Friday, March 12, 2010

Almost Paradise: Paradis To-Go

Paradis To-Go.

This review originally appeared on The Gotham Palate.

Fresh fall tulips and gerbera daisies. Hot cup of coffee. Hugs and smiles. This is a perfect Saturday afternoon lunch with my bestie.

After months of separation, my friend K and I finally made plans to meet up for some quality bonding time. Where better to catch up than at a cozy little cafe off of Union Square? Paradis To-Go is barely the width of a Pinkberry, complete with a pretty scalloped awning and green bench. Scribbles of pastel-colored chalk covered the menu boards, highlighting the Daily Specials. The two counter attendants reminded me of the lead pair in 500 Days of Summer - but more 'hippie' than 'hipster.' They were gushingly friendly and seemed genuinely interested in catering to us and making our experience a positive one.

Herb Turkey Gruyere.

Croque Monsieur.

I had the Herb Turkey Gruyere sandwich on oat, pecan and raisin bread, while K picked the Croque Monsieur with French bread, ham and bechamel ($7.75 each). The sandwich prices are a bit steeper than I'm used to paying, but for the quality and creativity, worth the occasional splurge. Two small coffees ($1.75 each) rounded out our order. Soups on display included broccoli-cheddar-cauliflower-bacon and butternut squash. $4 for a small, $5 for a large.

Sweetie Pie.

Sweetie Pie Layers.

We took a heart-shaped chocolate cake, aptly entiteld 'Sweetie Pie,' to-go. The Sweetie Pie resembled a big whoopee pie with three dense layers separated by marshmallow frosting, topped with luscious strawberries and sugar. Even though K and I were quite full from our meal, this cake was too cute to pass up. We split it.

Paradis To-Go is also know for its fist-sized, gooey chocolate chip cookies. Come for the cute soups, sandwiches and cookies! Other sandwich options include Spiced Rub Pork, Goat Cheese with Avocado, Pastrami Reuben and Chipotle Tuna. Free Wi-Fi is available; I spotted a young woman in the corner typing away on her laptop while she sipped her coffee. Next to us, another woman dug into a hearty bowl of soup, with a roll on the side.

I'm not sure why this place has 'To-Go' in its name because I could stay here for hours. Make yourself at home on one of the comfy chairs with a good read, for some chill time or to people-watch. Time slows down when you're in paradise, and this is about as close to it as you can get.

Rating: 4.5 stars. This is no wimpy fare. The cafe's simple charm and whimsical atmosphere warrants a stop.

Paradis To-Go
114 4th Av
New York, NY 10003

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