A Whimsy Guide to Eating Your Way around NYC (Year 2).

Okay, it's definitely no secret how much either of us love New York. Jenna lived there for a while, and Ty and I (Cort, obviously) visit on the reg. And one of the things we love most about the city that literally never sleeps is the FOOD! It's also no secret that we're foodies, and love trying new things...hence us trying E'scargo (sp?) in Paris...and Jenna actually had it twice after that. I wasn't as into it. I'd have to agree with Christopher on Gilmore Girls when he says that it kind of tastes like a buttered gummy bear. But I digress! 

Back to NYC. There is absolutely no shortage of cute, tucked away restaurants in every genre and culture you could ever imagine. There's no way you'll ever hit them all, but we try to hit our faves and add some new ones to the list every time we go! 

Now, I actually didn't take a ton of photos on this trip. Ty and I agreed before our plane left L.A. that this trip was not going to be about work...something that's really hard for both of us to agree to, but I'm so glad we did. We spent a week just walking around, soaking up each other's company and the people and things around us. That being said, we didn't do photoshoots in the places we went (as we often do), so this post will be more words than photos. A little different than our norm, but when it comes to amazing food, I firmly believe it's worth it to read. Dinner, breakfast, brunch, dessert, we've got it all for ya. :)

Here we go!

1. Blue Ribbon Sushi

119 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012 (Soho)

photo by: Serious Eats NYC

photo by: Serious Eats NYC

Again, you're definitely not going here for the Instagram opportunities  (it's hella pretty in there, just also hella dark). Although I did sit two feet away from Ben Platt here, and I'll never get tired of saying that. Not normally one to freak over celebs, but I did over him. This one is a little tricky to find. It's nestled underneath an apartment building, and there's no sign, which is half the charm in my opinion. Some of the best sushi we've had, and not horribly priced for where it is. Also, get the smoked yellowtail. You 100% will thank me for that advice. 

2. The Coffee Shop

29 Union Square W, New York, NY 10003 (Union Square, obviously) 

photo by Mark Susina

photo by Mark Susina

This place definitely gives you the feel of a classic NYC hustle & bustle diner. We went here for breakfast at 2 pm with one of our friends who lives in the city (his recommendation). We both love little divey diners like this where we can people watch. I just always like wondering where everyone around me is going, what they're ordering, what their plans are for the holidays, do they eat breakfast/lunch here everyday, that sort of thing. Is that weird? It's something I've done for as long as I can remember. It stayed busy the entire time we were there, so apparently it's a favorite for some people. Ty and I both got mushroom & leek omelettes (if you don't eat dairy or meat, it is a little harder to eat here, I will say, cause that omelette was about the only thing we could get) BUT it was really good & light. Not heavy like a lot of diner food! And like I said, the atmosphere is really fun, and it's right across the street from the Union Square holiday market! 

3. The Spotted Pig

314 W 11th St, New York, NY, 10014 (West Village) 

photo via Pinterest

photo via Pinterest

This place made the list two years running, because OMG, it's so good! Funny enough, we went the first time because Jim Halpert mentions this place in The Office. Tucked away in the West Village (one of our favorite neighborhoods), it's just warm and always full of people, and the staff is always suuuuper nice! Pretty sure they're best known for their burger and fries. We came here last year, and at that time, we still ate meat, and the burger was pretty amazing. Once more, if you don't eat meat (we eat fish, but no fish here) or dairy, it is a little tricky to eat here, but we had to try because we loved it so much! And it wound up being one of our favorite meals of the trip. They had like an appetizer of steamed vegetables, and we each ordered one of those as an entree. When we did that, our server asked if we were vegetarian, we said yes, and he generously offered to sub in additional veggies from other dishes to ours so we could leave full! SO nice! And we looked at our receipt and he definitely didn't charge us for the extra ones. A little kindness goes a long way, and we'll definitely be going back. They also have a kick ass bar. 

4. Dough Doughnuts

448 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11205 (Bedford-Stuyvesant)

photo by Serious Eats NYC

photo by Serious Eats NYC

I don't even know what else to say about this place. Apparently there's more than one, but I'm not sure if they're the same? We've only gone to the one in Brooklyn and it's a MUST anytime we're in NY. Best donuts I've ever had, hands down, and I've tried A LOT of donuts. ;) Like, the Cafe Au Lait one will make you roll your eyes back in your head at least 4 times. You can also watch them make the donuts through a window and it's just a cozy spot to grab a snack and a cup of hot coffee. Also, the Dulce de Leche one is my second favorite! 

5. Five Leaves

18 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (Greenpoint)

photo via The Odyssey

photo via The Odyssey

We spent an entire day in Brooklyn this time around since we really didn't get to explore it last time! We met some friends here for dinner, and again, super small and cozy (which is just my fave...L.A. needs more places like this) and DELISH food. Has like a British/Aussie twist to the menu, and everyone really liked what they had. I had some sort of gingered sea bass with brussel sprouts, and normally I hate ginger, but it was so fresh. I loved it! They also have seasonal drinks like mulled wine and apple cider & rye. Definitely a good dinner spot if you're in Brooklyn! 

6. The Smile

26 Bond St, New York, NY 10012 (Noho)

photo via Bond Street Hospitality

photo via Bond Street Hospitality

Another adorable basement cafe and maybe my favorite meal of the trip. Which probably has something to do with the fact that they majorly decorate for Christmas as you can see in the photo! It didn't feel like we were in NYC, more like England or somewhere European. They're apparently known for their scrambled eggs and cheese, and Ty got the scrambled eggs with no cheese, and they were still pretty amazing! I'm weird and I love oatmeal, so I got the steel cut oatmeal with coconut milk and dried cranberries and a quinoa banana muffin and holy everything, it was a perfect breakfast on a super cold morning. For sure a place we'll go back to! 

7. La Lanterna Di Vittorio

129 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012 (West Village) 

photo via Yelp

photo via Yelp

The one exception we made while we were there for real cheese was NYC pizza and it was totally the right decision. We went to La Lanterna, a cute little garden style Italian restaurant, on our last night (because pizza had to be our last meal, duh!) and it had a super romantic vibe AND one vegan pizza on the menu (which we also got!) The vegan option was a potato and onion pizza. No vegan cheese, just olive oil, and while it sounds weird, the server recommended it and it was actually really good too! We each split that and a mushroom pizza (not vegan, but amazing), and it was the perfect way to end our trip! Also not bad pricing here, and amazing ambiance. They had live music, which is apparently a regular thing, and a full Italian menu, not just pizza! Also hot toddies. *thumbs up emoji*. 

8. Schmackary's Cookies

362 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036 (Midtown) 

photo via chekmarkeats

photo via chekmarkeats

I'm always lost for words when it comes to dessert. Hahah! Sugar addict, much? I can't take credit for finding this spot, because Jenna is the one who originally got me hooked when she brought a cookie back for me once. And now Ty and I absolutely have to go when we visit. It's not negotiable. We usually stop by on our Central Park day, since we typically spend most of our time downtown vs uptown, and it is always worth the wait (which is usually around half an hour). The funfetti cookie will make you question everything you thought you knew about any funfetti cookie you've had in the past. It's that good. And this time, we took them back to our hotel, and ate them in bed while watching Elf and it was perfect. Haha! 

9. Matcha Bar

There's a few scattered around the city! 

matcha-bar.png

Ty and I also love a good matcha, and this is some of the best I've had. We went to a couple different locations throughout the week. So, obviously, it's worth more than one stop. Oat milk matcha latte with vanilla. Nuff said. 

 

And I really hate that there's not a 10th place, but we'll cap it at 9, because these were the ones on my list! Please, if you have any favorites, share them! I'd love to know!

 

xoxo,

Cort 

 

 

 

 

2018 Thoughts and Resolutions

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2018! What's good?!

By the way, when did we officially make the switch from saying "two thousand and ten" to "twenty-ten?" Or do people even still say "two thousand eighteen?" ...anyways. Time for a yearly check in on what our goals are for the year! And also to compare to our last year's post to see where we stand with those and if we achieved ours goals...dun dun duuuunnn.

Cortney's thoughts:

Hi, guys! 

Soooooo, a new year. I feel like I'm always half excited and half very anxious for a new year to start. We talked a bit about this in our "resolution" post last year -- setting society influenced goals for ourselves based on our age (own a home, have a baby, join a country club...okay, just kidding on that last one) ;). And how that can be really overwhelming. We want our goals to be more personal to each of us, and not something we only kick ourselves for not achieving at the end of the year. Which can be difficult for me, because I have a habit of comparing myself to others. I guess I could even make that a goal, huh? Not to look around for things/people to compare myself to, and be more comfortable in my own skin. Again, it's really really easy to appear super confident on a phone/computer screen, but both Jenna and I want to remain honest with any and everyone who follows us, and it's definitely not all confidence. But going off of that, I also believe that being a part of this crazy awesome community has provided us with the opportunity to surround ourselves with some of the most beautifully honest people we've ever met and help us become more sure of who we are and who we want to be. 

So, officially into the goals here. 

I'll start with the easiest one. Cook more. I love cooking. It brings me so much joy, but it's not something I always make a lot of time for. Not that Ty and I eat out a ton. But I've learned a few good recipes that we really like, and they've become more routine. Easy. You know, like when you're driving somewhere and you have no idea how you got there because you know the routine so well in your head. So, going out of my comfort zone in this way and finding recipes that take a little more time and challenge me a bit. Shooting recipes for the blog is also one of my favorite things to do, and that can fall right into this goal. And I just bought A Beautiful Mess' new cookbook, Weekday Weekend, so perfect time to get started, right?

Second, give a genuine compliment to someone everyday. This one is pretty simple and doesn't have a deep explanation behind it. But there are so many times where I pass someone and love what they're wearing, or where I think my friends look really pretty, or my husband looks like a total hottie or does something really nice for me, and I say something in my head, but don't say it out loud. And when a stranger on the street tells me they like my dress, or one of my friends tell me "thank you" for doing something, or my husband tells me he's happy to be my husband, it literally can make my entire day. And I want to do that for other people! 

Third. This one's a little more casual. Broaden my workout practice. I love hiking, yoga, soul cycle, zumba. But besides hiking, I mostly just work out at home (thankful for YouTube here!). Which is more than fine. But one of the reasons for this is because of that Comparison guy again. ;) I want to keep challenging myself in this area too. Broaden my practices. And what better way to do that than to take classes from instructors who can help me? Who cares if I can't hold a handstand as long as everyone else? Like Jenna's gonna say below (spoiler!), doing things that make me happy. *dabs* 

Next, I want to take more pride and intention in decorating my home. Ty and I are about to move in just a couple of weeks. Still in the Valley (Studio City, to be exact), just to a little bigger of a space. And I've decorated the place we're in now (where we've lived since we've been in LA), but haven't put my entire self into it, because my excuse is always "well, we're going to move again, so what's the point?" And that's where so many of you lovelies we've met through blogging and social media come in! So many of you are renters just like us and your home decor just KILLS it. One example is our girl Krys of Melodrama. The point is it brings you joy and helps you feel more at home in whatever space you're in, no matter how long you're there. And I want to be more open with sharing our home on the blog too, and I'd definitely be more comfortable doing that if I felt like it 100% reflected who Ty and I are, and a new place at the beginning of a new year is a perfect way to start! 

Okay, last one (for now). ;) 

Which I feel like this one is kind of all encompassing. I just want to be more intentional. With my actions, words, routines, the blog, friendships (or any kind of relationship), marriage, etc. I don't want to just let things happen or just do my routines that I'm super comfortable with because they're just that. Routines. I want to make things happen versus let them happen to me. Whenever I think about this goal, I always remember this quote I found when Ty and I had just flown back to Nashville to pack up the rest of our stuff after signing the lease for our first apartment in L.A.

It's from @thenewgirlinnashville- "Comfort zones suddenly seem like cages. Safe, secure, and hollow. The areas outside of them? Dance floors." 

So thankful for every single one of you reading this post. <3

 

Jenna taking over. The beginning of the year is always humbling for me. It's the time of year where you check in with yourself and see if you're meeting previous goals you've set. There's usually a couple that you can cross off your list and say you've achieved. Then there's the ones that you've yet to accomplish and you struggle not to kick yourself too hard for that....kinda how I felt about reading my resolutions from last year. I feel like I'm in the middle of a period of change in my life and I'm struggling to find my true north. My goals for this year are little less tangible and a little more personal. I've worked hard for many years to find myself and my happiness, and I don't want to lose that.

This year I want to do one small thing everyday that I know makes me happy. Making a little more effort with my meals and feeling proud of what I cook. Coloring a little bit in a coloring book. Playing my instruments more. Hiking. Small things that can improve my days and overall mood.

I want to attend more events around Los Angeles. I feel like sometimes I take advantage of the wonderful city I live in. There are so many things to do every single night that can be so easily overlooked. Concerts, movies in random venues, gallery openings...you name it! But they often turn into things that I'll do "tomorrow" or "someday." I want to get out and REALLY experience all that this city has to offer.

On top of taking more dance classes, I want to exercise more. Not just for weight reasons, but for quality of life. I feel so energized and accomplished when I start my day with a quick run, hike, or workout. Then I usually make better choices for myself throughout the day!

Gonna add in one that I didn't do from last year here...I want to take more videos of myself dancing and singing and actually post them. It's the most terrifying thing in the world, but I think if I just start doing it often, I'll be less scared to post them. Feel free to keep me accountable!

And lastly, I want to be better in my friendships. I have the friends I do because they usually carry the friendship. By that I mean they text first, make plans, and keep up with me. I want to make my friends aware of how much they mean to me by spending time on/with them. I also think that if I implement the other things I've mentioned above, I'll be more inclined to make more of an effort with the people in my life. Going through a period of change and evaluation can take a toll on your mood and motivation. I am working on finding my center again so that I can put my all into my interactions.

 

I am so grateful for the space to be real and share with you where I'm honestly at in life. Thank you for being here for me and allowing me to be vulnerable.

We genuinely hope that your New Year is off to a refreshing and positive start! Thank you again for all of your support for us here...we love you to bits!!

 

xoxo,

Jen & Cort

Merry Christmas from the Whimsy Girls!

Happy Friday, lovely people! Hope you all are snuggled up with your favorite people sipping some hot cocoa and enjoying a little relaxation. We are so happy to call all of you our family and want to wish each and every one of you the happiest holidays!! 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, Y'ALL!!

xoxo,

Jenna & Cortney