Uva: Uva has become a @yourweekendplans staple for delicious Italian food, cozy atmosphere, and an overall dependable, great meal. Located on the Upper East Side, Uva serves up some amazing Italian food that does NOT disappoint. One of our personal favorites is the honey and ricotta bruschetta. The warm toasted bread with the cheese on top and sweet honey drizzled makes for the ideal starter. It’s perfect to share and you can mix and match with the other bruschettas offered on the menu, which are all great. We also recommend starting with the Involtini Di Melanzane, which is basically eggplant rollatini in vodka sauce...YUM! For pasta (which is what we would recommend you order here!), the Cavatelli Al Fior Di Pesto won us over. Homemade pasta shells are served in a light and creamy pesto sauce with shaved ricotta and had us happily stuffed for the next 24 hours! You also cannot miss the Gnocchi Di Ricotta: homemade gnocchi in a creamy black truffle sauce. I am still dreaming about it! You truly can’t go wrong with anything on the menu and it’s a great place for small groups or date night, so make sure to keep this on your list for whenever you’re in the area!
UES: “Finally!”, I thought to myself, a new ice cream place on the Upper East Side, called “UES”- how fitting?! (Plus, it’s only a 12-minute walk from Uva). Amongst the frozen yogurt chains, we could really use this up here! The outside already looked cool with a giant neon ice cream cone and hot pink décor. Even though it’s been pretty freezing, @yourweekendplans doesn’t discriminate against ice cream in the wintertime! The ice cream is sourced from SoCo Creamery, an all natural handcrafted ice cream company that is wildly popular in Massachusetts. The store also has adorable vibes with ice cream themed art that reminded us a lot of the Museum of Ice Cream pop-up. As we were reading the flavors on the board, we saw a few people walk through a secret door camouflaged by a wall decorated with ice cream cartons, and naturally had to ask what was going on. Discretely, an employee asked us for our IDs and opened the secret door for us. Behold, a speakeasy! It’s super dark with low music, booths, and candlelit tables as well. All of the drinks on the menu are named after classic Upper East Side neighborhood gems (old & new!) and have some sort of sweet flair to them. Personally, the “Second Avenue Subway” was our favorite; it’s even served with a filled MTA MetroCard on top, so be sure to take it with you (free subway rides!). All of the drinks are presented in a super fun way, which adds a lot to the experience, and your Instagram pic! Personally, we would choose 1-2 drinks to share with the table, and then stick with your go-to cocktail, because these drinks are super sweet to finish on your own! Don’t worry, you can still order ice cream from back here! We ordered scoops of mint brownie ice cream to be delivered with our cocktails, which made for a VERY happy group. They also take reservations for 8 or more, and we recommend asking for a booth as opposed to the seats by the bar, which looked a little cramped. Overall, this place is really well done; the drinks are unique and creative, and you can have delicious ice cream at a bar; enough said!
Galerie De Café: Galerie De Café, located in Tribeca, is a great place to start off your Saturday morning (or afternoon, we don’t judge!) and get your caffeine fix. We were drawn to this place because of the insane latte art that covered our Instagram feed with all sorts of designs served atop coffee cups in rainbow colors! Situated on one of the quietest streets in New York (seriously there was no one in sight!), it fits the perfect cute and cozy vibes that this café has to offer. There were a couple of small tables and stools, but none of the seats were ever taken all at once. They serve Balthazar pastries, but we recommend just coming for coffee and then proceeding to your brunch destination afterwards. Pro Tip: Rainbow drinks are “off the menu”, but you can “rainbow” all of the drinks (even the Matcha ones!). Just let them know you want a rainbow design and all your colorful dreams will come true. We got a rainbow latte, which was beautiful and tasted just like a great regular coffee latte. We were pleased that the color didn’t ruin the taste, gave us an Instagram worthy photo, and mostly dissolved into the coffee afterwards. In addition to getting their signature drink, we also got a warm chai latte (one of the best we’ve ever had!) with a perfect butterfly design waiting for us in the foam. Lastly, all of their teas come with mini hour glasses so you know when it's time to drink your tea at its perfect brew. All of these sweet touches made us want to make this our go-to coffee shop for every day of the week!
Epistrophy: Let’s continue our tour of charming and cozy eateries because this brunch spot in Soho definitely has all of the above! If your hot beverages have warmed you up enough for a 23-minute walk to brunch, you’re in luck! However, if the cold is too much to handle, this spot is RIGHT off the 6 train, so you can cut down your commute from Galerie De Café to about 13-minutes by subway. We were so excited about this menu, we ended up ordering 5 dishes (for 2 people!) with only a few leftovers, so it’s a great place to share a bunch of stuff! The highlights were definitely the butternut squash toast and zucchini fritters. The fritters were basically like a zucchini latke and avocado tower topped with a poached egg and a delicious lemon sauce to pour all over! We also enjoyed the quinoa bowl, burrata appetizer, and of course, avocado toast, a true brunch staple! We walked right in and although it got busy at times, this is a great place to know about if you don’t have a reservation and want a table quickly. Pro Tip: if you’re looking to photograph your meal, make sure to sit at the table in the front by the window; the natural light was one of the best we’ve experienced yet!
The Aviary: The Aviary, which started in Chicago, has now landed in New York and is giving a lot of cocktail bars a run for their money! It’s located on the 35th floor of Mandarin Oriental Hotel: once you step out of the elevator, just walk straight to where you can see the gorgeous view, and the hostess is right there waiting for you. We know that you get great views from any of the Columbus Circle bars and restaurants, but the creativity of the cocktails and the service here, which was really upscale without being pretentious, was what really set this bar apart in our eyes! Pro Tip: Always make a reservation (On the phone! The old fashioned way!) in advance and request to get a table next to the windows so that you can experiences the best views. Unlike The Aviary’s Chicago reputation, it is not difficult to get a reservation here and even has a speakeasy in the back called The Office, where they serve a larger food menu if you’re hungry after drinks! My favorite drink was the Bring Another Smurf, which came with a presentation that included blowing bubbles through a straw to mix the drink and a delicious sweet treat to bring out the flavors! Another fun one was the Wake and Bake, which incorporates the smell of a fresh New York bagel, so don’t be concerned when your drink arrives in a plastic bag, as the iconic scent is being preserved in there! The Boom Goes the Dynamite had one of the coolest presentations because it is served hot, and features 2 types of rums with vanilla bean infused liqueur, and then has dry ice added for effect and cooling. Raise those glasses and cheers to your Saturday creative night!
Ryan Lee Gallery: Ryan Lee Gallery, located in Chelsea, has a new exhibit that we highly recommend. Paul Henry Ramirez presents Fun in the Color but only from January 6th– February 10th (so mark those calendars!). This exhibition of his new paintings, drawings, and sculptures are a true explosion of bright colors and definitely a sight to see. This isn’t an exhibit where you need to leave time to wait on line (which we love!) – just stroll on through and enjoy the contrast of the giant colorful circles on the expansive white walls. Plus, your photos will really add that splash of color that we all need to complete our Instagram aesthetic!
Chip New York City: Chip began as a hobby, the owners describe, “As we sought to recreate the simple taste of our favorite childhood sweet”. They began by baking their signature cookies and sharing them with friends, which quickly progressed to opening their first bakery in Queens, New York. Now you can try their cookie creations baked daily right in Gansevoort Market (just a 14-minute walk from the gallery!). The best way to describe this cookie is pure goodness! They are warm, chewy, super rich in flavor, but not overly sweet at the same time. We got to try 4 flavors including chocolate chip, s’mores, blueberry cheesecake, and Funfetti. The s’mores was definitely our favorite as the marshmallows melt in your mouth and stay extra gooey with tons of decedent chocolate! After hitting most of the New York City “cookie scene”, these have become wildly popular, worth a try, and 100% @yourweekendplans approved! Make sure to let us know which was your favorite by tagging @yourweekendplans in your post!