January always marks one of our annual trips back east for the New York Times Travel Show. And, who can spend a week in Manhattan without grazing and sampling?
3 Fun NYC Eats
Join us in this fun round-up of three fun NYC eats: fun Latin plates and drinks at Travesia’s in the Bronx, elegant tea & magic at Alice’s Tea Cup on the Upper West Side and a brand new French bistro in SoHo, appropriately called St. Tropez.
We always try to venture to an off-the-beaten path New York City borough for at least one meal and this time around on one incredibly cold winter night, we headed to the Bronx for Latin cuisine. Not far from Patricia’s along East Tremont Avenue where we’ve dined before (fun Italian vibe), lies Travesia’s which offers creative Latin-fusion dishes & cocktails served in a snug space with a travel-themed decor.
Fun NYC Eats: A popular appetizer sampler at Travesia’s in the Bronx
One of their newer and more popular appetizer combos is the Los Tres Amigos, which consists of a double-trio of their delicious skewers: coconut shrimp, steak and chicken. For something even larger but also relatively new on their menu is the Picadera Travesias (shown above & below) and makes for a great share if you are a table of four or more.
The sampler includes coconut shrimp, sesame-ginger chicken (one of our favorites), steak skewers, golden crab (oh so yum!), and Aracini ala Espanola and their Empanada trio, all of which are accompanied by various dipping sauces. I loved their Chipotle sauce, which includes mayo and avocado.
Also delicious and simple are their To’ Chimi Sliders, which kids will certainly love as it comes with crispy fries. If you’re a cabbage lover, you’ll be thrilled with their cabbage slaw with avocado mayo. Other epic apps include Italian rice balls, crab cakes, an Empanada trio, breaded Calamari, mini yucca patties topped with smokey corn and black bean salsa and Ceviche if you want something a little lighter.
They also offer a Peruvian style fried rice with grilled skirt steak, chicken, maduros, longaniza, peppers, onions and egg, topped with crispy wonton straws and sesame seeds.
NYC Eats: Travesaias Chaufan: their version of Peruvian Fried Rice
NYC Eats: A healthier and lighter option at Travesia’s is this Grilled Salmon Salad topped with carrots.
Beef sliders with crispy fries
NYC Fun Eats: A Mai Tai and a Virgin Pina Colada at Travesia’s
NYC Eats: Space for dessert? Simple but delicious: brownie with ice cream at Travesia’s!
3834 East Tremont Avenue
Bronx, NY 10465
St. Tropez in SoHO
We accidentally discovered newly opened St. Tropez in SoHo this past weekend. Quite frankly, I always go back to one of my favorite haunts or look for a little Italian eatery in SoHo I haven’t tried yet whenever I head to NYC because most of the time, all of their pasta is homemade and their dishes reasonably priced.
I had a great experience at Piccola Cucina Osteria Siciliana several years ago, which is a tiny authentic Italian bistro on Spring Street, a stone’s throw from the Spring Street metro stop. And so, we headed there and even got a table in the corner. Unfortunately the place was so crowded and noisy, we could barely hear ourselves talk so we left before we ordered. The food is great btw, but we needed a calmer evening after back-to-back meetings at the Javits all day.
NYC Eats: Above and below, the inside ambiance of newly opened St. Tropez in SoHo
We ducked into St. Tropez, a French restaurant next door to them also on Spring Street and learned from our waiter that we happened to be there on OPENING NIGHT. “We’re new,” he said and “just opened.” And he literally meant, JUST opened about an hour or so before we arrived. And so we met the French owner who apparently started off in NYC with only around $1,000 to his name, story has it. (we heard this from one of the staff not the owner directly).
Those of you who read us often know about our sister brand Luxury Foodies on Instagram and where we post real time photos (often in real time but not always) when we review restaurants and are on FAM trips. And so, it was fun to discover a new restaurant in SoHo by accident.
One of the things we loved about the restaurant is that there are no surprises — all apps are $12 and all main plates are $18, so super reasonable, especially by New York City standards. Salads are all $14 and sides are $7. The wine menu is also pretty extensive and reasonably priced by the glass and the bottle, mostly French as far as I could tell.
NYC Eats: Newly opened St. Tropez and their delicious meatballs
While there was a wild scallop dish on the menu that kept calling our name (served with truffle celery root mash btw), we opted to go with red meat because the red wine menu was so varied. We sampled some newbies (for us) so we could venture out of our typical Zin and Cab orders. They had a 2015 Vetriccie from Corsica on the menu (great on the palate and we almost ordered it) and several options from Rhone including a 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape and a more unusual Brezeme and Vacqueyras AOC.
After tasting a few, including a St. Emilion and a classic Bordeaux, we went with a French Cabernet Sauvignon. Yeah, I know I know — we did try to venture out but given the Ribs I ordered and the Daube Provencale Anthony ordered, the Cab was the smoothest option for pairing.
The ribs fell off the bone and everything was incredibly fresh and delicious.
Above and below: Ribs and the Daube Provendale, which is Braised Black Angus Beef Stew in a red wine sauce, served with black olives.
Let’s just say that if a dish has black olives in it, Anthony is more likely to try it.
Both dishes were super tasty especially with the French Cab. We started out with the meatballs because it’s rare that there is a meatball dish on the menu (appetizer or main course) and we don’t try it. They served it with Ratatouille, tomato sauce and parmesan.
I have to admit, it was a tough choice with the other options on the menu. For example, classic French apps included Grilled shrimp Provence style with herbs, sundried tomatoes and tarragon aioli, Snails with Zucchini and Tomatoes, and Braised Pork Belly with French BBQ sauce and Green Apply Syrup. (wow, right?) That said, we had to try the Eggplant in homemade Ricotta, the latter always hard for both of us to pass up as well. Les Aubergines were beautifully presented as well.
NYC Eats: above and below: Aubergines a la Ricotta
The ambiance is lovely here too and not quite as crowded as so many of the other eateries on the same block and in SoHo in general. There’s an open kitchen so you can see dishes come out the moment they’re ready.
They also offer Tartare (both Carpaccio de St. Jacques with wild scallops) and traditional Beef Filet made the epic French way with shallots, chives, egg yolk and French mayo, thankfully without the mustard. On the evening we were there, they offered a Veloute Dubarry (cauliflower creamy soup with truffle and potatoes). I imagine this will change often, so be sure to check their website before you go in for the latest menu.
Italian food lovers will appreciate that Risotto with oyster mushrooms is on the menu as is an Elbow pasta made with cheddar cheese, truffle oil and arugula. There’s also a Lamb Shank with a sweet potato mash in a red wine reduction as well as a Butcher’s Choice option, which is likely to change as well. And of course if you’re a cheese lover, you can choose from the Fromage and Charcuterie menu. Salad lovers can opt for the Frisee or Kale salad option.
St. Tropez Wine Bar
194 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012
Alice’s Tea Cup
Over the years, whether I am there for the travel show, on business for another reason or just to see friends, we often stay in SoHo, Chelsea or the upper East Side. This year, we stayed with an old friend in the Upper West Side and what’s not to love about shopping and eating on the Upper West Side? Okay, except for maybe the prices. That said, there are plenty of reasonable options in the area and it’s so fun to walk up and down Columbus and Amsterdam.
A very unique place just off Columbus is a tea house with a twist. Touted as New York City’s most whimsical tea house, it was founded in 2001 by sisters Haley and Lauren Fox. Alice’s Tea Cup strives to provide an unparalleled, magical experience filled with scones, tea sandwiches, hundreds of teas, and most importantly…fairy dust! Their words, not mine.
It’s a bit like a literary-themed shop that appeals to those wishing to have teatime, ladies’ lunches and of course birthday parties for kids are perfect given the theme.
We went there for brunch last weekend and loved the ambiance, which is really the reason you go. While the food was “good,” it wasn’t anything to write home about and the portions are small. The other thing to note is that a pot of tea will cost you $18 or more (yes, really!) but you’re paying for the unique experience really and the fact that it’s located in the trendy Upper West Side.
Even though have French crepes on the menu, it’s really more English in style than anything else. If it were a French tea house, the crepes would never be separated and they wouldn’t ask if you wanted your ham and cheese together. As a long time guru of crepe dining (especially in Paris), I had to laugh when they asked us that.
They also sell tea cups and pots in the entrance area of the shop. Super cute and quaint, you have to admit.
Below was the crepe I ordered, which they serve with a side salad. Apparently they’re known for their pumpkin scones too and sometimes have pumpkin pancakes on the menu, which I was looking forward to (apparently not on weekends).
Anthony opted for the yoghurt, granola and berry combo with a big mug of coffee.
There’s creative and funky stuff on the walls in the cafe as well as in the bathrooms.
And of course, if you’re into all things Alice, this is your spot. It’s also a childhood throw back, where you can go back to your fairy tale memories and dreams for an hour or so.
NYC Eats: Above and below, paintings on the walls at Alice’s Tea Cup on the Upper West Side.
They even have angel-like wings hanging up in the front which children can grab / borrow while they’re there as well, which we thought was super cute.
NYC Eats: Yup, even Tarot in Wonderland is available.
Loaded with color as well, if you’re into the unusual and themed-cafes and restaurants, you should give it a try!
Alice’s Tea Cup
102 W 73rd Street
New York, NY 10023
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World
. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.
She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media
, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue
, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.
Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography
, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.
Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks
, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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