Bars + Restaurants

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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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There’s A Little Less Hummus Among Us

Alas, although the openings of Vish on East 8th Street and Levantine chain Panorama this summer increased the amount of hummus among us, something had to offset this influx of chickpeas. It seems the trade-off is popular Lebanese fast-casual dining option Semsom Eatery. The previously lively storefront on Astor Place is now barren and empty, save for a ladder along with a sad McDonald’s cup and some rags resting on a counter by the door. Yelpers have reported the venue as closed down. It’s unclear when the closure occurred, but the eatery was active on social media as recently as August 2. While it’s possible that the Astor Place location of this chain may revive someday, for now, students will have to get their turmeric rice and cauliflower veggie bowls with unlimited toppings elsewhere.

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Momo Sushi Shack Begets Chicken Shack

Karaage and waffles (Image credit: Momo Chicken Shack via Instagram)

The ever-popular Momo Sushi Shack in Bushwick has spawned a sister restaurant not too far from its origins. At the corner of Starr Street and Wyckoff Avenue lies Momo Chicken Shack, which opened in late July. Smartly taking note of how much customers loved munching on karaage or Japanese fried chicken thighs at Momo Sushi Shack, business partners Tito Cabrera and Chance Johnston decided to expand the concept into a full restaurant with modestly-priced fare (the karaage is only $9). But perhaps the real star behind Momo Chicken Shack is general manager Valerie Boyle, who helped craft the menu along with Momo Sushi Shack’s chef Izzy Alvarez.

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The East Village’s Oldest Tapas Bar Has Left the Building (But Not the Hood)

(Photo: Nai Tapas Bar on Instagram)

The narrow, slightly subterranean space at 174 First Avenue has been home to a tapas bar and flamenco shows since the ’90s, when tapas were described by the New York Times as a “novelty.” The original occupant, Xunta, moved to Williamsburg in 2009 and Nai Tapas Bar quickly took over the dark, date-friendly nook. Now, after eight years, Nai has moved on as well. It plans to reopen on Second Avenue next month.

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The Photographer Documenting DIY Culture in Brooklyn and Beyond

La Rhaata on the subway, New York City 2017 (photo: Walter Wlodarczyk)

Those who proclaim the spirit of New York City is dead would be wise to look away from the fresh horror that is the CBGB Target and instead fix their eyes on the work of photographer Walter Wlodarczyk. There, you’ll find a vibrant collection of musicians, performance artists, dancers, and other experimental creative types. As Wlodarczyk’s solo exhibition There Is Only One Of You demonstrates in an impressive 160 or so photos, thriving artistry is still alive and well here. More →

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Feminist Food from the Past Comes to Life at MOFAD

An edible display of Saint Agatha at MOFAD (Photos: Tara Yarlagadda)

On the corner of Bayard and Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) is a quiet, unassuming structure whose only distinguishing exterior feature is the bright red door that beckons guests inside. But inside the museum, food history is being made. Thirty-nine guests—mostly women—have come together on this Wednesday night to recreate Judy Chicago’s 1970s feminist artwork The Dinner Party, which is a permanent exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Chicago’s Dinner Party arranges an elaborate dinner banquet on a triangular table. The table hosts place settings for 39 iconic female figures throughout history. These settings include gold china and brightly-painted porcelain plates in the shapes of butterflies and vulvas. The artwork also displays the names of 999 other women in gold inscription on the tiled floor beneath the table.

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Remembering Romany Marie’s, Where Artists Traded Paintings For Chorba Stew

Marie Marchand in front of her fireplace. (Photo: Jessie Tarbox Beals, courtesy of New York Historical Society)

A distinguished modern art collection once hung in the cozy Greenwich Village tavern at 20 Christopher Street, above steaming bowls of 35-cent Romanian chorba stew. Romany Marie’s, which operated out of the location between 1915-1923, wasn’t plastered in paintings because its proprietor was a collector (although Marie Marchand did love art). It was simple: neighborhood artists who were strapped for cash could go there for a free meal, in exchange for artwork.

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Once-Trendy Cupcakes Replace Trendy Poke Bowls on East 8th Street

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

If you’re wondering whether we’ll ever see the end of the poke bowl trend, here’s food for thought. RAW MKT, the poke spot on East 8th Street, closed just a year after opening in the NYU area. Its replacement? A cupcake shop.

Wait, wasn’t the cupcake trend declared dead after Crumbs crumbled?

Don’t tell that to Buttercup Bake Shop. Signage for the mini chain has gone up in the window of the narrow storefront at  61 East 8th St., near Broadway. It declares the bake shop is “opening soon…like, real soon,” and an employee at the shop’s 2nd Avenue location tells us it should be doling out sweet treats in about two weeks.

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