Friday, March 12, 2010

Stalking Pepsi

Pepsi truck.

En route to the Poconos...

Pepsi machine.

...and again in Mt. Pocono, Penn.

Sugar and Spice, and Everything Nice

International Passport.

Lately I've been spending far too much time at Ihop than I would like to admit. But that doesn't stop me from posting these pictures of my morning decadence. Oh, the damage has been done. But my waistline concurs: it's worth the extra toll.

My sister was back for spring break, which clearly entailed a breakfast run. This time around, my eyes wandered across the menu and desired everything at once. So, of course, I settled on the International Passport, which allowed me to feast on two sausage links, two eggs sunny-side up, two slices of bacon, French toast and (not pictured) two pancakes. I consumed it all. Except the pancakes.

Poor, lonely pancakes.

Swedish crepes.

My sister's not-so-secret sweet tooth tempts her to order a side of Swedish crepes with candied strawberries and a tornado of whipped cream.

Epitome of Breakfast.

Mom had a light and fluffy Swiss cheese-mushroom omelet. Dad had the Big Steak Omelet: tender strips of bacon, hash browns, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and cheddar cheese with salsa. Steak has never tasted so good. (Truth be told, I'm not much of a steak lover otherwise.)

Time for a proper diet. I mean, dance-off! Burn, baby, burn...

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