Citizens of Chelsea

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Oh my god. What. Candace is back. Thanks for being MIA for the past year basically. Ahem. Apologies! This semester is finally over, and it has been a long semester at that. However, with summer around the corner, this means more time to brunch (although maybe not because I am working an unpaid internship this summer so the money must be saved, but we can try). The week after finals were over, my friend and I headed to Citizens of Chelsea in Chelsea (no shit, Candace). The interior was super sleek and the ratings and prices of Yelp drew me here. 1

I ordered the Smashing Avocado, as seen on the left in this photo, and my friend ordered the Brekky Sandwich. I need to stop ordering avocado dishes because I know that I am allergic to it, but I also feel like most breakfast options opt for avocado in some form or another. The dish was extremely aesthetically pleasing and the beet blend on the side was a nice touch. However, it seemed to be lacking something (probably the eggs for me) to make it a completely filling dish. I enjoyed it, but I do not think that I would spend another $11 on something that was just okay. My friend’s dish looked quite small and seemed like a standard breakfast sandwich at $9, which wasn’t bad, but I’m not sure if it was worth it. 3

As per usual, my review is that the place is very chill and has a nice atmosphere to just sit and talk in. Also, if you sit in the corner, you may have to get up to usher someone over because you can just go in and sit, and no one really comes up to you (although when sitting in the corner, this is probably normal). It is a pretty quiet area with not too much around, so if you want to walk around after to talk more, this may not be the place for you. Compared to many of the other brunch places I’ve visited recently, it certainly runs on the cheaper end. However, in terms of it actually being worth it, I would probably try to find somewhere else with a little more variety and more filling options (for my personal taste).

Butcher’s Daughter – West Village

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Ugh, ew. The quality of these photos are awful, and I apologize that you get the iPhone 5s (5 shitty cam, am I right?) through Snapchat – an even lower quality of image. Unfortunately, 8 GB for a phone that has lasted me 2+ years is not quite enough room for really anything, so Snapchat saves it is. ALSO WHY IS THE FIRST PHOTO SO BLURRY. I am so sorry. However, enough of the apologies and onto Butcher’s Daughter! I have heard of this place for forever, and seen pictures all over Instagram place. I had pretty high hopes for the aesthetics, but the Yelp reviews – my holy grail apparently – did not rate it above 4 stars. At this point, I think I have expected to be disappointed with under 4 star places, and this was another one.bd3

As avid brunchers, my friend and I had already checked out the brunch menu before hand extremely excited about our choices. This was, unfortunately, a Friday at 11:30pm, and thus, not a socially accepted brunch time (although honestly, when is it not brunch time?!). This restaurant has all vegetarian options and are very accommodating if you are looking for a vegan place. As a fake vegetarian (aka I eat some chicken, and will usually opt for a vegetarian dish), all the options looked pretty good. I tried the Butcher’s Grilled Cheese (vegan cheddar cheese, avocado, tomatoes, adzuki bacon aka fake bacon, and basil on sourdough), while my friend tried the Chicken Milanese (vegetarian chicken, some veggies, avocado, arugula). Both priced at $15 for quite small portions if we are going to be totally honest. My friend was not a huge fan of the vegetarian chicken because it apparently looked like a potato, but didn’t taste like a potato nor did it quite reach the chicken level. My fake bacon was alright, although I have been partially scarred by fake bacon from the Morning Farms’ fake bacon. Overall, the sandwich was pretty good but not anything spectacular.bd

I must admit that this was by far the cutest place that I have been thus far. I was completely in love with it, and it was probably the nicest day out so far (at 60 degrees, wtf NYC WTF GLOBAL WARMING). They opened up half the restaurant and there was a nice breeze going through the very open layout. If you are looking to go during downtime, there are not a lot of people on Friday mornings, but there is also not a brunch menu then so it is a sad time. I see why the Yelp reviews were not great though, the sandwiches were not worth $15 at all, and I was not very full. Definitely walk by and take some pictures, or maybe even grab a drink or something, but the lunch was not exactly a deal and a half. Or a deal really. I’m hopeful that perhaps the brunch is better because those options looked really good, but not worth the hype.

Penelope’s – Midtown

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Ah, what a throwback to before the hectic semester began. Late January, my friend had suggested going to Penelope’s because it was right around her school. Although I was initially worried due to the the 3.7 rating on Yelp, I decided it was worth a shot anyways. It was a Wednesday morning at about 10am, and it was quite empty – which apparently is a rarity. We were luckily seated immediately (and totally beat the rush because by the time we exited around 1pm, it was packed) and our food came pretty quickly.

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My friend ordered the “Punkin’ Waffles,” which were pumpkin waffles with apple butter, dried cranberries, toasted cinnamon pecans, with warm baked apples. I had seen decent reviews about the Penny Egg sandwich, so I decided to go for that, which were scrambled eggs with american cheese & pesto on a croissant. It was also conveniently the cheapest thing on the menu, and I decided to make it more feeling, I would add $2 worth of fake bacon (which was surprisingly quite good). The waffles were quite good and my friend did not finish them, so priced at $13 – perhaps it was a decent deal. My $11 sandwich however was not that filling, and held me over but I have definitely gotten much larger portions for cheaper before.nfioad

The ambience of this cafe is definitely very rustic chic. The little plants mixed in with the rustic vibes made it a little quirky, upbeat place to eat. Sitting there, it felt a lot more spacious than a lot of the brunch places I have been to, and we sat there for almost 2 hours after finishing without too many people rushing us. I’m not sure that I would come back because not exactly the most filling place, a tad on the pricey side given the portion size – but with the sun coming in that winter morning, it was overall a pretty good experience if you are looking for new places to try.

The Wild Son – Chelsea

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This past Monday, I headed to the Wild Son after seeing adorable Instagram pictures, and reading the menu to find some cool vegetarian options. Usually they are not open on Monday’s, but for MLK Day, capitalism takes a toll. Luckily, I arrived around 1pm, and there was not a wait, although I did end up sitting at the table right by the door (and was blocked by a tree which was inconvenient for my friend trying to find me, oh well). Warning if you are walking here, it does not look like the conventional location because it is super industrial and there are lots of cars on this road, but I promise it is there if you just keep walking.

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I ordered the New Morning which had soft scrambled eggs, roasted cauliflower & shishito peppers, pickled onions, cilantro & jalapeno yogurt (copied and pasted from the menu, I am not that technical about my peppers). It was definitely a messy sandwich, and it was not that large of a sandwich for $10. However, it was a wonderful mix of different flavors and enough to keep me filled up for a bit. My friend ordered the Pulled Chicken sandwich as well as a green juice, which they have many options for. They have a lot of really neat combinations so I definitely recommend looking into it (even if not so greatly priced).

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Overall, the aesthetic was really cute, and as any cute cafe, a little tight with space. I am not sure if I would go back just because trekking to Chelsea is always a lot of work but my friend and I headed to the Whitney after so it was a nice 2-for-1 that day. Something about this restaurant just seems very fresh, so if you are looking for a cute place to go, I’d recommend, even if it was not particularly memorable.

Dear Evan Hansen

dehThis was completely on a whim, which is unnatural for a careful-planner Candace. I was stalking Miss Saigon music because I had recently found out someone from my high school was casted in it when I saw an ad for Dear Evan Hansen. “Waving through a Window” started playing and I immediately had to find the song. I also remembered during a set I worked on, one of the actors had told me her favorite show as of recent, so the name was familiar. The cast album is does not come out for another two weeks (CAN IT BE FEBRUARY 3) and the Wikipedia page gives the most vague synopsis, so I was intrigued – I’ve never gone into a show not knowing the entire plot and most of the music. Moreover, this is a relatively new show, as its technically just opened on Broadway about a month ago, and I have never caught a show this early on, so I had my heart set on at least trying to go. Naturally, tickets were sold out until March and in March, the only dates I could afford were matinees which were still quadruple my budget range.  Thus, I stalked out StubHub, and it dropped to $90, which was the lowest I’d ever seen it.

At 6:55pm, I bought the tickets for pickup for the 8pm show. There was an adrenaline rush that came with doing something so spontaneously (despite the big hole I thought was in my wallet) and doing something on completely your own. Usually during shows, I always feel like I am 200% more invested than the people I go with, so I am often looking for reactions similar to mine. However, this time I focused completely on me, and that resulted in crying a total of seven times.

deh2As someone with many anxious tendencies, it was refreshing to see a character that I could see a lot of myself in. Especially in the past few months, I have felt an utter sense of loneliness and insignificance, and this musical captures that feeling perfectly. Evan’s word vomit reminds me a frighteningly amount of myself, and I love the authentic incorporation of social media. The songs are also absolutely incredible, I love “Waving through a Window” of course, “Requiem,” “For Forever,” “So Big/So Small.” Honestly, there was not a song that I did not really enjoy, but those are the ones that I for sure cried during.

Each character had their own complexities and since the cast was so small, each character felt well explored. The idea of guilt and grieving in “Requiem” is also a theme I have been thinking about a lot since a family member recently passed, and everything just seemed so relatable. Ben Platt’s performance was absolutely incredible. The amount of raw emotion, tears, and energy that he puts into really nailing the mannerisms and inflections of Evan is completely transformative and so admirable. I have no clue how he does it eight times a week so I really hope he gets more acclaim for this. I can’t.

Also – side note – the idolization of Zoe from Evan even though he did not know her was TOO REAL. That opening sequence was word vomit to a tee.

After the first act, I was so upset that it was already half way over and once it finished, I was in an absolute daze. I really hope that this show continues playing for a long time to come because I think it is something that someone at every age can relate to, and deals with mental health in a very validating and not too stigmatizing manner. Basically, I am in love and I want as many people to feel like they matter too, which is a theme that runs through the show.

I waited at stage door by myself, and since I am somewhat of an amateur at this, I was awkward af. Almost the entire cast came out, which was awesome, but I wish I could have said something more than just “thank you” but that seemed most genuine and least awkward at the moment. I don’t know, who am I? The entire cast was extremely friendly and talented and smiley, it was great.

Tears “for forever.” If I had enough money, I would definitely go many more times, it was an absolute gem.

Egg Shop – LES

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Oh hey, guess who’s trash and hasn’t posted in like a month again? I’m sorry! Anyways, I’m basically done with finals, so this weekend, I got to catch up with my friend and get that brunch life on. Egg Shop has been on my list for a little while, so I finally decided to go! The weather this particular Sunday was really bizarre, and rainy and kinda gross, so perhaps that was why not too many people were out? The line moved quite quickly at 10:30am, and we actually did not have to wait for a table, which was fabulous.

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We sat right by the door, which was not great, and the interior was a lot smaller than I had imagined. I also did not get great interior shots because although it was not busy in terms of waiting, it was packed inside. I ordered the Reformer, which had spinach, feta, egg, and tomatoes (which granted I probably could have made by myself) but let me tell you, the eggs were a perfect mix of fluffy and wonderful goodness. 10/10.

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I had heard their portions were not huge and people were still hungry, as I did end up spending $12 on this sandwich. I am not sure that it is completely worth $12 because it is so simple, but the portion was not little by any means – I was quite full afterwards. The ambiance and aesthetic of Egg Shop is so cute, and was completely decked out in Christmas lights, which I loved. The eggs definitely lived up to its name, I will give it that, but since I ordered something so standard, I am not sure if that particular dish was worth it. The prices in general are a bit expensive, but for a nice catch-up date every once in a while, I think it is worth a shot!

Coco & Cru -Bowery

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November is here! And I feel like I’m dying a little because there is so much to be done before the semester ends, but at least the weather is still beautiful (although it is questionable because what are we doing with our Earth – even though I recently discovered we are in an Ice Age period anyways but that is beside the point). However, Carolyn was ready to make me feel less like death with her recommendation of the New Museum, which was amazing (check out her post, it’s fab). After wandering around, looking for millions of food options and settling on none, we saw Coco & Cru. coco3The second you walk in – I quote Carolyn – the immediate reaction is “it smells healthy in here.” The leafy aroma hits pretty hard, and I started to get worried – I am not one for too healthy. However, I did end up getting the Portobello Mushroom Sandwich, which was fantastic. The French fries were the perfect mix of crispy and salty, so 10/10. When I originally saw my order, I thought the burger itself was a tad on the small side, but after scarfing down a good half of it, I felt like the food baby game was strong. Although, the $$ was an accurate depiction of the meal, I was pleasantly surprised with the food. You do get the quality and amount of food that would be worth $15, but it is not necessarily a steal for the student budget.

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One minor complaint I had was that we ended up sitting on stools in a very tight fit, so it was difficult to hang up winter coats and find places to put our bags. However, I have no complaints about the food itself or the service, which was quicker than anticipated (apologies to the waitress that had to decrypt my total dollar amount because I cannot do math sometimes). Also for a Saturday lunch time, we managed to beat the rush around 1pm, which was great because we did not have to wait at all. Overall, it was a cute spot that has many healthy options if you are feeling more of a splurge one day.