After 95694845 days of quarantine (I lost count), our collective #QuarantineClub efforts have not been in vain. And now I’m actually seeing other humans IRL (yay!) out and about. We’re getting our lives back in this so-called “new normal” and cautiously doing all right in Phase 3 with non-essential businesses opening up. Parts of New York are allegedly even entering Phase 4, but that seems too good to be true.
The light at the end of the tunnel seems to be within our reach, but remember—it’s a marathon, not a sprint. All things considered, we can keep up our momentum so long as a few bad apples don’t f*ck over the entire cart. Unfortunately, parts of the U.S. are experiencing just that—sheer amounts of stupidity (i.e. COVID-19 parties… seriously, WTF Alabama??).
Extreme cases aside, I understand that at this point, you’re saying to yourself “omg, I’m so over COVID-19. O-VeR. IT.” And I get it. 2020 is canceled. The pandemic was not exactly what we wanted for summer. But think about how the frontline workers must feel? My close friend Mira MacLeod, a Registered Nurse who works in the COVID-19 ward of a major Toronto hospital (which was also the same converted facility used to treat the first SARS patients) said, “hell (lol) I’M OVeR IT. If anyone has COVID fatigue, it’s me, girl.”
So for her sake and for every one of these caregiving heroes, when it comes to our collective health, reckless behavior is inexcusable. In fact, it’s NOT okay when you decide to be a d*ck by not wearing a mask in a shared public space and jeopardize the lives of others. Additionally, I honestly feel like the warm weather must be frying off some of the common sense in some people’s brains. I guess when you throw sunny skies and balmy weather into the mix, it’s like everyone suddenly forgot that there’s still a deadly pandemic in our presence which, may I remind you, still has the power to come back to bite us again (like it did to South Korea and their second wave) and force us back into our homes.
Do the people begging for stuff to reopen not realize that means having to wear a bra on a regular basis?
— The Salty Mamas (@saltymamas) May 17, 2020
In light of people filling up their social calendars once again and taking to the city streets, the Department of Health released some guidelines on how we can all be safe when gathering together and dining out. However, what these documents neglect to state or inform us about is how the heck these rules will be consistently enforced. Mayor Bill de Blasio is essentially telling us all of this is based on “trust” and calling people out when you see them breaking the rules. Basically like “if you see something, say something.” While that’s definitely one way of approaching it, despite reporting the situation, the damage will have already been done.
Dr. Sidney Chiu, an emergency doctor at North York General Hospital, reminds us that we must each do our part and continue to take initiatives in safeguarding our community. Furthermore, we made it this far in flattening the curve—let’s not f*ck it up folks! Here are useful guidelines to keep in mind:
When In Doubt, Wear A Mask
MacLeod says that if you want to be safe, you should wear a mask indoors—even if the business doesn’t state that it’s mandatory. “You should be wearing one in confined spaces like at the grocery store, on the transit system, or at a retail store—places where you’re touching a lot of things.” You should be wearing disposable rubber and/or plastic gloves for this as well (think clothing items, transit railing, etc).
Wear A Mask When Walking On The Sidewalk
MacLeod says her major pet peeve is when people don’t walk around each other on the sidewalk: “It irks me that some just don’t care and/or take liberties. They walk by you in close proximity, and this is particularly troublesome when there are small children nearby.” As a mom of two kids, this is especially triggering for her. So she advises that when you see someone approaching, go around them, if you can. Remember, social distancing means you should be six feet apart, which is further than you think.
There Is Still NO Vaccine
“Just based on how I’m seeing some people behave, I think many believe that the pandemic has mostly passed—and that’s certainly not the situation. The reality is that although we’ve passed the first wave, we are constantly at risk of new cases,” MacLeod says. She adds that precautionary measures should be as routine as checking for your wallet, phone and keys before leaving the house. “A mask, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer (making sure that it contains 60-95 percent alcohol), and disinfecting wipes should all be a part of your ‘toolkit,’” which means that these items should be considered part of your “new normal” for the foreseeable future. If you’re forgetful, a good strategy is to set up a daily pop-up alert on your phone to remind yourself of these essential items. Or consider keeping it all in a stylish bag near your door.
No Hugging Or Shaking Hands
“This is tough, understandably, because we are by nature, social creatures,” explains Dr. Chiu. He adds that “in lieu of physical touching, air hugs/air high fives, or toe tapping is better than exposing any part of your body to someone else. You just don’t want to run the risk.” As a friendly reminder, he says that COVID-19 is spread through droplets and/or physical contact. “Just think that when you’re embracing someone and that close face-to-face, any number of things could happen: coughing, sneezing—even talking and breathing could aid in transmission.” He adds that what could then theoretically occur is that even though it appears that “nothing happened” during the hug, since you effectively touched that person, you could then absentmindedly touch your mouth, nose and eyes, thereby spreading the virus.
Just Because They “Look Healthy” Doesn’t Mean They Are
“We always assume there are obvious visual cues to someone being ill. However this is certainly not the case when someone is asymptomatic and can transmit the virus to you,” says Dr. Chiu, who adds that these individuals may not even be aware they have COVID-19. “So for your sake, it’s better to err on the side of caution and to wear a mask whatever the social situation may be.” Another scary and not-so-fun fact from him: “the chance of a test detecting COVID-19 is very low if you are asymptomatic, and it is unlikely to be helpful in determining if you have COVID-19 if you have zero symptoms.”
Invest In Anti-Technology For Your Sunnies
Dr. Chiu says that “I’ve heard some people complain about their sun/glasses getting fogged up due to the mask wearing.” To remedy this, he says to do the following: “mold your mask to the bridge of your nose, tighten the mask, or simply invest in some anti-fog spray or wipes which will do the trick nicely (and you should be prepping all of this before you leave your home).” This is an overlooked issue but an important one, and he explains that “you want to minimize the amount of time touching your face. If your glasses are fogged/smudged, etc and you’re constantly readjusting them, you’re increasing your chances of exposure.”
Invest In An Automatic Soap Dispenser
When returning home, immediately wash your hands with hot soapy water before doing anything else (the CDC advises you do this within 20 seconds of entering your home.). To avoid contamination, MacLeod advises people to get one of those automated hand soap dispensers.” Additionally, she says that bar soaps are a big no-no because bacteria and germs CAN survive on them (ewwww).
And in terms of venturing out in the world à la Oh, The Places You’ll Go Post-Pandemic (!), here are a few tips and best practices to be mindful of in the following social scenarios:
If available to you, always opt to use the restaurant’s QR code, which allows you to see the menu on your smartphone rather than touching paper. An exception to this is if you have a visual impairment and require a hard copy.
Wearing a mask while dining in a patio/restaurant space isn’t required (cuz um, how else can you eat that food if your mouth is covered?!); however, you should absolutely wear one when walking to your table and using well-ventilated washroom facilities (which are 99% of the time located inside of a confined restaurant space).
Another food-related issue is regarding pick-up and take-out: you just grab the order and go. Don’t linger and/or congregate on the sidewalks.
The CDC recommends that if you’re welcoming people into your home for, say, a BBQ cookout (specifically an outdoor space like the backyard) to consider keeping a guestbook of attendees for contact tracing needs. Disposable but recycle-friendly cutlery, plates, and cups should be used in lieu of the silverware you have at home.
Both Dr. Chiu and MacLeod say that if you can, visit these spaces on a weekday when it’s less crowded. “Because it’s an outdoor setting, it’s technically safer than, say, a shopping mall because these types of places are conducive to offering more room and fresh air.” For any communal seating (such as park benches and beach chairs), use hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes prior to use.
Individual Appointments (Including, But Not Limited To, Dental And Medical Offices, Nail Salons, And Hair Salons)
Ensure that it’s not a walk-in situation, and whenever possible, book your appointment in advance. If you’re feeling uncertain, ask what sorts of protocols the business or service has implemented, such as adequate HEPA filters/ventilation, PPEs, and plexiglass barriers to minimize the risk of exposure. When you do arrive for your appointment, wait outside and arrange for the staff to text or give you a call when they’re ready for you. Lastly, if you know you have to fill out any documentation, bring your own pen—don’t use the communal ones supplied at the office/salon.
With all the news and Karen-shaming, I’d like to think that the majority of us are better than that. However, we’re all human and can still be prone to slipping up once in a while. So I recommend screenshotting this handy color-coded infographic to act as your “pocket guide” if you are ever uncertain about venturing into a specific social situation. It’s nice that we can FINALLY see our loved ones IRL again, so let’s not take any of it for granted and remember to be considerate of each other by adhering to these practical and safe protocols.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been tracking macros on MyFitnessPal. Initially, I was doing it to try and get back on Keto. (By “back on,” I mean I did it for two weeks before a vacation once.) Unsurprisingly, I bailed on Keto (nothing is low-carb enough!!!). and I then decided my #newyearnewme would be about counting macros instead. I’m currently using this calculator, which I found via this highly reliable fitness Instagram. I’m not even being sarcastic—there’s very good advice on there. My biggest challenge with macros so far has definitely been keeping my fat content in check. Within a week, I realized I knew way less about which foods are high fat than I thought. For example, I had a day of what I considered very healthy eating (salads! oats! grain bowls!), and then discovered my diet had been 60% fat. And this is why I have trust issues. So, I did some research into which of my “healthy” choices were causing that high fat content. I’m not talking about obvious fats—you should all know that baked goods are full of bad fats and avocados are full of good fats. These are the sources of fat you’re not as likely to guess as, say, a fried chicken sandwich or a BLT with mayo.
Disclaimer: Everyone’s dietary needs are different, and many diets may call for higher fat content. I am not advocating for a universal low-fat diet, so do not come for me. Rather, I am hoping this information may be illuminating to some of you (read: I don’t want to be the only one who didn’t already know all this).
I’ll be honest, I’ve never really known a lot about the nutrition content of falafel. It felt like a kind of dietary gray zone. Not as healthy as a vegetable, but probably better than cheese. Right? Not really. While trying to design a low-fat grain bowl at Tender Greens, I was pretty shocked to see that the steak topping was lower in fat than the falafel option. While falafel can be a healthy dish (the ingredients themselves are nutrient-rich), I’d somehow forgotten that it’s typically deep-fried. This adds, in scientific terms, a sh*t ton of fat to your meal. FWIW, the “baked falafel” option at Tender Greens was way healthier—but unless a menu specifies “baked,” you should assume it’s deep fried, and therefore higher in fat.
Tofu is a similar deal to falafel—it’s all about how it’s prepared. While tofu isn’t deep-fried quite as often as falafel (though still more often than you’d think), it’s really good at soaking up whatever it’s cooked in. And given that tofu on its own has just about zero flavor (it’s okay, we can all admit that), it’s usually cooked in a bunch of oils, sauces, etc. So tofu on its own? Low-fat, healthy option. But the way it’s usually prepared in restaurants can make it a higher-fat option than something like chicken.
Okay, this one errs more on the side of “foods we knew were high in fat.” But take a minute and actually consider how many “healthy options” feature nuts as a key ingredient. Protein bars that pride themselves on not adding sugar? Full of nuts. Overnight oats? Probably filled with nut butter (or WTF are you doing). Even a lot of salads and bowls will add nuts as a topping, plus, almonds are constantly touted as the ideal mid-afternoon snack. We also all know the problem with nuts—they are impossible to portion for how calorie-dense and fat-dense they are. And anyone who says they’re full after 6 almonds is a dirty liar.
So, while nuts are full of technically good fats, it’s still super easy to go over on your fat content goals if all the healthy options you’re choosing are nut-heavy. So if my breakfast included 2 tbsp of almond butter (18 grams of fat and it never feels like enough), maybe I don’t also have have a nut-based Lara Bar at 4pm (9 grams of fat), and snack on nuts at 6pm (19 grams of fat). That brings my fat content from nuts alone (not even the fun fats, like sauces and cheese and sugar) to 46 grams, when my daily goal is 48. (Let it be known that my total fat content for that day wound up being 90+ grams. This sh*t is hard!!!)
I know! I said this list would be about non-obvious sources of fat. Yet here I am basically listing the liquid form of fat and saying “surprise! This is fat.” Sue me, but also listen because this is probably the #1 thing that people forget to count in their diets. One tablespoon of olive oil has 14 grams of fat. One tablespoon of butter has 12 grams of fat. (The type of fat they offer is different. Here is a long article on different fats and how they affect you.) Even at home, I struggle to cook something edible using less than 2 tbsp of one of these. It can be super tempting to just log the one chicken breast you cooked in there, but unless you’re using a cooking spray, you have to account for the fats it absorbed.
Well, that’s the end of my tirade on fat, and now I never want to look at a nutrition label again! Remember, the worst thing you can do with your diet is eat in a way that makes you miserable, because you know that sh*t won’t last. My fat content is still way too high most days, but I’m figuring out what a low-fat day I can live with looks like. At least it’s not Keto!
The worst thing at a restaurant is when your in the middle of a heated convo and the waiter comes up to see if you need another refill, clearly interrupting a private convo and you just have to quickly pretend everything is fine, when it’s not. You fake a smile and say check please, then turn back to whatever Brad/Chad is across from you, but now the fight is ruined and you didn’t even get to say your final zinger. Now take that experience and multiply it by a thousand, and you might know what it is like to be a Trump official trying to
waste money eat out these days. There is a new trend of people confronting Trump’s staff and trusted advisors while they are out to dinner, and we are here for it. Some of these confrontations are super awk and some end in drama. Here’s a ranking of the confrontations from worst to best.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley claimed via twitter that she and her son were booed out of a restaurant in New York during the Pride Parade last month. If you think way back to 2013 and think about bathroom drama, you may remember that South Carolina had laws forcing trans people to use the bathroom for the gender they were assigned at birth. Nikki Haley opposed an amendment to that law, and people are still booing her for that five years later. (Probs has more to do with her being Trump affiliated, but whatever.) This gets a low ranking because there isn’t a video to go along with it and she didn’t even type out the word including in her very short tweet. Also nothing came out of this so it’s a weak 4/10.
We,incl my son, were booed by patrons saying hateful things as we left lunch @ Pride Parade.Our country is better than this. #HateNeverWins
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) June 25, 2017
Sarah Huckabee Sanders
The official mouth piece of the Trump Administration got shut up pretty quickly when she and her family were asked to leave a restaurant by the owner moments after being seated. According to Facebook
Russia the owner thought Sanders morals conflicted with her own and asked her to leave, so she and her fam did. This is a 5/10 in my book. Seriously people no video? Even 2 year olds have an iPad with them at restaurants now and not one person in this restaurant caught this on camera! Who wouldn’t love to see a frazzled Huckabee Sanders struggling for words to make sense of an awkward situation? Oh, I guess we can just watch every press conference she’s ever held. Nvm can totally picture it now.
Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 23, 2018
Remember that whole “separating children from their families at the border” thing that is still low-key not resolved? Well, right at the height of that bs, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen decided it was appropriate to dine at a Mexican restaurant. No bueno. Not only was Kirstjen-with-a-j booed out of the place, but people also started yelling shame at her like an episode of Game of Thrones. We even wrote about this one at the time because it was so crazy. This is a solid 7/10 because one there is a super awk video of people booing her while she pretends like nothing is happening. And I mean, she is being protested over the separation of immigrant families at the border while eating Mexican food. You just can’t even make that shit up. The restaurant was chill enough to acknowledge that immigration issues affect a lot of their staff so they allowed the protest to continue. Safe to say her guac was def extra and a half.
Part one of a video of @mdc_dsa @DC_IWW and others shouting DHS Secretary Nielsen out of a restaurant. She doesn’t need to be kidnapping #immigrantchildren to deserve this treatment. Don’t give the regime a moment of rest. #KeepFamilesTogether pic.twitter.com/B3RfraOk1E
— Smash Racism DC (@SmashRacismDC) June 20, 2018
Dirty Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Protection Agency is/was prob the most scandalous person in the Trump Administration. Pruitt has gotten a lot of heat for his outrageous spending on private air travel, a $43k soundproof booth, trying to finagle his wife a job a Chic-Fil-A and honestly so much other bizarre shit paid for by our taxpayer dollars. In addition to that, he is a climate denier in charge of the EPA, so it’s basically been the Environment Destruction Agency since he was appointed. Pruitt was confronted by a mother with her child on her hip and they got a video! It doesn’t show the whole encounter, but according to the woman she felt the need to tell Scott he was ruining the planet for her son and all future generations. True.
The best part of this story? Pruitt literally resigned just days later. This gets a 10/10 for having both results and a video, praise be. If publicly shaming people while they eat to get better political policy is a trend that works, then Trump may want to start paying for everyone’s Uber Eats to avoid anymore resignations.
Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been seeing someone for two months or three years: deciding where and what to eat for dinner almost always becomes a legitimate argument, regardless of where you live. You’d think that living in one of the best cities in the world would help this issue, but you would be wrong. Actually, New York City offers too many options, so it’s hard to know where to even start, especially with Valentine’s Day coming up in just a couple of days. This isn’t Gossip Girl or Friends With Benefits; chances are, your current fling’s romance skills are not straight out of a cheesy rom-com, so it’s now or never for you to find a place and make reservations for two. Or, scratch that—even just find a table for one, because who the fuck says you can’t dress up and wine and dine yourself to a candlelit dinner in a bougie restaurant? NO ONE. Whether you’re spending V-Day solo or going on a classy af date this year, here are five romantic restaurants in NYC to have Valentine’s Day dinner at.
1. The Park
Everyone who lives in New York knows what the High Line is since it’s probably the one place you bring your parents and out-of-city friends who want to be tourists. What you’ve probably yet to see is this cute little restaurant right on 10th Ave. The ambiance is, like, so worth an Instagram (or 10) since it’s lit tf up from ceiling to floor. It has an indoor and outdoor garden, amazing food, strong drinks, and decent music you’ll find yourself nodding to from time to time. Tables are surrounded with trees and full of classy centerpieces that set the mood.
2. Sofia Wine Bar
Nothing goes with Valentine’s Day better than a fuck ton of wine and good-ass pizza. Fucking obviously. If you plan on spending the day with your anti-Valentine’s Day GFs, by yourself (because less people = more for you), or keeping things low-key with your latest Hinge guy, you’ll want to grab a table in this cute little Midtown East spot. The wine options are endless, the menu is worth salivating over, and like, the service is actually good. I know, am I sure this is in the city? YES.
If you live in Queens, you already love this place. If you don’t, then you’ll at least consider borough hopping. Maiella sits in Long Island City, right on the water with a ‘gram-worthy view of the skyline. It serves carb-loaded Italian dishes and yummy drinks. For Valentine’s Day, they offer a special menu that includes lobster, spaghetti, and chocolate covered strawberries for just $75.
4. The River Cafe
Some of you hate trekking to Brooklyn for fear of the hipster apocalypse, but honestly, there are some hidden gems with fucking amazing food that seriously makes the trip all worth it. This place sits right on water and hosts quite a few weddings, so you know you’re heading into lovey-dovey central. However, the view and atmosphere are to die for, so you’ll probably consider having your own here. They have a special Valentine’s Day menu with bougie af foods like caviar, truffle, and filet mignon, but they do ask you look your best in their dress code, so maybe you’ll feel like you’re kind of a big deal.
5. La Grenouille
This restaurant has definitely been in New York for like, decades. Like, your great-great-grandpa used to come here all the time or some shit (IDK, I don’t know your family history). This French restaurant has long been known for its totally gorgeous flower arrangements and high-end cuisine. For Valentine’s Day, they’re offering a four-course dinner and a complimentary bottle of really classy Champagne that I can’t pronounce. Obviously, seats are limited so if you’re looking to be blown away, you’ll want to reserve ASAP.
One of the good things about Instagram (or the bad, depending on how you look at it) is the advent of doing things for the ‘Gram. Like, it’s great when you’re taking a photo of your hot dog legs on a beach and showing off to your 400 Instagram followers, but it’s annoying when anyone else who isn’t you does the same exact thing. Well, too fucking bad for everyone else, because I’m here to give you your Instagram bucket list: Miami edition. Whether you’re at Art Basel this weekend, planning your spring break, or just going because you want to live out your Will Smith tour of the U.S. (just me?), these are the places you need to go to—for the ‘Gram, of course.
All your friends’ basic avocado toast Instas have nothing on Leynia, the Argentinian grill located inside South Beach’s famed Delano hotel. First off, the seating is outside (because, hello, you’re in Miami), so the natural lighting cannot be beat. In the background of your Instas may be the Delano’s pool, where the famous Proviseur chairs, originally from Le Jardin St. Payl in Paris, sit. Second, and most importantly, you will not find these brunch foods on any menu anywhere else. They have an El Tucamano egg Benedict that sits on top of a fucking empanada. The smoked salmon Benedict rests on a potato pancake. The French toast comes with a guava dulce de leche, and will make you a believer in sweet breakfast foods, if you’re not already (aka me before I had this French toast). If you manage to take any pictures before you shove all the food in your mouth because it looks amazing, and tastes even more amazing, your pictures will get triple-digit likes, guaranteed.
^No filter needed on this.
Beaker & Gray
For your brunch Instas that are bougie but in a more rustic, hipster, less in-your-face way, head to Beaker & Gray in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. Once again, this is not your run-of-the-mill eggs Benedicts that you’ve eaten at every place in NYC. To quote the great Stefon, “This place has everything”—from spicy chilaquiles with chicken that practically disintegrates in your mouth to a sweet and savory waffle panini with pork belly rillette and maple mustard to a guava skillet cookie. I had a croque madame—a slab of crunchy yet chewy sourdough spread with oxtail, smothered with gruyère and topped with an egg. If I didn’t know any better, aka study abroad in Paris, I’d have thought Beaker & Gray invented it—and it was leagues better than any croque I ate in France. Je ne suis pas désolée.
This is where you and your friends will want to take those not-not candid group photos. This cute little spot has floor-to-ceiling wallpaper in that chic palm leaf print you’re seeing literally everywhere, plus a giant neon sign that says, “I’m never gonna dance again, the way I danced with you…” that’s just begging to be posed underneath of. The DJ booth also has a retro-looking neon sign in the shape of lips, which is another solid option. And you won’t even want to bother the DJ in between snaps to ask him to play the new Taylor Swift (please don’t be that person), because the music is on point. They play a mix of ’80s and ’90s throwbacks and current hits, and you really can’t argue with it. If all that’s not enough for you, they have a gif photo booth inside the bar for your Boomerangs.
Employees Only Miami
Employees Only has an outpost in New York, but if you’ve never in your life managed to get a seat there because it’s always so packed (same), the Miami location has a more spacious interior, plus outdoor seating. It’s a speakeasy, so the drinks taste and look incredible. They serve dinner, if you’re not a rager, but if you are, there’s an insane late-night food menu. Ever had a craving for buttery bone marrow poppers at three in the morning? Me either, but you can make it happen at Employees Only Miami. (They’re actually known for their post-3am chicken noodle soup. Don’t know why, it just is.) Not to mention, it’s located on the Washington Park Hotel property, so after getting (responsibly) drunk off fancy af drinks, you can stumble back to your room, mere steps away.
Step into Byblos, with its eye-catching artwork that depicts ancient mediterranean scenes, accordion-style fabric-wrapped panels, plush turquoise and yellow couches, and gold and silver mirrored statement bar, and you’ll feel like you’ve landed somewhere in the Mediterranean. Settle in with an earthy cocktail like the Ottoman Cartel, a melange of Avion silver, spiced barberry reduction and carbonated beet juice, decorated with edible marigold flowers. Or try their cold tea service—tea infused with spirits and served for two or four in a luxurious ritual reminiscent of a classic eastern mediterranean tea ceremony. The most difficult part of eating at Byblos is going to be putting down your phone long enough to take a bite. The food tastes as gorgeous as it looks—the canoe-shaped Wagyu Lameh Pide houses vibrant Turkish paste made in-house, creamy fior di latté, garlic-y toum, and basil cress. The melt-in-your-mouth, Spanish octopus is perfectly prepared with biber chili vinaigrette and a hint of lemon. Also, Drake eats here. That is all.
BRAVA by Brad Kilgore
It’s hailed as the best restaurant in Miami, and for good reason. Helmed by celebrity chef Brad Kilgore and located inside the Ziff Ballet Opera House, this locale will provide some of your most enviable Instas. Unlike other spots, the lighting in BRAVA is perfectly suited for your iPhone camera—and so is the food. The heavenly, marigold-colored lobster risotto is adorned with some sort of classy gold flake that I’m still trying to explain to people. The black-and-white pecorino cheese-filled gnudi are topped with an airy foam. And the pastry-encrusted short beef Wellington is served with a peppercorn demi-glace that the server pours gently over it. This is where you’ll want to break out your fanciest outfit and spend all your money, because you’ll feel sophisticated af. Again, doing it for the ‘Gram.
The Salty Donut
Sweet and savory food lovers alike will moon over The Salty Donut’s confections. Flavors run the gamut from tangy and creamy Guava and Cheese to rich Nutella and back again. These pillowy, small-batch craft donuts pack tons of flavor, and they look just as gorgeous as they taste. This place sells out before closing every day, and you’ll see why if you take just one bite.
Set in the courtyard of South Beach’s historic Hall Hotel, this open-air space reminiscent of an outdoor tiki bar boasts larger-than-life table games like giant Jenga and oversized Connect Four. Food items like mini empanadas and bite-size ceviche can provide a different perspective to your pics; cocktails like Batida de Maracuja offer a unique twist on your favorite go-tos.
I saved the best for (second-to) last, because the Wynwood Walls are your number one Instagram destination. I would say that they were basically invented for IG, except that there’s a really rich artistic history behind them, and I’m not a total idiot. A short history is that Wynwood used to be an unsafe area artists eventually moved into because housing was affordable—think like every New York City neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification. Different city, same story. In 2009, real estate developer Tony Goldman bought up a lot of Wynwood and created a series of open-air art murals that are today called the Wynwood Walls. Graffiti and street artists are invited to paint a mural at the walls, and there are new murals every year. So now you have this whole neighborhood that’s got graffiti art everywhere—and I’m not talking like, your shitty bubble letter graffiti. This shit is the real deal. Get a tour with Wynwood Art Walk before you go see the walls, so you actually know what you’re looking at and aren’t just an annoying tourist. Then go out and be basic and have a full-on photoshoot in front of your favorite murals—you’ll come out with one-of-a-kind pictures…except for everyone else who took the same photos in front of the same walls.
Washington Park Hotel
Located within a five-minute walk to the beach, Washington Park Hotel is an Insta-worthy hotel that even non-influencers can afford. The exterior of each of the hotel’s four buildings are done in the retro art deco style that’s been preserved since the early 20th century. Inside, the chic retro rooms are decorated in an updated art deco style with modern photographs by artists and influencers including Jason Peterson, Ryan Parrilla, Stephen Vanasco and 13thWitness. The hotel bar, Swizzle, makes oversize tropical drinks adorned with local flora, and the frontside pool is an ideal location for lounging and snapping.
As much as we’d love to act like we can eat at trendy restaurants year-round, sometimes we need our parents’ help to support our expensive taste (and obsession with finding Amy Schumer at Carbone). I mean, I spent last month’s paycheck on alcohol and Uber, so how do you expect me to eat celeb-status food three nights a week? If your parents are in town, it’s your right to milk their visit as hard as you can. This includes putting your debit card in a drawer for the week, finally getting around to getting those Stuart Weitzman boots, and taking them out to the best (and most expensive) restaurants. This also applies to dates where you can tell he’s rich. Here’s where to go:
Babbo is Mario Batali’s Italian restaurant located in the West Village, so you’re basically eating designer ravioli, which makes every calorie completely worth it. I mean, you’re not saying no to carbs when the bread bowl is worth more than your rent. Babbo’s setting is also adorable, so you basically feel like you’re getting drunk off Italian wine in a little yellow house. The menu is amazing, so if you can’t decide between the caprese salad and the black spaghetti, just get both. You’re not paying, so it doesn’t really matter.
2. Sushi Yasuda
There are a ton of exclusive sushi restaurants in the city, but if you’re dining with your parents, Sushi Yasuda should be your go-to. First of all, it’s not as loud and trendy as Morimoto or Gari, but who wants to be in a loud room with David Guetta blasting in the background when you’re out with your parents? Sushi Yasuda is quieter and the lights are actually on, so you can see the single piece of sushi that was imported straight from Japan. The menu is all Omakase and they serve traditional sushi, so don’t expect to order a spicy tuna crispy rice roll as a starter. Act like you’re above all that shit and you’ll fit right in.
Bobby Flay might be the most pretentious guy on the Food Network, but he’s honestly kinda hot, so we’re down to eat at his restaurant. GATO serves Mediterranean food in a super sleek atmosphere, so you kinda feel like you’re in Europe. But then you realize everyone at the table next to you is Snapchatting their meals, so you realize you’re back in the great USA. If you’re a vegetarian, you might be better off staying home, but if you’re down to try cool Mediterranean food, get the lamb pizza and the seared yellowtail. You’ll (maybe) start to understand why there’s a show about challenging this guy’s cooking skills. His food is dope.
If you’re really down for Italian food but never indulge because you’re trying to lose three pounds, you’ll love the dishes at L’artusi. It’s basically a fancy Italian restaurant with tiny portions, so you can try one piece of every pasta on the menu and not feel guilty. L’artusi is a West Village classic, and it hasn’t even become touristy or trendy over the years because only legit New Yorkers know about it. (Until now. Shit.) You’ll eat housemade ricotta desserts, order a $600 bottle of wine, and love every second of it. Thanks, mom and dad!
5. Gramercy Tavern
Gramercy Tavern serves American food based on seasonal ingredients, so the menu changes depending on when you’re going, which is clutch because you can convince your parents to keep going back. The menu is built on fixed priced options, and tips are included, so you’re basically just buying a ticket to a restaurant. Because all their cheese is straight from local farms, they’re SUPER into it, so it’s probably not the time to stick to your dairy-free diet. I mean, the waiters can literally talk for 20 minutes about their specialized cheeses from specific pastures in the countryside, so you’d be letting them down by not eating it.
In case the name didn’t give it away, Boucherie is one of the most posh, high-class French bistros in the city. They serve traditional French dishes, so expect steak, butter, and a lot of random words on the menu you can’t pronounce. The atmosphere itself is also super French, so try not to speak too loudly or do anything that you would do at like, Joe’s Pizza. Basically, get your parents to leave their 2008 Nikon camera at the hotel for the night. Or just get rid of it completely. It’s embarrassing.
7. The Palm
The Palm is one of those places where the Filet Mignon doesn’t have a price listed on the menu, but you order it anyway because you’re at The Palm. Celebs like Kim Kardashian, Jonathan Cheban, and Rita Ora have been spotted here, so you better make a reservation at least two weeks in advance. If you really have money to spend, you can even become a club member, which allows you to try feature cocktails that change every month at the restaurant. The Palm is one of the most exclusive dining experiences in the city, and if your parents are in town for a special occasion, it’s worth going just to say you’ve been.
So your friends are in town for the weekend and their knowledge of New York is more limited than the Birthday Edition Kylie Lip Kit. I mean, you can’t blame these poor non-New Yorker souls. For whatever terrible reason, they decided not to follow the rest of the post-grad world to New York after college and now they’re just SO confused by the city. (It’s on a grid system, you simple bitch!) You want to give your guests the best New York experience while taking them to places that are trendy but also amazing—and for the record, that doesn’t include the goddamn cookie DŌ line. Here’s where you need to go out to eat.
1. Emily West Village
Emily recently opened its West Village location after swarms of hipsters went crazy for its sister restaurant, Emmy Squared. While Emmy quickly became the pizza mecca of Brooklyn (debatably second place after Roberta’s, but no one has the time for that line), Emily totally kills the pizza game too. The reason we love this location is because it’s SO much more than good pizza. The vibes are fun for a night out, and they also serve burgers and side dishes that will make you forget how many man buns are present at the table next to you. It’s basically very good food in a very cool atmosphere. You can’t not love it.
Cafeteria is probably our favorite Chelsea spot, and we like that it’s close enough to Meatpacking so that you can get drinks before or after dinner without having to get on the subway (ew) or get in a cab. Cafeteria has those NY late-night diner vibes with a chic twist, and the tables outside are amazing for
judging people watching. They also have a downstairs area that seats more people per table, which is helpful if you’re with a big group. FYI, the truffle fries are crack. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
3. La Esquina Brasserie
If your visitors love Mexican food but the thought of a Saturday night at Dos Caminos makes you cringe (good girl), take them to La Esquina in Nolita. The location itself is a ton of fun, and the food and cocktails are amazing. The vibe is a bit more Latin American than your typical tacos and margaritas place, so if you’re into trying unique combos, you’ll love this place. Even if you’re not, just go. Like, does anyone have anything bad to say about tequila and guac? Seriously, let me know because I’ll unfriend.
4. Lure Fishbar
Lure Fishbar is one of those places that has been around for over a decade, but it’s always a good time. It’s also managed to remain a New York staple without being cliché or overdone, like Levain Bakery or Serafina’s. Lure is obviously a more expensive dinner, so make sure you’re with the right crowd that wants to drop over $40 on slow baked Halibut. Or just wait until your parents visit and want to take you out for dinner. Seriously though, if you’re looking for good seafood and a fun bar scene, Lure is a great place to go. You basically feel like you’re dining on a yacht when you’re really like, 20 feet from Brandy Melville’s Soho location. It’s magical.
Atla opened pretty recently, and we’re pretty sure the line to get inside is filled with people who don’t have day jobs or are just scouting the area in the hopes that Gigi Hadid will come out of her across-the-street apartment building. I mean, every table has a pair of sunglasses on it, and we’re starting to think it’s just an accessory to have in the background of the goat cheese toast Instagram. Either way, Atla serves casual, Mexican-American style food made by the chef who owns Cosme, aka where the Obamas eat on vacation. It’s super cute and it’s worth checking out.
6. by CHLOE.
If you have visitors who are vegan or vegetarian, you’ll need an option that will make you forget the fact that you’re eating $16
sponges tofu on a Thursday night. By CHLOE. kills the veggie game without killing any animals in the process. The burgers are too good to actually be healthy, and the kale caesar salad will literally change your life. Try to go during off-peak hours to avoid a line of Postmates guys and NYU students wearing chokers. They have a few locations around the city now, but the Flatiron location prob has the most seating if you’re with a few people and don’t want to squeeze at the community table with randoms. I’d rather stay home.
7. Minnie’s on Clinton
Minnie’s is one of those Lower East Side restaurants that’s too cool to have an actual defined cuisine, but that’s why we love it. Whether you’re with people who are into extreme comfort food or just want some light sides, Minnie’s has all of that, and they do it really well. The brick wall atmosphere is super intimate and cute, and you definitely don’t have to worry about being underdressed. It’s basically low-key dining done right.
Out of towners love to complain that New York sushi isn’t as good as *fill in the random-state blank.” While we’re not sure where this kind of hate is coming from, we’re down to challenge it. SushiSamba serves amazing sushi and it’s unlike any other place your guests have ever been (unless they’ve been to the Miami location.) SushiSamba’s food is actually a Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian fusion, so the rolls are unique and really cool. If you’ve never considered fresh mozzarella on your crispy rice roll, it’s time to rethink your sushi palette. Not judging though. You’re not from here.
There’s something about lunchtime in New York City that’s just so tough. I mean, the line at every salad bar within a 20-block radius is more painful than starving till dinner, and as much as we love our Sweetgreen, sometimes we just need a break from salad. Like, if Chrissy Teigen can eat fried cheese for lunch, we can have our raw kale hiatus. In the meantime, it can be tricky to find good lunch spots that are healthy and affordable, so we tried like, every restaurant in the city and found the best ones around. If you’re looking for a healthy lunch that won’t make you hate yourself, try out these spots:
Westville isn’t new or particularly trendy, but the menu is amazing and the ingredients are healthy, so we’re down to keep going back. However, they don’t take reservations, so you should probably go during an off hour to avoid waiting in line with a bunch of bloggers debating between the dijon brussels sprouts or the Asian bok choy. Either way, Westville has a ton of options for anyone, whether you’re hardcore dieting or literally just want a burger and fries. If you’re trying to be healthy but don’t want a salad, get their grilled chicken, salmon, or veggie burger, and their list of vegetable sides is longer than Caitlyn Jenner’s memoir. You won’t leave hungry.
Usually when someone suggests getting a poke bowl for lunch, it’s a hard no. I mean, I’d rather die than eat raw salmon out of a tin that looks like the clearance bin at Sephora. Luckily, we’ve found a gem that actually makes poke bowls classy, and that gem is Chikarashi. Unlike most poke places in the city, Chikarashi isn’t buffet style or gross, so you just order something off the menu and don’t have to waste your time choosing ingredients to go in your bowl. The genius behind this place is the former executive chef of Neta, Michael Jonh Lim, and there’s a reason for the long lunch line. Chikarashi even offers seared toro, which you won’t find at any other poke spot. Right now they’re only on Canal street, but apparently there’s a NoMad location on the way, and we’re pumped about it.
If you love the taste of curry but won’t admit it because Indian food is unhealthy AF, meet your new Indian bff, Inday. Inday is build-your-own bowl style, and all of their food is antibiotic-free, local, and organic. Their slogan is “Good Karma Served Daily,” and we’re totally on board. Inday is all about healthy food with good vibes. Their traditional Indian flavors will destroy the bland salad you’ve been eating everyday, and the food is legit healthy. Think cauliflower rice, coconut tahini, golden curry chicken, and herb quinoa. For dessert, get their dairy-free dark chocolate avocado cocoa bowl. Sounds funky, but don’t knock it till you try it.
4. Mulberry & Vine
Mulberry & Vine is one of those places that are perfect if you’re out to lunch with the healthiest friend you have, or the friend who would rather die than eat a salad. You basically make a plate or a bowl, and you can pick a protein and sides. They let you sample anything before you get it, which is a huge plus since we tend to have commitment issues. In terms of ordering, people love the chicken and salmon, but the tofu is also amazing if you’re vegetarian. Plus, the roasted sweet potatoes with coconut oil are low key crack. Like, better than sweet potato fries.
5. Beyond Sushi
If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just need a break from your regular salmon avocado roll, Beyond Sushi offers amazing plant-based sushi rolls that are super healthy, obviously. First of all, they use black rice and six-grain rice instead of regular sushi rice, and their rolls are filled with roasted veggies, tofu, and really interesting combos. I mean, your lunch will literally look like a rainbow-colored sushi platter, so it may seem slightly extra, but the food is actually really good. They have a few locations in Union Square, Chelsea Market, Midtown West, and Herald Square, so there’s definitely one close to you.
6. Bluestone Lane Cafe
Bluestone Lane is one of those West Village Instagrammable spots with Free People models and Australian food bloggers, but don’t let the crowd deter you. I mean, at least it’s not tourists, or even worse, families with small kids. We love Bluestone because the dishes are super simple and not boring at all. Like, I think they have a salad on the menu, but people only order that to add some color to their Instagram. The avocado smash is obviously a go-to, but if you’re feeling adventurous, go for the portobello mushroom toast with pesto or the Balthazar toast with ricotta and berry jam. You could also just order everything and convince your friends to split it with you.
7. The Hall at Union Fare
When Union Fare first opened, everyone thought all they served was a croissant that looked like the result of a one night stand between the gay pride parade and a Funfetti cake. But after everyone finally got over the photogenic 5000-cal baked goods, people started realizing The Hall at Union Fare is actually pretty healthy without making you feel like you’re eating a bowl of rabbit food. If you’re into cute toasts, the avocado smash and banana berry toasts are really good, and if you want seafood, we recommend the tuna tataki or salmon skewers. The brussels sprout flatbread is amazing if you want to split with friends and pretend you didn’t realize it came with bacon on top.
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