Five Favorites: New York City Eateries

AmandaD lists the best places to eat that she discovered on her recent trip to New York City.

1. Molly’s Cupcakes, located on Bleeker Street in Manhattan, won the season finale of “Cupcake Wars.” After eating one of their cupcakes, I can tell why. The décor in the store is modern and fun  — they have swings!

2. Lombardi’s Pizza in Manhattan’s Little Italy claims to be the first pizzeria in the U.S.A. They serve a traditional Italian-style pizza … and it’s AWESOME!

Ryan, Kim and I enjoyed the signature margherita pizza at Lombardi's Pizza.

3. Bare Burger in Astoria, Queens, serves fresh burgers made from locally farmed grass-fed meat. They have everything from veggie burgers to ostrich burgers! You pick the type of burger you want, then choose the toppings.

The Western grass-fed beef burger at Bare Burger.

4. Big Gay Ice Cream, located off East 7thAvenue in Manhattan, is totally fun and DELICIOUS! There’s a sparkly rainbow painted on the wall when you walk in and the ice creams are listed on a chalkboard to your right. I had the Salty Pimp and it ROCKED!

Big Gay Ice Cream's Salty Pimp has caramel, nuts and chocolate.

5. S’MAC in Manhattan’s East Village is a macaroni and cheese restaurant = OMG!!!!

The buffalo chicken mac 'n' cheese with blue cheese crumbles was my favorite dish at S'MAC.


Road Food: Un-Belize-Able Food is Found in Belize

In February, I was in desperate need of a vacation so I convinced my Mom, Dad, and boyfriend, Ryan, to buy a Living Social deal to Belize. We spent a week in Hopkins, Belize, and loved it! Belize is the perfect combination of adventure, tropics and relaxation. Plus (this was a key part in convincing my Mom and Dad), the people speak English. Unlike its surrounding countries, Belize has a Caribbean flair, which makes the food AWESOME!

Hopkins, where we stayed, is a small, remote fishing village, so it didn’t take us long to find the good places to eat. Note: The food prices in Belize are higher than what I had expected. On average, it cost us $15 a person per meal. So if you are traveling on a strict budget, plan ahead and do your research to find the lower-priced restaurants.

Hopkins is a Garifuna village on the east coast of Belize.

The following are a few of the best and unique places we ate at in Hopkins, Belize.

You have to travel all the way to the north end of Hopkins until you feel like there is nothing left to find, and there you will find Driftwood Pizza. You’ll park your car as close to the beach as possible, then walk through the sand to the restaurant. You will then be greeted with warm smiles and Caribbean music. We had the most amazing fresh conch fritters as an appetizer, with pizza to follow. The small kitchen is open, so you can see the cooks making your food. It took a while to make, but it’s well worth it! The ingredients are all fresh and the dough is delicious. With this being said, if you could see how much of a trek it is to get to Hopkins, you would truly appreciate the freshness of this pizza. Driftwood is a fun place for delicious, casual, fair-priced food.

Driftwood Pizza serves great slices.

Chef Rob’s is located right on the water, so you can see and hear the ocean as you eat an amazing four-course meal. Chef Rob, a trained French chef, prints a new menu each day based on what is caught that day. We had the four-course meal (you can order items separately if you want) for about $30 a person, which included appetizer, soup or salad, entrée and dessert. Aside from the food being delicious and beautiful, Chef Rob came out to every table and made sure the guests were pleased — something I have NEVER experienced.

Love on the Rocks also is owned by Chef Rob. The concept is one I’ve never seen. It’s based on the Mayan technique of using hot lava rocks to cook food. At Love on the Rocks, you sit outside and wait for your lava rock to heat up. The food is brought out to you raw, then you cook it on your lava rock and apply sauces as desired. I had chicken with a peanut sauce; it was great and a lot of fun!

A fun meal at Love on the Rocks.

Innie’s Restaurant offers traditional Garifuna food in a homey atmosphere. The prices are really reasonable and the food is outstanding. I had the grouper fingers. The grouper was caught that day, and it was out of this world. Not one ounce of grease and so fresh. The prices at Innie’s are very reasonable compared to surrounding restaurants. If you are in Belize on a budget and want a great place to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Innie’s is the place!

Grouper fingers at Innie's Restaurant.

Innie's is a great place to grab an inexpensive meal.

Lastly, for my fellow food lovers, when you go to Belize you must have Marie Sharp’s hot sauce. It’s made only in Belize, and it’s awesome! It comes in many levels of heat, with warnings like “do not use to play tricks on the weak or elderly” — hah!

Everything from the food, people, and natural beauty make Belize a place worth visiting. If you ever get the chance to go, let me know. I’d love to hear about your great finds — food and adventure!