Chalk Point Kitchen & Handy Liquor Bar (Soho)

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  • Why it’s worth it: The perfect day in Manhattan consists of brunching and shopping…in Soho of course. If you’re looking for a pretty restaurant serving pretty food to pretty people, and more specifically, a charming, market-to-table venture, with an adjacent vintage cocktail bar, we’ve got you covered: Chalk Point Kitchen.
  • Vibe/layout: This 70-seat ‘straunt bolsters the country-in-the-city scheme, in an airy and lush space with white-washed wooden plank walls lined with vintage mirrors and tchotchke-packed shelves. The farmhouse feel of CPK complements the locally sourced and organic menu; however, the most defining aspect of CPK is its downstairs bar, the Handy Liquor Bar, which is a classic, sophisticated and timeless cocktail bar with a fun twist: a fireplace and every 90s childhood game you can think of… yes we’re talking Hungry Hungry Hippos and Operation.
  • Ideal meal…brace yourself: Start with smashed avocado on toast ($6) & homemade blueberry muffins ($6); feast on the banana croissant french toast ($11); wash it all down with the  Collect Pond ($13), a refreshing mixture of pear vodka, St. Germaine, apple juice and ginger beer
  • F.Y.I.: The full-fledged piano bar below CPK, the Handy Liquor Bar, is named after Thomas Hardy, one of the first expert barmen in the US in the 1800s.
  • People behind the ‘straunt: Nightlife operator Matt Levine (Sons of Essex) and Michelin-starred chef Joe Isidori (Arthur on Smith) teamed up to open CPK, one of our favorite brunch spots in the city.
  • Address: Soho, 527 Broome St. (between Sullivan & Thompson St)
  • Price: $6-$21

Chalk Point Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Hundred Acres (Soho): Brunch

Hundred Acres

  • Why it’s worth it: This relaxing yet stylish spot serves delicious, fresh and local southern inspired food, not to mention the best cinnamon buns we’ve ever had. Hundred Acres is a great spot for grabbing brunch with family and friends.
  • Vibe/layout: This ‘straunt has three rooms: the spacious front dining room boasts large French doors that open to the street; the middle room is filled with over sized photographs expanding the space to feel like a vast farm-house; the back room is a charming garden that makes you feel like you are in your own backyard.
  • Ideal meal: Gooey cinnamon rolls ($8) to start & soft scrambled eggs ($14)
  • Address: Soho, 38 MacDougal St (between West Houston & Prince)
  • Prices: $6-$20

Hundred Acres on Urbanspoon

Jack’s Wife Freda (Soho)

Jack's Wife Freda

  • Why it’s worth it: Trust us. Jack’s Wife Freda is worth the wait. We’d agree with NY Magazine who dubbed the food “South African Israeli Jewish Grandmother Cuisine.” Helpful right? But after reading about the owners, you’ll understand why.
  • Vibe/layout: This quaint 40-seat restaurant rocks dark-green leather banquettes, marble counters and wooden tables. This is not a quiet, little date spot; this a fun-loving brunch and dinner spot for the young, the old, the trendy and the free-spirited…aka all people. The food is homey, delicious and satisfying.
  • Ideal meal: Fried zucchini chips ($8) to share & Madame Freda ($13) (pressed sandwich with duck prosciutto, cheddar bechamel, gruyere & a fried egg)
  • The people behind the ‘straunt: Before Dean Jankelowitz and his wife, Maya met working at Keith McNally’s Balthazar, they both emigrated from South Africa and Israel, respectively. Together, they’ve created an amazing restaurant that is named after Dean’s grandparents, Jack and Freda. (FYI- Man Repeller, a popular fashion blog,  did an amazing piece on their fantastic love story. If you haven’t had time to check out this ‘straunt yet, then read this and fall in love with the owners first.)
  • Address: Soho, 224 Lafayette St (between Broome & Spring)
  • Prices: $5-$25

Jack's Wife Freda on Urbanspoon

Osteria Morini (Soho): Mangia Monday

Want fresh pasta and want it now? We’ve got you covered at Osteria Morini!

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  • Why it’s worth it: Osteria Morini serves cuisine from the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, which is the birthplace of prosciutto, mortadella, parmigiano and balsamic vinegar… so how can this place be anything but the best?
  • Vibe/ F.Y.I.: Urban Italian farmhouse chic. The ‘straunt is named after Michael White’s mentor, Gianluigi Morino, who owns a ‘straunt near Bologna, where White worked for 7 years. The photos on the wall are from ‘straunts around Bologna and the blocky, farm-style tables and chairs were built for the ‘straunt in Emilia-Romagna itself. Even the wooden rafters in the ceiling were imported from an actual Italian farmhouse.
  • Layout: The entrance of the ‘straunt contains a long prep bar (great for a drink or for grabbing lunch) and the back is filled with a mix of round and square tables
  • Ideal meal: Garganelli (pasta quills, cream, peas, truffle butter, prosciutto) ($22), tagliatelle (ragù antica, parmigiano) ($20)
  • People behind Morini: Michael White is the executive chef of no fewer than 7 ‘straunts in NJ and NY, including the more formal Alto, Convivio and Marea, all in Midtown, and Ai Fiori in the Setai hotel on Fifth Avenue
  • Address: Soho, 218 Lafayette St (between Spring and Broome)
  • Prices: $6-$32

Osteria Morini on Urbanspoon

Jane: Greenwich Village/Soho Brunch

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jane

  • Why it’s worth it: Jane has large portions, the price is right and the brunch items come with a complimentary cocktail. Definitely a default brunch spot on the weekends!
  • Vibe: Cozy and modern decor with a relaxed vibe. This spot is always crowded on the weekends, so be sure to make a reservation before going  (I can’t stress this enough!). Great brunch spot for friends and family, but definitely not a first date spot!
  • Layout: The space is tight, but the high ceilings make it so you can hear your friends. There is an upstairs and downstairs with ample seating and the downstairs level contains a waiting area and a private room.
  • Ideal meal: The brunch menu covers all the basics, but they also serve chicken and waffles! I LOVE the classic Eggs Benedict ($18); however, for those who prefer their brunches on the sweeter side: the Vanilla Bean French Toast ($18) that I tried off my aunt’s plate was delicious as well (Thanks Aunt Susan!)! The challah bread was thick and delicious and the texture was amazing. Served with a generous sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar and maple syrup, it’s sure to quell any sweet tooth!
  • F.Y.I.: For Sunday brunch, if you get one of the brunch items, you receive a complimentary drink (freshly squeezed juices, apple champagne, Bloody Mary, mimosa, etc.)
  • People behind Jane: Jane is owned and operated by Jeffrey Lefcourt and Glenn Harris (of Corner Table Restaurants), who also own and operate The Smith.
  • Address: Greenwich Village, 100 W. Houston St. (near Thompson St)
  • Prices: $4-$25 (depends how fancy you want to get…and how hungry you are)

Jane on Urbanspoon

Cronut 101: Dominique Ansel’s Bakery

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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.