Tag Archives: manhattan

My Favorite dessert spots in New York!

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My Favorite dessert spots in New York!

In an effort to be more healthy, let’s talk about what’s so unhealthy that most people love – SUGAR. I have decided to try cutting out sugar from my diet. I like sweets, but I definitely can say my sweet tooth is not crazy; and I definitely know how to control myself. If I crave sweet, I either will allow myself to have whatever sweet I am craving – because I usually know I will be satisfied after a small portion. Sometimes though, I am mean to myself and say no!

I’m not sure how deleting sugar from my diet will make me feel or how it will change me or if I even will want to or whatever, but people usually save eventually you get to a point where you don’t want sweets anymore. I am hoping this becomes my result because diabetes seems to run in my family all of the sudden (meaning all of the sudden all these older relatives of mine are telling me they have it out of like nowhere and it’s like one after another!) and I see what they go through and it’s a life I want to avoid.

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Anyways, I’m ready to experiment! This week I am going to go strict and consciously try to avoid all or as much as possible sugar I can, and then see how I feel. From there I will see if I can continue on like that (obviously with a cheat day here and there – I’m human after all!) or at least I hope I can still continue on with as much reduced sugar as possible especially during weekdays.

With that in mind, I thought let me get one last weekend of really bad sweet binging out of the way! It’s funny though because like I said, I don’t have a crazy sweet tooth, so I was almost not going to get the 1st item on my list below! But I did it for the blog 😛

Here is my list of “the best of” sweets edition in NYC!

BEST COOKIE: City Cakes

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I’m sooooo sorry all you Levain Bakery lovers. No, no & no. Levain is sooo yesterday!! Who wants to go allllll the way to the Upper West Side to stand on line for an hour for a cookie that will go hard if you leave it for the next day?

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City Cakes cookie are thick and soft! Sooo perfect and if you save some for the next day or two  (they are so freakin big, they usually take me 3 days to finish!) they still stay chewy and delicious! The bakery is so cute too! Saturday I bought the peanut butter and a chocolate chip. The peanut butter was good, but very peanut buttery. I thought there would be more chocolate in it, since it has m&m’s inside. I have tried the red velvet, peanut butter and I think the Nutella stuffed, which are all good, but their chocolate chip is my absolute favorite! Their classic chocolate chip is THE BEST IN THE CITY HANDS DOWN!

BEST ICE CREAM: Davey’s Ice Cream

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This funky ice cream parlor is right in the heart of the east village. They have really funky flavors as well, such as ‘Strong Coffee’, ‘Speculoos Chocolate Chip’ and ‘Mexican Vanilla’, which of course they let you sample, on their regular menu, but they also have seasonal/monthly flavors which are really creative and funky like ‘Black Sesame’, ‘Red Velvet Oreo’ which I tried and it was amazing, ‘Matcha’, ‘Peppermint Chip’, once they had a ‘Star Wars’ flavor, everything!

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The thing is, Davey’s Ice Cream is made on-site from raw ingredients, and you really can taste the difference! Each batch requires a four-day-long production schedule. They also sell birch house coffee, cakes, milkshakes, sundaes, home made marsh mellows (huggeee marsh mellows!) pies, cookies, ice cream sandwiches, like everything!! They have everything!! Ohh, and artisan style cones decorated with cereal and cookies! See! Everything! And all this everything that they offer is homemade and delicious! My go-to is the cookies and cream with the salted caramel sauce – omg! It’s like crack lol.

BEST (CHEESE)CAKE: Martha’s Country Bakery

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Sorry Manhattanites, you gotta come to Queens for this slice of heaven! Martha’s Bakery is located in Astoria as well as Forest Hills, Bayside and they also have a location or two in Williamburg, which is in Brooklyn. THE best cakes & desserts. It has a European touch and they have a full coffee bar. They sell cupcakes, cakes, cookies, brownies, tarts, macaroon, gelato and cake cake cake cake cake – a variety of sorts of cakes and cheesecakes, you name it! Have you ever heard of a blue velvet cake??? They got it!

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My favorite is the apple crumb cheesecake. The bottom half is filled with apple pie filling, the middle with creamy, amazing cheesecake, and it’s topped off with cinammony crumble. I’m so glad the location in my neighborhood is on the complete other side, making it difficult for me to run on over whenever I crave that cheesecake! I must add the desserts are so pretty and the space has a very Euro vibe. It’s also very cozy and clean.

If coming out to the boroughs is such a thang for you, the best alternative in Manhattan I would say is Juniors for cheesecake. There IS another place located in Soho called Eileen’s Special Cheesecake, but I have not been there yet. It’s on my list though!

BEST DOUGHNUTS: Dough

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Yum! These are so delicious! I have tried the cafe au lait and one I really love – mocha almond crunch. The doughnuts here are big and fluffy. They have cake doughnuts and regular with loads of flavors.

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The hibiscus flavor seems to be really popular. I don’t know how I feel about that and I’m not sure if I’m willing to risk it unless they were giving out free samples. Maybe I’m missing out? Maybe one day I’ll decide to try it. Maybe that day I’ll be angry I wasted $5 on a doughnut that was weird.

BEST POPSICLE: La Newyorkina

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Wepaaa!! This place is soooo cute!!! As a non-Latina, the first time I walked in here I was so overwhelmed and confused. So I came back with a Latina and had her translate 😛 They have Mexican ice cream flavors, popsicles, frozen yogurts, ect.  We both got the mango chili palettes (Mango ice pops).

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They have these tubs of chili randomly left around that you can sprinkle on your ice pop. I HIGHLY recommend trying this. I HIGHLY recommend trying this. I am tempted to type that sentence again, but I think you get the picture 🙂

BEST HOT CHOCOLATE: Jacques Torres

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Back in January I was at City Bakery and tried their hot chocolate, although it was similar, it got cold quick and lost its je ne said quoi. So Jacque Torres, to me, is still the best.

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Honestly, I am not a hot chocolate fan. I was introduced to JT in 2010 when I was working down in Tribeca and a coworker was raving about it so much. It was a block or two down from our office, so one day she took me and I had never tried hot chocolate like this before! It’s literally thick, melted chocolate! You can choose regular, or ‘Wicked’. I prefer the regular. They have handmade, artisan chocolates, which make perfect gifts! There several locations throughout the city and Mr. Torres has even recently opened a museum!

BEST LATTE: Coffeecake Corner

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Only Because they have a peanut butter mocha and although it’s pretty small inside, the few times I came here I could always find a seat! I usually don’t drink latte’s either. If I get a latte it’s usually some type of soy mocha and I usually end up throwing it out after a few sips.

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This though, is definitely a treat! As far as coffee goes, I am not sure. I cannot find my absolute favorite when it comes to actual coffee. I do enjoy illy coffee but a lot of coffee shops are just decent. I hate to admit it but lately my go-to has been cart coffee on weekday mornings. I actually enjoy it more than any other independent coffee shop or you know, Starbucks.

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These are my top favorite desserts and my top favorite places FOR those desserts in the city. Sorry I gotta say sayonara to them for now! I do believe in cheating here and there, with control, but my goal is to make those cheat cravings become less often than before. But if you are not watching your sugar (something I am not encouraging but you are an adult!) or you do come to New York on holiday (holidays = excuse to cheat on your diet!), definitely try out these places! I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

-Karen Bahri

 

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St. Ives Pop Up Shop!

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St. Ives Pop Up Shop!

As I was walking down the shops in SoHo this weekend, this caught my eye:

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St. Ives opened it’s first ever pop up shop in SoHo! Unfortunately it’s only temporary around; but I would assume depending on the way things go hopefully they will launch an actual store.

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I’m sure just about everyone has an empty tube of St. Ives Apricot Scrub in the back of their shower they have forgotten about. What’s not to love about this product line?! I grew up using it. It’s cheap, it’s all natural; making it a great scrub which has always made my skin look and feel better than many of the more pricy scrubs and lotions I have tried.

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The concept behind this shop is that you can customize your very own face scrub or body lotion, starting with their 100% natural exfoliants, extracts, or moisturizers.

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Their exclusive Mixing Bar contains over 50 ingredient combinations. The combinations are endless! But in the end, you will have created your very own unique mix!!

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Umm, they also have a really cool photo booth!! With a hashtag so you can jump on insta and hash the crap out of your pics. YASSS!!!!! 😁🙋‍♀️

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The staff is really friendly. The decor is fresh and fun. They also sell candles. You could wind up spending a whole afternoon there – but you have to hurry! The pop up shop is only around until the 30th of June! So get going before it’s gone!

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-Karen Bahri

 

Christmas/Hanukkah staycation at the Innside Hotel!

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Christmas/Hanukkah staycation at the Innside Hotel!

As 2016 comes to an end, I can safely conclude this has been the worst year of my life. I was telling a friend the other day after much thought, I don’t believe that just because a new year is approaching doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be a new start or a better year. Its not like things are going to magically glow like Disneyland 😐. I live in a world of reality and I just don’t think so.

Anyways, because certain travel plans backfired followed by new travel plans that backfired (my medium friend told me it’s due to the mercury retrogade. Google it.) I created MY OWN PLANS. Because I obviously cannot depend on anyone besides myself, I decided to book a staycation!

Since I’m the most indecisive human being on the face of the earth, this took me about 3 days of researching a hotel 😂😂…I finally made the plunge and booked The Innside hotel. I’m definitely glad I made this decision! The Innside hotel is a part of the Melia hotels & resorts . If you have been to Miami Beach, I’m sure you have seen a hotel called “ME”, which I learned is apart of this hotel family.

Meliá Hotels International was founded in 1956 in Palma de Malorca, Spain. That being said, there are a lot of Spanish guests at this resort! Holaaa! 😉 It is one of the largest hotel companies in the world and the largest in Spain in both resorts and city hotels! The company currently operates more than 370 hotels in 43 countries and 4 continents under its brands! So lets get straight into my weekend and my overall thoughts of this hotel!

Located on the border of Chelsea & Flatiron, which happen to be my favorite neighborhoods, the building is big & beautiful! They play nice jazz music as you enter and they have outdoor seating for their restaurant in the front. It’s got a see-through cover for these cold months. Upon entry you walk into this glamorous space with perfect lighting! Looking straight you’ll find some couches, to the right you have the bar/lounge area and to the left is reception. Front desk is very friendly and total New Yorkers, so that’s good for tourists! 😂 Check in was easy so lets move on to the next topic: THE ROOM.

Initially I called them and they gave me a free upgrade to a King room with a view! I verified that, and just because life in the past month has been everything bad…and worse…I just figured something had screwed up..so naturally I had my game face on 👺! But all was well, ain’t nobody screw up my king room with view upgrade, gurrrl! So up to the 15th floor I went! The hallway was SO CLASSY!! Full length mirrors next to every door!! What a girl needs!! The walls were a clean black so it was a nice contrast! I opened up my door to find a very open, modern, bright, clean, amazing room!!! Bathroom right next to the front door, huge room with flatscreen TV, minibar, wine bottle opener, espresso machine…..And…….a…… VIEWTODIEFOR!!! I had the BEST view of the Empire State Building!!! I was soo happy! Three days of indecisiveness turned out to be a great decision!

I think the only 1st world problems I complained about in my head was half the TV stations didn’t work and the room was pretty cold. I even had the maintenence guy come look at the thermostat but nothing. Oh well! Next time I’ll bring my portable heater!

That evening I ended up making plans and we started off at the hotel lobby bar and had a great convo with our bartender! Very friendly, cool staff! The hotel also has a gym and meeting rooms. Would have been nice if it had a pool or spa but hey, we can’t have it all! 🤔😄

All in all, it was very peaceful, I took nice videos, snapchat filtered way too much & a small amount of pics, it was relaxing and it was nice being IN the city. Even though I’m a ten minute train ride away, it still makes a big difference! So I totally suck! I took numerous videos & snapchatted nonstop, but not as many pictures, except for my view! So the website is below, containing photos. I am adding in the few pics I did take and will try to screenshot from my videos. Those will be blurry just FYI lol. I’ll try to upload videos but they take forever and seem to always crash :/ But check the pictures out on the website! The hotel looks exactly the same! Happy New Years to all! And may you travel tons and your travel plans not get screwed up in 2017!

https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/united-states/new-york/innside-new-york-nomad/index.html
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My perfect view! Blue & White for Hanukkah and Red & Green for Christmas! #blessed
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I’m back and so is rooftop season!!

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Hey girll!!! And guys….

It’s been a while. If you scroll down, you will know why. I just want to say as hard as the last several months have been I appreciate the people who have stood by me and kept me company, made me laugh, hung out and made plans to keep my mind off things & spirit high.

Because of those people I have not gone into a depression that I could have easily, and still could easily slip into. Life tosses lemons all the time and we each have our own way of squeezing or dodging them. There still are times when I lay in bed thinking is this real? And why did this have to happen? But at least I know tomorrow is a new day filled with those who lift my spirit! Also, thank God for summer in New York City!!

Anyways!!! This is my travel blog, I want to add reviews on various restaurants, bars, shops, products, films as well to create some variety. This IS my KALEIDOSCOPE, remember 😉. I have done some travels, had some visitors and checked out some local places which I am excited to share with you so stay tuned!!!

Since it IS summer in the city, the rooftop scene is on high gear! I’ve been to a few good ones and a few mehhh ones this summer, and I’ve done my research since I had guests visiting this summer. In my opinion, Press Lounge is DEF the best rooftop in the city!!! I actually revisited 230 5th, which was the first ever rooftop I have ever been to in Manhattan when I moved here 10 years ago, and its still beautiful! Although the waiters are rude, they have an amazing peach Bellini! I still highly recommend it but I think this is a good one for daytime. Reason being, is they have this tropical decor  with palm trees on the roof. The inside is beautiful as well! Here are some pics when I was there to celebrate my dear cousin sisters birthday a few weeks ago. Photos include the inside bar and rooftop:

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I was recently at the Gansevoort in Meatpacking and ehhh..the space is cramped. The set up is weird so there’s not a lot of room, especially on the actually rooftop part.

Some other rooftops that are “visitable” but I wouldn’t go out of my way are Upstairs at the Kimberly, Refinery rooftop and I think it’s called Pulse, in the Marriott hotel on 36th street between 5th and 6th.

Oh I also didn’t find Dream midtown amazing either. PRESS LOUNGE ALL THE WAY!!!!

Here are some pics from two different occasions :

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It’s Halloween in the City!

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It’s Halloween in the City!

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No city does Halloween like New York City! HANDS DOWN! Halloween was invented (yes, invented) FOR the city of New York. And New York was designed for Halloween. New York’s Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is by far the largest city-wide Halloween event in NYC. Nothing you will ever see in your life is crazier!!! (here is the official link https://www.halloween-nyc.com/  ) I mean I guess elsewhere in the country and maybe the world, Halloween is meant for kids. I think its fair to say kids should be banned from Halloween in New York!!! hahahha (That laugh was evil)

It’s also safe to say that I’ve definitely had more fun hanging out on the streets than an actually party/club. The bars/lounges get sooo packed you cant even breathe!! And to spend a ridiculous amount for JUST the entry fee just to get annoyed because its so crowded you cant breathe – no. My first Halloween in the city we went to my friends party at a bar in Union Square (after the parade, of course) and then as we were “heading out” we found a drum circle in the middle of Union Square and started dancing in the street! So much fun!! This is the best holiday ever!! I think at this stage in life, I’m lazy to go all out with the costumes – but some people are soo create and original! As long as I have some ears or a mask of some sort and some glitter I’m good.

If you are planning a trip to New York and are open minded and not scared of witnessing craziness and the oddest of odd, Halloween is the BEST time to be here! Head downtown to the village for probably the craziest of them all! I will warn you though, the parade can get extremely packed. If you are claustrophobic, maybe you should reconsider lol. I’ve been stuck in the crowd many a times. I also remember one year my friends were on the other side of the street and the police wouldn’t let us cross over to meet them, so you have to be prepared for these things. Another year I was caught in a crowd unable to breathe or see any of the parade (btw never once that I have attended the parade was I actually ever able to like..you know..SEE the parade!! Its too crowded you cant get a good view.) and then some idiot decided to start a fight…omg..I still remember how awful that was!!! I think the best thing to do is be CLOSE to the parade but FAR enough that you don’t get killed lol.

Your guide to Halloween in NYC

Another year I worked a party that was hosted by Kim Kardashian.

Kim Kardashian dressed as Poison Ivy at Lavo

Kim Kardashian dressed as Poison Ivy at Lavo

Celeb spottings - Kim Kardashian on Halloween

Celeb spottings – Kim Kardashian on Halloween

My mask that year

My mask that year

Another fun, memorable Halloween was 2008! That was probably the last year I went alllll out with my costume!

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I'm clearly in my zone!Ohhh the good ol' days!

I’m clearly in my zone! Ohhh the good ol’ days!

Here are some more photos from the Halloween parade a few years ago:

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!