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Guide to the East Village, NYC for the visiting Jumbo

I know quite a few Tufts students who have taken short trips in New York City. As a native New Yorker I’m admittedly biased, but the city is the perfect destination for any break or long weekend trip; there are innumerable activities to be done, neighborhoods to explore, and restaurants to enjoy! I am lucky enough to have grown up in the East Village of Manhattan, a foodie’s paradise. Here are some suggestions as to which eateries you should visit if you find yourself in the East Village (and beyond):

COFFEE: Abraço serves the best coffee I have ever tasted and a small assortment of pastries. However, the space can barely accommodate four standing customers. If you’re looking for a place to hang out, head to the nearby Ost Café or Ninth Street Espresso.

 

Source: Abraconyc.com

CASUAL SIT-DOWN: Westville is my favorite neighborhood spot. It’s good for any meal and any occasion. You can’t go wrong with simple but well-prepared food and good music. I’ve tried a good portion of the menu and have never been disappointed.

SOMETHING FANCIER: Pylos has the best Greek food in town but is on the upper end of a college student’s price range. Buvette has quality French food and an upbeat vibe but is also on the expensive side. For something different, try Dirt Candy, a tiny all-vegetable restaurant that will challenge your prejudices of vegetarian cuisine.

Source: The Chef's Connection

Source: The Chef’s Connection

ALL THINGS JEWISH: Russ and Daughters is an institution and a must for lox lovers. It’s on the pricey side but is very worth the extra couple bucks. Their bagels get the job done, but I prefer bialys from Kossar’s Bialys as vehicles for any spread or smoked fish.

BBQ: Blue Smoke. This was my favorite restaurant prior to my becoming a pescatarian. If I were to revert back, I’d start with a rack of baby back ribs and an order of pulled pork. Also check out Jazz Standard, their downstairs jazz club!

CHINESE: Mission Chinese will please both your stomach and your wallet. Make sure to go on a nice day because they accept few reservations and people line up before they open.

JAPANESE: The East Village is teaming with authentic Japanese joints that range from extremely expensive to very affordable. Head to Sobaya for a special lunch bento (only 25 served daily). You get a lot of bang for your buck(wheat), and did I mention their noodles are made daily on the premises?

DRUNKEN DESTINATION: The party continues at Veselka and French Roast, both of which are open 24/7 and are never quiet. Perogies from the former are an unusual but satisfying late night bite, and you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything from the latter. Neither has outstanding food, but good atmosphere compensates for any culinary shortcomings. That being said, both more than satiate inebriated cravings.

PIZZA: Motorino’s individual pies, which are topped with ingredients like clams and Brussels sprouts, are a cut above the average slice. The crust is substantive but on the lighter side so you don’t feel extremely weighed down after. Better yet, you can get a salad and a pie for $12 between 11am and 4pm. If you’re pressed for time, Artichoke makes three slices (plain, Sicilian, and artichoke); you can feel your arteries clogging while you eat them, but they’re quite yummy.

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.38.30 PM

Source: Motorino Pizza

ICE CREAM: Sundaes and Cones has all the classics and then some. Off-the-wall flavors like sesame and lychee call to the more adventurous. If you prefer gelato, Fresco Gelateria has great options at about the same prices.

CUPCAKES: Butter Lane. Just go. I love their cupcakes in spite of my general ambivalence towards cake. It took almost a year for me to try one because I was preoccupied with their $1 frosting shots (a dollop of frosting in a sample sized cup). Alternatively, head to Sugar Sweet Sunshine for very good cupcakes at half the price and a variety of other sweets (I’m a fan of the pudding).

Source: Smallknot.com

Source: Smallknot.com

BAKERY: Black Hound has incredible miniature cakes. Again, I am typically not a cake person, but Black Hound is exceptional.

BRUNCH: Cornerstone Café has killer chocolate chip pancakes and a two-egg, potatoes, greens, and toast package that somehow only costs $4. Peels also has a solid brunch menu (monkey bread!) and a slightly nicer space but is no bargain.

MARKETS: My father and I go to Chelsea Market every Sunday for a breakfast of muffins from Amy’s Bread and coffee from the Ninth Street Espresso bar. This mini food mall is a fun place to walk around, and practically every shop offers something worth trying. Go in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the busloads of tourists. When the weather is nice, the New Amsterdam Market also makes for a fun excursion. This outdoor market hosts a variety of small business vendors, most of which specialize in a particular cuisine or product.

-Alison Sikowitz

Cover photo source.

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