Tag Archives: New york

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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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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Where Brooklyn at?!

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Where Brooklyn at?!

For a Queens girl, Brooklyn is confusing. Like why do people around the world think its so cool? becausetheyknownothingaboutqueensletskeepourboroughasecret

So anyways, I felt like hanging out around the Brooklyn Bridge area, without actually going because it’s been so hot and you know it’s gonna be crowded so I didn’t want to get stuck!

I remember going to Borough Hall for a gig once and it was a cute neighborhood. There is a street called Montague Street filled with cafes and cute shops around there. I wanted to hit up that area and Brooklyn Heights since that’s the posh area – I’m sorry if I am mis-quoting areas. I do not know if Borough Hall is a part of Brooklyn Heights or its next door neighbor. Again, I am a Queens girl. Queeeeennnnsss makes sense!

So anyways I took the R train to Court Street. There was some type of festival of nations going on which was really, really cool!! You could tell there was a lot of effort put in because the costumes and dances were very well presented! (I will post them up on my youtube channel, watch this space – just trying to experiment and post random videos on there & see how it goes — I will link you all once I am ready to show you!)

I stopped to watch that for a while and continued on my way to Montague street. Once there, I walked in and out of some cute shops. My phone battery was slowly dying so I thought I need to go sit somewhere and let it charge. I found this cute little Italian bar and luckily there was a plug by where I decided to sit at the bar. The bartender was really cool! A young lad from Kosovo. Our conversation didn’t begin until we saw this eccentric couple dressed in African gear (him) and afro-hipster gear (her) walk out and some people asked them for a photo. Apparently he is some singer I have never heard of. My Kosovian bartender told me this area is money and there are a lot of celebs in the neighborhood. He mentioned another celebrity I have never heard of who used to come in to the restaurant, but stopped, because he would get mobbed by fans. Now he just orders delivery. I told homeboy how I was planning on walking over by the promenade by the Bridge and if that is worth it or not. He said yes. He told me from there to head over to DUMBO – yes Dumbo, there’s an area called Dumbo. Dumbo stands for “Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass”.

He said that area is money and nice to check out. He broke it down for me regarding the “popular” Brooklyn neighborhoods : Williamsburg is hipster, and Parkslope is yuppie, so no. Dumbo it was! Which I believe is in Brooklyn Heights? Or next to? I don’t know. I’m a Queens girl not a Brooklyn girl!!!

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Just asked a coworker of mine from Brooklyn. Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo are not the same thing! They are right next to each other – like LIC and Astoria, for those of you from Queens 🙂

Anyways. Here are some pics! After I walked the promenade, I went to DUMBO and there was a street fair going on (note my street market blog two posts ago!) which was REALLY good, and then I went back to the festival of nations. When I went back there were hundreds of flags and some music playing! Check it out:

VIEWS FROM THE PROMENADE :

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DUMBO/STREET MARKET (I know some pics are sideways, I can’t get them to adjust!! Tilt your head!):

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FESTIVAL OF NATIONS BY COURT STREET STATION/COLUMBUS PARK:

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El Barrio – Spanish Harlem!

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You are going to see a theme guys. It’s summer in NYC so I’m in the mood to blog about the many glorious neighborhoods that make up the greatest city in the world! I still need to tell you all about my UK trip I went on in the spring but right now I want to cover east harlem aka Spanish Harlem aka El Barrio aka Nueva York!

Imagine being transformed a liiitttlle back in time. Imagine being transformed to the islands – Puerto Rico, Cuba, DR and maybe sort of Mexico too (only bc there’s a lot of Mexican joints in the hood!) But with a twist! That’s the beauty of this neighborhood. It’s not crazy different from other parts of the city but the ethnic makeup is vibrant and alive! Latin beats surround the streets and people seem to know others from around the block, as you see them all hanging out on the block, playing ball, blasting Latin or reggae beats chillen on the porch or hanging around a bodega.

El Barrio encompasses the area north of the upper east side (UES) and east 96th street to about 140th street. You know you are in the right hood when you see the big hill slope down (if you are walking down from Lexington ave) !

Unfortunately, it has a reputation for the highness unemployment rate, teen pregnancies, AIDS, drugs and homelessness. On a positive note, it’s notable for its contributions to Latin freestyle and Salsa music!!! What up JLo!!! There is an abundance of beautiful, beautiful art everywhere, as you will see from my pictures. Another fun fact: in February 2016, it was featured in the New York Times for being the next hot neighborhood!!!

I don’t need to tell you more. I need to SHOW you more. Check out some pics from my trek the past weekend:

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