All Posts Filed in ‘NYC

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where to eat (& hang) in nyc: gotham west market.

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The sell I got was, “Let’s meet around noon on Monday. We should really go to Gotham West Market because it’s great and you’ll love it…”

“…but it’s kind of a trek to get there.” Okaaaaaaay.

Never one to shy away from a bit of an adventure, I hopped on the subway in Brooklyn, rode into Manhattan, and full disclosure, got off at Union Square and took a cab the rest of the way to the corner of 45th St & 11th Ave. Listen, I don’t mind a good hike in the big city, but walking three avenue blocks from the nearest subway stop is pushing it on one of the only days all summer that was above 90 degrees.

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When I arrived at my destination, however, I could tell immediately that the journey was worth it. The Gotham West Market space is airy and bright, with an industrial vibe that is cool but not ‘too cool’, if you know what I mean. It’s what a cafeteria for adults should be — a little schmancy, full of great food in a fun atmosphere, and enough variety in seating that everyone feels like they’re sitting at the cool kids’ table. There are great nooks to tuck into, whether to break out your laptop and get down to work or to catch up with friends over a bowl of killer ramen (I did both).

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The vendors range in offerings from tacos (Choza Taqueria) to coffee (Blue Bottle) to ice cream (Jeni’s! YUM) to the aforementioned ramen (Ivan Ramen), and while I didn’t sample from every vendor, all of them seemed to bring their A game when it comes to design and to the quality of food and drink.

It also looks like there will be opportunities for new vendors to join the party throughout the year (for example, according to GWM’s website, Jeni’s Ice Cream is a ‘2014 Summer pop-up’). More variety means more reasons to return, something I plan to do often.

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For me, this is the ideal place for several reasons. First, if I want to grab lunch and hang by myself while I get a little work done, it’s great. In the three hours I was there, it was never too raucous (although it was during the day on a weekday, so not sure what it’s like around dinnertime), so it works well as a creative environment where you can still concentrate.

Second, it’s a great option when you have guests in town, as it’s a unique, ‘New York experience’ that’s not a straight up tourist destination. With the variety of offerings, everyone can have what they want without too much coordination or fuss.

And third, and I wish I had thought about this before, it’s actually a great starting or ending point for a nice little bike ride along the Hudson (this one was my friend Jaime’s idea, and she seemed to highly enjoy it, even in the heat of the day). Grab a Citibike downtown and ride up the Westside Highway to grab lunch (there’s a Citibike station at 46th & 11th) or head to the market first then work off that ramen with a post-meal ride. Or do both. Go crazy with it.

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However you arrive at Gotham West Market, and for whatever reason you’re there, you’re in for a treat. With food halls popping up all over NYC (next stop, Berg’n), it’s sure to be a popular spot, and GWM has great legs to stand on. I’m excited to see what’s to come for this unique (and delicious) Hell’s Kitchen gem.

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where to eat in nyc: dino.

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photo source: ka.va design.

photo source: ka.va design.

Today is the first day of Spring. And while NYC does not seem to have received that message just yet, it gives me hope, people. HOPE. Hope that I can finally put away my sleeping bag coat; hope that the weather forecast will no longer include the phrase ‘polar vortex’; hope that dining al fresco becomes a viable option again.

And when that happens (please, please let it be soon), you will find me at Dino in Fort Greene. Oh my, let me count the ways I love this Brooklyn gem. It’s that cozy neighborhood joint where you go to laze away the evening over a bottle of wine and good conversation. The menu skews Italian, the pastas are made in house (heart you, carbs), and the wine is reasonably priced and very drinkable. The best thing? That would be the garden patio in the back — a leafy respite from the buzzing city beyond. I just want to sit out there with a bowl of bucatini amatriciana and a glass of chianti and sigh contentedly because this is the life.

The service is attentive but low key, as if you’re a guest in someone’s home. The menu changes fairly regularly given the focus on seasonal ingredients (me thinks they take full advantage of the farmer’s market at Fort Greene Park down the street), and I’ve never been disappointed with any of my choices. Given its fairly traditional approach to Italian fare, it’s not going to blow your mind, per se, but the combination of atmosphere + fresh, homemade food + reasonable prices = winner in my book; the perfect spot for a date or weeknight dinner with friends (and they’ve got a pretty killer brunch, too).

So take my advice: when the city thaws, pop over to Brooklyn (so hot right now), and sit for a spell in the garden at Dino. Have that glass of wine, have that bowl of fresh pasta, and take a breather from our beloved but chaotic metropolis. It’s so worth it.

You can find Dino at 222 Dekalb Ave. in Fort Greene; closest subway is the Q at Dekalb Ave. or the G at Clinton-Washington Aves.