Chez Ma Tante

 
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Those who know me well know that my favorite meal of the day is breakfast/brunch, and I will wake up 30-45 min earlier just to cook myself a nice, hearty breakfast to kickstart my day. With that being said, I do enjoy trying out different brunch spots on the weekends as a sweet little treat to myself. Thank you, self. :) 

Although they opened their doors in May of 2017, it has since received such wonderful reviews, and continues to stand out in the NYC sea of restaurants. I'll have to make it back to this French-Canadian Bistro in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for dinner because I bet it's equally amazing. 

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Kyle + I arrived at 90 CALYER ST at about 11:10, and surprisingly, there was only one couple in front of us in line. I was thinking "YES! We will for sure get a table." HAH! I was wrong. More people started to come and wait leading to the doors opening at 11:30am. After we informed this hostess that we did not have a reservation, she kindly told us that the couple in front of us took the last available seats in the restaurant for those without reservations. I was looking around this empty room and I just chuckled under my breath because honestly every table was vacant. But anyways, we just took a seat at the bar, made friends with the bartender, and proceeded to order our food. We ordered the pancakes, which were just unbelievably delicious. I actually don't like pancakes too much, but that didn't apply here. BUT oh my gosh LET. ME. TELL. YOU. this sausage egg and cheese will change your world. Seriously, I was honestly speechless and didn't even want to split it with Kyle (typical). The sausage was just perfectly cooked with this soft scrambled egg, topped with pickled chiles and cheese. It just all melted in your mouth. Their garlick-y aioli on the sandwich is a game changer, and so we ordered the fries as well after that. I'm actually drooling.

P.S. Brunch is only offered on the weekends. Oh and make a reservation :)

Check them out & read all the amazing reviews: Chez Ma Tante // My Foursquare Tip: Chez Ma Tante

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Russ & Daughters

 
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Standing strong for four generations, Russ & Daughters have become a staple in NYC, delivering quality food to the people who step foot inside. Joel Russ, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, started this business in 1907 by selling schmaltz herring out of a barrel to Eastern European Jews on the Lower East Side... and here it is now! Did you know that they were the first business in the United States to have “& Daughters” in its name? 

It was about 8am on a brisk 38° Saturday morning in April, and I was HUNGRY for a high quality lox breakfast sandwich. I have not been to Russ & Daughters in the past, but I've heard only great things, so I was eager to try them out. I woke up Kyle at 6:45am, dragged him out of bed, and hopped on the PATH from Jersey City to 179 E. HOUSTON STREET. We decided to go to the original location as opposed to the cafe, but I would honestly try that as well. 

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Kyle + I ordered the classic salmon sandwich. They had an overwhelmingly huge selection of fish, salmon, cream cheese, etc. So just between the salmon we had to choose from GASPE NOVA, SCOTTISH, IRISH SMOKED, NORWEGIAN SMOKED, BELLY LOX (SALT-CURED), GRAVLOX, PASTRAMI-CURED, LOIN-CUT SMOKED, WILD WESTERN NOVA OR NEW ZEALAND KING SALMON.... so I mean if you know me, I just honestly stared at the worker for the longest period of time before even saying a word. We asked the the kind man who assisted us his recommended salmon and he said the SCOTTISH, so that's exactly what we got! Let me tell you, I have not seen someone so gracefully slice a huge piece of salmon and carefully place it on my warm, toasted, homemade everything bagel with a smear of plain cream cheese. Doesn't it sound so simple? But they have perfected everything about it. As usual, Kyle + I ate without saying a word to each other except for "wow" at the very end. If you are hesitant to try a lox sandwich, I can't think of a better place to start. 

 

read more about them: Russ & Daughters  // my Foursquare tip: Russ & Daughters

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Charleston, SC!

 

Okay so the last and final stop of our 10-day trip was Charleston, SC! It was by far our favorite place, and so far my favorite city that I've been to. The people, the buildings, the architecture... it was all awesome! Charleston had a very old school look to it and almost all the buildings looked the same with a certain "Charleston feel." Our Airbnb hosts were super nice and the husband was a local photographer. What are the chances that he owned the same two Nikon cameras that I own?! I introduced them to Jeni's Ice Cream, which they had NO IDEA was right in their own town. I was SOO excited that there was a Jeni's there because it was our last stop and I have been craving it so badly since we left Atlanta. We rode a carriage to learn a little bit about Charleston  (which I highly recommend), visited Isle of Palms beach, saw the famous pineapple at The Battery, saw so many palm trees, and ATE A LOT OF FOOD. I miss this place the most. If there would be a town that I would go back to, it would definitely be Charleston. 

TO DO:

  • Palmetto Carriage Works: We highly recommend taking one of these carriage tours. Our hosts recommended this company for the tours and takes all of their visitors, so we tried it out and we really enjoyed it! All the carriage tours divide the city into three parts and before you leave for your tour, all the carriages line up and draw up a number and that number will correspond to the area of the city you'll be touring. It's a pretty cool concept actually because all the tour guide have no idea where they'll be going and it prevents any one company from taking over a certain area. 
  • Waterfront Park: This place has the infamous Pineapple Fountain of Charleston. It's also just a really cool place to walk around, take pictures, and see all the palm trees! 
  • Isle of Palms Beach: You have to check out one of the beaches at least once when you come to Charleston. Also, it's free (unlike here in NJ)!

FOOD:

  • Favorite Coffee: Black Tap Coffee. Iced lavender latte is the way to go!
  • Favorite Brunch: Callie's Hot Little Biscuit. SO. GOOD. but be prepared to wait. 
  • Favorite Dinner: FIG. Hands down one of the best meals of my life. They have a rotating menu but their famous gnocchi is always on the menu you don't think about leaving without trying it. 
  • Favorite Dessert: Jeni's Ice Cream. C'mon was that even a question?
  • Favorite Bar: The Darling Oyster Bar. Time it right and come during Oyster happy hour ;)
  • Wild Card: Edmund's Oast. We got super lucky coming across this place during their happy hour. I'd recommend making reservations here, because you cannot get a seat without it. We sat by the bar (the only place you can sit) and ordered every food/drink on their happy hour menu. The portions are small so you can definitely split with a friend ;)

 

 

Asheville, NC!

 

So right after exploring the Smoky Mountains, our next stop was Asheville, NC! We picked this place next because 1. FOOD (for me) and 2. BREWS (for kyle). Asheville was such a cute small town to walk around. Following my previous post, I unfortunately had one clear eye during the whole time here. My contacts didn't arrive until the last day we were in Asheville, so the two days we were there, if I closed my right eye, I could not see a thing out of my left one. What a freaking bummer. ... 

TO DO:

  • New Belgium Brewery: If you love New Belgium Fat Tire, you should definitely check this brewery out! New Belgium expanded from Colorado to the East Coast so Kyle was super excited to check this place out! The factory is so big and you might have to utilize the food trucks outside in case of the drunchies ;)

  • Asheville Pinball Museum: Okay so if you know Kyle & I, you know that we are truly kids. We LOVE arcades and we're pretty competitive so we just spend the whole time trying to out score the other. We spent at least 2 hours in this place.. no lie.

  • Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar: After beating your significant other in the Pinball Museum, head over to this place for some relaxation. There are comfy couches, loads of books to look though, a coffee bar, and a wine bar. Grab a drink, sit, & relax!

FOOD:

  • Favorite Coffee: Double D's Coffee & Desserts. One of the most unique coffee shops I've been to! It's Asheville's version of the Harry Potter knight bus ;)

  • Favorite Brunch: Sunny Point Cafe. Be prepared to wait... but it's okay because it'll only get your appetite ready for the huge, delicious portion you're about to get. I'd definitely recommend the hues rancheros or the chorizo omelette!

  • Favorite Dinner: Cucina 24. A fancy dinner spot in Asheville! They have one of the BEST focaccia bread I've ever tasted and their portions are just the right amount, leaving you satisfied but not overly full. The atmosphere is perfect for a date night!

  • Favorite Dessert: French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Dark chocolate liquid truffle & chocolate creme brûlée is all I gotta say.

  • Wildcard: White Duck Taco Shop. The tacos here are unreal! They play around with different sauces and toppings that just work. The pork belly or bancock shrimp are some personal favorites. YUMMMM!!