$395 – lagarconne.com
$80 – topshop.com
599 DKK – musthaves.dk
£70 – bankfashion.co.uk
$50 – oasis-stores.com
£5 – republic.co.uk
$49 – stelladot.com
I’ve been meaning to try Pause Cafe, a tiny neighborhood coffee shop, that I walk by on a regular basis. Usually it is extremely packed, so for weeks I walked by but didn’t feel like fighting crowds and kept going. But today, after running 12 miles, I decided I could conquer anything and I went in…after a short pause. The space is so small that I had to awkwardly discuss with the other girl walking in beside me who would go first. I think she recognized my need for instant refueling because she let me go ahead. Inside I found a few small tables, a huge counter filled with pastries and an extremely pleasant staff. Again, I was already impressed with another one of the Lower East Side’s too small, but cozy, friendly and full of energy restaurants. And in true LES fashion, the food was delicious too! The owner is from Morocco and did a great job of incorporation hints of the culture in the food and atmosphere.
After contemplating whether I wanted to order a big meal and skip the trip to the Noodle Bar that I had planned all week, I decided to eat small with a promise to come back soon. I ordered a fresh orange juice, strawberry and pineapple smoothie, and a cup of butternut squash with apple soup to-go. Both were delicious and exactly what I was looking for. Will definitely be going back soon to try a sandwich, coffee and a pastry.
While the place is small, don’t let is discourage you from going in. But plan on getting your food to-go and enjoying it along the East River or in the comfort of your apartment/hotel. I’ll share recommendations on the sandwiches from my next trip soon. Also will share my thoughts on the delicious-looking pastries, which according to the website are handmade by the owner’s friend in her kitchen.
*Sorry the pictures didn’t turn out very well, my mind/body was recovering from my run
I’m a little behind in sharing reviews of several Lower East Side restaurants I’ve tried lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been well fed. After finishing a 10-mile run two weeks ago, I decided it was time to try “Little Muenster,” which is basically a grown up grilled cheese restaurant, or “super fancy grilled cheese,” as they say.
Located on Stanton, this little restaurant is easy to miss but hard to forget. With a menu filled with various types of grilled cheese, rotating specials and soups/salads, all which can be washed down with a beer, glass of wine or soda, it is understandable why they are always busy. The setting is cute, simple and smells of delicious cheese.
After careful deliberation, I ordered the Asiago/Parmesan/Muenster/Butternut Squash/Sage Brown Sugar grilled cheese and a Wedge Salad. I figured after 10 miles, I deserved both… I got them to go and contemplated sprinting the last few blocks home because my bag smelled so good. I decided against sprinting and settled into a quick walk, up four flights of stairs (another LES difference – no elevator), and directly to the table. Needless to say, it was worth the wait. My grilled cheese was still hot, with warm cheese pushing at the edges of the bread.
The flavors mixed together really well and made for a delicious grown up grilled cheese. I liked the light sugar taste and how it accompanied the three different cheese flavors. The butternut squash gave it an unexpected but welcoming taste. I would definitely recommend this sandwich, and probably the other ones even though I haven’t tasted them…..yet! The wedge salad was also fresh and good, which made for the perfect side to my grilled cheese.
All in all, it was a great experience and worth a trip if you are in the neighborhood. Paying between $8 – $10 for a grilled cheese seems a little expensive, but if you are craving more than american cheese on bread, it is money well spent. I will be going back to try the rest of the menu and plan to bring visiting guests this summer, which means we’ll be washing our grilled cheese down with a beer.
Check out the menu:
In December of 2009 I moved from Minnesota to New York with a car full of belongings and an attitude ready to take on a new city. After a short stint in Brooklyn (three days), I settled into Murray Hill and spent two years living comfortably near a Petco, Crunch and Borders Books. Then in January of this year I made another change and moved to the Lower East Side. It took one trip to the grocery store and a walk around the block to reassure myself I wasn’t in Murray Hill anymore. It took just about as much time for me to realize I was finally “living” in New York.
When you take away the chain stores/restaurants, add in some diversity and no longer have a doorman, life can get a lot more interesting. I’ve only lived on the Lower East Side for two months and I’ve already found a new love for coffee, taken numerous trips over the Williamsburg Bridge and learned how to make a meal out of groceries from the Bodega. But one task I haven’t conquered on the Lower East Side, let alone NYC….the huge selection of restaurants. So my goal for 2012 is to try as many new restaurants as possible and share my findings with you.
This week’s pick: Emporio – 231 Mott Street, 10013
Our experience: The ambiance is amazing and the service fast. We arrived around 6:45 and didn’t need to make a reservation. I recommend sitting in the back where you can enjoy candle light dining and a glass ceiling. We enjoyed the brussel sprouts as an appetizer with heirloom radishes, bagnacaoda, bread crumbs and bottarga, which I would definitely recommend. For our entrees Alex had one of the daily specials, a lamb bolognese pasta. I ordered the Cappellacci, a butternut squash ravioli with crispy sage and crunchy amaretto. I’m confident in saying it was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had. The portions are moderate, prepared with fresh ingredients and well put together.
In total we spent $40 each including wine, tax and tip. The experience was great and I would recommend the restaurant to anyone looking for a quiet, delicious and reasonably priced Italian meal.
Check back soon for my thoughts on a Lower East Side hot spot. And, next time I’ll remember to take pictures. Bon Appetit!