Spotlight New York City – The Smith Restaurant NYC

In my early 20s, I lived in NYC with my sister Lauren while I interned for a few summers. During that time, we pretty much lived the dream–went to cool parties, dined at the trendiest restaurants, and spent our weekends at the beach. Some of my best memories are from those summers!

When I visit NYC now, my priority is spending the most amount of time possible with my sister, her hubby, and my two sweet nieces, Emma Jean (2 1/2 years) and Jules (9 months). But since my friend Callie moved there in October, I like to meet up for brunch or to grab a drink if we can.

Last time I met up with Cal, we went to Cafe Lalo, a neighborhood favorite on the Upper West Side and an important setting in the movie You Got Mail. This time, I got a glimpse at my old 20-something life during brunch at The Smith.

When you walk into The Smith, located in the East Village, you instantly feel the coolness factor go up a few notches. Imagine white subway tile everywhere, black and white photographs, chic light fixtures, and tons of natural light. The patrons are pretty much all 20-somethings, probably rehashing the good times (or horror stories) that they have from the night before. (I felt like a true Midwesterner with my North Face puffy jacket on in a sea of hip-clothed diners.)

We were seated quickly (a plus!), and they brought these adorable wine bottles filled with still and sparking water, along with some of the tastiest bread and butter (I swear, what they say about bread being better in NYC because of the water is very true) I’ve had. Side note: must find wine bottles to use for water!

Because I’m on antibiotics again (wha whaaaa), I ordered one of our waiter’s favorite housemade sodas: agave lemonade. This tasted so delicious without being overly sweet. The mint leaves were a good touch. Cal ordered the other, cucumber ginger ale, and my sip was especially refreshing.

On to meals: I opted for the Simple Scrambled with scrambled egg whites, home fries, and apple smoked bacon. Even though the food was a little pricy (heck, it’s NYC), the portion was good and everything tasted delicious. Cal ordered the Avocado Sandwich with goat cheese, cucumber, sprouts, tomato, and red onion on multigrain bread with a side of spinach (damn Callie and her healthy ordering!).

One thing I noticed the restaurant had was a photo booth on the lower level. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I see a photo booth, I must take photos–this is kind of a golden rule of mine. I have precious strips of photos from the mall, college bars, adult bars, and weddings, so this visit was not going to be the exception. After plenty of giggles and ridiculous faces, we had our photos, and the perfect memento from a perfect brunch date. Can’t wait to see where we’ll end up next time!

The Smith Restaurant NYC
55 3rd Avenue
East Village

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Spotlight New York City – Cafe Lalo

Because I’ve grown accustomed to sharing all of my new experiences, I’ll be including “Spotlights” in my blog when I do things in cities other than Chicago.

When I was in New York City last weekend visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and darling nieces (shout out to Emma Jean and Jules!), I met up with my good friend and old Harpo co-worker Callie. She recently moved to NYC to work for People.com (ah! the mothership called), and I’ve missed her and our Glee/cocktail nights. (For the record, I don’t watch Glee anymore. What happened to that storyline?!?)

When Cal told me I could decide where to have our reunion, I thought of the perfect place I’ve been wanting to go to for years: Cafe Lalo on the Upper West Side, where part of You Got Mail was filmed (I referenced in my Mario Tricoci event blog post). The Parisian-inspired cafe felt like we were whisked away to France the minute we stepped in the door! Although the pastries in the case and other tables’ brunch orders looked tasty, we simply enjoyed espresso, tea, fruit, toast…and a little gossip. (We got away with a bill for $20 in NYC—is that possible?) I also picked up some honey-flavored sweets for my mom, seeing as You Got Mail is one of her favorite movies. Miss you, Cal!

See the photos below for a look at our French escape! Do you recognize the cafe from the movie?

Cafe Lalo
201 W 83rd Street
Upper West Side, NYC

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