Friday, August 6, 2010

Exploring the City: LES

One July goal I didn't quite reach was that of exploring NYC neighborhoods. The wonderful and dangerous thing about Chelsea is that pretty much everything you need is just around the corner. I rarely have to leave my comfy 5-block radius! Fortunately today, I had a specific destination in mind.

This morning I completely cleaned out and reorganized out kitchen cabinets (not really as hard as it sounds since we have very few of them). I'm determined to start cooking again (big post coming up on this and that book review I mentioned!), and so I knew I'd have to get this pathetic kitchen organized. My Mom sent me my chef's knife and a small pot, but I need more. The frying pan these girls have is... well, let's just say I could whack myself on the head with it and not feel a thing. But I don't want to spend any money so until now, I've just been sort of heating things up and "cooking" complicated dishes like grilled cheese sammies. Fortunately, I stumbled across this article by Mark Bittman and thanked the heavens that I now live in NYC! I quickly changed into a light sundress and headed out.

The Lower East Side is very New York City in a incredibly diverse, gritty yet trendy kind of way. It's not as obviously charming like the West Village nor is it as light and fun as Chelsea, and it's worlds away from the Upper East and West Sides. Stuffed with Asian groceries, tons of fabulous lighting shops (chandeliers galore!), and tiny hole-in-the-wall eateries, the LES has got its own unique charm and feel that I totally dig. After I stepped out of the very hot and steamy subway, I immediately found my way to Quickly, a tiny bubble tea shop full of thirsty Asian customers (a good sign!).

(Please ignore my chipping nail polish.) One lychee milk tea later, I was feeling MUCH better and headed to my primary destination: Bowery Restaurant Supply.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that it's owned and run by Asians. Inside was hot and cramped and un peu tense (tiny grandfather looking Chinese man started yelling at a rude customer as I checked out), but I found my necessities (oven-safe fry pan, small baking sheet, tongs, etc.) at seriously bargain prices. Ah-mazing! Afterwards, since I was in the 'hood and all, I figured I should make a pit stop at Babycakes.

I haven't been to this darling vegan bakery since moving here, and I was eager to try one of their cupcakes (last time, I only had donuts). I picked up one lemon spelt and one banana berry (and okay, yes, i got some donuts - cinnamon sugar and lemon coconut) and headed back to flat to admire my goodies (and play with the hipstomatic app - i need work).

Sadly I wasn't in much of a sweet mood so my cupcakes are still chillin' on my desk. They'll make an excellent breakfast though! :)


Katz NYC said...

Hey! I was hanging out in LES yesterday too. This is my old neighborhood and I love it so much. All those little places by Rivington, Stanton, Ludlow, 2nd Ave etc...

I def need to check out that kitchen stuff place. Looks much more interesting than shopping at Kmart or BB&B.

And no need to say anything about Babycakes, but I will; LOVELOVELOVE IT!

Valerie @ City|Life|Eats said...

Love love love the LES. Glad you had such a fun and productive afternoon :)