The Lower Eastside is my old stomping grounds. When I first came to New York, I lived and partied there. Just last night I passed an old school building that used to house a traveling underground Hip Hop party on Rivington back in the late 80’s, where you could rub shoulders with all the big names in the industry. Good times, good memories. Nowadays the L.E.S. is becoming much more popular and mainstream. New restaurants are popping up, old ones are sprucing up. I’ve visited a few times over the last couple of weeks, and here are some yummies I came up with:

Stanton Social

Stanton Social is candle lit, posh and pretty. As soon as you walk in you get a romantic vibe, it’s calm, interrupted by laughter, benches and booths everywhere. I was immediately happy I picked this place to escape the daily hustle and bustle for a good meal. I was with my partner in crime, my daughter Sasha, and she seemed just as pleased. As we were seated, we got a great view of their stunning bar, located on sort of a balcony.
We started out with our cocktails, Strawberry Fields and Boss Tweed Gimlet, which were different and delicious. Stanton Social is one of the restaurants that follow the new trend of “small plates”, which allows you to order several plates per person with bitesize portions, that are meant to be shared with your dinner partner. I personally love this, because it gives me the opportunity to sample more! We started out with Hand Pulled Chicken Arepas with jalapeño salsa verde (which ended up being my favorite of the evening). Besides the beautiful display, these were ridiculously delicious with a kick to it, perfect little bites. Next was a Smoked Tomato Pizzetta with house made poblano ricotta, a thin crusted pizza cut into bitesize pieces, delightfully different and tasty. Next up were Chicken and Waffles with blue corn waffles, corn pudding, fresco and maple syrup. Holy smokes, what an exquisite mouthful! We finished our main course with Philly Cheesesteaks that were served with truffle and goat cheese fondue (wait, maybe these were my favorite?). They were absolutely amazing. The whole meal thus far had been different, off the beaten path, just magnificent . But of course we weren’t going to exit without a dessert. Sasha chose warm Doughnuts with caramel, chocolate and berry dipping sauces, while I indulged in a Summertime Lemonade Sundae with strawberries and milk crumble. What a sweet end to fantastic dinner.

​Root & Bone

I work at night, so whenever I’m not too tired, I do love to go to Brunch. It’s sort of a must here in NYC, and I’m just too happy to oblige. And what did I find on the Lower Eastside? Another restaurant owned and operated by not one, but two Top Chef contestants! What a glorious Sunday morning. Jeff McInnis was a contestant on Season 5, while Janine Booth battled it out on Season 11. Together they opened this very popular Southern inspired restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side. Needless to say I copped my beloved seat at the bar overlooking the chefs with my feet dangling with excitement.
​     I started out with some Drunken Deviled Eggs with pickled roots and chips just because they looked so darn pretty, but as luck would have it, they were also delicious. Brunch was Waffle Benedict, consisting of a soft poached egg with pork belly bacon and a lemon hollandaise sauce over waffles. I may or may not have had a little tear in my eye. It was soooooo good!! And being that everything was just so delectable, I decided to take home some chicken for my son, who was scheduled to visit later that day. I took home a bucket of half a fried bird, sweet tea brined and lemon dusted with spiked tabasco honey. Who comes up with this? A Top Chef does.  It was of course amazing.

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream

Summer is here, ice cream is a must. If you’re active on social media, you get plenty of ideas on where to get your next icy fix, and so did I. Black ice cream? Umm yes. I need that. Morgenstern’s on the Lower Eastside serves us ice cream that is so totally different from what we’re accustomed  to. Nick Morgenstern is a well trained pastry chef, who worked in numerous reputable restaurants, and has now followed his life long dream of opening an ice cream parlor. And we’re so glad he did. Flavors like Apple Brandy Vanilla, Vietnamese Coffee, and Green Tea Pistachio are flavors we never knew we needed! It’s such a welcome change of pace! The most intriguing flavor is of course Burnt Coconut Ash, which is solid black and besides being very tasty, it makes for great Instagram posts! Don’t be afraid of the long lines. They move fast, and the wait is 100% worth it.

I’m so grateful that in spite of our recent hot days, the NYC weather cooperated and let it cool down just a little for my culinary excursions. And as always I am grateful for my daughter Sasha who accompanies me whenever she can, and is my biggest fan.Until next time!