Essex [Click the photo above to go to Essex’s website]
120 Essex Street (between Rivington St & Delancey St) New York, NY 10002
Let’s first start off this story by saying, I know Essex isn’t the newest restaurant in town; It’s not the most delicious…blah blah blah, so for all you people reading this, and being like “why’d she go there?” You guys can suck it, because Essex is FUN.
Sunday Funday + Drunk Brunch + Birthday = Amazingness.
I think that sums it up. The End.
Kidding, I have a lot to say.
I woke up hung-over after a Saturday night that we will just say included a 4am pit stop to the Meatball Shop, only to get up and continue drinking. I thought I would at least have a few extra hours to sleep since brunch was at 1, but no. I was woken up by the birthday girl at 10 am reminding us to be there at 1. Thanks.
I slather on make-up the best I can (I bought luminizer and I want to use it), and checked how I could subway myself (yes I’m using subway as a verb) to my destination. I give myself a peptalk: you’re broke, you’re an adult, you can do this. Get on the subway.
I made it!
I was 4th out of 6 to arrive. I’ll take it. You can’t be seated until everyone is there, and there was a wait anyway, a 20 minute wait. Don’t worry I didn’t mind the wait, because I ate the remaining 1/5 of my meatball sandwich this morning, so I was good.
We sit down, and I don’t know what I’m more excited for, the water or the mimosa.
“We need a picture of us.”
“Should we take it now?”
“Let’s wait until we have a few more drinks.”
I scan the menu, do I want sweet or savory?
“I think I want French toast,” my friend says.
“I don’t know if I want that or potato latkes.”
“Do you want to split?”
I almost punched both of them. They went in for sharesies without me. W.T.F.
“I’m having a bite of that,” I say. I get real authoritative sometimes.
The watiress comes over, and orders are put in, we all went different routes and order something different. As the waitress walks away my friend is absolutely convinced the waitress gave her a dirty look when she ordered. Maybe she did.
Ready for the brunch brigade? Scroll down to hear how it was, because you don’t go to a drunk brunch for the food, but at least this place makes pretty good food.
Potato Latkes with lox and poached eggs
Matzoh Brie with Mexican toppings
“I have gifts for everyone,” the birthday girl announces.
Oooh gifts. Ok!
She whips out 5 dreidels and cheap blue sunglasses.
“Happy Hanukah everyone!”
“Aren’t these the give-aways you got at that charity event you went to a few days ago.”
Whatever, we’ll take anything. Everyone starts spinning their dreidels, and trying on the sunglasses.
“You only gave out 3 sunglasses. I want one.”
$5 sunglasses are the hottest thing at this table right now. Now everyone is taking what I can only describe as Gangster Jew pictures with sunglasses and holding up dreidels.
Birthday girl hates her potato latkes, but at least it’s picture time.
“So we all agree we want to take another.”
Before we know it our waitress has shooed us out of our seats with the check, and some of us haven’t even received the 3 drinks our brunch comes with. So what do we do?
We complain until we get more free drinks, and a birthday cake with a candle.
Our waitress/manager produces 20 carnival tickets, and tells us we can use them for free drinks at the bar.
What better way to spend your Sunday than badgering Romanian bartenders to give you free drinks with carnival tickets, and magically whipping them out from our pockets, bags, and bra straps with such pride, like they’re $100 bills.
“Vodka soda. Here you go.”
“What should we do now?”
“Let’s go to another bar and then get dinner.”
From brunch to dinner, that’s how we do, and that’s why it’s Sunday Funday.
I like that they were so generous with the bread, and it gave you something to nosh on while you sipped on your drink, and waited for your food. It’s probably a preventative method of keeping patrons from getting too drunk before their meals arrive, and I like it.
The Aristocrat: potato pancake topped with house-cured salmon gravlax, salmon caviar & poached eggs
I guess I’m just a more is more person. I liked that it was a bite of everything. It doesn’t come close to my mom’s potato latkes, but it was still great. What’s brunch without lox?
Mexican Matzo Brei: scrambled eggs with tortilla crisps, monterey jack, avocado, black beans & pico de gallo
I was originally wary of this dish, because this was like “everything but the kitchen sink” in my mind. However, it was a hodge podge of Mexican delight.
Challah French Toast with bananas foster sauce & fresh fruit
Totally fine dish. The banana part looks a bit yuck, but it was good. It’s a good alternative to eggs.
8 oz sirloin burger with french fries
Well done fries can’t be bad! Going for brunch, but just want lunch? Burger and a bloody mary work. At least that’s what my friend did.
Probably would NOT recommend this dish. Lobster was a bit fishy. Maybe crab cake is better? If you have to think about the quality of the seafood I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Crispy Potato Pancakes with sautéed apples & honey cream sauce & spinach-shiitake-black bean hash
Not a pretty lookin’ dish. I’d rather get the Aristocrat if I’m going to get the potato pancakes, but I guess it borders on simple if you’re in the mood for some potato pancakes.
Peanut Butter Cake
Tasted like pure peanut butter. It was free so ok, but ehhhh.
Here we areeee. Look at these idiots.
Shake Shack [Click the photo above to go to Shake Shack’s website]
Madison Square Park:Southeast corner of Madison Square Park, near Madison Ave and East 23rd St
Whenever I take a gym class in Flatiron I always have to stroll by Madison Square Park on my way. As I walk by the small piece of green I always see a line snaked around the corner for Shake Shack. In Manhattan there are only 2 reasons for a line, one: those people are tourists and idiots, and two: it’s actually worth the wait.
Being that I am walking to a gym class I always decide it would be counterproductive to stop for a cheeseburger and fries, but in the back of my mind I always think, “I will eat there at some point.”
Well! That day has come!
I was planning a Thursday night dinner with my friend, and her only rule was it had to be under $20. “Are we drinking?” I immediately ask (alcohol would make it a lot harder to keep the meal under $20). We are not (bummer, it’s Thursday), “Lets save ourselves for the weekend.” Suddenly I had an epiphany. We shall go to Shake Shack. It’s on.
The plan was we would meet at Shake Shack, and then bring the food back to my apartment to eat and “watch” the Knicks Game (what up LINsanity). I had told everyone and their mother (I’m going to Shake Shake. Spread it!) I was going so I had received a few suggestion.
Get the milkshake!
Get the burger!
OK OK! TWIST MY ARM!
I threw on my Thanksgiving pants (you know where that’s from!), and off I went.
As we’re waiting on line I peruse the prices. “It’s so cheap for a burger.”
“That’s because they’re so small,” my friend replies.
Small! Small! Panic immediately starts to build inside my stomach. What if I am not full? What if I am still hungry? (looking back it would not have been the worst thing) I change my mind. I shall get the double cheese burger, and a vanilla shake. I went to the gym in the morning for this exact reason!
My friend ordered a double burger, and we split fries. As we waited for our food (they give you buzzers so you know when your food is ready, which immediately led to phantom vibrations. did it go off? are you sure??) we chitchatted.
“Do you think it’s a big deal we’re missing part of the Knick’s game?”
“Nah, the 4th quarter is all that matters.”
“Oh, ok good.”
“They should just give each team 100 points and then put 2 minutes on the clock”
We invented a new game, while waiting for our burgers. PERFECT! LamLam? Carmello? Lin? How do you feel about this new sport??
Finally, the buzzers go off! (ok it was 3 minutes) I have to say, it was worth the hype. The burger was almost buttery, the fries were seasoned, and the milkshake was delightful (I’m lactose intolerant so I took a big risk with that). We packed it up and left to watch the Knicks game (they lost to the Miami Heat, and I screamed GET A REBOUND 10x to myself in my apartment).
“Hey,” I said as we were getting up, “this would be a cute date spot. It’s casual, and it’s cute being in the park at night, and you can even get a beer.”
“Yea, sure” my friend replies, and pops one last fry in her mouth.
Shake Shack (Madison Square Park)
Tell me that isn’t a little romantic with the lights!
Shake Shack (double cheeseburger)
Ch-ch-ch-check it out! Cray-zay! I ate the WHOLE thing. I did, and I only felt a little guilty when I checked myself out in the mirror this morning. Maybe get a regular burger if you’re on a date…
Shake Shack (vanilla shake)
I got fancy with it!! I like the classic diner shake, either vanilla or black & white. This does NOT taste like a diner milkshake, but it was really yummy (my milkshake brings all the boys to yard…Sorry I’m not sorry!)
Shake Shack (double cheeseburger, vanilla milkshake)
Here is my delicious meal! It ain’t fancy, but who cares!