HOT DOG!

Crif Dogs: In New York City, hot dogs are as common as the yellow taxi; everywhere you turn you can get one of these street meat meals. If hot dog stands aren’t your thing, and the thought of a dozen Oscar Meyers swimming in a steam bath for god knows how long isn’t causing your mouth to salivate, I would have to say, I’m right there with you. Something about hot dog carts in the city, any city, gives me the heebie jeebies; but since I enjoy a hot dog here and there, I was eager to try the famous Crif Dogs. Tucked below street level on Saint Marks in the East Village is this legendary hot spot. Crif Dogs is always buzzing with people who want a mouthful of explosive flavor in just a few bites.  Walk up to the counter and search the one of a kind menu for a dog that gets your culinary adrenaline rushing. Here are a few of their super original creations, just a sneak peak to get your taste buds working:

Chihuaha: a hot dog wrapped in salty smoky bacon with avocadoes and sour cream

Philly Tubesteak: a hot dog drenched in a yellow cheese sauce and sautéed onions

Garden State: a hot dog wrapped in taylor ham cradled between a slice of American cheese and topped with pepperchinis and mustard

Spicy Redneck:  a hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with chili, cole slaw and jalapenos

Tsunami: a bacon wrapped dog covered in teriyaki sauce, pineapple and green onion

Having tried a few (ehm ehm) myself, (what?!!!…they aren’t foot longs!), I highly recommend any of these selections! Don’t leave without trying their waffle fries drenched in creamy yellow cheese sauce; a side that is so bad for you, but taste so incredibly good, that you wont realize until afterwards that you have eaten about a weeks worth of calories in five minutes. Right after that calorific fact hits you, you realize, they were worth every guilty bite.

Bottom Line: Crif Dogs lives up to their hype, no doubt.

 

 

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Eataly!

Eataly: Nothing is average in New York City, and Eataly is a prime example of it. Eataly is an Italian grocery store pumped up on steroids. The brains behind this establishment didn’t forget a single detail, from homemade pasta counters, to being able to enjoy a house brewed beer, this gourmet store hasn’t left anything out. Located across the street from Madison Square Park is this foodie’s house of worship. The unique thing about this Italian emporium is that throughout the open floor plan, there are mini restaurants that specialize in different foods, i.e. fish, pizza, meat, cheese, ect.  If you don’t want to sit down and have waitress service, just walk up to one of the counters and get fresh mozzarella, homemade baked bread, olives, anything your Italian appetite desires! Wine kiosks with their very own connoisseurs are dotted around the store offering patrons a variety of vinos, something for everyone’s palate! If you decided to take a stroll through Eataly on the weekend, expect a mad house. This place may be huge, but Eataly has crammed everything and more inside of it, making it difficult to navigate without bumping into people or things. Once you have had enough of the crowds, ride the elevator up to the fourteenth floor and enjoy a pint of in house cask conditioned ale , brewed thirty feet from the bar at Birreria, Eataly’s rooftop restaurant and brewery.

Basically..: If you are grocery shopping for the week, avoid this place on Saturday and Sunday, go on a quiet week night. If you are looking to impress a date, wine and dine him or her at one of their fourteen Italian restaurants.  Enjoy!

The Lower East Side

Chit Chat: The Lower East Side is one of my favorite neighborhoods on the island. It attracts trendy and cool people in their late twenties and thirties. Musicians and artists hang out downtown, making this area exciting and unique. Restaurants and bars are like their crowds, original and hip. LES is considered an up and coming neighborhood making it still somewhat affordable for Manhattan. Definitely jump on this cool bandwagon before rents skyrocket, you won’t regret it.

Beauty and Essex: I love this place. I really do. I mean, what girl wouldn’t love a place that gives you a pretty pink glass of free champagne in the bathroom? That’s right, complimentary champagne in the ladies lounge! Hidden behind an antique pawn shop, is a very large two story restaurant, complemented with two oversized bars. I say this because it is definitely a restaurant with a bar, not a bar with some seating to eat. Come here to start your night off with fabulous drinks and some delicious small plates of food. The décor of this place is to die for. Velvet, leather, chandeliers, soft blush lighting; it’s like every girl’s dream room. Grab a seat at the bar if you can, because before you know it, you will be packed in like a sardine in a can, but a very very chic can at that. Next time you are thinking about going to the LES, get dressed up and mingle with New York’s beautiful crowd at Beauty and Essex.

Schillers Liquor Bar: Restaurateur  Keith McNally opened up this lower east side establishment in 2003, and it’s been a popular spot for LES dwellers ever since. Truthfully, I have never eaten anything that was memorable here, but it’s their blended jalapeño margarita that keeps me coming back for more. Schillers is located in the heart of the lower east side, with tons of bars and other places to eat at just a hip skip and hop away, so stop in and grab this delicious cocktail before you head to dinner. What I love about the margarita is the texture of it. Nothing turns me off a margarita more than when it has crunchy bits of ice in it. Schillers blends their tequila delight to a sorbet, making it the perfect concoction to drink on a hot sticky summer Manhattan day. Salute!


  

Prune: Being that I am a massive fan of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, I was eager to dine at a place he recommended! On one of his episodes, he took his audience to a number of different places in Manhattan, Prune being the one that “all of the chefs go to after work.” About a week after I saw the show, I headed down to check it out for myself. Mr. Bourdain described the food as  simple but done to perfection. Honestly, there is no other way to describe the food than just that, simple and perfect. None of the dishes are over done. There is no fluff or silly herbs garmenting the plates. Every morsel is meant to be enjoyed. This place is all about the quality of the ingredients, and letting them speak for themselves. Small, but personable, the dining room is basically the mirror image of the food, clean, pristine, and delightful.