The food in New York. Ah man. Where do I begin?

New York City is a microcosm of the world, where you stumble upon four different ethnic eateries right next to each other.

You name it. New York has it. Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Indian, American… The list goes on. With New York’s diverse population, if you come across the right spot (especially the local areas) the food is pretty damn authentic.

Ok, let’s list the food I would urge you to try. Let’s start with the all American fave’.

NEW YORK PIZZA!

I’m talking about the 1$ cheap takeaway-on-a-napkin kind. None of the gourmet stuff. Thanks to New York’s historic Italian influence, this pizza is just dying to meet you. It isn’t shy of hearty tomato sauce & elastic cheese. Carbtastic and oily as f**k. I love it. You can get it pretty much everywhere in NYC.

NYC Pizza 5/5.

 

 Another American favourite incoming…

The bagel.

The bagel is a New York institution so I had high hopes for this one.

I opted for salmon, capers, onions and cream cheese filling.

This is a vain picture of me holding a bagel. Yes I know this is lame. I’m expanding my readership to the Korean target market, there seems to be some online trend of watching chicks eat ATM.

 The New York bagel is packed full of flavour. I find bagels in the UK a bit bland.

But overall, I wasn’t massively over the moon about them. I wasn’t craving them afterwards.

New York Bagel 3/5

Next up.

Meatloaf.

I first heard about meatloaf in F.R.I.E.N.D.S and in some other random American TV shows. I’ve always wanted to try it. When I told a New Yorker about my latest life goal, she laughed and said, “…ewww why? That’s gross because we used to eat it in 5th grade and it’s the kind of meal your grandma would force you to eat”.

She accepted my plea and took us to Chat N Chew.

How American is this menu?!

 Meatloaf wasn’t what I expected to be honest — I thought it would have a steak-like texture and shaped like a piece of bread. It’s actually a big stodgy piece of mincey meat. I can see why the Americans eat it — it’s easy to make and makes great convenience food. It’s a bit like pate accompanied by gravy, mash and veg’.

Tineal had some good ole mac ‘n’ cheese. Can’t go wrong with that.

Oh, before I forget: meatloaf 3/5.

Hi battered Oreo.

I love Oreos. I love dipping them in breakfast tea.

 This is my reaction when I discovered these bad boys on the menu.

 

 Giggling to myself, I tried a battered Oreo.

 It’s so weird. You eat the first one and you’re like, ‘nah, this ain’t right’. And then you eat another and another and you’re like, ‘no actually, this is really good’.

 Crispy batter, warm melt-in-the-mouth biscuits with jammed icing.

 It tastes like the lovechild of a fat chip and a cookie.

 Battered Oreo 4/5.

Ok, so I’m really sorry about the next one. Because I ate it before I could take a picture of it.

It’s a cake from the famous Magnolia Bakery. Yes, I obviously got confused and thought I was in Sex In The City at the time. I licked the cream and then next thing I knew, it was gone. I know. Naughty Monica.

 Magnolia lemon cake 4/5

Magnolia chocolate cake 4/5.

Have you tried any of my favourite NYC eats? Whatdya’ think?

Have I missed any nibbles that you think I should try?

Location: New York

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Seaside beach town is not the first thing that springs to mind when we think of New York.

Pre-visit, I hadn’t heard of Coney Island. I was surprised to find that New York’s playground is only an hour from the city.

Grab your swimwear, sunglasses and lilo. I’m going to take you to Coney Island (yay!).

Famous for the Luna Park amusement hub, the Wonder Wheel and Cyclone roller coaster — if you’re a big kid like me, it’s the place to bring out your inner child.

This a follow-up from my Aqua post — where I pretended to be a mermaid for the day.

Ok, so the beach is no Bali — but in the summer, it’ll do a good job of charging your batteries after a long week of working in the city (which is what you need if you work in NYC).

Coney Island is famous for and home to the Nathan’s hot dog.

I had to try one of these bad boys for myself.

It is really good. Big, hearty and delicious. I’ve always said that there’s something different in the meat in the US in regarding the taste, texture and flavour, and this hot dog didn’t let me down.

Feeling naughty, I had chilli fries to go with it, I’ve fallen in love with this US classic since I demolished them in L.A. I mean, come on! Fries, creamy cheese and tomato soaked mince. I could just roll in it; it’s delicious.

Smiling (and pleased with ourselves) with our candy floss, teddies and hotdogs, we hesitantly trotted back to the subway to make our way back to the city.

Everyone has that place that brings them back to their childhood. C’mon spill! Where’s yours?

Location: Coney Island, New York

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I still remember as if it were yesterday. I was young, I was smart, I was dumb and audacious and really annoying.

Oh University, thank you for three incredible years of lame jokes, award-winning fancy-dress parties and sleepovers at the library.

They say it’s the best years of your life, it really was for me.

By the way, if you’ve already decided that university isn’t for you, fly over to my post on travelling. My ‘career’ post is currently climbing the corporate ladder (my blog feed) and is due a promotion.

It’s been a few good years since I graduated. For those of you who have just finished college, there are a few words of advice that I wish I had been given when I left home to become a ‘real, live, fully-functioning adult’. Hey, it’s ok if you haven’t reached the stage in your life where you can find your socks.

Network

I know, I know. You’re fresh outta’ college, and you’re a tiny bit nervous. I’ve been there. Don’t worry young Fresher. Everyone is as lost as you are. Fortunately, Uni’ has sneaky ways of bringing everyone together. You’ll naturally befriend your fellow peers in halls, seminars, lectures, coffee shops and societies. Oh and ladies, you know when you’re drunk, and everyone become your best mate? The student union toilets becomes the official networking zone*. I saw friendships blossom from a simple “I love your bag, where’s it from?”. Or (and here’s my lame attempt to guy speak), ‘Nice watch mate’ — you get the gist. Photos are an excellent excuse to add people on Facebook, without being weird about it. Strike up a conversation by asking for directions to your lectures. The best friendships start in the strangest places. You will meet your lifelong friends at University.

*Disclaimer: the student union toilets may not be an official networking zone. You may just be really drunk.

Societies

At the Fresher’s fair, scribble your name down on every club that interests you. Ok fine, I initially did it for the freebies. But, alongside the free stuff, you may end up picking up: life-long skills, friends and awesome experiences. I fell in love with cheerleading (don’t laugh — it involved extreme body flexibility), and it became one of my biggest passions.

Research

There is only really one thing I wish I did more of, and that’s some digging. I will pass on a little pearl for you: delve deep into your career prospects in advance. Find out what qualifications and experience you need to get your desired job — before some other sod gets there before you do.

Job

Unless you’re rinsing the bank of mum and dad (most of us aren’t), a part-time job is handy. For flexible working, your student union is a good starting point. Employers will be impressed with what you did with yourself alongside your studies. During the summer period, go and bag that scheme/internship, you’ll thank your grown-up self later.

Wonga

Every time my loan appeared in my bank account; I would scream, ‘Oh, f**k yeah! Come at meh Amazon!’. Yeh, I was a bit of a gadget geek. I was terrible at money management. I strongly believe that at school: we should have been taught about credit ratings, interest rates, bank accounts, mortgages, insurance, etc. and why you should start saving like £100 per week when you’re 18 because, by the time you’re 50, you’ll be like a quadruple-gazillionaire. But that’s a rant for another day. It’s a skill you will learn and value after you graduate. I don’t want to sound like your mother but always set aside some dosh for the future.

The not-so-serious survival guide (debatable)

1. Do not attempt to bring your whole room with you.

I brought absolute useless crap with me to my halls. It took five trips from the car to my new room. Not only were my new flatmates seriously confused, my dad (bless him) had to carry my stuff, with a lorry cart! You do not need, I repeat, you do not need five pairs of PJ’s and fifteen pairs of shoes. Pack wisely young’uns. Pack wisely.

2. Wash. Please.

It’s not sexy to let your personal hygiene go in the bin (I’ve Wheelie bin trying not to think up some rubbish puns, sorry). Aside from the obvious health implications, smelling like you’ve not had a shower for a few days is not a great icebreaker.

3. Don’t get with your flatmate unless you’re planning on marrying them. (And for the nosey posey, this isn’t from personal experience, I’m observant / watched the tears roll in).

I don’t care if he has a big room (wink), six-pack and looks like a Model. Guys, I don’t care if she looks like Mila Kunis. Oh wait but she’s so, no. If it doesn’t work out? Awkward. You have to live with them for the rest of the year. Mega lolz.

4. Freshers love rumours.

If you do something silly, expect it to spread like wildfire. You might even get a new nickname.

5. Make use of the time you share with your flatmates.

You will remember the fun times more than when you stayed alone in your room (obviously, organise your time to revise). I was lucky. In my flat, we all got on well as a house on fire (literally, we set the microwave on fire). We played pranks, cooked, watched films, went for meals and played silly games together. Don’t worry if you don’t get on with your flatmates; another flat will eventually adopt you.

You will be homesick in your first few weeks; there will be tears when your parents drop off their ickle pickle munchkin to grown-up school. Dawww. And there will be tears after that. Don’t worry, I swear, it gets better.

Pop your photos of your family and friends on the wall. Open up your boxes and lay out your duvet. Once you’ve unpacked your life in your new room, go and introduce yourself to your new mateys.

Plan a trip to Ikea with your new mates, avoid the temptation to play Narnia in the wardrobes, gobble up some meatballs and buy: extension lead, laundry basket, kitchen equipment and stationary.

When you’re skint, resist the temptation to wonder into town, search for bargains on eBay and buy your books from Amazon. Where else can you shop naked and it is appropriate?

My favourite places that offer student discount are ASOS, Topshop, Waterstones, New Look, Currys, Apple, HP, Spotify and McDonalds (free cheeseburger with every main meal, you’re welcome buddy). P.S I do not endorse McDonalds, but it hits the scrimp spot for your student cravings.

My flatmates got sick a lot (a few of us were in sports societies which had insane socials). Mummy Wong recommends lemon, ginger & honey in hot water. It works.
There will be times when you’re revising, and your inner crazy will come out to play. Don’t stress too much, work to the best of your ability and everything will eventually work out.
Time flies faster than you will ever imagine.

University has a way of slowly shifting your identity, like sea sand getting pushed around by the ocean, slowly accumulating into new contours to form the person you’re supposed to be.
Have a wonderful time and take lots of pictures. You’ll be entering the most life-changing chapters of your life.


Location: Everywhere
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Credits:
Photography: Craig Flemming, Stylist: Natalie Armin, Make Up Artist: Laura Gingell and photos from weheartit.com

 

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I’m not going to lie here. I gave it my best shot to be all cool and slick – like one of the Mad Men ladies. Yes. That was the look I was going for. And then my shoe got caught in one of those NYC drains. Ok fine, it happened twice. Fail. Anyway, I love Brooklyn; it’s edgy. I love the quirky restaurants, delicious brunch eateries, and arty-farty shops. Myself & Wendy stumbled upon a street which looks similar to Chelsea in London I have a weird thing for spotting pretty doors. On our breezy wander, Wendy spotted a beautiful door. We looked at each other, at the same time and we just knew – that was the door. I’m dressed in one of my favourite outfits, the little silk strappy cami and statement trouser. It’s simple and makes me feel all womanly. It’s the perfect uniform for running around the shops, sitting through meetings, lunch and an afternoon of brainstorming like a true New York business lady. The cami & trousers are from Topshop. The sunglasses are from eBay. The heels are Jimmy Choos. I wore the gingham black & white trousers because they remind me of the NYC skyscrapers at night.

Location: Brooklyn, New York

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Credits: 

Photographer: Wendy Whitesell

Dear fellow Brunchers,

I’ve always thought that London did Eggcellent brunch.

But oh no, no no. New York. Brunch in New York. It’s something else.

It makes sense; brunch is a New York institution. I would have had a strop if it wasn’t all cracked up to be. Ha, get it? OK, no more egg y̶o̶l̶k̶s̶ jokes.

Every weekend the NYC streets are jam-packed (on toast) with hungry (Bloody) Mary’s. I love a good melt-in-the-mouth eggs Benedict (my favourite) with creamy avocado on sourdough bread, topped with those hipsters chia seeds and the whole shebang. In London, I’ve noticed that all the little benedicts compete for creativity (dependent on what cafe you decide to go to on your brunch day).

My New Yorker cousin Amy ushered me to a little place called Colonie in Brooklyn.

Best brunch I’ve had by the way.

Amy told me that ‘Bottomless Brunch’ (hehe, bottomless) is very popular. New Yorkers love their breakfast with all-you-can-drink Margaritas, Bloody Marys, Mimosas or Sangria. I physically cannot handle more than one drink (my friends call me one-shot Wong) but who doesn’t love unlimited top-ups of anything?

Amy had the ‘Biscuit Benedict’. Sublime smoked ham & hollandaise, this type of sunshine is just the wake up call you need.

The ‘Mushroom & Asparagus Scramble’ is like a pick & mix bag of breakfast goodies stacked on top of each other. I, of course, opted-in for added chorizo (I was ready to eat my arm that morning). Paired with eggs: it’s crunchy, fluffy, comforting and works well together.

I love Brooklyn: quaint streets lined with inventive restaurants, stylish bars and eclectic shops. It’s just so damn cool.

A typical Brooklyn inventive hipsterish hang-out is Royal Palm.

It’s a retro Shuffleboard bar. It’s got a 60’s vibe and you feel like you’ve walked into an all-American diner/bowling alley.

 I know this is a Brunch post, but I have to share with you this ramen I had in Brooklyn.

The story starts with an octopus salad and a hint of lemon. It ended with a crispy + squishy happy ending.

A generous amount of Pak Choi and a good meat to noodle ratio = happy Monica.

But, the real key to a good ramen is the broth. Spicy and fragrant, it was Souper.

I’ve already shared this waterfront view in Brooklyn with you in my Yellow post. But, I love it so much; here it is again. It doesn’t need much of an explanation so I’ll end this post and leave you to the city.

Brooklyn, you melt my heart.

Your’s truly,

Fellow Bruncher.

Location: Brooklyn, New York

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