[Lunch & Dinner] Charlie Bird

If you know me, you know I have a slight obsession with Charlie Bird‘s farro salad. Why obsess over a salad, you ask? Because it’s delicious, fresh, intriguing and somewhat guilt-free.

Charlie Bird NYC Farro Salad Beaches & Brie

This salad helped me appreciate pistachios in a brand new way because YES, it has pistachios! The parmesan shavings on top just add another level of saltiness greatness, making each bite come to life a bit more.

I have yet to recreate this salad at home but NYT Cooking and All Day I Eat have some great ideas on how to start!

Charlie Bird Cacio e Pepe NYC restaurant Beaches & Brie

Another Charlie Bird favorite? Their Cacio e Pepe. Creamy but so good, I mean, just look at it! They also have a prix fix lunch menu during the week where you can get a small plate (think: farro salad)  AND a pasta for $32. Not super cheap, I know, but it’s worth treating yourself to a nice lunch if you are in the area, especially if it’s a nice day out and you can take advantage of their outdoor seating.

gnocchi Charlie Bird Beaches & Brie

The gnocchi is also another solid option. Try starting with the burrata option, another great pick, but NEVER as a substitution to the farro salad. Promise?

charlie bird burrata nyc beaches & brie

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[Lunch] Italian Patio Vibes in Greenwich Village

In the hustle and bustle that can be New York City, I am always delighted to find a little oasis that makes you feel like you’ve traveled elsewhere, even if it’s just for a moment or in this case, a meal. Romagna Ready 2 Go is an authentic Italian restaurant, you can taste their commitment to quality food from your first bite.

Instead of starting with an appetizer, me and my friend decided to split a piadina. It resembles a panini, but it’s not quite the same. The stracchino cheese used was excellent and left me wanting for more.

For the main event, we went with two of the classics: the traditional cannelloni with ricotta and spinach and the lasagna. Both were made with fresh pasta and the combination of ingredients was the perfect culmination to our meal.

Romagna Garden

Just like the food, the space is full of little authentic Italian treasures, like the owner’s grandfather’s racing bicycle straight from Italy. Even if you are not in the mood to stuff your face with fresh Italian food (which if you are not, I’m judging you) the vibe at their outdoor patio is always welcoming and perfect for anything from a business lunch to meeting friends for a drink after work.

 

* Thank you to Romagna Ready 2 Go for a great meal and lovely service. Opinions are my own.*

Governors Ball Recap: My favorite #EEEEEATS and where to get them

I’ll be honest, I have never really been a music festival kind of gal. Something about the amount of money you spend on tickets and the amount of people you have to deal with really kept me away for years. Don’t get me wrong, I love music but I guess I had been picky about where to enjoy it.

In a continuous effort to try new things around New York, I went ahead and got tickets to Governors Ball. I must admit, it was a picture of a ramen burger posted by @Infatuation that really did it for me (more on ramen burgers soon, promise).

I can now say, music festivals are an art and I am not opposed to continue practicing it. Especially when the festival not only offers good beats but also rocks it with the #eeeeeats. Don’t have to tell me twice. Sadly (or may I say, ironically) I knew the food line up better than the music line up. Oh well. Continue reading and you will find everything I ate during Governors Ball, together with info on how to get your hands on these awesome bits of happiness.


Ramen Burger from Ramen Burger

Is it a burger? Is it a mess of noodle fun? It’s both! I had  assumed that the sauce in this masterpiece was bbq but I was positively surprised to taste a special sauce that blew my mind (sesame based, maybe?). The noodles magically stayed in place and the rest is history. Go try it now at Smorgasburg!


Pulled Pork from Mighty Quinn’s BBQ

When pulled pork is messy, you know it’s good. My fiance Brian definitely hoarded this one! The toppings were a nice little addition that helped boost the already amazing taste of the pork.


Mac and Cheese from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

I can’t say no to a good mac and cheese. I should, but I usually can’t. You can tell the cheese they use at Beecher’s is a great quality blend that melts right into perfection, shouldn’t expect anything less from handmade cheese. It’s on my list to stop by their shop and go beyond the mac and cheese straight to the source of all the goodness, cheese.


Uma-ritto (Sushi Burrito) from Uma Temakeria

This is exactly what it sounds like. All the familiar flavors that can be associated with sushi, wrapped up in a handy burrito-like concept. To be honest, not the ideal music festival treat to carry around but man, it photographs so well, right?


Cheesesteak from Phil’s Steak 

Brian is from Philly, so we take cheesesteaks very seriously. We’ve ventured around New York and Hoboken trying to find that perfect, cheese-whiz infused bite and have not felt we’ve been successful just yet. Then Phil’s Steak came along and dare we say, this is the best cheesesteak in the area. Mind you, it is not my personal choice to add ketchup, I actually hate ketchup but Brian totally took over this round of food.


Grilled Corn Mexican Style from Café Habana

Nothing says love and commitment like eating some grilled corn under the rain. Yes, it was pouring at this point but that didn’t stop me from having one last bite. I am a big fan of Cafe Habana and use to get lunch there often when I worked in SoHo, definitely a fun place to go to.


BONUS: Shrimp Roll and Lobster Roll from Luke’s Lobster

Nothing says summer is real like a nice, flavorful lobster roll. Luke’s Lobster was also at Govball but I am cheating with this picture as it was taken the weekend before at Hoboken’s Pier 13. 🙂 Still, Luke’s is delicious. My favorite part (besides the actual seafood, of course) is their seasoning and the way they prepare their bread. It’s the perfect touch to accompany an already glorious seafood adventure.

Let’s be real, a girl can only eat so much in one day, even with the help of an equally hungry companion. Here are the other spots that I know and love that were also at Govball: By Chloe, Bluestone Lane, Souvlaki and Tacombi.

Can’t wait for next year’s Governors Ball, in the meantime, let’s keep on eating!

[Lunch] Why I love Maple and no, it’s not the syrup

Maple photo // Beaches & Brie

Image source: Maple

Seamless, beware. Maple is here to stay.

Maple is a food delivery service that brings in fresh, high quality meals right where you need them with the promise of excellent service and satisfaction. If you seek variety with a sense of security when it comes to your delivered meals, keep on reading.

Maple is not a subscription service, unlike what my first impression suggested. There are no commitments when you sign up for Maple, every day is a new opportunity for you to order, or not, up to you. Its unique and sleek presentation might make you forget that it’s really just a restaurant ready to make you happy with delicious meals.

How is it different? What first attracted me to inquire about Maple was their chef-inspired meals and the promise of fresh ingredients being used in healthy, yet savory plates. Little did I know that I was also about to encounter pretty much excellent customer service.

I really like the fact that they use recyclable material for the food containers and in addition, they give you bags you can actually use again for other purposes. Special shout out to their branding team, it’s easy to find your delivery guy in a busy lobby (first world problem, I know).

If I had to say something “negative” about Maple is that their menu constantly changes, so if you find a favorite plate you might not see it every single day. But hey, I think that’s part of the excitement and its charm. There’s a play with anticipation and looking forward to that element of surprise.

Now, let’s talk about what matters… the food. Don’t worry, I will not bore you with every single plate me and my coworkers have ordered from Maple thus far (a lot). Instead, I will share my first few meals which really sold me in and turned me into a fan.

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Meal #1 – Ginger Braised Chicken

Like I mentioned before, their customer service is great and that is definitely the firs thing I noticed. Not only did they have a perfectly seamless experience, but they were right on time. On top of that, the food was delicious, fresh and just the right amount. Absolutely tops my typical, boring salad game I have going on for lunch most days.

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Meal #2 Citrus Ginger Tofu on Cashew Rice

I did not know tofu could taste so good and feel so tender. Also, the spice was an excellent kick to keep my day going. I have not seen this plate a lot, but it is probably my current favorite.

Maple Kitchen // Beaches and Brie

Another thing to note is that they do not currently accept substitutions. I imagine it is to keep the efficiency going and I respect that. They literally list every single ingredient used in every single plate so you know what you are getting. I have chosen not to order certain plates because of one ingredient I may not be a fan of (mustard, ugh) but there is always at least one option each day that I feel happy about.

Overall, I love how they separate the food to keep it fresh and true to its flavor, yet they pair perfectly. Quantities are also just right, I’ve never been ridiculously full or left feeling hungry. Honestly, prices are not bad at all. Considering that the itemized price includes tax and tip, $11-$13 for the type of lunch you get is great, keeping in mind it’s New York City.

Have you tried Maple yet? If so, what has been your experience? Would love to hear about your favorite Maple plates too!

 

** Thank you Maple for providing me with my first free meal! All opinions are my own. **

Fall Foliage, Sleepy Bee & Cow Poop: My Trip to Ohio

  
I was in Ohio last month for work. Being the lucky girl in charge of driving the rental car, it felt kinda cool to drive from the airport in Kentucky all the way up past Cincinnati. The fall foliage was just beautiful! Maybe it was best that I was driving, otherwise I would have filled up my phone with pictures.

Still, I got a chance to walk around and briefly hang out with nature at Sharon Woods Park. See some iPhone shots below.

   

   
Also, if you are ever in Cincinnati, I recommend you drive to Oakley. From what I’ve heard, it’s up and coming and from what I saw, it’s very lovely. I had lunch at Sleepy Bee, delicious food and great service.

  
I had the Beekeper, which takes your BLT up a hundred notches and right up to the perfect level. Ideal first choice would have been the Buzzy Grilled Cheese but I felt that was too much cheese before a work event. You know how it is.

I have officially added a trip to Kentucky and surrounding areas to my travel list. I’m interested in checking out the bourbon trail and see a very unique and interesting part of the US.

P.S. You can buy Ohio Cow Poop at the airport. Not interested? Maybe you would like to purchase Cincinnati Pig Poop instead. Yes, it’s a real thing. Yes, I almost bought a bag for my boyfriend.

P.P.S. Reading around about Cincinnati, I found that some people call it the Paris of America which is funny since I just heard Chandler say today that Tulsa is the Paris of Oklahoma. With that, I leave you.

[Puerto Rico] Orocovis: Roka Dura & Casa Bavaria

Orocovis Casa Bavaria

As you may have seen earlier this week, I was recently home in Puerto Rico and while I was there I got to do some fun zip-lining. Toro Verde Adventure Park is located in Orocovis, right in the middle of the mountains of Puerto Rico. A lot of people don’t think of mountains when they think of Puerto Rico, they just focus on the beaches but it really is a beautiful area. I mean, we do have amazing beaches, but our mountains offer a very different kind of beauty.

Orocovis Roka Dura

On our way down from Toro Verde we made two nice stops. After a morning filled with adventure and thrill, we were obviously starving. Locals to the area recommended we had lunch at Roka Dura, just a few minutes outside of the park. They said food was delicious and portions were generous.

Orocovis Roka Dura

They were not lying. This mouthwatering “mofongo” filled with chicken was even more delicious than it looks. The plate below is chicken with garlic cassava, better known as “yuca al mojo”. The chicken was nothing special, but the “yuca” was on point. I love “yuca” but have never ventured to cook it myself, I’m not even sure if I would be able to buy some around here so it’s always one of those special plates I treat myself with when I’m visiting home.

Orocovis Roka Dura

This spot had really nice views. It was early Friday afternoon and you could see the little bars around or “chinchorros” starting to get busy with people celebrating the weekend’s arrival. Although I was on vacation, I also joined the celebration admiring the killer view.

Orocovis Roka Dura Medalla

Second stop was Casa Bavaria. This one holds special memories for me. With a fusion of Caribbean and German traditions, Casa Bavaria was founded by a German couple who fell in love with the island and decided to make a life here. Its claim to fame has been their great Oktoberfest celebrations, that’s how I first got there. It is (or was?) tradition to organize “party” buses to take groups of people up the mountains and bring Oktoberfest to life in Puerto Rico. Each bus had different t-shirts and unique stories, often captured and plastered on Facebook. It was, well, a hot mess. Ahh, memories.

Stopping by this time with a fresh (and sober) pair of eyes, I was able to find so much more beauty in this place. People are so nice and the views are to die for. We only had drinks here, but a lot of people were enjoying a full meal around us. Oktoberfest or not, definitely worth the stop.

Best Places to Have Lunch in SoHo

This list should actually be called: “Best places to have a delicious and “ok” priced lunch around my old office in SoHo”. I’m no expert, but I know what I like and I know what my wallet doesn’t.  Below are my favorite places to have lunch in SoHo, this list has been in development since I started working in SoHo almost two years ago. Some places are cheaper than others, but one thing they all have in common is they can provide a delicious lunch in less than an hour. This list has been evolving since I started the post, since sadly some places closed.

La Esquina

My all-time favorite is the “Pepito” and fries with chipotle mayo. Note that the fries do not come with chipotle mayo, but I highly recommend you order it for the ultimate experience, you can thank me later. If you can’t really sit down they also have the option to order to-go on the outside, slightly different menu, still amazing.

la esquinaPhoto from La Esquina Facebook

Delicatessen + MacBar 

Every time I go to Delicatessen I fight the urge to order cheeseburger mac and cheese, because why not, right? Their special mac and cheese plates are to die for and honestly, totally worth it. If you are feeling like going against your heart’s desires, then I recommend the award winning pan roasted chicken thigh sandwich with cerignola olive pesto, sweet pepper aioli, burrata cheese & french fries.

macbarSome of the delicious mac and cheese plates offered on the menu! Photo from Delicatessen Facebook

SoHo Park

I’ve been here over 10 times and I always order the same thing, classic cheeseburger. It’s that good. The extra fun thing about SoHo Park is they have an amazing selection of dipping sauces for the fries, roasted pepper aioli is my dipping sauce selection. This place is also fun for outside seating and actually feeling like you’re in a park, so creative of them, right?

soho park nycPhoto by Cristina Nogueras

Salud

This place recently opened and although I have only been there once, I’m planning to return soon. I love their tagline, “a Latin-take on organic”. It’s really what Salud is all about. I had the quinoa veggie burger and I never expected it to be that amazing. The owner was very nice and even treated me and my friend to some homemade brownies that I believe were made with a chocolate he prepares himself. Salud also has a brunch menu, which obviously, I need to try.

saludnycPhoto from the Salud Instagram, the veggie burger I had at Salud looked so delicious, I totally forgot to take a photo!

Cafe Habana

I’m Puerto Rican, so I love everything our neighbors in Cuba have to offer in terms of food. Cuban food hits close to home and always makes my soul happy. This spot offers a variety of Cuban food, with some other Latin American touches as well, including tacos. If I could, I would always go for the skirt steak, but their Cuban sandwich is also delicious and rumored to be one of the best ones in the city. See for yourself!

habanaGrilled corn, so delicious. Photo from Cafe Habana’s Facebook

Emporio

If you don’t like pizza don’t bother coming here, or being my friend, for that matter. With a nice selection of brick oven pizzas, this place is a great place to go with a few coworkers and share some slices during your break. You can also eat the pizza all by yourself, no sharing required.

emporioMy choice of prosciutto and cheese, classic & great – Photo by Cristina Nogueras

Bread

This cute Italian restaurant is as charming during lunch as it is during dinner. I’ve been able to make my way through the menu and I must say, I can’t get enough of it. If you are having lunch there, the tomato soup is a must. Oh, and in case you were wondering, they do have bread and it is very delicious.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPhoto by Cristina Nogueras

Parm

If you go to Parm, you get the parm. The folks there are extremely good on making these chicken parm sandwiches, so ordering anything else seems like a crime. I have, however, ordered the garlic bread knots and they were very good… followed by a chicken parm sandwich, of course.

parmParm from parm – Photo from Parm’s website

Grey Dog

Looking for a quick, yet nice place to sit down and have lunch? I’ve only been here once, but I had a very delicious sandwich that left me feeling satisfied.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetQuite frankly, I forget what this sandwich was all about, but the pesto was absolutely amazing. – Photo by Cristina Nogueras

Spring Natural

To be honest, this one is making the list because I wanted to reach to 10 and I figured I had to get in a place that was healthy overall, just to ease my guilt. It may be a little overpriced for certain simple items, but after all, it’s SoHo. Their salads are really good (yes, I said that) and the bread they start you with is really good as well.

spring street I’ve tried to kept my photos to what I have tasted, but this looks delicious, could not overlook it! Photo from Spring Natural Facebook

 

What are your favorite SoHo spots? Share them with me below!

Follow @peaceloveanddietcoke on Instagram for more.

¡Buen Provecho!