Hello! Happy Thursday! Let’s see what we have planned for you.
Westlight: Westlight is a rooftop bar featuring panoramic views of New York City atop The William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg. Before you head up to the roof, take a walk around the hotel; it’s so beautiful! The views at Westlight may be the most expansive of any rooftop I have been to in the New York area. If you can time it right to watch the sunset– it’s even more special! The bar menu has all of your classic cocktails alongside some more rare craft beers and wine. There are some small plates available, but a table is hard to find at peak hours unless you make a reservation on OpenTable. I recommend saving your appetite for your next delicious activity! There are binoculars placed around the patio for the ultimate viewing experience. The vibes here are classy and very chic, making it a super popular summer destination. The drinks and food are on the expensive side, but for the atmosphere, Westlight is totally worth it!
Cheeseboat: Cheeseboat is a family owned restaurant about a 4-minute walk from Westlight. Their goal is to bring you the best dishes from the country of Georgia (which if you're like me, you had to look up where that was on a map!). My experience here introduced me to a totally new cuisine with menu items I have never seen before! Their most popular dishes here are their cheese breads, also known as Khachapuri. If you couldn’t tell from the restaurant name, they look like little bread boats filled with cheesy goodness! It’s topped with a fried egg and a small stick of butter. When it’s all mixed together, it tastes like HEAVEN! First, we ordered the Prosciutto Cheeseboat. The outside crust was crispy, leaving the inside of the bread super soft and moist. The cheese filling was stringy, gooey, and really cheesy. We also ordered the cheese bread with spinach and truffle butter. We recommend both equally, depending on if you want a meat or vegetarian dish. If you are a cheese lover, this restaurant is for you! My friend visiting from out of town especially loved this restaurant, furthering my belief that some of the best food is only available in New York!
The Sosta: The Sosta, which means the word “break” in Italian, plays on the idea of a “well –deserved break”. That’s definitely what you get when you enter this restaurant. The Sosta is brought to you by the same owners of the popular chain By Chloe. It’s decorated with variations of bright pink, a giant neon sign, and very manicured table designs basically meant to compliment your Instagram aesthetic. The whole space seats 40 inside but they also have room for 20 more on their outdoor patio. This brand new eatery (which debuted last Thursday!) is open 7 days a week featuring an all-day menu and weekend brunch. My favorite part of The Sosta was having the opportunity to get quick, fresh, and authentic Italian dishes (my favorite cuisine) on the go and in smaller portions. After reviewing the menu very carefully, they definitely have a focus on house-made pasta sauces and homemade focaccia Panini – type sandwiches. The Bucatini Arrabiata was super spicy, but the Zucca Vodka was definitely the favorite. All pasta dishes range from $10- 12, making this filling lunch really reasonable. You can even turn this into a guilt-free meal by substituting the pasta with zucchini noodles! There’s also an option to order meatballs on the side if you're looking to add some protein to your meal. Get downtown to Nolita and stop by soon!
Chikarashi: Chikarashi (about an 8 minute walk from The Sosta) offers Hawaiian poke influenced by Japanese chirashi, which adds in Korean and Chinese flavors. I haven’t had the poke bowls here (although they do look really good) but I did order one of their desserts; I highly recommend you try it! It’s a Pineapple Dole Soft Serve – served in an actual mini baby pineapple! I actually want to eat every summer meal out of a pineapple from now on. They also recently added a Pineapple Strawberry Dole Whip Swirl, which should be on your soft serve hit list immediately. The best part about this dessert? This sweet, refreshing treat is dairy free and comes with a perfect mini umbrella to perfect this adorable dish.
Chelsea Piers Driving Range: Time to skip your typical Friday night happy hour and instead, go to Chelsea Piers Driving Range for their “Friday Night Swings”! Here, you can enjoy open hitting on their golf driving range (which faces the Hudson River Pier), an open wine/beer bar, professional instruction from teaching professionals, access to the Full Swing Simulators, and light snacks. I recommend signing up in advance because this is $40 a person and fills up pretty quickly. Also, no carrying around buckets of golf balls here! The Golf Club's driving range uses an automatic ball tee-up system designed to automatically have balls tee-up as you arrive. This is perfect for a double date or a night out with friends, since signing up gets you an activity, great views, and lots of drinks and food. There is absolutely no golf experience necessary; it's just meant to give you a feel for the sport!
Magnum Ice Cream Shop: The brand Magnum might sound familiar to you from their to-go ice cream bars in bodega freezers across the world. However, for the past two summers in New York City, Magnum has opened limited-time pop up stores just for summer. It’s located in the Meatpacking District on the west side (about an 11 minute walk from Chelsea Piers). It’s been open since early June and will run through late September. Here, you can customize your Magnum ice cream bar with over 200,000 possibilities of toppings and flavors! The toppings that stood out to me this time around were rose petals, Himalayan sea salt, edible gold, and chocolate rice krispies, but you seriously cannot go wrong. You can also get your ice cream bar dipped in their original thick chocolate and then drizzled with anything you’d like. Let’s also remember this very important fact: Kendall Jenner endorses the Magnum brand on her social media; so if she can eat it, we can too!
Pace Gallery: Pace Gallery is a leading contemporary art gallery that represents more than 70 artists and has exhibit halls all over the world including New York, London, Hong Kong, and more! Right now, Pace Gallery is presenting an exhibition by New York-based light artist Leo Villareal, featuring all his latest works. Leo Villareal uses modern technology to create beautiful designs with lights and projections. As soon as I entered, I felt like I was under a giant crystal chandelier that was really made with LED lights! The exhibit is indoors (a great way to beat the heat!) and is on view from May 4- August 11, at 537 West 24th Street. I would definitely recommend stopping by!
Idea Coffee: I will openly admit that the reason I came here was because the drinks are served in an actual light bulb! Since it’s about a 20 minute walk back to the east side, I purposely checked out the menu beforehand to see which items came in a light bulb to make sure this trip was worth it! Just so you know, these include a few juices, and a cold brew coffee. Honestly, the juices were the way to go because the cold brew is pre-chilled and they can’t fit ice in the light bulb contraption. I would get the green light - it tasted very fruity and I saw they added matcha as well (which I am a big fan of). I will note- you are definitely paying extra for the plastic light bulb with a swirly straw and clip on light. I enjoyed the concept; the interior here is great, there was plenty of seating, it’s modern, spacious, and you will get plenty of likes on your Instagram!
Gotham West Market: Gotham West Market is a food hall on the west side (44th street & 11th Avenue). It’s not one of my all time favorites because the location is a bit out of the way for most people. However, Gotham West Market contains one of New York City’s best hidden secrets- an Ample Hills ice cream shop! I had to add this to your plan this weekend because of their special new ice cream flavor called “Summer of Love”. It’s filled with tie-dye Baked By Melissa cupcakes! It is also easy to grab dinner here before your dessert. The market has other popular vendors including Corner Slice Pizza, Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, and Uma Temakeria (the sushi burrito!). It’s super easy to get a table here and never too crowded, making each of my visits here very pleasant. In case you can’t get to the Ample Hills stand to try their new flavor, it’s also sold by the pint at these locations (https://www.bakedbymelissa.com/icecream).
Smorgasburg: Now that it's summer, one of my favorite activities is back! That’s right, Smorgasburg! On Sunday’s, Smorgasburg is located in Prospect Park (as opposed to the Dumbo location it was in the past couple of years). It’s open from 11AM-6PM on Breeze Hill, located right in the center of the park. It was super easy to take the Q here (didn’t even have to switch trains!) and easy to find once you enter the park since there are signs everywhere guiding you in the right direction. Before you know it, you're in an oasis of food stands, barbeques, picnic tables and nature! I actually loved this location (that’s why I recommend Sundays) because afterwards the park is a great place to walk, bike, or run off your meal. They have lots of paths and trails; there weren’t a ton of people like in Central Park on the weekends. I also liked this location because the vendors were organized in a circle so it was very easy to navigate without getting overwhelmed! Now I’ll back up – Smorgasburg is a giant outdoor market with over 100 vendors and food from all over the world. The vendors change every year, always impressing me with interesting and cool creations. I would highly recommend that you get there RIGHT around 11:30/12pm. Even though it may seem early to start, the lines at the most popular places get a little unmanageable past that time. I would also recommend doing a full loop and walking around to each stand before you decide what you want. There is no specific order in which the vendors go by, so you have to strategically plan your eating journey! This year, my all time favorite was John’s Juice. Here, every juice you order is enjoyed in its natural state-served right in the fruit itself! They offer lots of exotic fruits and optional mix ins like agave, seltzer water, and more to add even more to your drink! We tried the dragon fruit and watermelon juices. I usually love dragon fruit in pitaya bowls, (the fruit is so pretty with bright pink and green stems) but the watermelon juice was definitely the winner. The dragon fruit juice has more seeds and had a little bit of a slimy consistency. The watermelon juice (we added seltzer to it) was beyond refreshing; served in GIANT watermelon bowl (easy for two people to share) and we finished the entire thing!