Cafe Ronda

After braving the crowds at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Panda and I left before the end in search of brunch, my favorite meal.  Once we were done walking the entirety of the Upper West Side, we finally found a place that was open (a plus) and didn’t have an hour wait (double plus.)  Though the restaurant was bustling, we were seated right away.  Maybe it was the red brick, the wine rack or the proximity of the other diners, but there’s a cozy feel to the place that I liked right away.  It took awhile to hail down a our waiter, but the glow of being in a heated room had me in a gracious mood.  The baked egg seemed to be the standout on their menu so I ordered the Smoked Salmon while Panda went for the Spinach and Portabello aka the other dish that I wanted to try.   The baked egg dishes can be ordered as omelets as well and come with home fries and your standard choice of toast.  I can definitely say that both dishes were divine.  Though I normally don’t eat much of the bread that comes with breakfast/brunch dishes, the eggs were just salty and creamy enough that the combination with the bread/potatoes was just what I needed.  An elegant but hearty brunch to fuel my NYC adventures.

Cafe Ronda
249 Columbus Ave
(between 71st St & 72nd St)
New York, NY 10023


More french toast love

Cap’n Crunch French Toast.
Best French Toast Ever.

Blue Moon Cafe, Baltimore, MD

Banh mi, or Vietnamese sandwiches, are the bomb.  Baguette type bread, meat (though vegetarian options are available), carrots, cucumber, jalapeno, mayo and cilantro.  Plain and simple.  In Philadelphia, I get my fix at Q.T. Vietnamese Sandwich in Chinatown.  For $4.95, you too can have a little bit of awsomeness.








Q.T. Vietnamese Sandwich
48 N 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Oh, french toast.  How I love thee.  You alone make brunch….brunch worthy….(?)
Anyway, here are some selections from my recent french toast adventures.

Sabrina’s Cafe, located in Philadelphia’s Fairmount/Art Museum area, is a brunch institution.  It’s always busy, at least on the weekends, and the wait times can range from 15-30mins.  If you’re early enough.  Once you’re seated, it’s clear why this place is popular.  The menu has standard breakfast/brunch fair, but also has specials that change fairly frequently.  Since I can’t get my eyes to stray from anything that says french toast, their most recent special was filled with orange, Fig Newton and roasted walnut cream cheese topped with a peach-vanilla syrup.  Not a very big fig fan myself (do you know what happens inside of figs? it’s just…wrong…), I went with the caramelized challah french toast stuffed with cream cheese and topped with vanilla bean maple syrup.  I got so excited about eating that I almost forgot to take a picture, but here it is in all it’s yummy glory. sabrina's french toast

Oh, and that’s a half order.  Unless you can eat a kitchen sink by yourself, I would recommend going halfsies or ordering a full to split with a significant someone. You can also get berries added on (also recommended.)  It could be too much dry/starchy on it’s own.

sweet potato friesPlus a side of sweet potato fries which are my favorite.  These were delish. ~Yum yum yum

If you’re looking for something with a little more flavor (read = “exotic”), try Mixto.  Located on the corner of 12th and Pine, this Cuban-fusion restaurant is everything you could hope for on a Saturday morning.  The entire atmosphere is has an airy, easy feel that I imagine even Hemmingway would appreciate.  But this could be because I have a very romanticized version of Cuba in my head…
mixto french toast Stuffed french toast comes topped with berries/mandarin oranges, powdered sugar,  and your choice of peach or mango.  I chose mango, and like the above incident, was too eager to feast that I almost forgot to take a picture.

The best part though?  Do you see what’s to the left of the french toast, dear reader?  MADUROS! (“PLANTAINS!” she squealed.)  Nothing makes me happier than having french toast..but it’s a whole new level when it has plantains on the side.

Clearly I’m a fan…this place was absolutely divine and one of my favorite brunch spots so far.

I have more, but I’ll post another time…I’m hungry =)

This past weekend was spent out with the ladies in the city that never sleeps (which coincidentally, was mirrored in our lack thereof.)  Now gentle reader, you may be asking yourself, “what was so paramount that sleep deprivation needed to be had?”  A celebration, of course! In honor of Dory’s upcoming nupitals, we had good food …with some libations on the side =P.  Honestly I don’t know where the time went, and how we managed to eat so much, but New York never disappoints.  Especially if you’re tourist-happy like yours truly~  As we ate a lot, and by “we” I mean “I,” I’ll be posting lots of pictures/reviews.  Be prepared to get your appetites wet!

pipaFriday dinner was at Pipa, a Latin-style tapas restaurant located in the Flatiron district.  As soon as you enter, you can’t help but notice the chandeliers hanging throughout the restaurant.  Apparently they’re for sale too!  They are gorgeous and contribute to the airy but warm atmosphere of the restaurant.  Besides, I’m a “closet snob” and ambiance is huge in my book.  What the chandeliers failed to contribute, however, was some much needed light to the tables.  I gave up on trying to read the menu after straining for a good 5 minutes.  Luckily we had people with much better eyesight and our first round of orders was placed, including pitchers of red and cava sangria.  [For those not in the know, sangria is a Spanish wine “punch” with fresh chunks of fruit in it.] So having never tried sparkling sangria…we ordered it.  Let me just say that if I had the eloquence, I would wax poetic.  Since I don’t…I think this stuff be cava crack.  You need to have it.  For reals.

My memory is definitely failing me on the menu variety, but here’s a list of the items that I remember:
goat cheese croquettes – i *heart* cheese and goat cheese is one of my favs.  The sweet aftertaste was a bit much and undermined the naturally yummy flavor.
mushroom croquettes – unfortunately don’t remember this one, but didn’t hear any complaints.
crispy calamari – again with the sweetness, but the sauce was not a bad combination
patatas la brava – fried potatoes with a spicy aioli…one of the better parts of the meal.  Then again, I think anything with the words fried and potato is a good thing =)
catalan spinach – this dish was odd.  The texture/taste of the spinach was similar to the green kelp found in Korean soup.  Which you wouldn’t expect at tapas restaurant.  I don’t know why I found this so disconcerting…it just was.
cava/croquettes Cava sangria and the goat cheese croquettes.

patatas Patatas la brava.

If you get my vibe, you can tell that I am less than thrilled with this restaurant (apart from the cava crack.)  Most of the meal was penelopeforgettable, and for the price, I could have had much better tapas.  If anything, it might be appropriate for a pre-theater snack/drink.  As dinner came to a close, we decided that desserts were in order and set off to find Penelope, a small restaurant/cafe/bakery in Midtown.  The decor was truly charming and the small, but interesting, dessert menu had us undecided for awhile.  I ordered the classic cookies and milk because it was a childhood favorite and they had soy milk!  The chocolate chip cookie was a bit too cookies and milkcrispy for my taste, but the peanut butter had just enough chewy-osity to make a girl happy.  The red velvet cake and rasberry almond coffee cake also received good reviews.  With our stomachs happily full, our group headed back to the hotel to get some sleep before our Saturday adventures began.

Hello world!

Starting my blogging adventures with a view of the Parkway after a rainy day.  You can also see Robert Indiana’s Love Sculpture in the apt named Love Park (coincidentally, or not, in the city of Brotherly Love.)

The city

Yeah, it’s cliche… stop hatin’