Saturday, September 10, 2011

NYC Faves: Dinner



I love dinner. Probably more than most things in life, just behind My Little Pony and reality TV. You work all day, studying, doing business, being an adult- and dinner is your chance to unwind and eat everything delicious in sight. Or at least that's what I do. There are hundreds upon hundreds of different restaurants to eat dinner at in New York City. And a lot of them are DELISH. But the really tough part is finding a place that combines both delicious food and great atmosphere. Finding my favorite spots took me the better part of a decade, and I miss them every single day. Restaurants in New York became my home away from home. I stopped cooking and started going out to dinner nearly every single night. Those nights that I didn't go out to dinner? Yeah, I ordered delivery. Come on, guys. Don't you know me by now? Since being back in Ohio, I've tried to reform my ways and get into the cooking game. But I would give my left pinky to be sitting in one of my favorite restaurants right now. In this post, I'm going to cover my three favorite cuisines: American, Mexican and Italian. Let's take a food journey...

Schillers Liquor Bar- Don't let the name fool you, Schillers is much more than a liquor bar. They serve fancy American food, which is totally my favorite thing ever. My life hasn't been the same since I tried their Mac 'n' Cheese, honest to God. They take homemade comfort foods and turn them into classy food that could maybe be on Top Chef, but is probably way yummier than everything on Top Chef and the portions are WAY bigger. (Can we pause for a sec and srsly note how small the portions are on Top Chef? Like, what's up there? I get that it's probably for the show because the judges have to eat so many different dishes, but COME ON! You know Tom Colicchio isnt full of that spoonful of seaweed infused goat cheese foam.) But honestly, my favorite thing about Schillers is the staff. The manager and the bartenders are some of the best people in New York. Get those people on your side and you'll always have a "spot" in New York. They're the kind of people that will see you walk in the door and have your drink waiting for you by the time you get to the bar. Ask for the Tequila Rose from John, the bartender- it's the most delicious drink I've ever had. Schillers is located at 131 Rivington St @ Norfolk in the Lower East Side. If I had a dollar for every time I hopped in a cab and gave that address...

El Maguey Y La Tuna- Good Mexican food is hard to find in New York City. It's like finding a bro that doesn't like Dave Matthew's Band. Good luck. The first time I walked into El Maguey Y La Tuna (to be further referred to as EMYLT- shit that's no easier than typing the name. Whatever.) I literally felt like I walked into my Grandma's house. It smelled exactly the same and was decorated in the exact same vibe. Everywhere you look is a picture of the Virgin Mary or Jesus on a cross. Authentic Catholic Mexicans- that's how you know it's the real deal. Ok so the food.... I'm salivating just thinking about it. The chiles rellenos, the tacos, the burritos, the nachos, the quesadillas- IT'S ALL DELICIOUS! It's a perfect blend of beans, cheese and grease. (SIDENOTE- Have I not said on this blog yet that I'm a vegetarian? Ooops! Well I am. You're entitled to like me less. A lot of people do. But that's okay- I make up for it in other ways. For what it's worth, I sincerely love bacon and miss it every day.) If you go to EMYLT, you MUST get a mixed drink. They will knock you on your ass. Not that you want that or anything. But if you did (don't you!), they have this blue Margarita situation that has tequila, vodka and rum in it that I still have daydreams about. For your inner alcoholic. EMYLT is located at 321 East Houston St @ Attorney in the Lower East Side.

Lil' Frankie's- Nothing like New York Italian food. My idea of delicious Italian usually involves unlimited salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden, so you know... There's that. I mean, if I was seriously telling you where I went when I was in the mood for Italian in New York, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't Olive Garden. But more often than not, my friends wouldn't go with me because "Ew. That's not real Italian!" Whatever, guys. Let me be me. LET ME LIVE! ANYWAY. Lil Frankie's is the little sister restaurant of Frank, located just a few blocks away. I love them both dearly, but Lil' Frankie's was my first experience into the Frank's world, and so it will always be my favorite. (Same goes for boyfriends. LOL JK, I'm not still in love with my boyfriend from 2nd grade anymore. I got over that like two Summers ago!) The vibe is totally downtown hipster, and none of them look like they even eat Italian food. But whatever- more for me! The food can only be described as sinfully delicious. It's the kind of homemade Italian food my inner Mexican child always craved, but never knew existed. Each bite is better than the last, and even though my pants are always unbuttoned by the end of the meal, I'm always sad when I've finished my meal. Every pizza I've ever tried at Lil Frankie's has been bangin', and I want to swim in their Spaghetti with Broccoli. It sounds simple, but the way they make it with al dente pasta- ah, it's perfection. Lil' Frankies is located at 19 1st Avenue, btw 1st and 2nd St in the East Village.

So for those of you in New York right now- visit my favorite spots and tell them I'm still alive, but perhaps I now have a thicker Midwest accent. For those of you planning to visit New York sometime in the next few years- these restaurants will probably be uncool by then, but guaranteed still delicious and worth the trip.
carmen

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