The Neon Tea Party is a DIY & lifestyle blog aimed at adding color and eclectic whimsy to your everyday life. Based in Manhattan, author Marisa Morrison knows a thing or two about finding the funkiest spots in the city and where to get the best plate of pasta (her Kryptonite!). Please welcome her as our guest writer this week and read below for her ultimate #WeekendPlan! Make sure to also follow her constant neon colored feed that’s sure to brighten up your day no matter what day of the week it is: @theneonteaparty or on https://theneonteaparty.com !
Lil Frankies: For me, Friday nights are all about family dinners and if you’re not up for cooking, there’s no better restaurant for that all-in-the-family feel than Lil Frankie’s in the East Village. This place is down-right delicious, unpretentious Italian food that is easy on the wallet, open late, and packed to the gills with other locals who are also thoroughly enjoying themselves. First thing’s first: the Spaghetti Limone is a MUST. This buttery, salty, citrusy dish is so simple yet so satisfying, and you won’t find a better version anywhere in the city (unless you’re at Lil Frankie’s sister restaurants Supper and Frank). Definitely order a pizza or 2, the Kale Caesar Salad (trust.), and anything from the specials menu that calls out to you (Fall’s butternut squash gnocchi is TO DIE.). Make room for all that goodness by skipping the roasted eggplant - you don’t need it. Pair your Italian feast with copious amounts of wine and the best of friends for a guaranteed great night. Head’s up: this place is cash only.
Davey's: No matter how much Italian food you’ve managed to get down, there’s always room for ice cream. Just 7 blocks up the street from Lil Frankie’s, Davey’s is as close to a good-old-fashioned ice cream shop as you’ll find in the East Village (and it doesn’t hurt that the sign is rainbow - a perfect background for your ice cream cone Instagram shot). You can’t go wrong with a scoop of any of their made-on-site flavors (topped with rainbow sprinkles, of course!). Or if you’re feeling bold, spring for a spin on a classic sundae, ice cream sandwich or milkshake--then go home and take an antacid.
Veselka: Because we’re really feeling the East Village this weekend, there’s no better place in the ‘hood for brunch than the legendary Ukranian eatery Veselka. You may recognize this restaurant from the legendary scene in Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist in which Kat Dennings emotionally eats plate after plate of diner-y goodness. The menu features a mix of old country classics (the pierogis are a non-negotiable) and American comfort food staples--all with a heavy dose of love and attention to flavor. The best part about Veselka? It’s open 24 hours, which means you can enjoy it after a late night of partying, or the next morning as a recovery meal.
Cafe Floral Delight: What would a Neon Tea Party guide to New York City be without a crafty activity?! Once you’re sufficiently satiated, head on over to Cafe Floral Delight on 10th Street between Avenues B and C where you can learn to pipe a stunning cake terrarium like the one pictured, lead by the bakery’s founder Jiahn Kang. #PlantLady vibes are all the rage, and what better way to show your appreciation without the commitment of caring for an actual plant than by making a succulent creation you can enjoy on the spot. Buttercream flower and seasonal workshops are also available. Check out the full schedule & sign up here!
Vintage Shopping: You can’t spend an afternoon in the East Village without taking advantage of the neighborhood’s plethora of incredible vintage, second-hand, and consignment shops. Start off at No Relation Vintage on 1st Ave between 12th and 13th where you’ll find the best curated selection of vintage staples sorted by category: jean jackets, t-shirt, patterned frocks, and more. Then zigzag your way from 11th to 7th Streets between 2nd and 1st Avenues popping into any secondhand shops that strike your fancy--they’re pretty much all great. Be sure to stop by Fabulous Fanny’s on 9th Street between 2nd and 1st, a charming shop known for their cheeky selection of vintage eyewear and accessories. Finally, end at Tokio 7 consignment shop on 7th Street and 1st Avenue where you’re bound to hit the jackpot on fashionable, gently worn designer items at great prices.
Rose & Basil: After all that crafting and shopping, it’s time for a good old-fashioned tea party! Walk a half block east down 7th Street to dessert and wine bar Rose & Basil. Featuring faux flower-covered walls, rose-topped cakes, and a plethora of pink beverage options, Rose & Basil is a Neon Tea Party come to life. If you’re hungry, the avocado toast on challah bread topped with crispy garlic is divine. We also ordered the chocolate cake with lavender frosting, a chai tea latte, and both types of rose lemonade -- all of which were as tasty as they were beautiful (a rarity!). This place is perfect for a girls’ date or a joy-inducing afternoon pick-me-up.
Horus: Whether you’re starting your evening early or coming back late night, hookah lounge and restaurant Horus on 10th Street and Avenue A always hits the spot. Unlike some other dingy hookah bars, Horus offers a beautiful, relaxing Middle Eastern-inspired atmosphere and totally decent prices. If it’s nice out, grab a table outside or a seat by the window and chill for hours with a flavored hookah, a mezze platter, and a pot of mint tea. At night, Horus has more of a low-key club atmosphere with the music (sometimes live!) turned up and colored lights gently flashing. Horus is truly one of my favorite spots in all of New York City.
Horchata: For our weekend plan, we had to include The Neon Tea Party’s most on-brand NYC restaurant: Horchata! This Mexican restaurant, located on 6th Ave between 11th and 12th, is colorfully decorated with piñata-inspired walls by Confetti System, a large Otomi wall hanging, and cacti galore. Gather a few friends for brunch and take advantage of Horchata’s weekly deal: $35 includes a selection of brunch entrée, guacamole clásico with house-made tortilla chips, and two hours of unlimited sangria, mimosas, Bloody Marys, or Mexican beers on tap. The quesadilla de hongos and brussel sprout tacos are vegetarian crowd pleasers, and all the breakfast entrées are simply mouth watering.
The Chester: Since a boozy brunch at Horchata is bound to lead to a boozy afternoon, keep the festivities going at The Chester beer garden, downstairs from the Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking District. Despite the neighborhood’s reputation for snooty clubs and overpriced day parties, The Chester is surprisingly down-to-earth. Grab a seat at one of the long picnic-style tables on the covered outdoor porch and order yourself a large beer or clever cocktail. This is a great meeting spot for guys and girls alike as sports games are always on outside and the people watching is top notch. Heat lamps turn on as the temperature cools down, so you’re sure to enjoy this spot well through Thanksgiving.