Fat Choy – Vegan Chinese in Lower East Side

The catchy name Fat Choy immediately drew me in. I knew exactly what kind of restaurant Fat Choy, a small scrappy restaurant in the Lower East Side, would be, and I wasn’t wrong. It was playful and homey, a little bit familiar and a little bit not, a perfect description of the “kinda Chinese” but mostly tasty ethos that drives the cooking at the Fat Choy kitchen. Kinda Asian restaurants are in abundance these days. You can imagine some second or third generation chef making some tweaks to a family recipe, smiling if it works and shrugging her shoulders if it doesn’t. The angle at Fat Choy is that its kinda Chinese food is vegan. It sounds impossible at first, since we tend to associate Chinese food with pork or chicken, but when you think about how tasty Chinese vegetables are on their own, then it makes a lot of sense.

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Tong – Thai Small Plates in Bushwick, Brooklyn

hoy jor (fried stuffed tofu skin roll with pork and crab meat)

I usually equate small plates with dim sum and tapas, but not with Thai food. Thai food brings to mind either big heaping plates of pad thai noodles or fiery servings of curry and minced meat. You don’t really go to a Thai restaurant to nosh on some small snacks while drinking some beer. But Tong, a new Thai restaurant in Brooklyn–more gritty Bushwick than fancy Williamsburg–wants you to do exactly that. Its menu features kub klaem or small plates that are meant to be ordered in multiples so that you can nibble on a few things here and there. Which is great because the small plates are fantastic and you’ll want to try as many things as you can.

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Apple Cider Doughnut Loaf Cake from Bon Appetit

When we stayed in our Fishkill home last month, I went into full hygge mode and just wanted to eat and bake indoors. As I flipped through the pages of Bon Appetit magazine, I came across a recipe for an Apple Cider Doughnut Loaf Cake and was obsessed with making it. How perfect did it sound to eat a warm loaf cake with a cup of coffee while the temperatures were freezing outside? And sure, there are plenty of farms in the area that sell apple cider doughnuts, but nothing beats something fresh and homemade. What’s nice about this apple cider doughnut loaf recipe is that it’s super easy to make. The most complicated part is that you have to reduce some apple cider in a saucepan for a couple of minutes, but otherwise you just mix things in one bowl, pour into a pan, and bake.

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A Weekend in Fishkill and Beacon, NY (With Kids)

If you’re in New York City, looking for weekend trip ideas, chances are you are typing in the words “Hudson Valley” in the Airbnb search tool. Because when you’re dealing with quarantines and restrictions that can vary by state and by day, it’s easier to stay as close to home as possible, without actually staying home. The Hudson Valley, with its picturesque, rural landscapes and farm-to-table restaurants, is far enough and different enough from the city to make it feel like you’re getting away. The Hudson Valley is vast, though. Some cities like Peekskill are only an hour away from the city, while the more famous towns of Hudson or Catskill are a 3 hour drive. Fishkill, New York is the perfect middle ground in that it’s only 1.5 hours away, yet it still has access to great restaurants and cultural attractions in the town itself as well as in nearby Beacon.

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Outdoor Dining at Xilonen and Oxomoco in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Oxomoco, a Michelin star Mexican restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, makes the best steak tacos in the city. When I ate my steak tacos, I was immediately floored. Everything about the taco was perfect–the sauce, the seasoning, the melty texture of the meat. Melt-in-your-mouth is an overused description when it comes to excellent meat, but in this case, it was totally appropriate.

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