About Cheryl Lock

Cheryl Lock

Cheryl Lock is a former magazine, newspaper and website editor turned full-time freelance writer. She has worked on staff at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, More and Parents magazines, as well as for Learnvest, the leading women's financial website. Her work has also appeared in Newsweek, Forbes, Ladies' Home Journal, the Huffington Post, AOL Travel and more.

Cheryl was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up moving around every few years as an Army brat. The urge to travel has been with her her whole life. While she calls New York City home, Cheryl makes it a priority to travel as much as possible throughout the year. Some of her favorite places include Iceland, the Great Barrier Beef, Cabo, Rome, Calabria and Munich, although she hopes to never stop exploring. Cheryl blogs about her travel adventures (and what's happening in and around New York City) at Weary Wanderer.


Latest Posts by Cheryl Lock

The Kimberly Hotel Rooftop for Cocktails in Manhattan

October 20, 2014 by  

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Last night I ticked another rooftop bar off my NYC bucket list with two friends who I needed to say goodbye to before we leave. The place was The Kimberly, and the rooftop of the hotel is an enclosed bar (although I think during nice weather it’s actually open) with a fantastic (on a normal day without fog) view of the Chrysler building and midtown Manhattan.

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I’d recommend checking out The Kimberly Hotel rooftop if you’re in the midtown area — it’s definitely worth at least a pit stop.

 

Albuquerque New Mexico for Ballooning, Tequila, Corn + Sustainable Farms

October 15, 2014 by  

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If you’ve heard of Albuquerque in New Mexico or know anything about ballooning, you’re aware of the infamous balloon rides and festival here. I rode with the Rainbow Ryders, and it was everything I had hoped it would be and (so much) more.

Despite the fact that I was woefully unprepared for the frigid morning air (wear sweaters and coats and closed-toe shoes and scarves if you’re lucky enough to go on a ride!), the weather warmed up pretty quickly, especially since we were standing right under blasting fire for an hour once we started on our way …

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The annual Balloon Fiesta here in Albuquerque draws thousands of people flock to the city to watch an incredible spectacle.

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Ours was the first of our whole group to head into the air.

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These balloons get up to 10,000 feet above sea level …

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After the ride, we toasted with mimosas and muffins back in the Balloon Fiesta field, and they even gave us these cute certificates to take home. It was a truly Albuquerque-ian thing to do, and I’m so glad I got the chance.

After the ride (which starts at 6:15, but the way), I had a little time before my lunch meeting, so I took up one of the suggestions from the Albuquerque Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and visited Wagner’s Farmland Experience. Even the road out to the farm is picturesque, with little fruit stops and restaurants on the way, and the farm itself had some pretty spectacular views.

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Who doesn’t love a good petting zoo?

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The 2014 corn maze is up at Wagner’s right now and I thought … “What the heck? It can’t be that hard, right?” WRONG. I am seriously directionally challenged, my friends. Lucky for me a group of elementary school kids were tackling the maze and I followed them out of the thing. (Not without lots of confused looks and questions, though.) And a big shout out to my husband for trying to help me find the way out of the maze, from all the way back in Manhattan, using Google maps :) I’m not sure if that’s cool or creepy …

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The end of the maze led you out to a cute little pumpkin patch.

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So, once that adventure was over, it was back into the car to head to lunch at El Pinto, a spectacular New Mexican restaurant with an amazing outdoor garden and eating area (and even more amazing tequila, as I would come to find out).

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The house Margherita is anything but ordinary.

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They’ve got 160 types of tequila here!

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They even bottle personal tequila for patrons who can purchase it at the restaurant and keep it there for any time they come in.

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Oh, and by the way, a warehouse in the back makes 25,000 cans of salsa each day to distribute. This is their special version specifically for Balloon Fiesta weekend.

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And here was my tequila tasting. All in a day’s work, friends, all in a day’s work.

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After lunch I was taken to the back to see the warehouse and the garden, where the restaurant is starting to try to grown some of the foods that they’ll later prepare.

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Dessert was the restaurant’s version of a tiramisu, called Levante. It’s made with biscochitos, the traditional New Mexican cookie (they were declared so by the New Mexico Legislature in 1989, and were first introduced to Mexico by Spanish settlers who brought the recipe from Spain). This dessert was every bit as decadent as it looks, my friends.

After lunch I had stops at two breweries. The first was the Red Door Brewing Company, which actually just opened its doors about three weeks ago. Their cider was actually my favorite drink (that and the milk stout), and it actually has the highest alcohol content, as well. (Boy do I know how to pick ‘em.) Since it was early when I got there (around 1:30), there weren’t too many other people around yet, but three cyclists came in about 15 minutes before I had to leave, and it was really great talking to them. One of the two men in the group was with the traveling tour of Wicked, which is in town now, and the two others were taking him around on their own, self-made Breaking Bad bike tour. (Ummm, here’s where I admit that I’ve never watched the show. Sorry Albuquerque! Before I come back I promise to give it a go!)

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After Red Door I moved on to a brewery staple here in Albuquerque — Marble Brewery. This place had a nice patio outside where they bring live performers, too.

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While I’d love to say that I kept going strong after Marble Brewery, the truth is, friends, that this gal needed a little nap. Unfortunately that means that I’ll probably not get to make it out to the Nob Hill area of the city, which is disappointing. But I still have one more fun activity planned for tomorrow, so that leaves me with a bit of something to look forward to after what can only be described as an amazing, entertaining trip.

Dinner Wednesday night, by the way, was at Mas, the tapas restaurant right inside my hotel, and I was given a tour of the hotel as well, which turned out to be especially important since apparently I was seriously missing out on so many amazing facts about this place.

But let’s start with dinner. Hot gouda apple bake w/ crostini, patatas bravas (crispy fried potatoes w/spicy mayo), bruschetta de la boca (toasted bread w/ mushroom-manchego cream, fried egg & truffle oil) and grilled artichokes w/spanish goat cheese, orange zest and mint.

And those were our appetizers.

Dinner for me was the classic veggie paella – and absolutely everything was to. die. for.

And now a bit more about this amazing hotel. The hotel has been around since 1939, when Conrad Hilton completed it as his first New Mexican hotel for $700,000. At the time, it was the tallest building in New Mexico, and the first in all of New Mexico to have air conditioning.

In 1984 the building was placed on the National register of Historic Places, and after being purchased a few additional times, it was finally sold to Gary Goodman in 2005 and promptly shut down for four years for $30 million-worth of renovations. Despite the renovations, though, a lot of the original existing structure runs throughout the hotel, still.

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While Goodman originally envisioned this room directly across from the restaurant to be open as a sort of nightclub to the general public, he quickly realized that the general public didn’t necessarily mesh well with the upscale clientele staying at the hotel, and so now only private, ticketed events happen here.

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I know this isn’t the greatest photo, but please stick with me here. So one of the hotel staff currently working at Andaluz actually has worked at this hotel ever since it first opened its doors. When Goodman purchased the hotel in ’05, he turned to this staffer to learn more about what the place was like back in its heyday.

During one of these conversations, he learned about a mural — this mural– that had been painted on one of the main walls as you enter the hotel and that had since been painted over. So he commissioned an artist to recreate the original painting from old photos. This is exactly as the photo was back when the hotel first opened, with the one small exception of the third figure’s ankle, which is slightly off the ground. The artist did this to leave his mark on his work, but otherwise the painting is an exact replica.

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This wooden structure — which is actually much larger than this photo lets on — was originally commissioned to hang in the elevators, but didn’t pass fire code. So the panels were quickly removed and sent to the basement, where they spent many years until they were moved up to the main lobby for all to enjoy.

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I know this might seem like a mistaken photo of the floor, but it’s actually seriously cool! So back in the days when the hotel first opened, the reception area used to be where the casbahs are now situated. The bellman would stand in this one spot, because he had the perfect vantage point to see guests coming in from both entrances. And for this reason alone, that very spot is actually worn out in certain spots, and when you stand on it, you can feel the dipping where the bellman’s standing has worn out the tile. That’s pretty incredible, is it not?

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^^ The library is definitely one of my favorite rooms.
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This is Ibiza, the 2nd floor, outdoor rooftop bar for the hotel.

Which brings me to one final note about this awesome hotel – it’s sustainability. From their solar heated water systems and compost system to the building’s seriously advanced energy management system (the rooms literally use sensors to detect when a person is in the room or not and uses that to determine when lights/heat/air should be on and off), Andaluz is one of the greenest spots in Albuquerque hands down.

 

Albuquerque Has Tons To Offer From Breweries to Rattlesnakes

October 13, 2014 by  

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When I arrived in Albuquerque New Mexico, I first headed over to Sadie’s of New Mexico for dinner. What started out as one tiny Mexican restaurant with room for 35 people has grown into a chain with four different locations. Besides the tasty food [I tried the salsa, cheese con case, guacamole, the "Amanda" salad (with nuts, raisins and avocado, served with a chili dressing) and the Sopaipillas (after my host Jim pointed out that I'm probably the first person to ever eat at Sadie's who didn't actually know what a Sopaipilla was)], Jim also took me to their back outdoor area to actually teach me how to properly cook a chili pepper.

Allow me to demonstrate via photos:

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Jim used his restaurant-grade oven to grill the peppers, but you can use your broiler, taking care to turn the chili’s every couple minutes so that every side gets even attention.

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When they’re done, you can place them in a restaurant-grade plastic bag (which won’t melt) to let them cool (or to freeze them if you don’t want to eat them right away).

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They look like this when they’re done.

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In a tin of lukewarm water, soak the pepper and remove the outer burnt skin with your hands. You’ll be amazed how easily it comes off. Afterwards simply remove the seeds inside, and you’re good to go! You can eat them plain, or with some garlic, salt and pepper — or you could do something entirely delicious and fill them with melted cheese. Yum!

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How cute are these hot air balloon Sopaipillas?! Jim had a welder friend of his make the mold just that morning.

And that was about it for Sadie’s, friends. After an entire day of traveling, I was exhausted and ready to get back to that comfy bed of mine for some sleep. If you are in town, and you do happen to stop by Sadie’s, just know that the restaurant at the location I went to (on 4th Street), isn’t in the greatest part of town. It’s something to keep in mind, if you’re by yourself and leaving late at night.

So today. It was up and at ‘em super early to meet with some people over at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which I was really excited about. When I was a senior in college I spent my spring break in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, working with the Cherokee Nation HeadStart program. I think Native America culture is beautiful and inspiring, and I find their culture, artwork, food, etc. entirely amazing.

Besides eating an amazing breakfast at the Pueblo Harvest Cafe — including Atole (a traditional Pueblo dish of blue corn porridge, with golden raisins, dried prunes, cranberries and nut mix, served with brown sugar and milk), Blue Cornmeal Pancakes with a fruit compote, eggs, beans and both green and red chili sauce — I also was escorted throughout the center to take in some of the beautiful artwork.

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Who’s hungry ;)

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The IPCC has started a garden on their grounds as well, which they have the kids work on in the summer as part of their camp experience.

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After spending the morning at the IPCC, I drove down and parked in Old Town — a historic district dating back to the founding of the city by the Spanish in 1706. The area is really cute and quaint (it reminded me a bit of the old section of town in St. Augustine, Florida, actually). There are a ton of souvenir shops and vendors selling their goods, plus it’s close to a whole bunch of museums, and the public parking is ONE DOLLAR per hour! It doesn’t get any better than that …

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San Felipe de Neri church

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Don’t ask what came over me, friends, but somehow I ended up in the American Rattlesnake Museum — an animal conservation museum devoted to snakes, particularly rattlesnakes, and to rattlesnake education. Honestly, though, some of the snakes were pretty beautiful …

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After Old Town I had lunch at Golden Crown Panaderia, where their personal veggie pizza with blue corn crust, biscochito cookies and coffee milkshakes are to-die-for. On a full and happy stomach, I tried to head over to the Sandia Peak Tramway, but it’s closed from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. every Tuesday for routine maintenance. This is a good thing to keep in mind, my friends, since it’s a bit out of the way and you would hate to drive all the way out there only to have to turn right back around, like I did.

So to kill some time I headed back into town and over to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science [which does a pretty great job at explaining the environmental changes in New Mexico throughout all of history], before then heading over to Nexus Brewery to meet with Managing Partner Ken Carson, who thoroughly hooked me up with both food and drinks while we chatted:

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The Nexus beer brewing system at work.

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Fried pickle heaven.

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My glorious beer tasting flight. The blueberry wheat beer was my absolute favorite.

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Fish tacos, which I ate along with red and green chili empanadas. And the fried pickles. And fried okra. Hey, I never said I’m one to turn down an awesome meal.

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Fried okra.

After the brewery it was off to (finally) head up the Sandia Peak Tramway. The Tramway is an aerial tramway located adjacent to Albuquerque, and it stretches from the northeast edge of the city to the crestline of the Sandia Mountains and has the world’s third longest single span.

And let me tell you — waiting until after 5 paid off because ohmygee those sunset views!
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  Note: my trip was hosted by the Albuquerque Convention Bureau but all opinions are my own.

Lavendar Galore at Albuquerque’s Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm

October 10, 2014 by  

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Albuquerque has a host of things to offer, from gorgeous scenery, delicious food, tasty drinks and fun activities to organic farms and pure natural beauty. I recently had an opportunity to visit the Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm.

The land where the Inn & farm are currently located was originally inhabited by the Anasazi (ancient pueblo Indians) in the 14th century, and in 1716 it was made part of the Elena Gallegos land grant. The original rach was owned by Ambrosio and Juan Cristobal Armijo, but it was reassembled by Albert and Ruth Simms in the 1930s. Today the Ranch encompasses 25 acres, which includes both the Inn and a working farm.

The area still features many important works of art and craftsmanship from back in the day, including John Gaw Meem (who was widely considered New Mexico’s greatest 20th century architect), Walter Gilbert (one of the only Albuquerque artists to have worked at Los Poblanos) and Laura Gilpin (one of the most important photographers of the Southwest). The Greely Garden was created by Rose Greely, a pioneer female landscape architect and designer of the 1932 formal Spanish-style gardens at Los Poblanos.

In addition to the beautiful land and artwork, the restaurant menu changes daily, and always features fresh ingredients right off the farm including eggs, honey, fruits and vegetables from the fields.

 

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The lavender fields weren’t in bloom right now, but how amazing are they?

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We had these fresh figs with our breakfast. And while of course the figs I ate in Calabria that were grown on my family farm will always be No. 1 … I must say these were a seriously close second.

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Although it was cold the morning I ate breakfast here, in warmer-weather months this portico is open to the Inn guests for them to eat their meals outside.

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Organic is the name of the game here, and Nancy, who I ate breakfast with, does a great job at making sure they Inn stays as up-to-date as possible with the newest and best sustainable, organic practices.

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Their library is to die for….enuf said.

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The kitchen is a masterpiece, as well.

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Here is the chef, preparing meat for that day’s meal. All of the meat is either locally grown or raised right on the farm.

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The Farm Shop is a must-visit if you’re in the area. I learned about the different types of lavender (and got to smell them both) and tasted real balsamic vinegar — not that crap you buy in the store. Holy crap, friends — I don’t think I’ll ever feel the same way about the fake, store-bought kind again!

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Gorgeous lavender bundles! If only I weren’t flying home!

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Thanks again so much to the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau — you sure weren’t kidding when you said Albuquerque has a lot to offer!  

From the Skies: Helicopter-ing Over the Big Apple

September 24, 2014 by  

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Here’s a bit of what we saw recently from above helicoptering over New York City with HeliNY Tours.

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It was, without a doubt, one of the most fun experiences I’ve had since living in good ole’s NYC.

 

New York City’s Mansfield Hotel in the Big Apple

August 9, 2014 by  

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I recently met friends at The Mansfield Hotel bar (aptly named M Bar) in midtown (drinks here are expensive, but the atmosphere is laid back and subdued, which can be really nice (and hard to find) in the hubbub of midtown. If you do find yourself here, you simply must try Violet’s Blue Martini with fresh blueberries and pineapple juice. To die for.

Anyway, the bar is on 44th, and as I started walking to the subway I thought … why not walk home? I haven’t done that in forever, and the night was cool and breezy after the rain, so I just went ahead and did it, my friends.

And you know what? It was lovely.

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Even on a wet and dreary day, the New York Public Library is still the most lovely.

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If you squint really hard, you can see the red Radio City lights shining away in the background.

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Rockefeller Center, in all its glory.

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It’s kinda hard to tell from this photo, but St. Patrick’s Cathedral is getting a massive facelift.

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I have an unhealthy obsession with street vendors — particularly of the large pretzel variety ;)

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54th Street ya’ll! Only 40 more blocks to go!

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I couldn’t tell you why, but I think there’s something eerily beautiful about this photo …

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Birdcage women? Interesting display.

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Anyone else as purely ecstatic about the fall weather clothing making its way to window displays? No? That’s just me? Okay then.

Okay friends. Well I promise to be back at some point to talk more about Gallow Green, the rooftop garden where we celebrated my sister’s engagement last weekend. It’s seriously a sight to be seen.

 

A Summer Weekend at the Gotham West Market

July 22, 2014 by  

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In the West Village, it’s worth checking out the Gotham West Market, which I have been wanting to visit for a while now.

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Our first stop was Ivan Raman Slurp Shop for some ramen noodles.

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I had the veggie noodles and Chris got the Tokyo Shio with pork belly.

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After lunch we moved on to El Colmado for some wine on their outdoor bar stools.

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Finally, at Cannibal we took advantage of their 3 o’clock happy hour to grab some beer and cocktails. It was the perfect ending to the day.

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Except that I wasn’t done yet, because I had to grab some ice cream from Jeni’s. A triple scoop with three different flavors. Do not come all the way out to Gotham West Market (which is pretty far out of the way if you live where we do) without picking up some ice cream. This alone would have made the trip worth it.

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We had some time to kill before 3 o’clock happy hour at Cannibal, so we walked the two blocks over to the Hudson to partake in the view — which includes the Intrepid.

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A seriously true sentiment.

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Kayaks, just waiting to see the light of day.

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This guys was teaching paddle board lessons to a small group of people. I could not partake in this activity, even if I wanted to.

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7 Places to Feed that Sweet Tooth of Yours in New York

July 19, 2014 by  

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I’ve compiled a list of my six all-time favorites here, along with one ‘must try ASAP’ option. So, without further ado … you no longer have an excuse for not sugaring up when you’re visiting Manhattan.

  1. Baked by Melissa for cupcakes: Sure, you could hit up Crumbs for the most gigantic cupcakes of your life that will totally spoil your dinner and, trust me, there is a time and a place for that — but on any given day, you can hop on into a Baked by Melissa shop and eat multiple of the most delectable, delightful, teeny tiny cupcakes you’ve ever had in your life. I mean, July’s ‘Mini of the Month’ (how adorable is it that they call them that?) is the Root Beer Float cupcake. Ummm … ’nuff said.
  2. Dylan’s Candy Bar for candy: There isn’t one stinkin’ stankin’ thing that I don’t love about Dylan’s Candy Bar. (Well, maybe the prices, but hey, it’s Manhattan.) OHMGEE you guys. Back in my days as a staffer at magazines, I used to attend events on the top floor of this candy wondershop, and I always hopped at the chance to go. The decor is adorable. They have every candy option under the sun — I mean, they even do Candy Cocktails. For candy, Dylan’s can’t be beat. [Oh and by the way, "Dylan" of Dylan's Candy Bar is Dylan Lauren, daughter of Ralph, inspirer of all your little kid candy-covered dreams -- so that's cool.]
  3. Corner Cafe & Bakery for cake: Okay you guys, I’m not gonna lie — this is a bit of a shout out to a neighborhood joint. I’ll admit it — Corner Cafe & Bakery holds a special place in my heart. This little cafe is in my neighborhood [on the corner of 3rd and 92nd, to be exact], and many, many, many a night I have walked home past an appropriate bedtime [sorry, Mom and Dad], past this tiny little bakery, to the sweet smells of the night staff making all those delicious treats fresh for the morning. Plus, this is pretty much where we get our birthday cakes every single year. They’re kinda the best. [They make a mean Chai Latte, too!]
  4. Tasti D-Lite for frozen yogurt: Frozen yogurt is kind of a huge thing in the city, my friends, I’m not sure if you know that. But while the 16 Handles and Red Mango’s and Pinkberry’s of the world are trying to inch their way in, I’m still a Tasti D kinda gal all the way. There used to be one on our block — the kind that only served three variations — chocolate, vanilla and a flavor of the week. But it’s closed, and now I have to, sadly, walk all the way to 86th street, to a much larger Tasti D with many, many more options (phooey) to get my fix. The best frozen yogurt is a very personal thing to Manhattanites — but if you want this girl’s opinion, I’ve tried ‘em all, and you can’t go wrong with the classic D-Lite.
  5. Li-Lac Chocolates in Grand Central Market for chocolate: When a place has been around, in NYC, since 1923, you just know it’s got to be great. Li-Lac is conveniently located in the Grand Central Market, just perfect for picking up a delicious little chocolate treat in between tourist stops at the Chrysler Building and Bryant Park. Go on … you know you want to.
  6. Macaron Parlour for Macarons: Candied Bacon with Maple Cream Cheese. Elvis. Honey & Cognac. S’Mores. Oh, Macaron Parlour … you just get me. Located in the East Village [which is so fun], and conveniently next to the Hummus Place [which I adore], the Macaron Parlour is the perfect place to stop in for a sweet treat in NYC — although I dare you to try eating just one macaron. I maintain that this is a physically impossible feat.
  7. Dying to try: Levain Bakery: The Levain Bakery seems to have everything I love and more: from cookies and baguettes to brioche, sticky buns and apple bread. I want it, I need it, gimme, gimme gimme! Levain is most definitely on my dying to try list.

And that’s it, friends! If this list doesn’t get you sufficiently sugared up, well I just don’t know what will.

photo credit: lasweets.net

 

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