City Guide: New York City

Ciao, friends. It’s been a few months. A lot has happened. I got engaged. I changed jobs. I started taking French classes (again). I traveled to some new places: Morocco, Cuba, Sedona, to name a few and even took a solo trip to Paris. What brought me back to type up this post? You guys! Well actually, a bit of laziness brought me back + you guys.

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If I had to guess, I receive 2-4 texts each month with friends, family or friends of family or family of friends who are asking for recommendations of what to do in NYC. Where to stay. Where to eat. What to do. Here’s a list of my favorites, a mix of the old and the new. The classic NYC can’t misses and the new & trendy. So instead of texting it out for the umpteenth time, here we are:

WHERE TO STAY

Best for highrollers

The Plaza Hotel || Need I say more? Live like Eloise. Walk through the revolving doors and find yourself in a little slice of NYC heaven. Enjoy a glass of champagne at the Champagne Bar. Tip: If you can’t afford an Eloise lifestyle, dip downstairs to the Plaza Food Hall to discover NYC staples like Luke’s Lobster, and my favorite black and white cookies in the entire city from William Greenberg‘s.

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Best for seeing the sites

The Freehand Hotel || It doesn’t get trendier or cozier than this. The Freehand made it’s big debut in the city last year and has been a favorite of travelers and locals alike ever since opening its’ doors. Enjoy the lounge area and the midtown location, in close proximity to the lights of Broadway. Bert and I stayed at the Freehand in Miami and love the hostel concept and how the hotel aims to bring travelers together through communal spaces.

Best if you want to feel like a real New Yawk-er

The Hoxton Hotel || Retreat from the hustle & bustle of the city and stay in the newly opened Hoxton Hotel across the East River in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sleek and sexy, this hotel brand made waves in London, Amsterdam and Paris before opening their first location in the U.S. in Williamsburg.

WHERE TO EAT

How to choose? There are too many life changing restaurants in this city. My rule? You can’t leave NYC without trying the below cuisines. Pick at least 3 from this list to leave feeling like you tackled the NYC food scene. When all else fails, go to Smorgasburg, The Plaza Food Hall, Dekalb Food Hall, or Canal Street Market to have a variety at your fingertips.

Bagels

Ess-a-bagel || A true NYC bagel that’s guaranteed to be larger than your head.

Russ & Daughters || Top off your bagel with a large selection of cured and dried fish.

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Frankel’s || Yummy Brooklyn bagel sandwiches with a Jewish deli feel.

Italian

Il Buco || They have Iberco Ham! And delicious pasta dishes. Have never been disappointed here.

Spaghetti Incident || Bert and I used to live above this spot. Homemade pasta, with most dishes coming in right around $10.

Arthur Ave. || See “What to Do”

Lilia || Please order the Squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese, aperol spritz’ and anything with truffle.

Pasquale Jones || I saw Jay-Z here!!!! …And the food is very good…

Noodles (Pho/Chinese/Ramen)

King’s Co Imperial || These are the best American soup dumplings you will ever find. Great alternative to trekking out to Queens but probably takes as long when you account the wait time that is typically 1-2 hours. Worth it. Order the soup dumplings, green beans, and any noodle dish.

Pho Grand || My heart will always be with the pho shops in Chinatown. I have tried them all. I keep coming back for the vegetarian pho at this haunt.

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Mu Ramen || 15-seat cash only ramen spot in Long Island City. The ramen here is the best in the city and will take your breath away.

Bad & Bougie

The Odeon || An NYC staple. Transport yourself to a French bistro that feels equal parts French and NYC. A neighborhood favorite.

Loring Place || Chef Danny Kluger’s restaurant. The food amazes. The ambiance is sophisticated. You will leave happy.

The Polo Bar || A place to see and be seen. The food is fine. You’re really going for the fancy matchbook and the oil paintings of horses. And the close-to-guaranteed celebrity spotting.

The NoMad Hotel || Dark and intimate. Recommend going here on a rainy night. Something about it just feels right. Order the truffle pasta.

Eleven Madison Park || It’s dinner and a show and it’s the #1 Restaurant in the World.

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Pizza

Paulie Gee’s || Another Greenpoint favorite. No wonder I love this hood! So many great restaurants. Try the hot honey sauce on your ‘za. We keep it stocked in our pantry.

Emmy Squared || Get anything with pepperoni. The yummiest, crunchiest, nickel-sized ‘roni is coming your way. Order the off the menu burger. You won’t regret it.

La Margherita || Our favorite slice shop in the Lower East Side. Best served after a night of dancing nearby.

WHAT TO DO 

Walk, walk, walk!

  • Central Park
  • High Line
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Along the brownstones of the Upper East Side
  • Through Williamsburg
  • Down 5th Avenue (especially during the holiday season)
  • Bryant Park
  • The quaint boutiques of the West Village or NoLita

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My favorite museums

  • The Frick || Hard to believe this used to be someone’s house. I love this museum because it was one of my grandpa’s childhood favorites. The permanent collection contains many of the same paintings he remembers through the eyes of his young self.
  • The Whitney || A very “doable” American modern art museum. You can tackle it in a few hours.
  • MoMa || The grand dame of modern art. You can spend all day here.
  • The Met Breuer ||The best part about this museum is the beautiful Flora Bar where you can enjoy a delicious glass of wine before or after enjoying the artwork.

Day trips

  • Take a trip to Queens for soup dumplings
  • Go to The Bronx and enjoy the real little Italy – after burn some calories at the NY Botanical Gardens
  • Coney Island and get tickets to the Sideshow

Other NYC musts

  • See a show – or two, or three!
  • Have a picnic in Central Park
  • Snag tickets to Shakespeare in the Park
  • Sit in a cafe and people watch
  • Window shop in SoHo

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Remember, the city is your playground. xC

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Corianna’s NYC Favorites

I’ve reached a pinnacle point in my relationship with the city. It’s about this time when I feel as if the city is truly mine, because I have found my favorite places. These spots are available to the entire city, yet they feel like my own due to the frequency that I enjoy them.

A few coveted favorites:

  1. Coffee || Maman

Not only is their font and branding off the chain (I mean, who doesn’t love a insulated serrated to-go mug) but the vibe in this small coffee shop in Little Italy is as cozy as it gets. Indulge in a flakey croissant or matcha cake while enjoying a cappuccino and flipping through a carefully curated selection of recipe books. The music and good eats put this at the top of my list out of all the coffee I’ve enjoyed in NYC.

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2. Pho || Pho Vietnam

I can’t say enough about this spot that I visit on a weekly basis. What do I love about it? Well, everything. Where can you fill up for under $10 in NYC? In fact, two large bowls of simmering broth and goodness will only set you back $14. It is spotless in here, which is a rarity for one dollar sign haunts. A bowl of pho gá comes with all white meat, and is piled high with vegetables. Service is A+.

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The cool chick that introduced me to Pho Vietnam. We both frequent it once a week, not a surprise to run into her! 

3. Bagel || Heaven’s Hot Bagel

Just a few steps down the road from Russ & Daughters (a favorite for bagels + lox) you will find Heaven’s Hot. This cash only spot has every kind of bagel you would want, and all the fixin’s. Go here for that bagel breakfast sandwich you’ve been craving, or just a good ole’ sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese.

4. Wine Bar || Jadis

Wines by the glass, cheese boards, and various appetizers make this wine bar a go-to. Tucked away just a few blocks from my apartment, I love Jadis for their great selection of wine, the cozy casual vibe and the bookshelves full of coffee table books.

5. Dessert || Veniero’s

If it’s a favorite of Larry David’s, it’s a favorite of mine. This East Village institution serves up hearty slices of original NY cheesecake and other Italian pastry delicacies. I love coming here to stock up on biscotti, or butter cookies, or just sit down and enjoy a coffee and a slice of cheese cake.

What are some of your favorite NYC spots?

XC

 

Corianna’s City Guide: A Perfect Day in Park Slope

I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a three day weekend that didn’t come attached to an itinerary. This past weekend was one of those unique times. I have the advantage of living in a city with many neighborhoods and boroughs, so it was really just a matter of choosing which one to explore for a staycation. The choice: Park Slope.

Park Slope is located in Brooklyn, and is a suburb of Manhattan. The neighborhood is nestled into neatly packed streets where brownstones line avenues, growing more ornate as they reach up the slope towards Prospect Park. Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s Central Park, though way more manageable in size. There are large fields where families play frisbee, dogs are off-leash and guitar chords echo under limestone bridges.

Corianna Goes XC’s Itinerary for a day in Park Slope: 

You can get to Park Slope by taking the B, Q, 2, 3, F, or G.

Make your way to Union Street and walk through a maze of high value brownstones.

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Head over to grab some fuel for the day and brunch at Rose Water . A prix-fixe brunch menu includes a house made beverage and delectable entree. Below are the bosc pear crepes filled with ricotta cheese. The homemade bread basket was an unexpected treat from the host, too!

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After brunch, it’s time for a Bloody Mary. Before leaving Rose Water, look across the street and marvel at the community grocery co-op then walk towards Union Hall, where you will be cozy in the dimly lit bar warmed by two fireplaces. Enjoy a game of bocce ball while listening to good tunes and sipping your drink.

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After a close game of bocce ball, it’s time to get some fresh air in Prospect Park. On Saturday’s there is a Farmer’s Market towards the entrance. I recommend fresh cheese from Cato Corner Farm.

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After a walk through the park, you will have a nice dose of suburban living before heading back to Manhattan, or whichever area you hail from. The best part? No waiting in an airport/train station/etc., cause that’s the beauty of a staycation – discovering your own city and its surroundings.

Corianna’s City Guide: Charleston

Happy 2015! A new year means change, and for CoriannaGoesXC, this nouveau touch will come in the form of a city guide. Of course, it is only appropriate to start with the first city I fell truly, madly and deeply in love with – Charleston. There were obviously other loves, namely Paris, but, Charleston was the first love that was my own. Like all loves, it started as a crush, as I admired her from afar. Then I visited, and voila! I was hooked. I lived there for four glorious years and have firm plans of returning one day.

So whether you’re just driving through or are spending your honeymoon in Charleston, below are some places where I find myself when in Charleston. Be sure to click the “Charleston” tab on the side bar for further recommendations.

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EAT

If there is one meal that is quintessentially Charleston, it is brunch. Brunch was made for Charleston. There is something about the smell of the salty air in the morning that says Shrimp n’ Grits.

Hominy Grill | It’s the classic CHS restaurant. Get here early (there will be a line), but be sure to get drinks while you wait on the porch. (I recommend the Planter’s Punch) You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here, but they are known for the Charleston Nasty (formerly known as the Big Nasty), a piece of fried chicken sandwiched between a southern biscuit and smothered in gravy.

Fat Hen | Located off the peninsula, you won’t regret a drive that transports you to the set of Gone with the Wind. Chef Neuville nods his hat to the French Hugenots that settled the area with a French-fusion menu.

Old Village Post House | An old post house sets the stage for this brunch location. OVPH boasts the classics – omelettes, French toast, oh, and of course fried green tomatoes. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by Pitt Street Pharmacy for an old fashioned milkshake.

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Lunch & Dinner

When in Charleston, eat seafood. After all, it wouldn’t be a real trip to the Holy City without oysters.

Fleet Landing | Can’t beat the location. Fleet Landing is the one of the only restaurants located on the water, therefore practically guaranteeing some sunset dolphin views, if you sit on the patio. You can’t go wrong with the seafood here.

Obstinate Daughter | My favorite restaurant happens to be on Sullivan’s Island. Everything is delicious. If octopus is on the menu, I dare your to order it, followed by an affogato for dessert.

The Ordinary | This restaurant is touted as the hottest in Charleston, and the hype is legit. Whether you’re ordering their Hawaiian rolls or lobster roll, you won’t be disappointed.

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DRINK

Rarebit | If Moscow Mules, alt music, and good conversation are your thing – you must go here.

The Belmont | Hands down, my favorite 5 o’clock somewhere spot. I dream about bartender/owner Mickey’s Cielo. Juices are hand pressed (with pulp <3) and bitters are homemade. Oh, and film noir projects above you in the candlelit room. Talk about a date night.

Black Tap | But first, coffee. Nothing better than this coffee shop & the almond latte’s that come out of here. Take a window seat for your new favorite Sunday morning spot.

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Bin 152 | Wanna feel like you’re in France? Easy. Just stop by this rustic wine bar for a bottle of your favorite French wine and a board of cheese.

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Prohibition | My go to spot. Located a block from my old apartment, you can’t go wrong with the happy hour special here. $4 well drinks, wine and bubbles. Located on King Street, comes with a side of great people watching.

DO

Charleston Farmers Market | The Farmers Market is everything good about this city tucked into one quaint park on seasonal Saturday mornings. Tasty food vendors, artisan craftsmen, lowcountry farmers and artists alike bring out the best of the best to share with locals and visitors.

Charleston City Market | If you’re visiting Charleston, you can’t miss this novelty. Read further here for a post I wrote for the Charleston Place Hotel (which btw, is a magnificent place to stay while visiting) Pick up a carriage ride here, my favorite way to see the city. Not only do you learn something different from each guide, but you get to see the city at a slower, more leisurely pace.

Beaches | There are three defined beaches in Charleston. They each have their own flavor.

Sullivan’s Island – my absolute favorite beach in Charleston. Walk to the beach through grassy backyards and houses that make you feel like you’re in the Hamptons, to a beach where you will normally end up bumping into a few friends.

Folly Beach – The “college” beach. Come here if you’re looking for a good time, especially around the 4th of July.

Isle of Palms – A bit more residential, this beach is a vacationer’s paradise.

King Street | Shop along King Street for your favorite retail stores, but also for some one-of-a-kind boutiques and antique shops. The second Sunday of every month, “Second Sunday” is where all vendors bring their shops to the street! The street becomes pedestrian-friendly while you casually stroll to your favorite shops.

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The Battery | And lastly, my absolute favorite thing to do in Charleston – walk. Charleston is one of the most walkable cities, and there is always something amazing that will catch your eye; it could be a fountain in a hidden garden or a Carolopolis award denoting the historical importance of an antebellum mansion. See here for a blog post I wrote for Charleston Place.

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#ForTheInsta: The most photographed area in Charleston? It’s a toss up between picturesque rainbow row and the pineapple fountain, but my pick is below for obvious reasons #ProudAlumni

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You can’t go wrong in Charleston. I could go on for days about all parts of this city that made me fall in love, but I will leave some work up to your own heart.

REX Healthcare at Downtown Raleigh Farmers Market

I like food. You like food. And people in hospitals certainly like food. So why until now, has hospital food been limited to jello and cottage cheese?

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Chef Steven Pexton of REX Healthcare, doesn’t think it has to be. In fact, he creates culinary experiences for hospital patrons that are replicated in a fine restaurant. Today, at the Farmers Market in Downtown Raleigh, I got a chance to speak with him about why it is important to serve both nutritious and delicious food for hospital patrons.

To this question, Pexton simply explained “Everyone comes from a food background, food is an important aspect in every persons life, and it is important to me to to make gourmet food in the hospital setting.” It is obvious that Pexton is trying to change what people think of as the typical hospital nourishment.

Today at the Farmer’s Market, Pexton served up a wild mushroom pâte accompanied by a sweet potato salad. And you guessed it, it’s the same menu as what was served at REX Healthcare.

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For more information, check out Black Hat Chefs.

Tasty 8’s

Veni, Vidi, Vici. Or for those of you whose boyfriend isn’t a Classics scholar, I came. I saw. I conquered.

Yesterday, my co-workers and I took a trip down our flight of stairs and out the door to our new neighbor, Tasty 8’s! I had been following them as they were under construction, creating menus and opening–so was excited to finally give them a try. It helps when you go with a group because that means you get to try all the dipping sauces for the Belgian fries. Personally, I ordered the dijon aioli.

Out of the eight hot dog choices, I chose the Windy City Weenie. I highly recommend. I like how Tasty 8’s cuts the CAB dog in half, to leave optimal room for the toppings to reach every part of the bun.

Choosing between milkshakes was hard, but I ended up ordering the Salty Dog–that is, salted caramel mocha milkshake. Delish!

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Dog display.

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A peep at Tasty 8’s

Luckily for me, the office I work in is next to Raleigh’s newest restaurant–Tasty 8’s. Unluckily for me, Tasty 8’s new menu boasts shakes. Not just your average neapolitan flavors, but creamy concoctions such as Momma Wells’ Tasty Treat (peanut butter, fudge and banana) and Heart and Seoul (Korean Chile Chocolate)–so basically anytime I have had a bad (or a good day) I will be running down to get myself a remedy.

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A glance inside.

Appropriately, the hot dog collaborations match the creativity behind the milkshakes. I think I will try The Coop (Continental Sausage All-Natural Chicken-Apple Sausage, Cream Cheese, Cucumber, Avocado, Scallions).

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I’m a fan of a small menu and even numbers. Choose a category, and then take your pick out of eight flavors.

I’m ready for Tasty 8’s to open!

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UPDATE: Friday, August 22, 12:26 PM

Swung by Tasty 8’s this afternoon as their Facebook page showed they were opening today! I ran down to get a milkshake, but the line was too long–good for them! Tasty 8’s if you read this, with a line like today, you may want to consider changing up the cue formation (when you opened the door it was the middle of the line with no room to get around!)

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Busy inside.photo 1And takeout.