Wanderlust Wednesday: Favorite Local Shops


Last week I mentioned that I wanted to focus on kindness in some of these upcoming posts. One easy way to show a little kindness is to shop locally. When you purchase from a mom and pop store you’re keeping money in your community and you’re helping support a small business. I live in NYC so, on the restaurant front, this is easy to do. When it comes to shopping though we have the same chain stores that you’d find at most suburban malls. There’s nothing wrong with shopping at these stores, but I love supporting local businesses when I can. Here are a few of my favorites that are worth checking out next time you’re in the Big Apple.

Book Culture: (Morningside Heights & Upper West Side) I have a list of local bookstores I love, but this one is in walking distance of my apartment so I probably frequent it the most. They have readings and in-store events to appeal to every reader. They also have a great selection of gifts and items for the home. They have an online store too.

Dusty Buttons: (East Village) Most of my friends who live or have visited NYC have some story of me dragging them to go consignment shopping. Dusty Buttons is by far my favorite. They carry vintage and vintage style clothing and have items that are flattering for every figure. Their site looks like they’ll be offering online shopping in the future.

Fishs Eddy: (Union Square) This dish store is a great place to find quirky kitchen items that make fantastic hostess gifts. Aside from their own patterns which are fun they also sell vintage dining sets from old restaurants. If you don’t live in NYC they have shopping available on their website.

Habit: (Carol Gardens & Park Slope) I love this Brooklyn boutique. The prices are reasonable and the clothing is great. One of my favorite purchases is a fall dress with a golden rod floral print.

Hungarian Pastry Shop: (Morningside Heights) The hardest thing about visiting this New York staple will be deciding what to order. Everything from the strudel to the cream horns is to die for. It’s a great place to pick up an amazing dessert if you don’t have time to make one for dinner party.

Myzel Chocolates: (Midtown) These are the best chocolates in the city, but I also love the story of the family who started this store over 25 years ago. They still run it to this day and the recipes are ones they brought over from Eastern Europe. It’s a great place to buy candies for the holidays as gifts but it’s also a great place to duck into to get a little treat for yourself. I’m a huge fan of the fruits such as apricot, orange, pear, and even fresh ginger dipped in milk or dark chocolate.

Pink Penguin: (Greenwich Village) I am obsessed with this clothing and accessories boutique. I can’t go to Washington Square without visiting this store. Some of my favorite clothing items are from here including this amazing red opera coat. You can shop online too.

Serengeti Teas and Spices: (Harlem) I love going to this little cafe to enjoy some tea and read. This is also a great place to buy loose tea. They make it easy to put together a gift box if you’re looking to give a unique present. This is another store that also has an online shop.

Whisk: (Chelsea & Williamsburg) If you like Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table you’ll love this store. In addition to cooking and bakeware products, they also sell food and beverage items from local companies. Yes, you can shop online.

Zabar’s: (Upper West Side) This is so much more than a grocery store. They have an amazing kitchenware section too. If you ever need to order pre-made food for a party or send a gift basket this is also an excellent place. They do have online ordering.



Wanderlust Wednesday: Favorite NYC Mixology Bars


While I do enjoy microbrews and good wine my first love when it comes to drinks is the cocktail. I love old standards like sidecars, brandy alexanders, and gimlets, but the great thing about living in NYC is the access to mixology bars and speakeasies. They are great venues to try more unusual spirit combinations. Here are a few of my favorites:
67 Orange Street: Aside from loving that this Harlem speakeasy is in walking distance of my apartment I love the ambiance of this bar. Cloaked in deep red curtains this bar ushers you back to Harlem’s heyday in the jazz era. The cocktail lists are arranged by spirits. My personal favorites are Color Purple (gin, lavender bitters, blackberries, creme de violette, st germaine, lemon, and simple syrup), Smoking Geisha (mezcal, bitters, lime juice, raspberry, peach, sage, and agave), and April Flowers (benedictine, scarlet ibis, lemon, agave, and sparkling wine). The food menu is small, but you’ll love the updated twists on soul food such as red velvet chicken and waffles and lobster mac and cheese.

Bathtub Gin: If you want to experienced the romanticized version of a speak easy then head to this Chelsea bar hidden behind an operating coffee shop. Certain evenings they have live jazz and there is burlesque brunch on the weekends. Even if you go on a night sans entertainment the cocktails won’t disappoint you. You’ll feel like a Bond Girl with their Vesper Martini. I also enjoy their Jazz Saz which is an update on the classic sazerac.

Gallow Green: This is one of the few venues that combines mixology with the outdoors. This rooftop bar in Chelsea is a great place to cool down on a hot summer night. The house cocktail, The Sleep No More is mezcal, shrub, and ginger beer.

Little Branch: This Village speakeasy is so secretive that they don’t have a website. Don’t let that fool you though, this bar is usually bustling by late night. One of the best bar tender’s choice experiences I had was when the bar tender asked me what my spirit animal was instead of my spirit of choice.

Orient Express: I recently introduced a friend to this West Village bar, and that visit is what inspired this post. I love this little tucked away gem. The cocktails are amazing and you can also enjoy several absinthe drips if that’s more your style. The menu has plenty of small bites that are perfect for sharing.