10 Restaurants to Visit this Spring

By Michael La Corte

As the snow thaws and the weather begins to warm, the spring is an optimal time to visit some of the city’s best restaurants for top notch meals and fantastic service (not to mention delicious libations). Whether you’re uninitiated with the city’s best offerings or you’re a fellow common restaurant goer, here’s a list of some of the best spots to check out this season:

 

Prune
East Village

Prune

A quintessential New York restaurant, Gabrielle Hamilton’s Prune is straightforward, charming, and free of pretense. Hamilton’s wife, Ashley, currently runs the kitchen, but the food is as enjoyable as its ever been. Hamilton is also a NYTimes columnist and an author with some deeply enjoyable memoirs and cookbooks. If the lemon semifreddo is being offered as a dessert, do yourself a favor and DO NOT MISS IT.

Alta Calidad
Prospect Heights

An incredibly imaginative Mexican restaurant free of the trapping of the usual Mexican-American fare, this eatery boasts some super unique offerings (like pumpkin blossom quesadillas with oaxaca espuma) and some strong drinks, too. This spot is also quite affordable, but without missing out on culinary artistry and impressive flavor.

Miss Ada
Fort Greene

With authentic Mediterranean/Israeli cuisine and a beautifully decorated back patio, this Fort Greene restaurant might be the ideal spot for a spring dinner. Don’t miss their unusual hummus offerings or their spectacular octopus appetizer. The service isn’t ideal, but the food is pretty darn good.

Olmsted
Park Slope

Olmsted

A darling of the Brooklyn food scene that recently just added brunch to its offerings, Olmsted is helmed by Chef Greg Baxtrom and the kitchen is currently being run by Chef de Cuisine Jenny Treantafilos. With a minimal menu and no dish over $30, this tiny restaurant is a true gem. (I may or may not have ordered the entire menu except for 1-2 dishes. Whoops). Sitting at the counter overlooking the open kitchen is super fun, too, and you can have some great chats with the cooks.

Ko
East Village

If you happen to have an alarming sum of money readily accessible, go to Ko. Boasting 2 Michelin stars, the crown jewel of David Chang’s Momofuku empire offers a heck of a meal. With stunning service and 13-15 (!) courses, Ko provides the diner with a truly memorable evening that doesn’t feel stuffy or overdone.

Cote
Flatiron

Newly adorned with a Michelin star, Cote is the newest restaurant from the team behind Piora. A higher end Korean steakhouse in a club-esque setting, this is also an ideal party/birthday spot. Also quite affordable, Cote also has incredibly high quality meats and spectacular banchan to fully round out your meal. The grills on the table are obviously pretty darn fun, too.

Hemlock
Lower East Side

hEMLOCK

One of my favorite from an aesthetic perspective, this tiny eatery offers delicate, focused plates in a small space with an open kitchen. It is also boasts natural and organic wines. This is an ideal spot for a vegan or vegetarian, too. They also have some incredible desserts, too, and it’s probably optimal to order a whole slew of small plates for the table to enjoy.

Finch
Clinton Hill

Located in the bottom floor of a townhouse, Finch offers a full bar, two dining rooms, and a fully open kitchen. The chef’s welcoming nods and smiles are quite welcome, and although the service is oddly hushed, the flavors are anything but. Yet another spot that offers lots of vegetarian and vegan dishes, as well as some lovely and strong drinks.

Atoboy
NoMad

Honestly, this restaurant offers one of the absolute best deals in the city. For only $42 per person, each diner chooses 3 courses of Korean-inspired dishes that are absolutely stunning. Simultaneously subtle yet immensely flavorful, I still haven’t gotten over my meal at Atoboy. They also had one of my favorite desserts of all time, featuring burrata – a type of cream-filled mozzarella cheese – that must be tried to be believed.

Cafe Altro Paradiso
SoHo

64897Cafe_Altro_Paradiso_Photographs_by_Daniel_Krieger_2017-1287_1

An offshoot of Flora Bar and Estela, Cafe Altro Paradiso is the Italian component of Matter House restaurants. Their fennel and provolone salad is a star dish, and the vaulted ceilings and all-white aesthetic makes this such a great spot for almost any occasion. They also have the “best burger in the city,” so that’s another good reason to stop by.

BONUS:

17 Summer Restaurant
Lodi, NJ

17 Summer

In case you find yourself in North Jersey sometime soon: come here for the best food you’ll get outside of the city.

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7 Songs to Get You Out of Your QLC Slump

Whether you need to dance it out or ugly cry, these songs are the go-to for getting out of your feelings and on with your life.

1. Survivor – Destiny’s Child

Coming in hot with this classic. The second the music starts on this one, you have no choice but to feel like you’re going to make it. This song is the greatest, “Bitch, you thought!” song in modern history. But to be clear, we are still working on our petty so we are def still going to diss you on the internet. Sorry mama!

2. The Climb – Miley Cyrus

There is no motivational playlist without The Climb. You’re welcome.

3. The Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine

Get up and dance! This song is a perfect stress reliever because it gets you up out of your seat dancing like a 16 year old white girl from an 80s John Hughes movie. It’s just that good.

4. Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield

One of the worst parts of going through the quarter life crisis is thinking that it’s too late for you to change your life around. Natasha reminds us that turning the current page only leads to a blank one. You have so much life ahead of you. THE REST IS STILL UNWRITTEN! (Also how can you not be inspired by a black choir in a pop song? That’s what they are there for.)

5. Fly – Nicki Minaj feat. Rihanna

Ok, Fly does not get the love that it deserves, but I am here to tell you that this song will pull you up by your boot straps and have you ready to meet every single one of your goals. It is epic. Nicki Minaj and Rihanna made an inspirational bop for the girls and I am so here for it.

6. Through the Rain – Mariah Carey

Sometimes you need to belt out a ballad and get your ugly cry on. This song is ugly cry approved. The message is inspiring and the emotions are raw. So slap on your hip hugger jeans, place that butterfly clip in your hair and take on the world.

7. Hold On – Good Charlotte

If you are currently residing in the QLC then I know for a fact that you are aware of the spectacular emo-pop hits of the early 00s. You also know that Hold On is one of the best of the genre. This song is sure to stoke your nostalgia flames and also pull you out the rut of the moment.

 

A Decade of Missed Milestones

All the things you’re supposed to do by 30 and all the things I did instead

By Olivia Drabczyk

When I was in middle school 28 years old felt ancient. I knew that if I made it to 28, I’d be a real adult and then I’d be satisfied. My friends and I would talk about all the things that we would do by the time we were in our 20’s with self proclaimed authority over “the important things in life.” Somewhere along the way we had picked up on which milestones mattered and on the concept of “failing at life” before you were 30. Now that I’ve made it to that ancient mark and am teaching middle schoolers of my own, I realize we weren’t the only ones. I had lunch with a group of 7th grade girls the other day and one stated emphatically, “ if I’m still living at home with my parents by the time I’m 22, I should just kill myself.” Somehow generation after generation is getting this message that the life worth living looks and sounds and feels a certain way. And yet, generation after generation is disappointed-at least a little bit. Each of us finds ourselves within a life that we can’t recognize as important because it doesn’t match the mold. When we worry about these missed milestones; however, we miss the fact that the life we are in is uniquely our own and because of that, is perfect. So in the spirit of embracing the quarter life crisis  here’s a list of milestones I’ve been matching myself up against for too long and the list I stumbled upon for myself along the way.

Buy a house

Given the realities of the market, this milestone seems to be on its way off the list, but it still feels important to address. Just like my 7th grade students, I thought a sure sign of a failed life was still living with one’s parents. And yet, here I am packing up my clothes and planning for a move back to my parent’s basement in a few months. What I didn’t realize when I was 12; however, was that it was possible to live at home AND have a full life. My address doesn’t account for the countless countries I’ve visited and joyous meals I’ve shared with strangers and friends around the globe. Instead of putting money towards a down payment, I spent my summers and school breaks living out of a suitcase, checking items off my life list. And every time I’ve come home, I am relieved it’s my mom waiting for me at the terminal. Because something else I’ve realized in my travels is that in so many places around the world, living with your family is an honor. It is the norm. Somehow we got a different memo. We were told that you need to move out, “spread your wings” and subsequently scrape by and struggle. I have spent the last few years post college teaching abroad, traveling, and wasting way too much money getting Seamless deliveries to apartments I shared with my very best friends. And then there are the other realities most of us face which prevent us from signing on the dotted lines and getting a set of keys to our new place. The reality of a monthly student loan payment that leaves you with next to nothing. The reality of living in a city where rent is significantly more of a percentage of your paycheck than the recommended amount, and where having a healthy social life almost requires you take out another one of those debilitating loans. There is the reality that your family may need you to “chip in” for a bit or that some unexpected paternity test may put a serious dent on your credit card balance (more on that later!). And of course, there is always the reality that you may have been doing your taxes wrong for years because let’s face it, they really just need to start teaching us about this in school, and you owe the federal government more than you are willing to admit (or is that just me?).  I don’t feel like a failure because I’m headed back with mom and dad. We should find comfort in the ebbs and flows of life, and acknowledge that sometimes a narrow focus on buying our own home dismisses all the homes that we could let fill our heart if we let things go off the excel spreadsheet budget a bit.

Fall in love and commit for life (get married and post an album about it!)

I’ve found that the journey towards love is a funny one. When I was younger, I got this idea that you found someone to love you for your quirks and to fall for all that made you imperfect. This would happen if you were open to it and “when the timing was right.” It was often portrayed as a very passive process, something that happened TO you, especially it seems if you were a heterosexual female. As I waited, smiling wide and laughing that big Allie in “The Notebook” laugh hoping my soulmate was watching, I got caught up in side acts, one night stands and three date long OK-Cupid relationships. I explored what it felt like to have sex without intimacy, and improved my eye contact skills. When I found a guy who seemed like the real deal, I did all the things you’re “supposed” to do. Introduced him to my family, met his, brought him to big family and friend events, wished him a happy anniversary on Instagram with our best photo together. We spent four years together doing what couples do and talking about what couples should talk about. And somehow it didn’t feel right. I tossed and turned for months wondering what was wrong with ME because I just couldn’t commit. And then I realized that the most important person I’d need to come to love was myself. I needed to believe I deserved effortless love and to not settle for less. I needed to realize that even if I met the love of my life and settled down that I would be responsible for my own fulfillment and contentedness. So often we are blinded by the search for the one to spend our lives with that we forget to improve and embrace ourselves and make ourselves someone we can lay down with every night…because boo we’re all we got sometimes. So make you precious.

 

Start a family

Even writing the word family conjured up an image of a Birkenstock wearing couple swinging a little one between them as the family dog ran ahead to the park around the corner from their house. To be fair, I don’t think there is as much harm in this being on the list as in the caveats it has dragged along with it. Start a family has always seemed to imply to start and maintain the right type of family; Where soft music played when problems were solved and there were always plenty of hugs and fresh cookies to go around. Somehow even when we don’t grow up within that type of family we find ourselves fixated on building it when our turn comes around, getting it right once and for all. A few unsuspecting months ago, after a run that hurt my chest just a bit more than it usually does, I found out I was pregnant. A few months and almost a couple of thousand dollars (remember that credit card bill I mentioned?) after that, I confirmed who the “father” was and confirmed he didn’t want anything to do with the family I was building. And instead of crumbling, my family built itself around me. Love poured out of my parents, friends, sisters, aunts, uncles, and coworkers. Without hesitation, we all vowed to love the little one growing aggressively within. I realized that our families, our villages, our tribes have already been started and are constantly being built with love and little moments. Instead of rushing to “start” a family, look around, reach out and touch the one that has already supported you to this place. They are there. Love them.

So here’s my new list. The list I hope to hear future 7th graders chatting about over pizza and mozzarella sticks.

By the time you’re 30…

  1. Do you, Glen Coco
  2. Never apologize for #1, unless it comes at the cost of hurting someone unnecessarily, then just be an adult and say you’re sorry.

Welcome to Your Quarter Life Crisis!

 

A quarter life crisis is defined as “a period of insecurity and doubt that many people in their mid-20s to early 30s go through surrounding their career, relationships, and finances.” This is what led me to start this site. My quarter life crisis sends me into a spiral of self help essays and motivational quotes. But after that, I am always inspired to go out and be better. It’s okay to live in despair for a moment, because feelings deserve to be felt. Just make sure to use that fire to build and grow into something stronger!

Because the QLC is a universal motivator,  I asked my friends what their quarter life crisis taught, pushed, encouraged them to do. Here’s what they said.

Move to New York, take a leap of faith, and stretch beyond my fears and anxieties.     – Dawn R.

Be my own hero. Ain’t nobody gonna save you from anything, so it’s a challenge of your own strength when you realize exactly how much power you do have over things… #ishowedup
– Chrissi B.

Come up with a fun password for my 401K login
 – Vinnie B. 

Get my shit together
– Daniella C. 

Do things I’ll soon be too old to do, while I’m still young enough to try
– Kaitlyn H.

Drink more wine
– Caity K.