Health & Wellness

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I Survived the San Gennaro Cannoli-Eating Contest

(Photo: Mathew Silver)

“Hi Mathew, It’s Mort Berkowitz from the Feast of San Gennaro. We’re delighted to have you enter the cannoli-eating competition, which will be this Friday.” I received that voicemail from the organizer of the famous festival in Little Italy, after responding, on a lark, to a flier on Mulberry Street. I don’t technically have professional eating experience, but I have enjoyed – more or less – three meals a day over the course of my entire life, which I thought qualified me for competition.

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Cheeseburger in Paradise: Ridgewood Gets a Tropical Spot With Food By Ed & Bev’s

(Photos: Dave Colon)

As much as I and maybe you protest the idea, summer is coming to an end. What to do besides get mad at people who are smugly announcing their pro-fall takes now that they know the sun won’t take horrible revenge on them? Besides waiting for the northern hemisphere to be tilted towards the loving light of the sun again, you could try soaking up the cruise ship/tropical vibes at Ridgewood’s Paradise Lounge (678 Woodward Avenue). Oh, and the strong tropical drinks– you should probably soak up a couple of those, too.

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Ambrosia Elixirs, a ‘Home For Plant Medicine’ in Bushwick

(photo: Inna Shnayder)

Troutman Street between Evergreen and Central Avenues in Bushwick is a block awash with construction. Jackhammers, scaffolding, and dust make their home alongside the bar Precious Metal, an auto shop, and the notorious dorm-like apartment complex Castle Braid. One of the newest additions to the block is Ambrosia Elixirs, a cafe, event space, and “home for plant medicine” that’s taken up residence in a small storefront, fittingly flanked by a large, leafy tree. More →

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Equinox Turns ‘Dusty’ Lower East Side Into a ‘Hub For Fitness and High-Performance Living’

(Courtesy of Equinox)

Equinox’s colonization of the Bedford + Bowery zone continues. The gym chain opened locations in the Williamsburg and the East Village in 2016, with the East Village opening being accompanied by signage declaring “There goes the neighborhood.” Today the chain opened its “much anticipated” (or so says the press release) Lower East Side location inside the new luxury building that killed beloved late-night spot Bereket and other East Houston Street mom-and-pops.

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Cakeshake Blends Veganism Into the Instagrammable Shake Trend

(Photo: Tara Yarlagadda)

Zach Neil had a pretty sweet idea: “I wanted to find a way to do something with cake and ice cream and elaborate toppings and I wanted to make it make it vegan as well.”

He did some Googling and came across Black Tap’s immensely popular, decadent (and non-vegan) cake batter milkshake, the Cake Shake. Neil’s new shop, which fully opened in the East Village last week, is called Cakeshake. But it isn’t a mere Black Tap knockoff. “Essentially, we wanted a place where anyone could go and order this over-the-top Instagrammable shake that is also sensitive to lifestyle and [is plant-based],” he tells Bedford + Bowery.

Over the top indeed: Following up on the edible gold trend that seems to have swept New Yorkers into a fervid consumption of metallic substances (gold-plated chicken wings, anyone?), Cakeshake is offering an appropriately named #blingbomb shake, whose golden and silver sparkles practically blind the viewer and mask the mountain of mini cupcakes and vegan ice cream that lies underneath.

Neil embarked on his vegan shake voyage about a year and a half ago, when he started trending toward a more plant-based diet, but realized that eating that way outside of major cities was a real challenge. And not just for him, but his daughters, too. “I have two daughters who have a sweet tooth. I’ve taken them on my journey on veganism. I wanted [options] that were healthier and plant-based,” Neil told us. Then the idea dawned on him: why not vegan milk shakes, with some gluten-free options and maple bacon-topped treats (ask for the “Elvis”) for the carnivores as well. Neil pitched the idea to his friend (and now the store’s executive chef), Felix Castro, who loved the idea. With the help of co-owner Tim O’Grady,  Cakeshake was born.

Most of the shakes range from $10-$15. There’s a 100% vegan #popmocha shake that comes packed with tres leches ice cream, espresso reduction, hand-made caramel corn, and whipped cream in a smorgasburg they call “plant-based heaven.” Other notable options include a vegan avocolada shake, which is their take on a piña colada, except with the very millennial addition of avocado to the usual pineapple. They’re constantly experimenting with new flavors, so you’ll just have to visit in person to see their latest menu. Note: kids under the age of 12 get a free drink with purchase of an adult shake, so this is one family-friendly joint. Bring a friend to share.

Cakeshake is located at 514 East 6th street, and is open from 2 pm-10 p.m. every weekday.



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NYC’s Most Ridiculous (and Refreshing) Watermelon Drinks

Sure, you can beat the heat by buying cubed watermelon at the bodega, but that’s so basic. Here’s how to get your watermelon fix and be extra. 

(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

Ladle soju punch from a watermelon
At Pocha 32, 15 W 32nd St # 2, Koreatown.
Pocha 32, a second-floor pub hidden away in Koreatown, would be worth the trip even if it didn’t use hollowed-out watermelons as punch bowls. Notes written on chopstick wrappers hang from the fishnet that covers the walls and ceiling, and oil drums serve as tables. It’s a festive place for dipping a ladle into a watermelon and helping yourself to a frothy mixture of ice, soju, Sprite, and fruit puree. This is a lot of drank even for two people to share, but you can always sneak the leftovers into the Vivi lightbulb jar below.

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Dumplings Replace Tacos in San Loco’s Old Second Avenue Space

(Photo: @thedumplingshop on Instagram)

On the heels of San Loco closing its Bushwick location, we now know what’ll become of its old digs on Second Avenue in the East Village. New signage at 124 Second Avenue, near St. Marks Place, indicates the narrow nook has been taken over by The Dumpling Shop, a takeout spot specializing in “internationally inspired” dumplings.

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More Hummus Among Us: Levantine Chain Panorama Launches Near Union Square

(Photo courtesy of Panorama)

The latest health-minded fast-casual chain to hit Manhattan just launched off of Union Square. Panorama Middle Eastern Grill is clearly aiming to become the Levantine Chipotle, and is hoping to succeed right across the street from where The Hummus & Pita Co. failed. Backed by a Canadian real-estate developer, the restaurant aims to open 15 locations around Greater New York in the next few years, starting with its first at 820 Broadway.

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5 Bars That Pour Gluten-Free Beer in NYC

(Photo: Ryan Bevans for NY Mag)

There’s no shortage of gluten-free beers, thanks to specialty breweries like Omission, Green’s, and Glutenberg, as well as one-off brews like Anheuser-Busch’s Redbridge or New Belgium Brewing’s Glutiny. But even with Yelp at your disposal, tracking them down at local bars can be a challenge. “Searching for gluten-free restaurants is a good start,” says Zach Lountzis, a beer-lover with Celiac disease. “But it doesn’t help much with bars that offer gluten-free beer.” That’s why we’ve put together this list of watering holes with decent gluten-free options.

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Cutting-Edge Cacti, Once More in the Lower East Side

(Photo: Kate Glicksberg)

It’s been said that adding plants to your living space is a great way to improve both the appearance of a room and your own personal well-being. But what if you’re really bad at keeping plants alive? Well, in that case, maybe a cactus will be good. They don’t need to be watered very much. Plus, if you happen to be passing through the Lower East Side, you can browse a variety of Southern California cacti, now that The Cactus Store pop-up has returned to spend another summer near Seward Park. More →