Tag Archives: Foodies

Sustainable Brooklyn Food & Fashion Tour

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Sustainable Brooklyn Food Fashion Tour Dishes

Lets keep your New York experience amazing! Come explore with us on the Sustainable Brooklyn Food & Fashion Tour! Eat & shop your way through the best of sustainable Brooklyn with a local expert.


BOOK NOW!

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Don’t let the city grit sway you, we’re living green right here in the middle of Brooklyn! See a bit more about the Sustainable Brooklyn Food & Fashion Tour.

There are so many shops working with sustainable practices and putting their mission into action that we love to spread the word about!

The tour includes food tastings, organic tea ceremony, and behind-the-scenes access! Your tour guide is also a sustainable fashion designer, stylist and licensed guide. We also include info and history of the neighborhood and shopping discounts (where available).

So, join local sustainable fashion and textile designer, Amalya Meira, for a look at conscious design, forward-thinking cuisine, and innovative architecture all here in Williamsburg!

BOOK NOW!

(Get 15% off with the exclusive Promo Code: BTSNYC!!!)

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Meet Designers, chefs and entrepreneurs forging a path for conscious urban living
  • Try delicious natural wine
  • See innovative and up and coming sustainable design from around the world
  • Taste amazing organic food that will leave you feeling wonderful (enough for lunch)
  • Visit a local designer studio
  • Give vintage gems new life!
  • Discover a mother daughter sustainable design success story
  • Like A Local only discounts at local boutiques
  • Learn about organic tea and tea ceremonies
  • See one of the only Passive Houses in all New York!
  • More natural and organic restaurant tips in the area!

TOUR DETAILS:

  • Location: Brooklyn
  • Duration: 3 Hours
  • Tour Capacity: 14 people. Our groups are small for intimate, high-quality experiences.
  • Tour Includes: Meet & greets, food/wine tastings, shopping discounts & more!
  • Walking Tour: Yes, 2.5 miles of walking. Please wear comfortable clothing/shoes.

Rates: $68 / person
Times: Every Friday at 12pm

BOOK NOW!

(Get 15% off with the exclusive Promo Code: BTSNYC!!!)

For other amazing tours, like Sustainable Brooklyn Food & Fashion Tour, you can see our Tours & Experiences page. You might also want to check out the “Chelsea Market, Meatpacking District & High Line Food & History Tour” to enjoy a bit of Manhattan, as well.

If you’re looking for a custom tour related to art, food, historical sights, fashion or any other focus, contact us so we work on this with you! For Corporate Tours, let our experts help you out and share exclusive rates!


Photo Credits: Courtesy of our partner
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

The Best Of Vegan With Kim-Julie Hansen

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan by Edward Gebel Thumbnail

From a meat-eater to being one of the most renowned Vegan experts in the world, Kim-Julie Hansen shared with us how she started Best of Vegan, as well as her Vegan Reset blog and most recently launched a fantastic 28-Day Vegan Plan book!

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan by Edward Gebel
Photo Credit: Edward Gebel

Tell me a bit about you! Where you’re from, what you studied, where you’ve worked, how you ended up in NYC…

I’m Kim-Julie, I’m 32 years old and originally from Brussels, Belgium, although that’s only partially true. I was actually born in West Berlin (two years before the Berlin Wall fell) and have lived in many places throughout my life.

I studied modern languages and comparative literature (BA and MA) in Brussels and I’ve worked all over the world in tourism and hospitality before starting my own business.

Five years ago I came to New York for an event and stayed with a friend for 5 days. On the fifth day, I knew that I needed to move here.

Luckily, my online business’s audience was located mostly in the US, so I got my Visa thanks to that (and the advice and support of amazing friends who had undergone the process before me!).

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Creamy Mushroom Penne
Creamy Mushroom Pasta – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

You have countless different platforms and social channels. I’d love if you could share a bit about each of them!

My two main platforms are Best of Vegan and Vegan Reset.

Best of Vegan is a digital culinary publication focused on crowd-sourced and crowd-pleasing recipes for every occasion and showcasing the best the vegan culinary scene has to offer.

Vegan Reset is my health conscious blog within Best of Vegan. It’s where I share meal prep and plant-based lifestyle tips, as well as my own quick and easy recipes. It’s also the name of my book and online program.

In addition to those, I also share the things that inspire me on my personal page and blog, @KimJulieHansen and I have two additional vegan Instagram accounts: @VeganChallenge based on the free 7-day vegan challenges I host and @IDontWantSalad, an ode to vegan comfort food, which I created to show that vegans can eat much more than just salad.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Green Smoothies
Green Smoothies – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

How was your journey into the Vegan lifestyle?

Unexpected, overnight and life changing. I was the furthest thing from a vegan you could possibly imagine.

I loved meat, dairy and eggs and had them every day. Then, in 2011, I read two books that made me change my eating and lifestyle habits instantly: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz.

It was a strictly ethical decision for me at first and I didn’t even know that veganism could be healthy. I ended up researching and trying to find out everything I could for months.

That’s how I ended up learning more about whole foods and cooking with unprocessed ingredients, incorporating more fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. I had never liked any of these foods, so no one was more surprised than me.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Muffins
Blueberry Muffins – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

What are some myths about Vegan cuisine that people believe?

That it’s bland, boring, not nutritionally adequate, hard to adapt to and impractical.

I believed all of that too before going vegan myself, so as you can imagine, I wasn’t thrilled to give up so much of what I enjoyed, but I soon found out that you can actually veganize practically anything.

Latte? Make it a soy or oat latte. Sushi? Make it a sweet potato or avocado roll. Pizza? Add some vegan cheese and pepperoni. It obviously doesn’t taste exactly the same, but it’s close enough and, given the ethical implications, definitely worth the sacrifice.

What I at first feared would be restrictive ended up opening the doors to a whole new world for me. I enjoy cooking and eating out so much more now. Vegan cuisine is also neither boring nor deficient. You can get all the same nutrients from plants and whenever they’re harder to get, you can take a vegan supplement for convenience.

I do want to note that vegan foods and products aren’t readily available to everyone equally, so I think that as someone who does have access to the lifestyle, it’s important to simultaneously educate and motivate those who are in the same position while also actively working on making access easier for those who do not without ever judging them.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Salad
Smoky Tempeh & Vegan Cheese Salad – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

What are your favorite NYC Vegan spots? Sorry for this tough question, Kim… 🙂

There are far too many to list!

I love using the app “Vegan NYC” to discover new spots, but my all time favorites are Seasoned Vegan, Avant Garden, Adelina’s, Little Choc Apothecary, Bar Velo, Jungle Cafe and Délice & Sarrasin.

I’m probably forgetting half the list…!

How about your top Vegan brands that are really disrupting the industry, in New York?

I love brands that emphasize quality and/or community and are based right out of New York. Some of them include Egunsi Foods, Raaka Chocolate and Foreal Foods.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Yogurt
Vegan Breakfast Idea: granola, fresh fruit & plant-based yogurt with toppings – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

Ah! And you have a gorgeous life changing book and I was lucky enough to follow closely it coming to life! So tell our readers what it’s all about and what they can expect.

Thank you for the kind words!

My book, Vegan Reset (called The 28-Day Vegan Plan in the U.K.), is a practical guide, a cookbook and a 28-day meal plan. It’s an introduction to ethical veganism, plant-based living and a holistic approach to health.

It’s not a diet in the sense that the goal is feeling good physically and mentally, not weight loss.

While it teaches you how to incorporate more fresh produce and unprocessed foods, there are no strict guidelines and you can adapt everything as you see fit. The main motivation is ethical rather than dietary.

Do you have any super cool upcoming project you can share? Anything exclusive no one knows yet!? Lol!

I may or may not be planning my second book! 🙂

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Rice Pudding
Cinnamon Rice Pudding – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

More about her Book!

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Book Vegan Reset
©Behind the Scenes NYC

Vegan Reset: The 28-Day Plan to Kickstart Your Healthy Lifestyle is a 28-day plan for new vegans or anyone looking to get their diet back on track, from the wildly popular creator of Best of Vegan!

No matter what diet you practice, a reset is a way to jump-start or refocus healthy habits and get your body to a state of optimum health. Here, NYC-based blogger and Instagrammer Kim-Julie Hansen of Best of Vegan offers a practical and easy-to-follow program, laid out day by day with meal plans, prep, shopping lists, recipes, and personal tips and inspiration.

If you want to become a vegan and don’t know where to start, this is the ultimate guide. But it’s also invaluable for anyone (vegan or not) looking to kick-start healthier habits, whether to lose weight, become fitter, or simply cultivate a more balanced lifestyle.

Kim-Julie introduces you to the benefits of a reset; guides you through the 28-day meal plan; and finishes with additional recipes to carry you beyond the reset—all brought to life with her gorgeous photography throughout. With its emphasis on satisfying plant-based foods and its achievable 28-day plan, this program is a great way to meet your goals of health and well-being.

Buy book here!


Thank you Kim, my dear friend, for sharing your amazing story with everyone and congratulations on all that you have built during these amazing years in New York City!

I’ve had the opportunity of seeing it from close and I couldn’t be more proud of you!

Plus, I can’t wait to see more of your work and continue trying out all of your food (yes, please continue inviting me over for dinner, lol!) and following your tips!

And finally, if you want to uncover more Vegan spots in New York, be sure to explore our website!


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC, Best of Vegan LLC and portraits by Edward Gebel
*Last Update on April/2020.*

Citrico: A Mexican Restaurant In Brooklyn

Dining Citrico Mexican Restaurant Brooklyn Doll

It’s taco time! Citrico is a Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn! We went there for a night filled with traditional tacos and cocktails and had a great time!

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Who likes Mexican food!? I definitely do! Today we want to share about a small traditional Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn we visited.

I don’t know about your guys, but I certainly do love Mexican food!!! That said, I decided to explore a neighborhood in Brooklyn called Prospect Heights and eat at a restaurant called Citrico!

Well, to start off Noor, the owner, is Mexican so obviously the food, authentic Southern Mexican, is super traditional. The restaurant’s décor is simple, but very inviting and low-key with some typical Mexican objects and frames that set the mood to the place.

When we got there, I always like to ask what are the bestsellers and what are the most unique and different dishes on the menu.

So, take a look at what we had:

  • Guacamole (of course): Served with chips and topped with fresh pomegranate
  • Tostada de Betabel en Mole: beets cooked in homemade mole made from scratch, over rice and a crispy corn tortilla and then topped with crema, queso fresco and lettuce
  • Agucate Frito: Fried avocado with shrimp ceviche
  • Taco Gordita Combo: vegetable taco on a blue corn tortilla topped with avocado and queso fresco + a handmade corn gordita stuffed with black beans, crema, queso fresco and lettuce. Comes with pickled habaneros and homemade salsa roja.
Obviously, we’d never miss dessert:
  • Chocolate Mousse: Homemade semi-sweet chocolate mouse garnished with a strawberry and a Mexican cookie
And finally, the cocktails we ordered:
  • Passion Fruit Margarita
  • Tropical: Bruxo mezcal, coconut purée, and pineapple topped with toasted coconut flakes

Plus, Prospect Heights is a neighborhood with exploring. It’s just a few blocks from Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill, that are also super charming areas in Brooklyn!

Have fun exploring and eating tacos!

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 4pm – 11pm
Friday: 4pm – 12am
Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 12am

Location: 681 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn

http://citricobrooklyn.com


Photo Credit: ©Behind the Scenes NYC
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

Your Friend’s Kitchen: A Dining Experience At The Chef’s House

Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Table

New York is a gastronomy haven for those that love food! I want to share a different NYC dining experience that will take you on a journey around the world, called Your Friend’s Kitchen!

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I was invited to enjoy a unique NYC dining experience, different from what I have already done around New York City. And believe me, I have done countless experiences around town.

But this time, I was called for a Vegan African Feast at Chef Linda’s home! I was intrigued from the start, considering that not only would Chef Linda cater a totally new menu, but she was going to open her home to host us for this super special night!

I was excited and extremely curious too!

Chef Linda (aka Linda Adria Sebisaho) is was born in the Eastern part of Congo, in Africa and moved to New York at the age of 15! Initially, she dreamt of getting into medical school, but totally changed her mind and became a math teacher! Her cooking talent  kicked in a bit later.

Today, she runs her own catering company. She loves these types of social dining experiences, having meals with strangers, that leaves as friends by the end of the night!

She says, “it’s a form of art”, and we couldn’t agree more!

That said, Chef Linda was thrilled to co-host this night with Your Friends Kitchen, created and founded by Meenakshi lala.

So, let me tell you a bit about how the night unraveled!

Chef Linda’s home is in Harlem, a neighborhood I love exploring with all its Jazz spots and amazing restaurants like Seasoned Vegan. I headed up with a friend, that was just as excited!

As we arrived, everyone there warmly greeted us! The table was decorated with colors inspired by the African culture, setting the mood of the night to come.

In addition, they printed a beautiful menu with what we were going to eat during the night! The menu had this beautiful illustration of an African woman wearing one of the gorgeous fabric head arrangements, already bringing us into the journey that was about to start!

Chef Linda introduced herself and in no time, the feast had started! The event is “B.Y.O.B. – Bring Your Own Bottle”, so be sure to bring any drink that makes you happy!


Here is what the menu looked like:

  • Starter #1: Yucca – Mashed Yucca stuffed with chickpeas or cheese
  • Starter #2: Sambusa – Fried dough filled with spiced carrots, peas and potatoes
  • Salad: Sachumbari – East African salad made from tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and lime
  • Main #1: Yassa Aubergine – Harissa spiced eggplants, pilau rice and ginger caramelized onions
  • Main #2 (a surprise!): Plantain with white beans, onions and tomato sauce
  • Dessert: Beignets – Savory fried African doughnut served with strawberries
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Each dish was explained by Chef Linda, where she would tell us a quick story of its meaning, influence and ingredients.

Portions were extremely generous, beautifully arranged and the best of it all: we had truly a great time, laughed all night long with the stories everyone shared and made some interesting business connections.

Chef Linda amazed us with her talent and we left having a new group of friends that we hope to stay in touch with and explore other dining experiences by Your Friend’s Kitchen!

Last, but definitely not least, I’d love to thank Meenakshi, for inviting us to be part of this special night! We are happy to be part of this new community she’s building and will definitely be back for more!


More information about Your Friend’s Kitchen:

How It Works:

Your Friend’s Kitchen is an authentic food experience, a new take on going out for a meal. Your Friend’s Kitchen aims to bring people together to share an experience that is comforting and familiar, yet not like any other.

Whether they are home cooks or food lovers, our hosts share a passion for bringing people together, one meal at a time!

The Founder:

Meenakshi is a passionate foodie, avid traveler and founder of Your Friends Kitchen. She discovered her love for cooking when she first moved to the United States from India. A foodie at heart, she has traveled to 25+ countries and explored street foods and fine dining alike.

Her passion for cooking food and hosting inspired her to create a platform for others to enjoy dining in the comfort of a warm, cozy, intimate setting and enjoy a delicious meal prepared with love and passion.

Her goal at your friend’s kitchen – Bring people together, one meal at a time!


For you to learn more about Your Friend’s Kitchen and also check out the upcoming events, be sure to go to their website where you can book everything directly!

In addition, if you have a corporate group coming to town and you need help organizing all the experiences, dinners, events, our experts can help you out!

www.yourfriendskitchen.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Shir A.

2nd Cheap NYC Guide: 30 Top Attractions

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Washington Square Park

Our 2nd cheap NYC guide features 30 top attractions that you must-see! Touristy or not, these are some the classics spots and neighborhoods that have changed New York’s history. Come uncover New York with us!

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide The Cube Astor Place
The Cube at Astor Place. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Noel Y.C. (@NYCLovesNYC)

Today, for our 2nd Cheap NYC Guide, I’m going to take you through some of the best spots located in Lower Manhattan.

But wait! If you haven’t seen my 1st Cheap NYC Guide, take a look at it and see how you might want to start exploring our beautiful city!

I have created my own touristic route to take my friends and family around the most iconic highlights in the city. These are all entertaining, fun and CHEAP routes that I want to share with you.

Second Route: Lower Manhattan

Before I start, it is necessary to give you some tips. First, NYC food stores and restaurants are not required to offer restroom services, so I have included this item in my tour routes. Second, you can access the WIFI networks in all subway stations, NYC Parks and Starbucks for free (which also have restrooms. YAY!).

Finally, if you like something you want to buy and you can afford it, just BUY IT. You probably won’t have time to go back or even remember where you saw that precious item.

This route explores 6 areas of Lower Manhattan: Union Square, Astor Place, Washington Square Park, SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy. It starts off at Union Square – where our 1st guide ended – located between 17th and 14th Streets and Union Square West and East Avenues.

Union Square

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Union Square Market
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Union Square Greenmarket

Here you can enjoy a year-round farmers market every Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 8am – 6pm, called Union Square Greenmarket. During the peak seasons you can find regional farmers selling their products like fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, award-winning farmstead cheeses, artisan breads, jams, pickles, lavender teas and countless gifts, a profusion of cut flowers and plants, wine, ciders, maple syrup and much more. Shop early because the vendors sometimes leave, once they have sold out their products.

Around this area you can also find all type of stores including the largest Barnes & Noble store if you are looking for books, toys, music and more. A cereal store at Kellogg’s NYC where you can mix your favorites breakfast cereals for just $2 – milk not included. Also, a delicious Jewish Chocolate Rugelach pastry at Breads Bakery and Dylan’s Candy Bar, home to the largest selection of candies and candy-related gifts from around the world. And if you are into sports, your to-go spot is Paragon Sports.

If you’re traveling during the Winter holiday season, and you want to take home some unique gifts, visit Union Square’s Holiday Market that happens through December 24th. You’ll find local craftsmen and artists, open Monday to Friday from 11am – 8pm, Saturdays from 10am – 8pm and Sundays from 11am – 7pm.

*Restroom Spots: Around here you can find restrooms at Whole foods, Burlington, Best Buy, Starbucks, Barnes & Nobles, among others.

Astor Place & Washington Square

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Washington Square Park
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Noel Y.C. (@NYCLovesNYC)

If you are starting to feel hungry, I recommend you walk downtown through Broadway and at 8th Street, turn left (East) towards Astor Square until you hit St. Marks.

Here you will find delicious cheap Asian food including Japanese BBQ, Thai Food and Ramen. During this trajectory, you will find one of New York City’s most iconic pieces of public art—and heck, one of its most iconic landmarks, period—The Astor Place Cube. I dare you to push it to make it turn around!

Just a few block from this iconic landmark, you’ll find the theatre where Stomp has been performing for years. If you haven’t heard about them, it’s about time! Founded in the UK, back in 1991, today they are world famous, creating the most impressive percussion acts with unexpected objects and body parts!

Get ready to feel your bones shake!

After you are done, return to Broadway, walk to 4th Street and turn right (West), walking all the way to Washington Square Park. The park is dominated by the Washington Square Arch at the Northern gateway and the fountain. It’s one of the city’s popular spots for residents and tourists and you might recognize it form the movie August Rush.

Once a cemetery, now is a parade ground, a gathering spot for avant-garde artists, a battleground for chess enthusiasts and a playground for canines and children.

*Restroom Spot: Available public restrooms in the park.

If you were not temped by St. Marks food options, check MacDougal Street, located at the Southwest corner of the park. This area is NYU’s Students favorite food spot and therefore, very affordable. If you are into Italian food, Artichoke Basille’s Pizza offers huge pizza slices for less than $5.

If you prefer Asian food, Saigon Shack has cheap Vietnamese food, but is a very popular spot so be prepared to wait. And if you prefer vegetarian food, try by Chloe.

SoHo & Chinatown

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Chinatown
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Noel Y.C. (@NYCLovesNYC)

By now, I’ pretty sure you’re full and in the need another good walk. Walk back to 4th Street towards (East) until you hit Broadway again and start walking downtown. After a few blocks, you will cross Houston Street and enter SoHo (a.k.a. South of Houston).

This area is known for its designer boutiques, fancy chain stores and high-end art galleries, making it a trendy top shopping destination. I invite you to walk around the smaller streets and explore their uniqueness and secret little businesses.

Once you have absorbed all SoHo’s vibes, walk back to Broadway until you hit Canal Street, where you will be officially in Chinatown.

There is just so much to see here, that if after the tips below, you’re still curious to explore more of the food scene, book your tickets for the Tenements Tales and Taste Tour! You’ll enjoy the story of the millions of immigrants and taste several delicious dishes like pretzels, dumplings, potato knishes, waffles, homemade cheeses and even beer, of the many groups that have lived there.

At Canal Street turn left (East) and start walking through it. You will encounter several NY gift shops which are perfect to get some cheap souvenirs back home. While you’re walking you will be approach by several Chinese people offering “handbags and watches”.

Just be aware for they are all fake and illegal!

Among the treats I recommend around Chinatown are Taiyaki NYC, where you can try their fish-shaped waffle ice cream and Chinatown Ice Cream Factory where you will find my two favorite flavors: black sesame and lychee ice cream.

If you like pastries, go to Taipan Bakery and try the delicious Coconut Bun for only $1.25, cash only. It is very popular, so hopefully you are lucky enough to get a warm one. And if you want to have an authentic Chinese meal, go to Great NY Noodletown on the corner of Bowery and Bayard Street. Remember that they’re cash only.

To find several food options in one place, there is a “hidden” food market called Canal Street Market. It’s located on the corner of Canal Street with Lafayette.

*Restroom Spot: The restaurant Great NY Noodletown has available restrooms as does Canal Street Market.

Little Italy

Curiosities Our Bucket Lists Cheap NYC Guide Little Italy
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Noel Y.C. (@NYCLovesNYC)

In the middle of Chinatown, at Mulberry Street with Canal Street facing North, you will find the entrance to Little Italy. This couple of streets welcomes a heavily touristy crowd to its high concentration of souvenir shops and traditional Italian eateries and bakeries.

Tenement buildings, once home to the immigrants who settled the area in the late 1800s, line the narrow streets. Mulberry Street, the main thoroughfare, turns into a pedestrian mall on summer weekends and each September they celebrate San Gennaro Festival.

One of the store that I love visiting every time I’m there is Mulberry & Grand, founded by Emily Guggino. There is always something new to tempt you into purchasing it! A lovely curated collection of inspired accessories.

By now, you have visit almost a third of the city, all the way from 59th Street at Central Park down to Canal Street, in Chinatown. And, the good news is: it has only taken you two days. YAY! And, there is still so much more to see!

Did you enjoy the 1st and 2nd Cheap NYC guides with the top NYC attractions? If so, stay tuned for our 3rd Route, where we’ll explore the West Side. Spots like the famous High Line, the delicious Chelsea Market, the Meatpacking District and one of the coolest neighborhoods in Manhattan, the West Village.

See soon!


Text Credit: Written by our contributor Magdalena Concha
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Noel. Y. C. (@NYCLovesNYC) and Union Square Greenmarket
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Pio Pio Restaurant: A Delicious Peruvian Surprise

Dining Pio Pio Restaurant Bar Area

To kick off the evening, the birthday girl ordered a sangria pitcher and crispy calamari for everyone. Meanwhile I checked the menu at Pio Pio Restaurant to figure out what Peruvian food really was.

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I love birthday celebrations! This time was my roommate’s bday and she decided to have dinner at a Peruvian restaurant in the Upper West Side. She always talked about Pio Pio, but I never had the chance to visit the place.

Actually, I was dreaming of it because of all the good things she and her friends kept telling me. I knew in advance Pio Pio had the best Salchipapas in town. Or, sausage with fries, and I was ready to try it out!

We were in a big group of friends so we made a reservation. I do recommend it, if you are with a big party, as well.

Strategically located on a street corner with a green façade and red signs with their name, the restaurant definitely surprised me! The venue was infinitely more beautiful and elegant than I had imagined.

I saw people from all around the world enjoying great Peruvian food and the place was so charming!

We sat right across a gorgeous brick wall with countless colorful paintings. Every art work was truly spectacular. They portrayed a Peruvian kids in the country side and really called my attention! And, amongst the kids, was a huge vertical painting of Our Lady, Mary.

So, to kick off the evening, the birthday girl ordered sangria pitchers and crispy calamari for everyone. Meanwhile, I checked the menu to figure out what Peruvian food actually looked like. Well, I found plenty of dishes made out of pollo – chicken and seafood.

After chatting a lot while drinking sangria, it was time to eat. Yay, my favorite time!! I shared a dish named Matador combo (Killer combo) with a friend, and it really was to die for. It was a preparation of rotisserie chicken served with yellow rice, avocado salad, red beans, tostones and the highly anticipated, salchipapas.

OMG, I loved it! I actually felt at home, since it was like comfort food to me. Other people ordered seafood dishes which all looked and smelled terrific!

For dessert we had tres leches – a traditional Latin sweet, flan – like a caramel custard, and Piononos – a roll cake filled with dulce de leche. I’m craving it all over again…

The experience I had at Pio Pio was really fantastic. And you can experience it too! Oh! And you can find at least one Pio Pio in each NYC borough.

If you enjoy Peruvian food, or if you’d like to try other cuisines like Mexican try Tijuana Picnic and the Latin American inspired cuisine, Colonia Verde.

Hours: Each location has different operating hours, so please check online.

Locations:
702 Amsterdam Avenue, Upper West Side, Manhattan
84-02 Northern Boulevard, Jackson Heights, Queens
282 Kings Highway, Gravesend, Brooklyn
264 Cypress Avenue, Mot Haven, Bronx

www.piopio.com


Text by our ContributorRafaela Azevedo
Photo Credit
: Courtesy of Pio Pio Restaurant

*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

This Is How New Yorkers Like To Eat Out!

Dining Olive Tree Cafe Carpaccio

Do you know how New Yorkers like to eat out? We will show you how Olive Tree Cafe & La Lanterna di Vittorio together, make the perfect night out! This incredible duo will make you travel to Middle Eastern to Italy in a blink of an eye.

Dining La Lanterna di Vittorio Façade

That NY is a really diverse city, we all know. But do you know how some native New Yorkers like to eat? I mean, how would be a perfect dinner for them? I’m sure the opinions are divided. But, according to a group of friends I’ve got, all of them “native New Yorkers”, have an interesting and uncommon way of having a night out.

Ok, so the cool thing here is: having dinner at one restaurant and dessert at another. This is a tradition many New Yorkers keep since their college years. It seems curious, doesn’t it? And let me tell you, after being introduced to this New Yorker style meal, I can say it’s definitely fun and quite adventurous.

I’ll describe below my first experience trying out the combo:

It was a winter evening when my group of friends decided we’d have dinner at Olive Tree Cafe and dessert at La Lanterna Di Vittorio, both on MacDougal Street, located in the West Village. I didn’t know any of these restaurants at that time, so I was super excited about what that night would look like.


First stop: Olive Tree Cafe – Middle Eastern

Dining Olive Tree Cafe Photo Credit Jimmy Kuang

When we got into the restaurant I was immediately impressed by the tables.

They were like chalkboards. Yeah, we could draw, write or doodle on the table, while we were eating. I loved it!

As soon as we were seated I grabbed a chalk and started writing some silly, fun things to get entertained.

The place was cute, decorated with some lamps across the saloon, brick walls and some frames.

The menu offered Middle Eastern salads and main dishes, in addition to hamburgers and sides. As I’m really into Middle Eastern food I tried to order the best I could.

To start, we split a falafel dish. I’m a huge fan of falafel and thought it was great!

Dining Olive Tree Cafe Carpaccio

For the main course I had chicken kebob that was served with rice or mashed potato – I picked rice – and a salad made with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and a few spices. It was really rich!

My friends ordered different dishes, all of them pretty tasty. But, one of them got my attention. It was a combination of falafels, baba ganoush, kefta kebob and a salad.

So, I couldn’t hold myself back from asking my friend to try a little bit of his dish, and what can I say, fantastic!

After eating and playing a lot with the chalk, we were ready to head for dessert.

Note: Olive Tree Cafe is part of the Comedy Cellar, a notorious comedy club located right below it.

Hours:
Friday – Saturday: 11am – 4am
Sunday – Thursday: 11am – 2:30am

Location: 117 MacDougal Street

www.opentable.com/OliveTreeCafe


Second stop: La Lanterna di Vittorio – Italian

Dining La Lanterna di Vittorio Garden

First of all, the ambience of the place was extremely cozy. The dimmed lights made me feel as my simple dessert hunt with friends, was a real special occasion.

I highly recommend for a date, although it was not my case. I was just having fun with my friends.

It was winter so the fireplace was lit. My friend asked for a table in the back, which made me question: in the back??

Oh! What I didn’t know was they have a charming winter garden tucked away in their back area!

The space is decorated with some colorful and fun details like the lamps in a Greekish-Italian style.

Surely, a lovely place to spend the rest of a great night with friends.

Dining La Lanterna di Vittorio Inside

Time to order, and they had a great variety of desserts or dolci, like you’ll see written on their menu.

From American to Italian and other European cakes and sweets, I felt like Alice in “Dessertland”.

They also displayed the desserts close to the entrance so I decided to get up and chose mine, with my eyes. I chose a delicious chocolate mud cake and it was actually my first time having one. So delicious!

My friends had cannolis, fruit pie and the gelati.

The result: Every single one of us left extremely happy and satisfied! It was truly the perfect duo, specially considering they are located on the same street, just steps from each other.

Note: La Lanterna has a room downstair with live music, so do ask about it!

Hours:
Friday & Saturday: 10am – 3am
Sunday – Thursday: 10am – 2am

Location: 129 MacDougal Street

https://lalanternacaffe.com


That night was just the first experience I had in this “New Yorker” style.

I loved it so much that I’ve repeated it countless times, but in different restaurants. It’s a great way to also optimize your stay in New York and explore more places at once.

I do want to emphasize that both Olive Tree Cafe and La Lanterna di Vittorio serve really tasty food. I do eat full meals at both places too. Plus, I’ve always had a great time.

But, if you enjoyed this duo-restaurant adventurous night out, get ready! Have fun, meet different people after all, that’s what NYC is all about!

In addition, if you visit these restaurants, do tag us on your Instagram and let us know what you thought about your dish!

Lastly, to explore other restaurants in the West Village, you might want to check out: Shuraku, for a high-end Japanese option; and Hudson Clearwater, for a mysterious and secluded dining experience.


Text by our Contributor: Rafaela Azevedo
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Jimmy Kuang for Olive Tree Café, and courtesy of venues
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

The Most Famous NYC Desserts

Dining Most Famous NYC Desserts Rays Candy Store Fernanda Paronetto Jared Zuckerman Thumb

New York City is known for having some crazy sweets that attracts countless people every year! Come explore the most famous NYC desserts with me and my friend Jared!

I’ve invited, once again, my very good friend Jared Zuckerman and this time we decided to make a video wih the best NYC desserts for all the people that have a sweet tooth – like me!

New York is known for having some very typical sweets loved by everyone living here and we’re showing my favorite ones today.

We started at Ray’s Candy Store one of the most traditional spots in the city with the most amazing fried Oreos you’ll ever find. Then, we headed to Dun-well Doughnuts that bakes some of the tastiest doughnuts in all of New York.

And, we end our day at Wowfulls where we showed you one of the most instagrammed ice cream, loved by influencers and foodies!

So, before I start showing you these delicious places, be sure to subscribe to our channel, like the video and help spread the love for this amazing place on Earth, called New York City!


Ray’s Candy Store

Dining Most Famous NYC Desserts Rays Candy Store Fernanda Paronetto Jared Zuckerman

This is a classic! Ray’s Candy Store is one of the most traditional spot in the East Village. Ray and Stella opened over 40 years ago, serving residents and visitors 24h a day since then.

I’m a huge fan, and I’ve written about them before and even shot a super cool boomerang for my Instagram Page with Ray himself behind the bar.

I’d recommend to literally try everything, but I’d start with the one I love the most, the fried Oreos! I promise you won’t regret it!

In addition, the milkshakes are also super refreshing, as well as the soft serves. Plus, everything that has Nutella is a must have, in my opinion. And , finish off the beignets! Phiuf!

Hours: Believe it or not, it’s been 24h since 1974!

Location: 113 Avenue A

www.facebook.com/RaysCandyStoreNYC


Dun-Well Doughnuts

Dining Most Famous NYC Desserts Dunwell Doughnuts

Let  me start with OH. MY. GOD. The first time I had Dun-Well Doughnuts I couldn’t believe how delicious, how fresh, how tasty, how well-balanced and soft they were. Plus, I was in awe when they finished off telling me: “Yup, they are also vegan!”

It was like I had found heaven on Earth! Hahaha! So, this is truly one of my favorite doughnut spot, that is always on the top of my list.

Dan and Christopher founded the place back in 2011 and today they have two locations – one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.

How it started?

“Dun-Well Doughnuts started as a food craving when Christopher Hollowell (the “Well” in Dun-Well) called up his buddy Dan Dunbar (The “Dun” in Dun-Well) after having watched a Simpson’s anniversary episode that featured Homer’s favorite round confections rather prominently.”

They have countless options and even some special ones, like the Mac’N’Cheese. 

Locations:
102 St. Marks Place – East Village, Manhattan
222 Montrose Avenue – East Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Hours:
East Village: Sunday – Thursday – 9am – 10pm | Friday- & Saturday – 9am – 11pm
East Williamsburg: Monday – Friday – 7am – 7pm | Saturday & Sunday – 8am – 7pm

www.dunwelldoughnuts.com 


Wowfulls

Dining Most Famous NYC Desserts Wowfulls

And, to finish in style, I will show you what Wowfulls Ice Cream is all about! We were hosted by David Chan, one of the founders, and he told us a bit about the most instagrammed ice cream in New York today!

They started off as a vendor in the famous street market, Smorgasburg, and today they have this beautiful location in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

We tried the:

  • Velvet Love: Red Velvet Waffle w/ white chocolate chips baked in, served w/ Strawberry shortcake Ice Cream, brownie bites, cream cheese drizzle, Strawberry Pocky and powdered sugar.
  • Home Sweet Home: Waffle with with crazy vanilla ice cream, mochi, strawberries, and caramel drizzle.

Moreover, if you want to learn more, take a look and what we’ve written about Wowfulls!

Hours: Monday – Sunday: 1pm – 9pm

Locations: 309 Houston Street, but you can still find them at Smorgasburg (Saturday’s in Williamsburg and Sunday’s at Prospect Park)

http://wowfulls.com


So, that’s all for today’s episode! We hope you enjoyed all these spots with the most famous NYC desserts. Now, I’d bet you’re craving them all, right? Yum!!!

If you liked my friend Jared, that is a famous NYC food expert, you might want to check out a few of the top cocktail spots we visited together. As well some of my favorite vegan restaurants, since he’s a huge meat eater and I wanted to show him what the vegan world tastes like! FYI: He loved it!

Oh! Plus, he took me to a few of the places in Brooklyn he loves the most for a food na drink crawl.

Finally, like our video and subscribe to our channel to explore New York, off the beaten path with me!


Videography & Photography: Black 3 Agency
Beauty: Leila Soldeira
Styling
Camilla Adão

*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

Neighborhood Eats Tour: Brownstone Brooklyn

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Neighborhood Eats Tour Brownstone Brooklyn Delicatessen

We love Brooklyn and we love food, so putting them together is the perfect combination! Explore with us the Neighborhood Eats Tour: Brownstone Brooklyn! Come hungry!

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Italian, Middle Eastern, and New American cuisine come together and create New York City’s best neighborhood food.

Discover delicious mom & pop shops and restaurants, and experience how food is the engine of a local eco-system.

Brooklyn’s Smith and Court Streets and surrounding neighborhoods have a vibrant mix of small, locally owned, artisanal food shops (both old and new) unlike almost any other neighborhood in America.

On this tour you will find out how that came to be and what makes it tick!

We will visit both old school haunts and new culinary entrepreneurs to experience an exciting menu of traditional flavors and daring dishes. We’ll stop into Italian and Middle Eastern shops that have long been the staple of the neighborhood, and explore the growing scene of cafes and restaurants specializing in New American cuisine.

While we enjoy their delicacies, we’ll learn about the neighborhood’s rich history and changing character from the local business owners and residents themselves and you’ll find out what makes this neighborhood so special.

Come hungry! Price of ticket includes beer tastings and food, transportation, tour map of the neighborhood, and your tour guide.

BOOK NOW!

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Discover why Brooklyn is now the centre of the NYC food scene
  • Visit family-owned food stores to get the local lowdown on food in Brooklyn
  • Stroll down the beautiful tree-lined streets of Brooklyn with a local
  • Explore the many faces of Brooklyn cuisine, from New American to Italian, the Middle East and beyond!

TOUR DETAILS:

  • Price: $69 / person – includes food & guide
  • Duration: About 3 hours
  • Meeting Point: Stinky Bklyn – 215 Smith Street, Brooklyn
  • Schedule: Every Friday at 11am and every Saturday at noon
  • Advanced purchase required

OTHER INFO:

  • Inclusions: Local English speaking guide, food tastings, and tour map of the neighborhood.
  • Exclusions: Items of a personal nature, tips and gratuities for your guide (highly appreciated, tks!)
  • Your Trip: You will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.
  • Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We’ll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
  • Child Policy: Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed upon booking. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour.

BOOK NOW!

In addition, if you enjoyed the Neighborhood Eats Tour: Brownstone Brooklyn, but you prefer to book a private tour, please submit a request. Furthermore, for corporate requests, let our experts help you out.

Don’t forget to explore all our other Tours & Experiences too!


Photo Credit: Courtesy of our partner
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

Sag Harbor: The Celebrities’ Secret Town in New York

Day Trips and Travel Sag Harbor Main Street Fernanda Paronetto

Have you heard of the celebrities’ secret town in New York? Shhhh! Sag Harbor is a charming village in Long Island that dates back to the early 1700’s. It’s a great place to explore over the weekend!

I always tell people about how beautiful the state of New York is and, to prove how amazing day trips or weekend experiences can be, I picked one of my favorite spots to show you: Sag Harbor!

Sag Harbor is a charming village in Long Island that dates back to the yearly 1700’s. It was considered the 2nd most important seaport, after New York City, of course and was known as a thriving whaling port from 1760 through 1850.

It’s close the to the North Fork, where we recently did a video at an amazing winery called Macari Vineyards and saw one of the biggest wine bottles I had ever seen! Obs: It’s another great place for a weekend adventure!

Anyway, Sag Harbor it one of my favorite spots and “Yes!”, celebrities love it too! It’s the celebrities’ secret town in New York, that they head to when they want to get away from everything and everyone. Sorry celebs! Busted!

I chose a few spots in town to share and help you with your itinerary, while you’re there. But, there is just so much to do that I’m sure you’ll be able to explore on your own and find out other great places!

I do recommend to go for, at least, a weekend, but you can also risk a day trip! Last case, you can just book last minute a room at one of their beautiful hotels.

Oh! And before you start, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and spread the love for New York!


Main Street in Sag Harbor

Day Trips and Travel Sag Harbor Main Street Fernanda Paronetto

Sag Harbor’s Main Street is so charming that you can literally spend a few hours just walking up and down.

You’ll have a great time exploring all the local shops, design stores, gift shops, great restaurants, salons, book stores – like Berry & Co (formerly Harbor Books) on the picture above, cafés, donut shops, and so much more!

I couldn’t stop walking into every single venue I found and even the local market I walked in to find fresh and delicious goodies that are not always easy to find in the city!

The architecture really resembles those cute port towns from centuries ago and everything is super well preserved.

It’s a great place not only for family and kids, but also friends, couples, elderlies. There is a place for everyone to enjoy the beauty of the little town!

I mean, it’s got something for everyone!

https://linktr.ee/berryandcosagharbor


Baron’s Cove

Day Trips and Travel Sag Harbor Barons Cove Hotel Pool

As I said in the video, Sag Harbor has many great hotels to stay, but this time I chose to share Baron’s Cove.

We’ve featured them before and I really love the property! They are a 4-star waterfront hotel with 67 rooms and fantastic amenities.

There are rooms with private garden terraces, harbor loft suites with balconies, village rooms as well as dog-friendly rooms – so your canine friend is super welcome!

You’ll find countless activities to try, like the heated saltwater pool, tennis court, gym, spa services, summer BBQs and lobster bakes, fireplace during winter, etc. And still, complimentary beach service with transportation, beach picnic lunch options, as well as an onsite concierge! Can’t get any better!

In addition, Baron’s Cove is also the only venue in Sag Harbor featuring live entertainment every night during the summer season. So, there is always something fun going on!

Famous artists, musicians, literary names such as Jackson Pollock, Billy Joel and Truman Capote have been regular guests, back in the days! Pretty awesome, right?

Their restaurant serves all-American food and has a fantastic and privileged view of the marina, that is just across the road.

It’s location is very convenient and it’s just a few minutes walking from Main Street!

Even though it can get quite chilly during the winter, it’s great to go with a loved one, or friends to enjoy a peaceful weekend. So yes! It’s a great place to go any time of the year!

Location: 31 West Water Street

www.caperesorts.com/barons-cove


Dopo La Spiaggia

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I love Italian restaurants, so I decided to feature one of the best gems in town: Dopo La Spiaggia.

All restauranteurs, foodies, celebrities and the gorgeous crowd in town are always there enjoying their delicious dishes and drinks!

Owned by Chef Maurizio Marfoglia – that was super kind to meet us at the restaurant – has created a fantastic, seasonal menu with a variety of local ingredients. All very, very fresh!

The sun was out, so we decided to sit at the charming outdoor patio, with another great view of the marina. The patio has a cozy environment, with tables set close together and a breathtaking green wall from end to end!

Menus are updated regularly, and time time we chose two dishes to try:

  • Tagliolini – squid ink pasta, bay scallops, shrimp, calamari, chili and tomato. Note: it does have a spicy kick!
  • Branzino – poached sea bass, tomatoes, spinach with white wine.

Of course, both dishes paired with fantastic wine – one white, one red! As Italians say: Perffeto!

I’ve also heard from friends that other dishes are also must-haves, like the super creamy burrata, the homemade ravioli is perfectly done with wild mushrooms, ricotta cheese, vidallia and crushed tomato sauce. Plus, all sea dishes are very tasty and well-served.

Ah! Dessert, yes! You can try their stellar tiramisu and the berry tart with crème Anglaise. The portions are good to share, in case you were curious!

Buon Appetito!

Hours:
Monday, Thursday – Friday: Dinner from 5:30pm
Tuesday & Wednesday: Closed
Saturday & Sunday: Lunch and dinner from 12 noon

Location: 6 Bay Street

www.dopolaspiaggia.com


The Buddha Berry

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Last, but surely not least, we finished the day at The Buddha Berry, a dessert spot to satisfy your sweet tooth!

The spot is loved by everyone in town! They not only sell self-serve frozen yogurts, but also crêpes, waffles and still have a coffee bar, with organic coffee!

They’ve recently started serving vegan yogurt with almond milk and natural ingredients, which had been a huge success!

Of course, I decided to try their famous frozen yogurt. Nancy, the owner, sources countless toppings from all over the world and brings them to her delicious store. There are so many options that it was actually quite hard to pick and choose the ones I wanted. I mean, I wanted to serve myself a bit of each one! Lol!

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: Noon – 9pm
Friday & Saturday: 10am – 10:30pm
Sunday: 10am – 9pm

Location: 125 Main Street

www.buddhaberry.com


As I said, there are so many more places to visit and explore in town, so don’t be shy to walk around and get lost – literally! Oh! And do visit their Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum, set in an 1845 Greek Revival mansion featuring whaling exhibits and a shop with handmade gifts.

I’m sure you’re going to have one of the best weekends away from the city and will want to come back again, and again, and again!

And, how that you heard of the celebrities’ secret town in New York be careful when spreading the word!

Don’t forget to check out our other tips for Day Trips & Travels and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

If you need help in organizing your trip, let us know. For corporate requests, let us experts cater a perfect experience for your team or your clients!


Videography and PhotographyRenata Meirelles 
BeautyLeila Soldeira
Styling:
 Érika Mesentier and Camilla Adão

*Last Update on March/2020.*

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