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16 Handles

14 Jun

In addition to lovely brunches, I enjoy a lot of frozen treats over the summer.

Whether it be ice cream, frozen yogurt, soft serve, or sorbet, I’m a happy camper.  I don’t discriminate.

One of my favorite fro yo places is 16 Handles.

The location closest to our apartment is relatively new, as in this will be the first summer I don’t have to hop on the subway to enjoy 16 Handles.  Luckily, it’s still about a mile away so it won’t become a daily treat.  And, each time I go, I’m sure to walk at least two miles so that justifies an extra topping, don’t you think?

In case you haven’t been to 16 Handles or a similar type of place, I’m going to tell you all about it.  Each day 16 Handles offers 16 different flavors of frozen yogurt.

The flavors range from peanut butter (my personal favorite) to cake batter to watermelon sorbet, and everything in between.  Everything is self serve so you can get as much, or as little, as you want!

They also have a deluxe topping bar that’s sure to please everyone.

Some toppings include fresh fruit, mini peanut butter cups, cookie dough, and gummy bears, among many others.

On my last trip, I enjoyed peanut butter, banana, and cake batter frozen yogurts topped with brownie bites, peanut butter cups, and graham cracker crumbs. 

Yum!  I can see many more trips to 16 Handles in my near future.

What’s your favorite summer time treat?

Cilantro

13 Jun

Summer has certainly hit NYC.  We had two days last week that were well into the 90s!  Not mention the ice cream trucks are out in full force and most women are wearing skirts or shorts that would make their mothers blush.  Not me of course (Hi Mom!).

One of my favorite summer time traditions is brunch.  Now you may be wondering, why is brunch reserved for the summer?  Well, in theory, it isn’t just a summer time activity but it’s just so much more enjoyable in the warmer weather.  There’s nothing quite like strolling to brunch in the sunshine after spending a lazy weekend morning in bed knowing that I don’t have to cook or clean.  Bliss.

This past weekend, Alex and I went to one of our favorite brunch locales; Cilantro.

Cilantro is a favorite for a number of reasons.  The environment is casual and family friendly, the food is top-notch, and the prices cannot be beat!

As usual, we started our meal with a basket of chips and salsa.  They also offer fried plantains which are great!  Crunchy, salty, and… gone.

For our entrees, I got the shrimp fajitas with an array of sides and whole wheat tortillas.  The thing I love about fajitas is that you have the ability to make it what you want.  You can be sure that I ate all the shrimp, peppers, and guacamole 🙂

Alex got his usual dish; steak and eggs.  He got this entire dish for $8!  I’m telling you the prices are ridiculous.  Let’s just hope no one from Cilantro reads this and increases the prices, haha (highly unlikely, indeed).

As always, we left as two very happy customers.  If you’re ever looking for a great brunch place on the upper east side, Cilantro never disappoints.

What’s one summer time tradition that you love?

Pizza Plant

4 Jun

I’m home in Buffalo this weekend to do some planning and shopping for the wedding.  Today was a busy but very successful day!  We started the morning off with three different craft stores and managed to find my sister’s dress.  I’m thrilled with our progress. 🙂

When we found time for a lunch break, it was only natural for us to head to Pizza Plant which is one of my favorite local restaurants.

Pizza Plant has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.  Their expansive menu means that there is something for everyone and, in my opinion, everything is delicious.

You have your choice of flat pizzas, stuffed pizzas, pods, sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, desserts, etc.  The list really goes on and on.

One thing that they are famous for is their pods.  What’s a pod you ask?  Well, I’ll tell ya.  A pod is essentially a long, cylindrical calzone.  They have several signature pods or you can create your own.

Since I rarely get to eat at Pizza Plant, I always go with my favorite; the garden stuffed pizza.

Does that look amazing?!  My mom and I split this pie and we were still left with half of it as leftovers.  The portion sizes are huge!

My sister, Amanda, enjoyed her veggie burrito.

If you’re ever in the Buffalo area in the need of a good restaurant, check out Pizza Plant.  I promise it won’t disappoint!

Do you have a favorite restaurant in your home town?  Tell me about it!

99 Miles to Philly

2 Jun

Last night Alex and I found ourselves in the East Village.  We headed downtown after work to meet up with a potential DJ for the wedding.  I have to say, it’s been nice to explore different neighborhoods due to wedding planning!

A few months ago, Alex went to 99 Miles to Philly with a friend and has been raving about it ever since.  In fact, we’d already agreed that we’d go sometime and last night turned out to be the perfect opportunity.

One of the great foodie accomplishments of Philadelphia is its cheesesteak sandwich.  The simple combination of steak, cheese and grilled onions has won the heart of many, my fiance included.

Before last night, I’d never had a classic Philly cheesesteak and some might argue that I still haven’t.  For one thing, I was still in NYC and another thing is that I ordered my sandwich with chicken.  Regardless, it was still pretty fabulous.

99 Miles to Philly is a small restaurant with limited seating.  It wasn’t an issue for us as it seems they do a lot of business through pick ups and deliveries.  When we walked in, we headed straight to the counter as that is the only place to find a menu. 

They offer three basic starters for a sandwich, steak, chicken, or vegetable.  From there you have the choice of three different cheeses, American, provolone, or Cheez Whiz.  I went with provolone as I’m quite partial to it.  And finally you can add any number of veggie; onions, mushrooms, sweet or hot peppers, etc.  Essentially, you’re building your own Philly cheesesteak.  They also offer a number of side dishes, such as waffle fries, chili, potato salad, etc.

The portions are huge!  The picture above is only half of the sandwich.  The rest was still wrapped up on the right.  I was only able to make it through half and gladly took the second half home for leftovers.

I found the food to be great.  It came out piping hot and full of flavor.  There was plenty of meat and a decent amount of veggies.  I also liked that it wasn’t overflowing with cheese as some places are wont to do.  The service was great; very quick and friendly.  We’ll definitely be back soon!

Have you ever had a real Philly cheesesteak?  What’d you think?

Sights and Bites

27 May

Yesterday morning, as we were getting ready to head to the airport, I got a call from the lovely people at US Airways.  They called to notify me that our flight was delayed an hour.  Boo, I’m not a fan of delays but these things happen and at least we knew before we headed to the airport!

Even though we headed to the airport an hour late, we had some time to kill before our flight.  Alex hit up Dunkin’ Donuts…

… and I decided to take an obnoxious number of self portraits.

I’ve spared you from the bulk of them 😉

After a brief, “one hour” delay, we were on our way to visit with my aunt and grandparents.  The flight was surprisingly smooth and quick, which is all I could have asked for.  I’m an incredibly nervous flyer!

My aunt picked us up from the airport and took us back to her place to serve up lunch.  She had a great spread from Whole Foods of salad, cheese, bread, and fruit.  It had all of my favorite elements and I was in heaven!

After lunch Alex and I took a walk around Old Salem.

Old Salem is a part of Winston-Salem that was once the home to the Moravians that settled in Salem several years ago.  Many of the old buildings and gardens have been preserved.  We were able to walk around and get a feel for life as it used to be.

Naturally, our first stop was to the bakery.

Alex bought a piece of their chocolate pound cake and I bought some strawberry fig preserves.  I can’t wait to dig into the jam once I get home!  We also bought some souvenirs for my family and made friends with the locals.  Being New Yorkers, we’re not used to strangers that are so open and have a tendency to overshare, haha.

We continued on and walked through a good portion of the grounds.

The town has been maintained beautifully.  I loved all the greenery and architecture.  We had a great time walking around but in the end we were ready to head home.  It was so hot out!  We needed to recuperate inside with some water and AC.  It hasn’t gotten this warm in NY yet and we just weren’t ready for it.  But it’s a great sign that summer is just around the corner.  I’m totally ready for that!

The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting with my grandparents.  This was the first time they’d met Alex.  They were both thrilled to have Alex and I visit.  I’m glad we were able to make the trip down here as I’m not sure if they’ll be able to make it to our wedding.  So, it’s nice to have some time with them now 🙂

Later in the evening we headed to a cute, little Italian place for dinner.  After browsing through the menu, I decided on the spinach calzone.  I love me some cheesy bread!

The calzone was huge!  I barely made it through half.  But naturally I saved room for some dessert.

This place was very similar to one of my favorites in NYC, 16 handles.  They had a large variety of yogurts to choose from and dozens of toppings!

I didn’t hold back.  I started out with cookies ‘n cream and cake batter ice cream and topped it with Reese’s peanut butter cups, cookie dough, and some Jelly Bellys.

Hmmm, not really in line with my goals but it sure was delicious!  Besides, I’m on vacation; all bets are off.

That about does it for our first day in NC.  Today we’re going to spend some more time visiting with family and I hope to get a tour of the downtown area.  Alex and I love getting a feel for each city we visit and what better way than by foot?  (Haha, I just typed “food” instead of foot.  You know where my mind is!)

Have you ever been to North Carolina?  If so, what part?

D.U.M.B.O.

17 May

If you aren’t familiar with NYC, then chances are you’ve never heard of D.U.M.B.O.

DUMBO is a neighborhood in Brooklyn and it stands for “Down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.”

This past weekend, Alex and I found ourselves in DUMBO so that we could meet with a potential wedding photographer.  The meeting and our visit went well!

First up, we stopped for lunch at O’Crepes.

O’Crepes is a small creperie with a menu that features local and organic ingredients.

They offer both savory and sweet crepes with the option to create your own if you don’t like any of their signature crepes.  Everything looked so yummy but we were there for lunch so we stuck with savory crepes.  I ordered the J Hook which was a buckwheat crepe filled with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and spinach.  Alex went with the Architectural Digest which had chicken, mushrooms, ratatouille, and onions.

We got to watch the chef hard at work!  He made the crepes right in front of us in no time flat.

Yum!  This crepe was huge!  I couldn’t finish the whole thing but the part that I did eat was great.  My only complaint was that the smoked salmon was very salty.  I think if I ever find myself back at O’Crepes, I’ll order what Alex got.  His dish was fantastic.

After lunch, we had a little bit of time before our appointment so we decided to walk around.  Not two steps from the restaurant, what should we come across?  A humongous candy shop.

Alex was thrilled.  He was very focused and had to make sure he walked away with the best of the best.  Candy shopping is no joke. 🙂

Dewey’s was such a fun shop!  There was so much to look at and to taste.  Alex and I were quite pleased with our purchases.

As we finally made our way to the photographers, we ran into this guy.  I couldn’t leave without snapping a picture!  He said hi and requested that you go to Brooklyn for a visit.

🙂 We had a great time and hope to go back soon.  There was so much to see that we only scratched the surface!

Have you ever been to Brooklyn?

El Centro & The Freelance Whales

5 May

Have you ever heard of the Freelance Whales?  Chances are, you haven’t.  If you’d asked me that a couple of months ago, my answer also would have been no.  However, when I heard Alex playing their catchy, upbeat songs I couldn’t help but hum along.

Freelance Whales is an indie rock band from Queens that got its start by singing on subway platforms throughout the city.  Over the past year or two, they’ve been working their way up through live performances, television soundtracks, and commercials.  Last night, we were lucky enough to see them in concert.

Before the show, we grabbed a bite to eat.  We decided to go to El Centro in Hells Kitchen. 

We’d been once before but it had been quite a while so this was the perfect chance to head back.

After browsing the menu a bit, I decided on the shrimp fajitas and Alex went with the hanger steak.

We munched on some tortilla chips and salsa while we waited for our food.  The chips were great; very crisp and salty without being greasy.  Unfortunately the salsa was a little watered down for my liking but I ate it nonetheless.

And then, dinner was served!

My fajitas were served with three corn tortillas, various sides, and rice and beans.  While the food was very flavorful, the portion was a little small for the price.  I only got five pieces of shrimp.  That’s less than two per fajita!  Also, I sure could have used a little more guacamole.  I love that stuff 🙂

Alex said his dish was also good but they were stingy on the beef.  You can see from his plate above that more than half was just rice and beans!  After the meal we both agreed that while the food was good, the prices were much too high for the amount of food served.  We most likely won’t be back.

Next up was Terminal 5 for the Freelance Whales show.

The venue was intimate without being crowded and there was no point at which we thought the music was too loud.  In fact, there were times we were struggling to hear certain instruments.  After the show, Alex made a good point that the sound distribution was off for some of the instruments as they could not be heard at pivotal points of the songs.  It could have been an issue with the venue or the band, but either way it wasn’t enough of a problem to take away from the show.  We definitely had a great time 🙂

The opener was a band called the Foals.  This group was new to me but I still enjoyed a couple of their songs.  That’s one of the great things about concerts; it exposes you to music you might not have heard otherwise.  Now that I’ve heard them, I plan to look into their music a little bit more.

Finally the Freelance Whales took the stage for a pretty awesome set.  The band has five musicians and they are all so talented.  I don’t even know how many instruments they had on stage but each took their turn playing something different.  It’s remarkable what they could do!

It was a fun night out and not too wild for a weeknight.  I have many habits that rival those of a 70-year-old woman; an early bed time is one of them.  😀

What was the last concert you went to?