Ice and Vice

I scream, You scream, We all scream for Ice Cream! Nothing beats summer time in NYC, and nothing beats a scoop of ice cream on a warm summer day. With June 7th being National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, we’re highlighting some of the best places to feed your frozen treat cravings this summer, right here in NYC!

1. Mikey Likes It

This small pop culture inspired ice cream shops serves ice cream with flavors such as Ice Ice Baby and Foxy Brown. Make an ice cream sandwich with the red velvet waffles, trust me!

mikey likes it ice cream
Courtesy of Yelp

Price: $
Location: 199 Ave A. New York, NY 10009

2. Melt Bakery

Try one of the pre-made sandwiches or mix and match your own from the cookies and ice cream flavors they have available, including a gluten-free option.
Price: $
Location: 132 Orchard St. New York, NY 10002. (Multiple locations).

3. 10Below Ice Cream

If you’ve been dying to try rolled ice cream, this is the place to find it. Lines tend to be out the door so be prepared for a possible wait.

10 Below Mo Mango Ice cream
Price: $
Location: 10 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

4. Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

Big Gay offers many options for all ice cream lovers. Soft serve, waffle cones, sundaes, milkshakes, You Name it!
Price: $
Location: 125 E 7th St New York, NY 10009, (Multiple Locations).

6. Ample Hills Creamery

Ample it not new to the ice cream game so if you’re looking for someone to do it right…This Brooklyn favorite has 3 locations in Brooklyn, and 2 in Manhattan. Some of the shops are open as late as 11pm, so you can grab some during a late-night craving too.

ample hills creamery ice cream
Photo by Scott Lynch/Gothamist

Price: $$
Location: 623 Vanderbilt Ave Brooklyn, NY 11238, (Multiple locations).

6. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Van Leeuwen has multiple locations and an ice cream truck for those on the go. This place offers vegan options for our dairy-free friends, and we heard the Early Grey Ice Cream is to die for too!
Price: $$
Location: 48 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003, (Multiple locations).

7. Ice and Vice

Ice and Vice has ice cream sandwiches, pies, and even ice cream cones topped with a slice of pie or an ice cream sandwich. Yes, on top of the cone! How could you pass up on that?

Ice and Vice
Photo by Eater

Price: $$
Location: 221 E Broadway. New York, NY 10002

8. Tipsy Scoop

Tipsy Scoop started out with wholesale and catering, and recently opened a brick and mortar location to sell their spiked ice cream. With flavors that contain bourbon, rum, and tequila, need we say more?
Price: $$
Location: 217 E 26th St. New York, NY 10010

9. Magnum Ice Cream Experience

The Magnum Ice Cream pop up shop is back this year in the Meatpacking, and allows you to create your own custom ice cream bar. You choose your ice cream flavor, coating, and 3 toppings, but a Yelp check in grants you one extra topping. The shop has ice cream photo booths set up to help get you the perfect social media worthy pictures.(Here until Oct, 2017)

Magnum Ice cream
Price: $$
Location: 875 Washington St. New York, NY 10014.

10. OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

Odd Fellows offers ice cream and sorbet, vegan sorbet included, and their signature ice cream sandwich is served in a brioche bun. Currently, if you check into yelp you get a free pin!
Price: $
Location: 175 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249, (Multiple Locations).

BONUS!!

Conrad New York

Today Only, Conrad New York, in partnership with People’s Pops, are doing a mocha flavored coffee ice pop blended in coconut milk. This treat is only $6 and offered exclusively at the ATRIO Wine Bar l Restaurant at Conrad.

Mocha Ice cream Conrad New York
Photo by Conrad New York

Price: $
Location: 102 North End Ave, New York, NY 10282

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Touriga Nacional

Does anyone else love wine but stick to the same few varieties because of familiarity? Well, welcome to my life! I love a chill glass of wine after a long day or to pair with dinner, but I rarely know what kind to choose outside of my usual Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. So of course, I was super excited to join Cava Wine Importers for an intimate wine tasting and dinner at Ammos, with wines from Wine Art Estate.
The night started with a tasting of Wine Art Estate’s Plano Malagousia, a floral/fruity white wine that was light and clean on the palette. I’m a huge fan of white wines that are easy on the palette and carry a fruit like taste. This was my favorite wine of the night, due to its light and refreshing taste, making it a wine that I could have with a meal or just as a glass for pleasure. This wine was paired with the “Risi Thalasinon”, a mushroom risotto dish topped with shrimp, calamari, and fresh fish fillet. I usually don’t go for risotto’s when I am out, but this one was packed with flavor, and the seafood gave it an added touch.

Scottish Salmon
The next white wine was the Idisma Drios Assyrtiko. This one was less fruity than the Plano, but I did tastes some buts of citrus and maybe peach. I found this wine to be a bit more acidic and oak like, and I could see myself having this with a meal, but not necessarily on its own. This was paired with a small piece of Scottish salmon on top of chopped beets in a yogurt dressing. There was also some red tobiko caviar. The salmon was made perfectly, seared on top with the right amount of crunch. I felt like the salmon was a great pair with this wine.

Pink Bang
Did somebody say Rosé All Day? The 3rd wine was a Rosé by the name of Pink Bang, and this was very fitting. This was a very dry Rosé compared to the ones I am used to, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It still carried the fruity taste of other rosés, with a longer after taste. This was paired with a filet of lavraki fish, which was served wrapped in parchment paper with zucchini, tomatoes, and potatoes. The fish was cooked well and I felt this meal did the best job of bringing out the flavors of the wine it was paired with.

Touriga Nacional
Then it was time for the red wines, and we started with the Touriga Nacional. This was a dark red wine that was surprisingly light in flavor and aroma. This red had a lasting after taste, but was also a red wine that I could drink casually when in the mood to channel my inner Olivia Pope. This red was paired with a dish called Saganaki, which was a friend piece of graviera cheese served in a skillet, which they poured brandy over and set on fire right in front of you. I’m not a huge fan of brandy so that flavor on the cheese through me off, however the actual fried cheese was love.
The last wine of the night was Nebbio, made from Nebbiolo grapes. This red was also a light and airy red wine, which is my favorite kind of red. This was a full-bodied wine, and I tasted bits of plum while I drank. It was paired with slow roasted whole piglet, on top of oregano fries. The oregano fried was delicious and crispy, and the perfect food to end the night on. The piglet was super flavorful but the oil from the piglet made some of the fries underneath a bit soggy, so I would’ve preferred the roasted pork to be on the side of the fries, as opposed to on top.

 

Nevertheless, this was a great selection of wine, paired wonderfully with some amazing Greek fare. My favorite wine of the night would have to be the Plano, although the Rosé and Nebbio were both close seconds. Check out CavaOinos.com for more information on these great wines.

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Cafe Cortadito Exterior

Our last #MiniMimosaholic took us to alphabet city where we indulged in the amazing Cuban food at Café Cortadito. I have been to Café Cortadito at least 5 times, with groups of friends, with just 2 people, for birthdays and for my birthday. I’ve even attended with Casandra, of Food Before Love, on yet another brunch date of ours. Each time, the food and service is impeccable, and I do not ever remember seeing anyone leave hungry or dissatisfied. The restaurant is small compared to other popular brunch spots so book in advance, and, prepare to wait outside because there isn’t any waiting area inside.

My favorite part of brunch at Café Cortadito is the wide array of bottomless drink options that they offer. They have everything from margaritas to mojitos, sangria, and even beer. The mimosaholic in me always goes for the tropical mimosas which are a fruity twist on the traditional mimosas. This time around, we got a pitcher of the champagne mojitos and although I am usually a fan of mojitos, these were my favorite honestly. The added champagne made it a lot stronger than expected and I found myself babysitting my drink. Next, we tried the champagne margaritas, but these were even stronger than the mojitos and almost difficult to finish. So, trust me and stick to the tropical mimosas or white sangria.

Cafe Cortadito Exterior
Photo by www.cafecortaditolacuisinedecubanyc.com

Now to the delicious Cuban food. I’ve tried everything from the french toast to the lobster Benedict, but opted to try something new since everything I’d had thus far had been amazing. This time around I went for the ropa vieja which is a traditional Cuban dish consisting of shredded/stewed beef and vegetables. This one was not only filling but also super juicy and you could taste so many Cuban flavors going to work as you chew. YUM! A few other favorite dishes included the calentado which was a steak with a fried egg on top, served with rice, and a sweet plantain omelet.

Overall, Café Cortadito is still a spot I highly recommend for brunch, and was a great spot for our second monthly brunch meetup. This brunch ended with some guests talking about the Little Italy in the Bronx, and hosting a #MiniMimosaholic there. So, Bronx followers, be on the lookout, you’re up soon!

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Brunch Meal Essex Restaurant

The Lower East Side is one of my favorite neighborhoods to go to when I’m in the need of brunch. So of course, for the first #MiniMimosaholic we went to the LES staple Essex to try out their brunch. We went on a Sunday around 1:30 and it was pretty packed so I would suggest getting a reservation in advance to avoid a long wait. Essex has a downstairs level which has a few tables and the bar, and we were seated upstairs on the balcony level that was overlooking the bar below.

Mimosas Essex Restaurant

First the drinks. Essex offers unlimited mimosas, bloody mary’s, and screwdrivers, but our table stuck to the mimosas. We all know that nothing is worse than a bad mimosa. Either the ratio is too much orange juice, or the champagne tastes cheap, you know the ones. Well Essex has neither of these problems! The mimosas had the perfect OJ to champagne ratio, that being more OJ of course, and our waitress made sure that our glasses were never empty.

Brunch Essex Restaurant

I was so excited to see that Essex offered my all-time favorite brunch item, lobster Benedict. I have high expectations for my Benedict’s and this one didn’t disappoint. There was a lot of lobster on the dish, and it was very flavorful and juicy. It came with some home fries that were crispy just as I like it. Other guests went for the classic steak and eggs, and based on how quiet the table was once the food arrived, I am sure it tasted great!

Guest Essex Restaurant

Another thing I loved about Essex was that as our 2 hours of bottomless came to an end, our waitress topped our glasses off and let us know we could continue the fun downstairs at the bar. Once down there, we indulged in more laughs and mimosas, which the bartender kept flowing for us for at least another hour. We also ordered some hand-cut French fries which were to die for. It was a great start to our #MiniMimosaholic series!

Brunch Meal Essex Restaurant

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Couture Brunch Team Watermelon

As a foodie, who’s also picky with her food and was likely a food critic in her after life, I jumped at the opportunity to sit on a panel as a taster for Couture Brunch Team’s upcoming Chef Off competition called “Bon Vivant”. Couture Events is a small Brooklyn based promotional company that focuses on creating fun and festive events that not only brings social networks together, but allow patrons to enjoy cuisines at their finest. Their summer event will feature 2 chefs’ preparing an appetizer, entrée, and dessert for guests to indulge in, with a mixologist creating 2 signature drinks to pair with each meal. I had the honor of sitting on a panel with 4 other food lovers, including Erica of Catering by Elberta (Formerly of Elberta’s restaurant), and giving feedback on some appetizers and entrée choices from each chef.

The first appetizer we tried were Asian styled chicken wings from Chef Dell. I love a good chicken wing and the sweet and tangy sauce on these tasted amazing! They were sprinkled with sesame seeds which added to the overall taste. One of the main criticisms that was heard across the panel was the chicken not being hot enough, temperature wise and an expectation of something different as an appetizer, since you can get wings anywhere.

Couture Brunch Team Watermelon

The next appetizer was a watermelon-jalapeño salad by Chef Lisle. Let me just say, that when I heard the name, I was a little skeptical. I love watermelon, but jalapeños? I wasn’t sure about how this would turn out. As the chef placed some of it on our plates, he then topped it with some pop rocks. Yes, Pop Rocks! The little firecracker candy from when we were just children. You could head the pop rocks start to fizzle as they sat on top of the watermelon. I was still skeptical about what I was getting into, especially with the addition of Pop Rocks, but immediately after the first bite, I was sold. The sweetness of the watermelon paired perfectly with the jalapeño and the pop rock gave it this extra Kick (literally) in your mouth that had me scraping my plate for more after it was done. The pop rocks added a unique sensory experience because you could hear it and feel it at the same time. This was by far my favorite dish of the night.

 

Next up was the main courses, in which both chefs prepared salmon. The first one was an alaskan salmon with a sweet glaze topped with shredded zucchini, and sitting on top a bed of rasta pasta prepared by Chef Dell. The salmon was crispy on top just as I like it, and the glaze really gave it a kick of flavor. The cold zucchini on top really balanced out the flavors well .But the star of the show was the pasta, which was creamy and delicious, with a little spicy kick to it. Everyone raved about this pasta, and one panelist even suggested it could be a separate meal on its own. I’ve had many varieties of rasta pasta before, but this one was packed with so much flavor, and just paired so well with the glazed salmon.

The next salmon dish, by Chef Lisle, was sitting on top of a bed of fingerling potatoes and bok choy, and topped with some type of peppers. The presentation on this entrée was so great that I was almost afraid to dig my fork in. This salmon had a very different taste to it and wasn’t as crispy as the first, but the flavors from the bok choy and potatoes really added on to this dish.

Couture Brunch Team Salmon.JPG

After tasting each dish, all of us tasters were able to give the chefs constructive criticism and useful feedback about what we liked and what could use some change. Both chefs received our feedback well and will use it to prepare for the competition which will be taking place on July 9th at 23 Meadows Street in Williamsburg Brooklyn. This event will give patrons an up close and personal experience to learn about the featured appetizer and entrée, and will also feature music and vendor booths. For more details about the “Bon Vivant” event and their other monthly events, follow them on Instagram at @courturebrunchteam.

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