What we like
We love to travel! We've stayed in everything from luxurious hotels to youth hostels.
We are all food freaks. In the case of Angela and Gwen, we thank our parents, first and foremost. Then, we must thank all the friends we have made over the years who share our passion, not to mention our own curiosity. Our father would take us down to Cheese of All Nations on a Saturday afternoon to stock up for a party. Imagine a room crammed with cheeses from everywhere: heaven! Or he'd drive over to Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake from Junior's. Both our mothers were creative cooks. Clipping NY Times recipes was a favorite pastime. There are countless cafés and restaurants we could recommend, everywhere we live and travel to. Here are just a sprinkling.
Cacao Sampaka – a wonderful chocolate shop and café.
Diurno – One of the first open-space NYC style cafés, located in the funky neighborhood of Chueca. It’s a great standby to meet for a quick coffee and pastry. They also have a video club and a few takeaway dishes and drinks. Very low key and comfortable.
Mama Framboise – Highly reminiscent of the Le Pain Quoitidien chain, with a common table in the center and general “campagne française” rustic design. However, I would venture to say that the pastries are significantly better–the most representative one being, of course, the raspberry tart that gives the café-restaurant its name. Located in a chic area of the city, that combines old bookstores, traditional businesses left over from the early twentieth century and high end fashion boutiques and outlets, there is plenty of foot traffic. From what I can see, they also offer a catering service. The fare is fresh and good and what you would expect: quiche, salads, coffee in big cups, and a wide variety of mouth-watering desserts.
Taberneros – one of my favorite standbys, for tête-à-tête, family, groups. Sometimes the service isn’t the greatest, but the menu is interesting, with unusual tapas and other dishes for sharing, and a terrific wine list. The neighborhood is also wonderful, for strolling and window shopping, right near the Royal Palace.
El Cisne Azul – Who knows why this hidden jewel of a place dedicated solely to wild mushroom dishes is called the “blue swan”. Don’t let the simplicity of its appearance trick you. The food is fresh and delicious; the service is fast and attentive and the place fills to the brim before you can blink at lunch and dinner time. Best to arrive as soon as possible. They don’t take reservations.
El Poncelet Cheese Bar – Thankfully, they were not content to just have a fabulous cheese store, but they also opened this wonderful restaurant, with great cheese and other food pairings, cheese plates, cheese desserts…you get the idea. Good wine list too. Beautiful, open space where you can spend long hours over your meal and drinks.
Peacefood Café – NYC It’s a vegan restaurant and bakery, but definitely for non-vegans too! The food is downright delicious and you leave feeling great. It also helps that the atmosphere is cozy, and the staff fun and quick on their feet. I had their their chickpea fries and shanghai-style dumplings, and shared the tiramisu and raspberry jam spelt crumb bar for dessert. But only those two because I didn’t have room for more. A neighborhood place to go out of your way for. It’s open from 10 to 10, so no excuse not to go.
The Green Table If you’ve got a craving for pot pie, chicken or vegetable, this is the place. The freshest of salad greens. Plus they’re in the Chelsea Market, which is worth a visit on its own. Inventive cocktails.
The Farm on Adderly, Brooklyn. Where I’ve had a couple of the best meals of my life, including a tasting dinner focused around Fleschier’s meat. Fleschier’s was founded by a couple, one of whom is a former vegan. So you know the animals have been treated humanely and professionally.
Boca. Fresh local food inventively cooked, in a great neighborhood (Oak Cliff). I like to have dinner then stroll through the Bishop Arts District.
Celebration Cafe. Emphasis on simply cooked, local food (noticing a pattern?). Served family style. To-die-for carrot cake.
Meso Maya – (different locations). Angela might not agree with this selection, but every time Gwen is in town to visit her in Dallas, she has to have at least one lunch at this classic downtown Mexican family restaurant. The margaritas aren’t that bad either.
Las almas rotas – Yes, we love Mexican food. And drink. This mezcaleria is a keeper. Low key, fun, funky, located near the art deco fair grounds. We love to savor their mezcal or tequila flights, along with a taco or two.