111 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
The Yuca Bar is one of the first restaurants I ever went to in New York City and It’s held up over the past year as one of my absolute favorites because I looooooove Tapas; little bits of lots of delicious dishes is my favorite way to go on ANY meal.
Ben and I love to go here and share our favorite two things: First, the Tapas Mixtas, which is basically a boat of delicious little Tapas like fried plantains, 3 mini Quesadilla de Champignon’sfilled with wild mushroom with smoked tetilla Cheese, and 3 mini Empanadas filled with chicken fricassee, seafood stew, Spinach and walnut goat cheese. MMMMM I’m getting hungry just THINKING about these little yums. The Tapas Mixtas also comes with a large portion of guacamole and a similarly sized serving of fresh Pico-de-Gallo (which is quite possibly my favorite thing to eat EVER) plus a fabulously crispy mix of plantain and blue corn tortille chips. All that for just $20!
Ben and I both have big appetites; so, to add just a little extra substance to this meal (without over doing it) we always order the Tuna Ceviche ($11). Its SO unbelievably delicious. The tuna is mixed in a coconut lemongrass sauce and mixed with hearts of palm. It comes served in a hollowed out coconut with chips. AMAZING. I will lick this coconut until it is bone dry, honestly, ANYTHING mixed in coconut milk is good by me.
Another fabulous thing about Yuca is their drink menu: go during happy hour and get a homemade mojito, fresh with a piece of sugarcane to suck on in the glass, for only $5! I guarantee you will be satisfied (and drunk) by the end of your meal! Yuca is a great place to do happy hour because you’re right in the middle of the East Village (at 7th and A) and there’s always a great crowd and a fun atmosphere (especially if you like salsa music). There’s always a FABULOUS patio for the spring/summer. Sitting on the patio drinking a $5 mojito in the east village? Great day!
So: split those two dishes and, even if you and your companion each have a drink you’ve still got a meal at under $25 per person which, for New York, is pretty damn good!
Shang Hai Cuisine
89 Bayard St New York, NY 10013
If you don’t know where to eat, New York City’s Chinatown can be nothing more than a loud, crazy, busy network of crowded streets stuffed with fake Fendis and too many tourists. So, if you head to Canal St. aimlessly, you’ll probably end up settling for the nastiest McDonalds ever or at whichever restaurant has an English menu. This just isn’t acceptable.
For your consideration: I am giving you, Grocery Hag visitors, the name and address of my most favorite restaurant in Chinatown: Shanghai Cuisine. Shanghai Cuisine is best known for its Soup Dumplings, these amazingly light steamed dumplings filled with pork, crab, and/or pork AND crab soup. You take a bite and hot, delicious soup just spills into your mouth. MMMMMMM, I’m getting hungry just THINKING about them!
If you’re not into dumplings, I suggest the chow fun or the Shanghai vegetables, stir fried in brown sauce and light enough so you don’t leave the restaurant with that food coma feeling. The shredded pork is also delicious if you’re a meat person. But really, the soup dumplings are the reason to go to this place. They’re the perfect hot and steamy treat on a cold, rainy day.
76 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
Alias is my absolute favorite place in Manhattan for brunch. I’ll go whenever invited and, considering what a schlep it is for me to get there, that’s saying something. But I love this place because it’s got that Austin, Texas funky hole in the wall feel that I miss, and because their brunch menu is to die for.
Me personally, I tend to go with Huevos Rancheros whenever they’re available to me, but I’ve tasted both the biscuits and sausage gravy and the A.B.L.T., avocado, apple smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato on toast, and they are both delicious and full of flavor. Also, if you’re into strange drink concautions, you MUST order a Crustacean Mary, A shellfish lover’s take on a Bloody Mary made with vodka, horseradish, old bay and shrimp. Unbeleivable! Gotta go with Alias for a tasty, hearty, moderately priced breakfast that will keep you full til dinner