In light of recent celebrations for National Hamburger Day, we visited Whitman’s with our Burgers Before Love crew. I wanted to talk to you about how much I love burgers. Like really, really love burgers. As a result of that, #BurgersBeforeLove was created, visiting a new restaurant each month to try out the most decadent burger on the menu. Last month, I took my cravings over to Whitman’s in the East Village to try out their popular, Juicy Lucy.

This was my first time checking out Whitman’s but I had previously heard so many great things about it. It is a small burger joint with an all American nautical-hipster vibe. While I waited for the rest of the group, I treated myself to a glass of wine and sweet potato fries. As per their recommendation, I devoured my fries with a side of their house aioli. Seating is limited in their upstairs area but perfect if you’re just stopping in for a quick bite.

Whitmans Exterior

As soon as the crew arrived, we headed downstairs to our table and immediately ordered because we all were starving. There’s more room downstairs for groups but still an intimate vibe. There are tons of burger options, with something for everyone’s taste buds. I stayed focused as I remembered that I came for the Juicy Lucy. Upon ordering, the table dug into a bowl of fried pickles. Though they’re not what I chose to indulge in, I could see they were evenly fried which should make for a great pickle. I could even hear the extra crunch in each bite taken amongst the group. Then, the burgers came.

Whitmans Fries

The Juicy Lucy is deliciously stuffed with pimento cheese and topped with caramelized onions. From the first bite, the pimento cheese explodes from the center of the burger and adds tons of extra flavor. I was not surprised that this burger lived up to it’s name and if I could eat another, I would. It was just that good and I look forward to returning to Whitman’s soon. Before heading out, I ordered the brownie with ice cream but we also had warm cookies and milk at the table. Overall, we enjoyed our burgers and we were stuffed afterwards. I recommend checking Whitman’s out the next time you find yourself with an appetite for burgers.

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Cafe Cortadito Ropa Vieja

If you’re tired of waiting around the Lower East Side to be seated for brunch, Cafe Cortadito is the answer to your problems. It sits right around the corner from the ever to popular, Poco Restaurant. In my opinion, Cafe Cortadito is just as good, if not better.

I was skeptical at how empty this place was, however, by the time it was time to go…I didn’t know what the skepticism was for.

Cafe Cortadito is unpretentious and still dishing out unlimited drinks for a good time. You have the option to switch your drinks out as much as you’d like, or if you’re anything like me, you’ll be sticking to Sangria’s the entire meal.

Cafe Cortadito Sangria

Every meal comes with a bowl of black beans and salad. The dressing on the salad is worth talking about. It was one of the most refreshing salads I’ve had in a while. Based solely off the dressing. The taste of the dressing wasn’t overpowering with acidity, plus it had a sweetness to it that keeps you coming back for more.

The most intriguing part of the meal was the entree.  I decided on the Ropa Vieja. It is either pulled or shredded pork over sweet plantains.  I have never had sweet plantains served as a bed for my protein. Normally, tostones, a green plantain, is used to play this role. However, the sweet plantain’s was quite interesting to try and actually may have even been better to enjoy.

Cafe Cortadito Ropa Vieja

My friend, Robin, indulged in the Lobster Benedict. Rumor has it that this is the best thing on the menu. The lobster is served over, what seems to be, an arepa and it’s a hearty choice if you’re looking for one.

Stop waiting to be seated and make your own party at Cafe Cortadito.

 

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Zoes fried poached egg

Who needs a break from restaurant week? Not I !

But I took one anyways. Weren’t expecting that were you? Well, I  Chose to dine at Zoe’s in the Lower East Side with a deal from Gilt. The deal required that the chef choose the menu and a tasting party it was.  I started off with the sake and wished I ordered wine, it was going to be a long night.

The chef started with the kale and radicchio salad, with anchovies and a poached egg to start. I normally don’t indulge in poached eggs but I refused to pass up on a fried one and I’m glad I didn’t. This had to have been one of the best  salads I’ve had from the fried egg alone.

Zoes fried poached egg

In the next two minutes, we had lamb. This was served two ways: braised on the bone and fried served over onion soup.

Zoes Lamb

I was hoping this wasn’t the whole meal when they brought out this Mediterranean Dorad fish. Aside from the bones in this baby, it was great. Evenly fried, crisp in all the right place and the raisins on the top provided a good sweet contrast to the succulent fish I was having.

Zoes fried fish

Lemon posset for dessert which was extremely tart; I honestly wasn’t expecting the strong tart flavors at all.

Zoes' Lemon Posset

Towards the end, the chef, Zoe, came out to introduce herself and see how everything was. She’s super cute and pleasant. Not to mention she was on Bravo’s Chef Academy so it was really cool meeting her.

Update: This location is now closed.

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