Wagamama: Wagamama is a famous Asian restaurant with locations all over the world. Their food is fast, fresh, and reasonably priced. Their seating is readily available and you don’t need a reservation. This location in particular has long communal tables, bar seating, and booths. This is their first location in New York and provides friendly service with a fun atmosphere! As you approach Wagamama from the corner of the block, you immediately notice that this place has a striking presence across from Madison Square Park because it’s a huge restaurant with multiple levels and unlimited noodle dish options! I would stick to the basics here including pad thai, ramen, or any of their curry bowls, which are all great. Keep this place in mind for not only the next activity but also when you’re in the area!
Escape the Room: Escape the Room is only 2 blocks away from dinner (less than a 2 minute walk!) and is a super fun activity for after your meal. The best way to describe it is a giant “puzzle” that you and your team need to solve in order to “escape the room”! Make sure to choose the downtown games if you want to go to Wagamama and book this in advance! It’s great if you have a group of 6 so you can book the whole room to yourselves, or else you are put with other groups (which is still fun!). Solving the puzzles was super hard, but it was also a TON of fun. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard trying to figure out the random clues in such a time crunch! The entire “game” takes one full hour, but it really feels like 20 minutes! We missed one step which put us behind a couple of minutes, however, we still felt accomplished by solving some of the insane riddles, number combinations, and glow in the dark pictures that we conquered to get to the next steps. Plus, at the end they give you funny photo booth signs to take pictures with to share your experience!
Russ & Daughters Café: Russ & Daughters Café opened as a sister restaurant to the amazing Russ & Daughters take out shop, which only has to-go items such as bagels, lox, and all your favorite add-ons. My favorite part about this café is of course the amazing breakfast food, but also the trendy diner-meets-grandma’s kitchen environment. It’s honestly one of my favorite brunch spots in the city! Make sure you order the classic bagel board which comes with the best lox I've ever had, and is paired with cream cheese, tomatoes, onions, and capers; so basically, heaven on a Saturday morning. We also ordered the latkes to start, which were to die for! They are so tasty and somehow able to achieve a crispy crust without that greasy taste! The only downside of this place is the wait time. They don't accept reservations and the wait is usually around an hour to an hour and a half if you go at a prime time. I would try to come on the earlier side, but if you can't, switch up the order and try the place below while you're waiting to nosh!
New Territories New York: New Territories (a 4- minute walk from Russ and Daughters) is not just a place for dessert, but also a totally new trend from Hong Kong. One of my favorite parts of living in New York City is that we are so lucky to get the best of the best from all around the world. First things first, the ice cream is fresh, super tasty, and rich. New Territories could stand alone as a great ice cream parlor. Second, the waffle cones are AMAZING and this place could be a stand-alone waffle shop as well. You can smell the fresh waffles being made from down the block! One of the highlights of coming here is the way they present their delicious creations. We came for the Unicorn Parade (a dine-in only milkshake), and for us Instagrammers, we know the picture is worth the price. There's limited seating inside, but we easily grabbed a table. The decor inside is very cute, with a wooden sign of their logo and some phrases written in pink neon lights (our favorite!). The desserts came out shortly after, and I assure you, they look exactly as they are pictured. They even let us know that everything on our dessert was edible including the multi-colored butterflies that rest on top of the piles of whipped cream. Even though the milkshakes look pretty insane, it really just tasted like a good old vanilla milkshake to us, with an added bonus of a beautiful gram!
Cacio E Pepe: Cacio E Pepe is a small, delicious, casual, yet romantic restaurant in the East Village. From the front it doesn’t look like anything special, but they have an amazing backyard garden with string lights to look out to from your cozy indoor table (but they do offer outside seating when it’s warm!). Most people come here to get their infamous Cacio E Pepe (no wonder they named it after that!), which is served in a giant wheel of parmesan cheese. Yes, you heard that correctly! For those not familiar, Cacio e Pepe is a very simple Italian dish. It’s basically just pasta with cheese, olive oil, and black pepper. However, to serve it in a wheel of cheese takes it to another level. The presentation is so fun and cool, so make sure to pay attention and capture that foodie boomerang as soon as you see a large chunk of cheese coming towards you in the distance! Your dish isn’t served until they mix the hot pasta in a giant parmesan cheese wheel right at your table. You can’t miss this on the menu (or in the restaurant), as it’s their most popular creation. We loved how the extra cheese melted onto the pasta and then quickly into our mouths! The portion may seem small, but it’s super filling. If that dish isn’t enough cheese for you, start by ordering the parmesan creme brulee, which is exactly what it sounds like, and comes with delicious bread to spread the hot, yummy cheese all over! This is a solid weekend spot with comfort food, an extra fun display, and it’s in a great location to pair with one of the many other @yourweekendplans recommended spots to check out afterwards!
Bite Beauty Lip Lab: Bite Beauty is one of my personal favorite makeup brands and their Lip Lab is now one of my favorite New York activities! Here, you can make your very own lipstick and go behind the scenes of customizing your own shade. Afterwards, you get to take home a Bite lipstick in your special custom color! When you arrive, you will go into their small storefront in Soho and start from there! You can tell them the color you are looking for and they begin to mix it right in front of your eyes. I definitely loved how they kept mixing it until I was happy with the color and didn’t seem to mind my pickiness! I do remember that the lighting isn’t the greatest (always have to share every detail) so you should definitely go to the window to check out your color before you leave! Also, if you’re going for a super bright color, I will warn you that they may not be able to do it since everything is used with all natural ingredients and there is no artificial coloring. They can also add scents to your lipstick! I personally mixed the coconut and vanilla because it smelled so good! Then, choose your finish: glossy, matte, etc. Everyone there explained the process the entire way through, made the experience super fun, and left me with a great maroon colored lipstick that I get compliments on constantly!
KITH: Kith (about a 12-minute walk from Bite Beauty) is a mixture between a sneaker store, clothing store, and Froyo bar. The Froyo bar is the best part in my opinion (no surprise there!), however, I love the design of the whole store itself. It’s an all white theme, so very clean and put together, and definitely the perfect blogger aesthetic. The layout of the store is such an interesting concept because it’s essentially a retail store with an ice cream shop smack in the middle! I will admit, I was a little confused at first, but I really enjoyed the dessert so much that I have been back multiple times! The ice cream bar is complete with all your childhood cereal favorites ready to be mixed in (in any combination you want) to their creamy soft serve ice cream! I tried The Vapor Max because of the Lucky Charms marshmallows, and now it's one of my favorite city treats!
My Life Out Of Office is the first millennial lifestyle site written and curated by bloggers and other trendsetters exploring life outside the 9-5. Whether you’re planning the perfect weekend brunch, getting your sweat on at your favorite studio, or workin’ that side hustle, we’ve got you covered. Go check out the latest article written by yours truly @yourweekendplans below!