Can you believe it’s been 20 years since the TV show Friends premiered? We still think that some people who visit New York City wander around looking for Central Perk, the iconic corner coffee shop hangout. They might even have dinner at Little Owl, at the corner of Bedford Street and Grove Street where the fictional cafe was located.
In honor of the 20th anniversary, Warner Bros. and Eight O’Clock Coffee are installing a pop-up Central Perk in SoHo for two days. Gothamist has pointed out the noticeable lack of rugs in the recreation, while we think the rather dreary Second-Life looking renderings mostly indicate a cafe full of stuff to buy, which isn’t surprising given that Warner Bros. Consumer Products is a partner in the event.
We’ve eaten in parks before but eating with “Wildman” Steve Brill is a slightly different experience. The self-titled “Wildman” leads foraging tours of New York area parks, part of his mission to promote urban agriculture and sustainable eating.
Brill came to the public’s notice in the 1980s. Arrested by NY Parks Rangers for eating a dandelion, he parlayed the charge into a full-time job as the official Parks Department naturalist, leading the same tours that led to his arrest in the first place. Since going freelance in the ’90s, the “naturalist and science geek” continues to lead tours, both to the public and for school field trips. He’s also published three books on wild eating, consulted for the Parks department and advised several New York chefs on sustainable ingredient choices.
Image via Flickr by Fabio Resende
The phenomenon of craft beer continues to sweep NYC, as more and more local breweries release bolder, richer, and more flavorful brews. Beer has become more than just a part of a meal, and drinkers have shown an increasing interest in who is making their brews and how. Breweries have become the houses of entertainment in ways similar to the bars they have distributed their products to, attracting people from all around. To help you with your brewery hop, we’re listing 12 of the craft breweries in New York City (with help from our readers!), with the hopes that you’ll be smart enough to take the subway or walk between them when hopping from one to the other. Special thanks to beer connoisseurs and Untapped readers Conrad Lumm and Mike Miles for assisting with this piece.
The armories of New York City are a wonderful, active testament of an earlier era–when residents self-started their own militia groups. The 69th Infantry Regiment, known in popular culture as “The Fighting Irish,” was initially an all-Irish brigade founded to train Irish immigrants to free Ireland from British control.
The 69th Infantry Regiment has had an illustrious history fighting in the Civil War, World War I (where the famous New Yorker, Father Duffy joined the regiment), World War II and the Iraq war. Wild Bill Donovan, the WWI Medal of Honor awardee, was also part of the 69th and went on to be in charge of the OSS, a forerunner to the CIA. They were also one of the first responders at Ground Zero, going in against orders.
Ganesh Temple in Flushing, Queens. Image via Flicker: Carol Vinzant
Last week we took you to Smile of the Beyond, a low-key luncheonette in Queens run by the disciples of the late spiritual master Sri Chinmoy. As fascinating as it is though, Smile of the Beyond only scratches the surface of what this city has to offer. When it comes to spiritual eateries in New York, there are plenty of small, local favorites that are tucked away in every borough. So, for your convenience, here’s our list of the best spiritual restaurants, canteens, and cafes to check out in New York City. Enjoy!
Vegan-friendly restaurants are quietly expanding through New York City, on top of long-standing luncheonettes and temple canteens. Even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian, these great joints will hit the spot.
We were excited to hear that Cafe Blossom, a Chelsea staple since 2005, not only opened a restaurant on Carmine Street in the West Village, but they are also about to reopen a restaurant on the Upper West Side next month, which will give them a total of five vegan restaurants in the city. Not all the locations are the same though, with the flagship Chelsea location serving a more intimate experience, Blossom on Carmine for small plates, V-Note on the Upper East for bistro style and Cafe Blossom for “stylish and casual dining.”
Sacred Chow began life in 1995 by a Legal Aid Lawyer turned restauranteur. Originally opening as a take-out deli in the West Village, great reviews right from the very beginning and a loyal fan base propelled them to this small but comfortable space on Sullivan Street with room for seating. Their logo: a meditating cow. This tiny restaurant is said to be “serious vegan.”
Yes, there is even vegan sushi! Husband and wife team Guy and Tali Vaknin own and operate Beyond Sushi at two locations – Union Square and an outpost in the Chelsea Market called The Green Roll. They are well known for combining unconventional pairing of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, adorned with their original sauces.
Pure Food and Wine opened its doors in 2004, a block away from Union Square on Irving Place. It was founded by Sarma Melngailis of the well known brand One Lucky Duck chain of juice bars and online vegan products. There are no ovens in their kitchen. All dishes are prepared in blenders and dehydrators and beautifully presented.
An interesting history is attached to the upscale vegan restaurant Candle 79. It began in the summer of 1984 when Bart Potenza purchased Sunny’s health food store. The previous owner had a custom of lighting candles every night to bless his establishment and so that shop on Third Avenue was renamed the Candle Cafe by Bart and his partner Joy Pierson. Their wish to expand was answered by the winning of a take-five lottery, giving them $53,000, and in 2003 the upscale restaurant Candle 79 on East 79th Street was born.
Angelica Kitchen is an old East Village favorite, having opened their doors in 1976 at 300 East 12th Street. The menu is split between American and Asian inspired with many luscious recipes in their cookbook The Angelica Home Kitchen. Thanks to Gothamist, here is their vegan cornbread recipe – with surprising ingredients. No reservations and cash only here.
We’re big fans of these tiny vegan counters, of which there are three locations in Manhattan. Blossom du Jour is afraid to brand itself as “Shrewd Fast Food,” there are always fun slogans in the locations. For example, “Find your mind and your ass will follow,” and “What time is it? It’s time for Kale.” We swear by the Un-Chicken Avocado Griller. So good, we might order one right now. Here’s a peek at their menu.
We’re quite sure there are many more out there waiting to be explored. We’d love to hear about your favorites. Many of these are also gluten-free and certified kosher.
Get in touch with the author @AFineLyne