Earl’s: 100% a gem and hole-in-the-wall for the UES. Definitely avoid this place if you’re “on a diet” or don’t want to fall into an immediate food coma. For the unconcerned, read on.
- Why it’s worth it: If the world ended tomorrow, what would you want to stuff your face with? For Earl, it’s cheese and craft beer, or as Earl’s website puts it: “CHEESEBEEROCALYPSE”… also don’t forget to peek at the prices.
- Vibe: Rustic, cabin vibe with big taxidermy deer heads and some woodsy paintings hanging from the walls, but you don’t go here for the decorations, you go for the beer and the cheese!
- Layout: Small (seating only 12 or so customers), at a big communal table or at stools along the sides and front of the ‘straunt. Walk right in, order your food and drinks at the bar and secure a place to sit… it’s that simple. Trust me, it all works out.
- Ideal meal: Calabro-mozzarella grilled cheese on a Thomas’ English muffin, the New York State Cheddar, or the mac n cheese… sounds crazy, but it’s really crazy-genius. Menu is small and quirky, but you can tell that everything is exquisite and well thought out!
- F.Y.I.: Monday is Bangers and Beers night, with a menu that’s restricted to Hebrew National hot dogs slathered in meat sauce. To prepare, you may want to consider joining the Bootleggers, an in-house running club that meets Mondays and Wednesdays.
- People behind Earl’s: The chef, Corey Cova, began his cooking career on a U.S. Navy submarine.
- Address: 1259 Park Ave, near 97th St
- Prices: $6 to $15
Hold the phone… yes there is a bar with a speakeasy vibe conveniently located on the Upper East Side: JBird.
- Why It’s Worth It: The drinks lineup covers classics, from sours to swizzles to fizzes, all served with proper hand-cut or crushed ice and a metal straw (which stays cold when immersed in your drink). The food menu is somewhat limited to bar snacks and a few entrees, which are delicious and compliment the drinks well. Even better, if you don’t see a drink on the list you like, they will make you a custom drink if you tell them what you like (vodka, fruity, etc.).
- Vibe: Laid back; a nice mix of trendy and sexy; good date spot
- Layout: Small bar on the right as you walk in, maybe ten seats, pretty cozy. The middle is spacious with high top tables (for people who can’t make a full commitment for dinner) with proper dinner tables surrounding.
- F.Y.I.: Cocktail guru Jason Littrell (Death&Co.) designed the drinks list with Marshall Altier (1534).
- Address: 339 East 75th Street (between 1st and 2nd ave)
Love croissants? Love doughnuts? Then prepare yourself for the cronut.
- Who: Dominique Ansel is the mastermind behind the cronut.
- What: The cronut is a croissant-doughnut hybrid and is well worth the talk and the early morning wake up call!
- Where: Dominique Ansel’s Bakery (189 Spring Street).
- When: Invented and first served in May 2013, the cronut is available every morning when the bakery opens at 8am… but don’t show up at 8am or later in the day expecting to get one, because cronut-goers arrive at around 6:30am each morning to wait in line. There is also a strict 2 cronut per person maximum.
- Why: Because they are delicious and waking up at the crack of dawn for a pastry is quite the experience.
- How: For $5 you can tell all your friends, family and future grandkids that Dominique Ansel himself handed you your first cronut…by then, it’s sure to be as big a deal as Thomas Edison handing you your first lightbulb.
Who doesn’t love free food? Better yet, free desserts? Make sure to swing by one of the shops listed here (or here if the official site is down) to receive a free macaron! Be sure to tell the shop you are there for Macaron Day NYC!
The 411 on Macaron Day NYC: In 2010, François Payard, chef and owner of FP Patisserie and François Payard Bakery in New York, organized the first annual Macaron Day in NYC! Macaron Day NYC is inspired by and coincides annually with the Jour du Macaron in Paris, created by la Maison Pierre Hermé Paris in association with the Relais Desserts.
If you, by chance, work in Midtown, swing by Eclair to score a delicious salted caramel or pistachio macaron!
So… get out of your office for 15 minutes… you deserve it!