SECRET PIZZA AND A WEEKEND IN PHOTOS

In a city that is notorious for it’s Pizza, I think I’ve finally found my very favorite slice in town. Though popular among born and bred Brooklynites and authentic Italians (at least that’s what my two very Italian friends tell me), I think this place is fairly unknown. L&B Spumoni Gardens is quite a trek but it is SO worth it. There are two ways to get there a) drive, though parking can be tricky or b) take the subway (N to 86th street or D to 25th Ave).

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There is often quite a wait and you won’t have much luck sweet-talking the old school grumpy Italian hostess, but your patience will pay off. I’ve only been here twice so my suggestions are limited but I would suggest getting the Caprese salad which is a fresh and healthy start to what is sure to be a not-so-healthy meal. The rice balls look amazing. I didn’t have them as they aren’t vegetarian, but I did have the melted cheese and marinara sauce which comes on top of them and it was delicious. We got a carafe of the house red which is decent enough when you’re paying a pittance though I would just as soon get an ice cold Peroni to pair with my carbs. The obvious must-have is the Sicilian Pizza. This pizza… I “can’t even”. I mean I “literally can’t”. It feels like you’re biting into a cloud of dough. The marinara sauce has a delicious sweetness to it and there is the perfect ratio of sauce to cheese. If you are lucky enough to get a corner slice, you’ll really be in heaven. I’ve committed a Spumoni crime twice now in that I’ve never actually ordered any Spumoni. I am usually too full at that point and I tend to be more of a savory gal so you know where my priorities lie. I’ve heard the Spumoni is pretty darn good though.

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As a side note, if you happen to drive to L&B Spumoni Garden in the month of December, you should also drive by Dyker Heights to see the famous Christmas Lights. They are over-the-top but beautiful.

We spent our Saturday evening at Spumoni Gardens in an effort to carb load for Roman’s half-marathon on Sunday. It seemed to have been a successful mission because he ran a great race. After not having run farther than four miles in months, Roman ran the half marathon on Sunday under two hours. I got to cheer him on in Times Square and then meet him at the finish. After his race, we went for Brunch at one of my favorites, The Smile. I had a quinoa, lentil, egg concoction which was great and he had lox and lemon caper cream cheese on a Black Seed Bagel. I’m not a lox person but I tasted his food and it was SO good.

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Post-brunch, Roman and I walked around the village to different antique stores looking for furniture for our new apartment which we are moving into in the next few weeks. We found a million things we wanted and yet nothing we could afford. We also found some great mural walls to pose in front of.

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After walking around for a bit, I went downtown to the Glossier pop-up shop. If you don’t know Glossier, you should. I don’t mind ordering it online but going to the pop-up is so fun, I can’t resist. It smells like roses (due to the Soothing Face mist which contains Rosewater) and is a pink wonderland. I spent way too much money on various new products I wanted to try but so far it’s worth it because I’m loving everything. If you want to try out some of their products you can get 20% off with this Link.

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After a pretty good nap, Roman and I went to dinner at a friend’s place in Brooklyn. It was a fabulous night of wine, tuna steak (my first time having it, it was great!) and a very addicting game called Spyfall. 

Overall it was a perfect weekend. How was yours? Let me know!

THE “24 HOURS” SERIES

There are so many ways that I would suggest spending 24 hours in New York City. As I mentioned in a previous post, the endless options give me a bit of commitment phobia. SO, Here’s the first post of a series that will detail what you COULD do with 24 hours in New York.

 

Let’s assume that:

1. You don’t want to do too many touristy, cliché things
2. It’s decent weather

3. You like to eat and drink as much as I do

Start by having a New York-centric breakfast. If you’re downtown get a bagel at Tompkins Square Bagels. Be prepared to wait in a long line of hungover youths, bring cash, and do NOT ask them to toast the bagel.

If you want more of a diner experience, go to City Diner on the Upper West Side or the aforementioned Flame diner in midtown (in case you missed it, you can read about The Flame here). If you do go to The Flame be sure to say hi to Pedro behind the counter. He’s really good at pouring a bowl of fruit loops. I know because I had this for breakfast for most of my childhood.

After breakfast get on the 2/3 to Clark Street or the A/C to High street and head to Brooklyn Heights. When you get to Brooklyn Heights you should probably get a second cup of coffee to walk around with because you’re on vacation and you’re indulging. There’s a good coffee shop on Clarke street between Henry and Hicks. Get a cup o’ joe (i’ve always wanted to say that) and walk to the promenade. The view from the promenade is probably my favorite view of the city. The perspective of the city from the park below the promenade is even more overwhelming.

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After you’ve soaked up the view of the city, you’ll want to walk back up through Brooklyn Heights to the pedestrian entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge. Don’t go all the way to the start, enter by the stairs in Cadman Plaza Park. For your own safety stay out of the bike lane (stay to the left) while walking across the bridge and for the love of goodness don’t stop in the middle of the path to take tons of pictures. If you do, you’ll see the side of New Yorkers you’ve heard so much about.

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I think by now you might be ready for lunch. It’ll be a bit of a walk (I hope you have stylish sneakers on) but head towards Chinatown. There’s a hole-in-the-wall, real authentic Chinese place called Deluxe Green Bo. It’s comical that it contains the word deluxe because it’s anything but.  You might feel like you’ll catch some kind of contagious disease just sitting in this place, but I’m telling you it’s worth it. The one thing you have to get is the scallion pancakes. Don’t eat too much cause there’s still a lot to be consumed in this 24 hours.

From there either walk off the pancakes or take the 1 from Franklin to Houston street. (Let me save you some embarrassment by telling you now that Houston is not pronounced like the city in Texas. New York decided it would defy the rules of the English language so it has its own pronunciation of the word.  You say it like house-tin.) ANYWAY, If you do decide to walk, it would be nice (though a bit longer) to go along the Hudson River. Once you get to Houston Street, make your way to Houston Hall. I’m obsessed with this place. At night it can get a bit too “broey” for me, but during the off hours it’s great. I regularly try to convince my boyfriend that we should get married here, however, we are not yet engaged so my campaign doesn’t seem to be going very well. If you’re still hungry, the fried pickles are great. Obviously the beer is a must as well, my favorite being the wheat beer.

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(Seriously though, how pretty is that!)

If I were you I’d probably be ready for a nap. I’d either go home or to Central Park to lie in the grass at the Great Lawn or Sheep’s Meadow. If you end up in the park, after relaxing for a bit find one of those ice cream carts. My favorite thing is the strawberry short cake popsicle. That oughta wake you up a bit.

After your day of consumption (which isn’t over yet) you might feel like something a bit lighter for dinner. Peacefood Cafe on the Upper West Side is one of my favorite places. The chick pea fries are amazing as is the asian greens salad. If you’re not that into vegan/vegetarian fare you can walk up the block to Jacob’s Pickles and be the carnivore you were meant to be.

After dinner my suggestion would be to head to the East Village to Anyway Cafe. From the Upper West Side you can take the B at 72nd and Central Park West to Rockefeller Center and switch to the F. Take that to 2nd Avenue and then walk up from there. Anyway Cafe has live music every night and the best infused vodkas. My favorites are the horseradish and the dill vodka. Hang there, soak it all in, and cry a little cause your wallet is a little thinner but your pants are a bit tighter.