisted of multiple burgers, fries, chicken fingers, and an array of fancy frozen delicious cocktails. If you are ever in the area or thinking about vacationing, The Beachcomber is definitely somewhere to look into! There are also other resorts on the same strip that rent jetskis and have other activities that could be a lot of fun. 

My family lives in Boyton Beach which is just a short ride to West Palm Beach. West Palm is known for being a little more commercial, especially in the area called City Place. There is a lot of shopping, dining, and fun stuff (movies, arcades, etc.) to do over here. My favorite obviously being food. I have a really big sweet tooth, which I'm sure those of you who have read my previous post know. My aunt basically forced me into trying macroons. Never really sure what a macaroon was, it wasn't really something I went out of my way to try. If emojis were an accepted form of communication on all platforms I would insert multiple heart eyes right now. 

A macaron is a light cookie made with egg whites, sugar, ground almonds, and/or coconut. They come in a variety of flavors. I tried a couple, including lavender and vanilla, but I fell in love with raspberry and salted caramel. I really love anything jelly related, and who doesn't love a nice salty caramel food experience? I went back to Le Macaron like 3 times just to get more. Luckily, it's a chain and I will be making my way to an NYC store as soon as I can. 
My first thought based on the appearance was that they would be hard or crunchy, which is why I never really looked into trying them (I like everything mushy and undercooked). When I bit in, I fell in love. The crunchy outside is immediately put aside by the soft and sweet center filled with cream of sometimes jelly. The best part about these is that you get relief of your sugar craving but it's not over powered in anyway. I tried macrons from another place, but I was disappointed so I'll stick with my Le Macron and their expensive treats :) 

City Place is also know for a sweet shop called Sloan's. Sloan's is known for their unique ice cream flavors, homemade waffle cones, dipped apples, fudge, multiple candies, and whimsical gifts. There are multiple locations in Florida and one location is California.

Walking in the store you feel like a little kid. It really is like being "Wonderland" which is what they aim for. It's fun to just walk around and look at all they have to offer. I naturally could not resist going in and trying something. And of course that something was ice cream. My grandma got ice cream too, which you'll see soon ;). The ice cream was good, a good consistency and tasty. They definitely had some unique flavors and a concoction of toppings and cones to choose from. 

I got the Southern Butter Pecan and the Cookie Monster. I stick to what I know usually because I hate being disappointed when it comes to my food (fatty for life). I wasn't disappointed, it was really great. 

I don't even remember what my grandma got, all I know was that it was soft served and dipped in chocolate shell and she was loving it. 
Gramz dove right in, I'm glad she enjoyed it and I'm also glad I got this picture. 

So when in Florida; Le Macaron, Sloan's, and Beachcomber. There are a couple of other places I haven't gotten to try yet on my trips, but I'll get there hopefully haha. (Currently writing this post while sitting in a workshop, food is obviously my number one priority!) 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fancy Fixings

There's been a place I was dying to try but it was a little out of my price range. Considering I haven't started my career yet, I can't afford to splurge on delicious meals as much as I would like. I usually opt for more affordable delicacies haha. But when Restaurant Week rolled around in NYC I jumped on my chance to indulge. Restaurant Week is Bi-Annual in NYC, a week in the winter and in the summer. For the two weeks throughout the year trendy restaurants offer a pre-fixe menu for lunch and dinner at discounted prices allowing bargain hunter foodies (like myself) a chance to try new food. They are always adding restaurants to the list of offerings as well as keeping some classics around allowing you to revisit them. If I had the chance to go to more, I would've. I kind of didn't realize it was restaurant week until it was half way over and I new it was my chance to finally try Fig & Olive. 

Fig & Olive in NYC has three locations; Meatpacking, Fifth Avenue, and on Lexington. They also have locations in Westchested, California, Chicago and D.C.. Fig & Olive combines food from Italy, France and Spain, mostly coastal and Riveria cuisine. Their core ingredient is olive oil and they specialize in pairing each olive oil with the appropriate dish. They have over 30 different types (which I didn't even know existed, honestly hah). I made a reservation and grabbed my two best friends and we headed there. 

The design of the restaurant was truly elegant. Everything was very modern and bright, and the decor matched the theme of the establishment; lots of olive plants and figs encased in glass. They had chandeliers and a jeweled sculpture that was beautiful. You had the option of ordering off the regular menu and the pre-fixe. I chose the pre-fixe so that I could have more options, my friend millicia did as well. We started off with an olive oil tasting of  three different types and some bread for dipping. I started with the Truffle Mushroom Croquette.  
Cremini mushrooms, Parmesan, bechamel sauce, and a truffle olive oil aioli. These were truly to die for. So delicious, I didn't want them to end. It was probably my favorite thing from the whole experience and I would go back just for them. Sort of like fried mac and cheese balls but lighter and tastier. Nothing like anything I've had, and thinking of it makes me want more.

My friend Millicia had the Zucchini Carpaccio. It's fresh, raw zucchini chilled and placed with lemon, pine nut, parmesan, and topped with picholine olive oil. 
It was a very refreshing and light dish. I'm a big zucchini lover so I was a fan. But I definitely wouldn't choose it over the crimini mushroom truffles. 

For the main course, I went with the Paella Del Mar. It featured black tiger shrimp, calamari, mussels, saffron rice, green peas, red bell peppers, artichokes, saffron aioli, pimenton, oregano and cooked with hojiblanca olive oil. 
Truthfully, I thought the portion would've been slightly larger and the calamari was a little over cooked for my liking (I'm Italian, I know properly cooked calamari ;)). Other than that, the dish was very tasty. Not the best paella I've ever had but it was pretty good. The saffron rice and hojiblanco Olive oil really paired well together and gave it a great taste. I also liked that it was served in a mini wok. I would probably try it again. 

Millicia got the Grilled Thyme Chicken Paillard. Grilled chicken breast marinated with lemon and thyme, served with arugula, spinach, Brussels sprouts, tomatos, almonds, bell peppers, lemon, and finished with arbequina Olive oil. 
This was a hearty portion, but described as ordinary. I didn't try it personally but my friend said it was good but not something she would come back for. It did really seem like something you could get anywhere. Nothing else seemed inviting to her on the prix-fixe menu so she went with something that seemed  fimilar. 

My friend Jen didn't order off the prix-fixe menu and ended up getting the Filet Mingon Panini. Sliced filet Mingon, tomato, marinated portobellos, fontina cheese, caramelized onions, and a Rosemary mayo. This was served with a side of mixed greens dressed with a fig balsamic dressing, and Mediterranean fries.
Jen ate this like a champ, she absolutely loved it. And considering she has the stomach capacity of a small child, me and Millicia split the other half haha. It was delicious, seasoned great and very filling. All of the ingredients paired well with one another and the Rosemary mayo was refreshing and delightful. The fries were cooked and seasoned perfectly and were very very tasty. All in all it was a delicious dish. 

And what would any meal be without dessert? Nothing, duh. The prix-fixe menu offered two desserts, so Millicia and I each got one. 
 Dessert #1 was a Dessert Crostini featuring strawberries, mascarpone, and balsamic shortbread with micro basil.  All I can say is, disappointing. The crostini lacked flavor and by the time we got the dessert the mascarpone had hardened and just wasn't very inviting.

Dessert #2 Panna Cotta à L'orange featuring orange panna cotta with cookie crumble strawberry & basil jam and orange sorbet on the side. Definitely the better dessert option, I enjoyed most of it. The sorbet was melted which was a little disappointing but overall the Panna cotta was pretty good and I enjoyed the overall taste. It wasn't overpowers by orange which made me like it even more. 

So overall, I would say Fig & Olive may be a little too fine of dinning for the taste of my close friends and I haha. I would probably go back and order off the regular menu and give the place a second chance. It's a truly beautiful establishment and captures the essence of the Mediterranean. The emphases on Olive oil is such a cool and different concept. I give a lot of credit for taking something so simple, making it complex, and pairing it with foods that only bring out each eccentric individual quality. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Brooklyn Classic

If you grew up in South Brooklyn, your favorite part of leaving P.S 58 or coming home from work in the afternoon was stopping at Joe's Supperette, grabbing a couple of rice and prosciutto balls, and going to Carroll Park. No one had balls like Joe's and it was a classic South Brooklyn staple. It was something that you could rely on, that you grew up knowing. It didn't matter how old you were, you knew about Joe's and you would only want riceballs from there. A couple of years ago, unfortunately, Joe's closed due to the death of Leo. A truly tragic loss, both for the business of riceballs and the person that Leo was. Up until recently, I couldn't get my hands on any rice balls that lived up to Joe's. Other businesses would try, but they could never compare. Thankfully to a great family friend, Aaron Falcone, I finally had the balls that I've been missing from my life (bahahaha). 

Aaron has been making these rice balls for a while, and I finally got a chance to try them. He offered me some, and I picked them up without hesitation. My inner fat girl was jumping for joy and I cojuldnt wait to fry them up and have a taste. 

Look at that sizzlllleeeee! 

I think I over fried them a little but Flo was taking to long to do it, and I couldn't wait anymore (thanks, mom *rolls eyes* haha).  But that didn't stop them from being absolutely delicious. They tasted just like Joe's, possibly even better. The consistency was right, they had just enough crunch, and they were nice and creamy and didn't have to much pepper which I definitely appreciated. 
Look at those beauties! Nice big chunks of prosciutto and they even have the same coloring that Joe's balls had. Ugh I can't tell you how grateful I was to have them. A very big thank you to Aaron for giving me back a piece of my childhood and reminding me what it's like to have a decent riceball. You wouldn't think it would be so hard to find decent balls in Brooklyn, but it really is. Although nothing could live up to those afternoons at Joe's and getting greasy rice balls from Leo, Aaron is the guy to go to! You can find him on Facebook! 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Big Mouth Strikes Again

After a very long week and a half, me and my best friend, Millicia, were due for a reunion. What better way to commemorate a friendship than by eating a glorious meal together? We couldn't think of a better idea either. So, with this in mind we made our way to the city to Broadway Bites. The day started off rocky because as usual we decided to wing it on the train and get off were we thought was right instead of checking (typical, I know). Then we find out that our train isn't running, and of course get off at the wrong stop. Deciding what we should do is never easy, so we like to flip a coin. The coin toss decided that we would make our way 20 blocks to Broadway Bites. We schlep our way there, and of course can't find it. Upon googling to find the correct location, we learned that we were standing in it. The the problem, you ask? We were actually 5 days late because it ended on the 26th (LOL, our bad). So we took a cab to choice B, and boy were we grateful. 

Choice B: The Smith on 3rd Ave between East 10th and 11th. (They also have locations in Midtown and Lincoln Center)

I heard really great things about this place so I was happy to get it considering our original plan was foiled. After browsing the Saturday lunch menu, we decided on a couple Watermelon Fizzes, the Mac&Cheese for an appetizer, and we each got a BLT+E with fries. Let me tell you, not one thing was a disappointment. We were actually elated that our whole day was a mess up until that point, that's how good everything turned out. The atmosphere of the place is really chill and cool. There's music playing in the background but not too loud where you can enjoy the company of who you're with. They have a full bar, plus a variety of brunch and other special cocktails and beers. A MUST TRY. 
Watermelon Fizz: Fresh Watermelon, Gin, and Champagne. So light and delicious and even to give you a little buzz without feeling like you wasted your calories on a drink. They change the fizz for the seasonal fruit and I love love love watermelon so we were both happy campers. 

Mac&Cheese: Taste like your typical beschamel sauce with cheddar and maybe some Gruyere cheese. Cooked in a skillet and brought to the table still sizzling. The sides and top get a nice crisp while the middle is nice and cheesy with pasta cooked to perfection. It might be just as good as S'MAC (just a couple blocks away actually!). Very filling though, we couldn't finish it all but very very delicious yummmmmmy. 

BLT+E: Bacon, lettuce, and tomato + a fried egg finished with mayo and a nice hearty side of French fries dipped in Sir Kensington Ketchup (all natural, only 2 grams of sugar!). Me and Mill love a good croissant, bacon is love no matter what it's on, and the tomatoes were so fresh they crunched. It was honestly delicious. The fries were cooked perfectly, nice and crunchy on the outside and nice and smooth on the inside. Ugh the only complaint I had was that it was over. It was so good I never wanted it to end. And I'm definitely going back to try other things on their menu.

We always have room for dessert, and we're both suckers for ice cream. Since we already tried a couple of places in the East Village already, we wanted to try something new. We decided on a place called Mikey Likes It on Avenue A and East 13th. This place was so cool. Just a little shop with minimal seating, but the vibe was so great and the employees were really nice and helpful. The clock on the wall is dubbed with inspirational people from the 80s and 90s, like Kevin McCallister(Home Alone), Salt N' Pepa, and of course The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air(Will Smith). They have flavors also inspired by inspirational figures, like the Larry Legend (vanilla custard with pieces of chocolate donut, vanilla cake, and elephant ear cookies), Ice Ice Baby (tripled vanilla, featuring three different types of vanilla beans), and Cool Runnings (coconut ice cream with coconut and dark chocolate shavings and toasted almonds). And concoctions that range from the Mac Daddy (ice cream sandwiched between waffles), 2 Live Crew (milkshake with your choice), and Milli Vanilli (float with your choice of coke or rootbeer and ice cream), you'll always be satisfied. I obviously got the Larry Legend in a cup, Millicia got the Chocolate Thunder (quadruple chocolate churned ice cream) in a sugar cone. Really really really great organic ice cream. They can even make ice cream lactose free and vegan if requested in advance.
To learn more about The Smith and to see the menu visit the website at To learn more about Mikey Likes It Ice Cream, to view the menu, and inquire about services (they do wedding receptions!) visit their website at 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wizarding World Finds

This weekend I pretty much went to heaven. I rode the Hogwarts Express and spent the day in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley! If you followed the Harry Potter stories, it's like a lifestyle. Getting the opportunity to experience both was absolutely life changing. I took a tour through Gringotts Bank, rode a Hungarian Horntale, and  took a tour through Hogwarts. I shopped in Ollivanders Wand Shop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, and even Borgin and Burkes. While I was there I obviously sampled some of the staples of Harry Potter, including the famous Butter Beer. I even made my way to Honeydukes and got some sweets! Everything was even more than I could imagine, I wish that I had access to these things everyday. Here are some of the things I was able to try:

1. Butter Beer (Frozen)
A combination of cream soda and butterscotch doesn't do justice to explain the deliciousness that is Butter Beer. Since it was so hot, I opted for the frozen which is basically a slushie. You would assume that it would be way to sweet, but it's actually refreshing and perfectly flavored. They even top it off with a butterscotch malt, I'm not sure if that's the right way to explain it. Literally to die for, I wish I had gotten one to go in all honesty haha. 

2. Cauldron Cake from Honeydukes 
A Cauldron Cake is a variant of a chocolate cupcake that every wizard and witch would love! It's Devils Food cake with a chocolate mousse filling. The handle is made of dark chocolate, there is also a garnishment of white chocolate in the middle. This was super sweet, too sweet to even indulge fully having to throw some away at the end. So so so delicious though. Definitely something I may try to make at home for Halloween this year (stay tuned). 

3. Butter Beer Ice Cream 
Being a slave for ice cream, how could I pass up the chance to have Butter Beer Ice Cream from Florean Fortescues'.  The shop has a variety of flavors of soft serve and regular ice cream, but I couldn't pass up the butter beer because you can't get it any where else! It's a vanilla ice cream soft serve with a ribbon of butter beer. It's much sweeter than the actually drink (which is expected) but still delicious and satisfying on a hot summer day. Definitely a must try if you're in Diagon Alley. You can't get it in Hogsmeade. 

It was honestly such an amazing experience. Riding the train and visiting these places that you only see in movies and dream about going. Getting the opportunity to visit them is so invigorating. Universal really did a wonderful job of reenacting Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley based off the books and movies. It was an honor being able to experience it. I went into every store and did everything there was to do and I can't wait for the chance to do it again. I really urge everyone who gets the opportunity to do it and make sure you get the tickets for both parks to get the full experience! Butter beer was my absolute favorite, that alone is worth it haha! 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Going Mex for Meg's 24th

This past weekend was spent celebrating one of my best friend, Megan's, 24th birthday. I know she really likes Mexican food, so I made reservations for a really great Mexican restaurant I heard about in Battery Park. El Vez is definitely a must try. Located on Vessey Street it's a quick ride from Brooklyn and Staten Island. There are multiple parking garages near by and a ride with uber from Carroll Gardens was super inexpensive. The vibe of the restaurant right off the bat is great. It's casual enough to freely enjoy yourself but still has an edgy vibe. You can go there for a night out with friends or even for a nice dinner with your family (multiple kids were there while I was on a Saturday night). It's a spacious restaurant with cool decor and a full bar (always, always a plus). We started off with Guacamole, Salsa and Chips (because, duh!) and the Nacho Mama appetizer. Probably the best nachos I've ever had. 
For an entree, we all got different variations of the same thing. I got the crab tostadas and sweet plantains drizzled with cheese (Insert heart eye emoji here) with a glass of the sparkling white sangria. 
There was also orders or crab tacos, chicken tacos, chicken enchiladas, and oxtail enchiladas. 
Everything was really great and delicious and it wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be for the area. It's definitely somewhere I would go again. 

After dinner we decided to go to a rooftop bar near by that we've been hearing a lot about, Loopy Doopy at the Conrad Hotel. They're known for their Prosecco Ice Pop Cocktails. Little did we know, there would be a crazy wait. For future reference, put your name on the list at the hotel first and then go and eat. There aren't a lot of bars near by to hang out while you wait, so that's your best bet. The rooftop was small, they only let a certain amount of people up at a time. Seating is limited and there isn't a DJ playing music or anything of that nature. Definitely more of a relaxing place, much better for a brunch or sunny afternoon than a night out. The drinks were good though, a little expensive but that's expected. It's somewhere I would go back to with a different atmosphere in mind. The view is also beautiful and much better appreciated during the day. 

All in all, the night was a success. We ended up at Zombie Hut in Carroll Gardens playing Apples To Apples haha. Currently writing this post 30,000 feet in air on my way to Florida so stay tuned for some West Palm and Orlando eats while I'm on vacation. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pump Up the Protein

Monday-Thursday (Friday is I'm really feeling it, usually not though haha) I try to maintain a healthy diet and work out routine. I stay low carb and low sugar and do a workout regimen that includes weight training, cardio, and T25 (a cardio infused strength training program). I try to go to the gym when I wake up eating a snack like a banana before hand and then having a hearty breakfast after. That breakfast usually consist of eggs, but lately I'm just not feeling them. I really love pancakes but they're not the lowest in carbs or the healthiest. I started researched recipes and I saw that a lot of people have been usually Greek yogurt. I decided to try my hand at them. The recipe I found called for: 
• 3/4 cup of Greek Yogurt 
• 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
• 2 egg whites 
• 1 tsp of baking soda 

I changed it up a little. I used:
• 3/4 cup Fage 0% Total Plain Greek Yogurt
•1/2 cup whole wheat flour
• 1/2 scoop Gold Whey Standard Cookies & Cream Protein
• 1 whole egg
• 1 tsp of baking soda 

You could probably substitute more protein for less flour but I have 5 ulcers and other stomach issues so I can't break down more than a 1/2 scoop at a time. They were actually really delicious but just a little bland ( I missed that the original recipe called for flavored yogurt, whoops). I topped them with Nutella to give them some extra flavor (I'm Italian what can I say?). Next time I'm going to try adding a little vanilla extract and a few dark chocolate chips to lower the fat and calorie intake, and add some flavor. They are definitely something I can see myself making when eggs are just not cutting it for me anymore. They were fluffy like pancakes but more nutritious and a great post-workout breakfast. I had some bacon with it too. If you're looking to spice up your breakfast meals, I think most people would enjoy this recipe. It's simple, quick and let's you indulge a little. Finished product below :)  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Jumping for Joya

One of my favorite places in the Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill area is Joya. Joya serves Thai/Asian food with vegetarian options. Not only is it cheap and affordable, but the food is great too! They offer multiple options from spicy curries to fried calamari to bowls of noodles, all delicious. It's literally the only place I will go for Thai food, coming in from Staten Island regularly just for a bite. Everyone that I have brought there to try has never had anything bad to say about it. The portions are hefty but you always leave there feeling satisfied but not like you've over indulged. For appetizer, I always enjoy the Fried Tiger Shrimp Rolls with the plum sauce. For the summer they also have a really great Salmon Avocado Summer Roll with a spicy Thai peanut sauce. The fried calamari appetizer is really delicious too, for something that isn't known for being Thai it's definitely a pleasant surprise. For an entree, I always get the Shrimp Woon Sen, glass noodles with shrimp, mixed vegetable, and eggs. It's my favorite and no matter how many times I say I'll try something new, I can never part from what I know will be a delicious explosion in my mouth. The tiger shrimp rolls and Woon Sen are pictured below. 
During the week the wait for Joya is not so bad, but on the weekends unless you go for an early dinner you could be there for a while. Luckily there is a DJ always playing and a full bar with drinks flowing. The bar prices are also affordable and they have some Asian style beers that are pretty good. If you're in the area, it's definitely a spot to stop and grab a bite. They deliver if you live close by and do take out orders, as well. 

Since Joya never really leaves you overly stuffed, there is always room for dessert. One of my absolute favorite ice cream places in Park Slope is just a short ride from Joya. So on my last visit for Thai food, I  drove over to Union St and Third Ave and indulged in some Ample Hills Creamery Ice Cream. 

Ample Hills Creamery prides itself on its use of all natural ingredients. The milk and eggs that come from hormone free, grass-fed chickens and cows are churned and made right on premises. They try to avoid extracts and use fresh ingredients. Although it is probably a longer process, it's definitely worth it. The ice cream is to die for. There are combinations of unique and original flavors, all with a twist. My favorites are the Butter Pecan Brittle and the Chocolate Milk & Cookies, seen below. 
I've had others like the Snap, Mallow, Pop, Salted Crack Caramel, and Raw Deal. None of them have ever disappointed me or anyone that I've peer pressured into breaking their diets for this delicious treat (Sorry Megan & Chris hahaha) 
I think they agree it was worth it & approve the deliciousness :) 

There are two shops in Brooklyn, one in Park Slope and one in Gowanus. During the summer you can also visit their Kiosk on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. There is even the option to order 6 packs of some of their flavors online. Ice cream cakes are available for preorder (I've never had any but I'm sure they're spectacular & I want one for my next birthday so you know who this pertains to you bahaha). Speaking of birthdays by the way, they throw birthday parties for kids (if they did adults I would be in there like swimwear but I'm too embarrassed to ask haha)! The best part really is that they are always changing their flavors while keeping most of them as regulars. You're always be surprised when you go in and there is always something new to try. It's really a must for people who like and love ice cream. Visit their website for more information