Read about these incredibly delicious spots in NYC and SF that made my summer even tastier than the last, and you’ll want to add these places onto your eats list.
I love summer for a number of reasons, one of them which is purely nostalgic. There are happy feelings and memories of my childhood days in Flushing, Queens. I played with my neighborhood friends during hot afternoons, ate a bunch of brightly colored sugar ices that melted down our arms, and caught fireflies with our hands in warm nights.
As an adult my summers are filled with work, but that never stops me from exploring and enjoying the warm evenings sans jacket. This year, my summer was eventful — packed with birthday celebrations, friend outings and a nice long trip to New York. These five places stood out to me in some way, and hopefully inspire you to scope them out.
5. Miriam Restaurant (NYC)
Miriam is what I’d consider a great neighborhood spot. Located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, this restaurant is busy and filled with people waiting. For good reason – It’s no secret to anyone that this is a reliably delicious spot. Their Israeli-inspired dishes are simple, delicious and filling. They have daily brunch. DAILY. Eggs, pancakes, french toast are acceptable into the wee hours of the afternoon (4pm to be exact). What more do you want in a neighborhood joint? Time to get yourself there, especially if you’re in the area.
I really loved their shashuka – the eggs and tomato sauce melded perfectly together and I kept eating this dish despite feeling extremely full. The light fluffy pita they serve with it is perfectly made to scoop the shashuka into your mouth. It was so delicious, and totally worth feeling fat for.
4. Ceremonia Bakeshop (NYC)
This is more than your average bakeshop that sells pastries and cookies. Ceremonia Bakeshop serves delicious breakfast and lunch items, which are worth eating and staying for. I cannot stop thinking about their biscuit breakfast sandwich – it was the perfect combination of savory from the bacon, cheese and egg plus the arugula to give it a bit of freshness, and the tomato jam to tie is altogether adding a tart yet sweet flavor. This blew my mind. I still cannot stop thinking about it.
I wish I had more room in my stomach to eat all the other things they have like pandan and ube mochi cakes, rainbow cakes, and chocolate chip cookies. If their baked goods are as good as this sandwich, I will gain 10 pounds after the next time I visit.
3. Udon Mugizo (SF)
Summertime calls for cold noodles, and I cannot deny how much I like this udon restaurant. Usually people are waiting for Marufuku ramen and end up missing out on Udon Mugizo, which…works out for me. They make their freshly udon in-house. You’re able to tell – these noodles have this perfectly “al dente” chewy texture that hold up against the various sauces and broths.
They have a variety of creamy to traditional udon and soba noodles available so you’ll have something you want to try. My pick for a cold noodle is their thinly sliced beef udon that comes with a soft boiled egg, because I believe anything topped with a runny egg is delightful. It’s perfect for a summertime to help cool you down from the heat.
2. Dominique Ansel Kitchen (NYC)
As a person who loves watermelon, I was dying to try this dessert for a year and…it lives up to all the hype. This watermelon soft serve from Dominique Ansel Kitchen encapsulates what watermelon tastes like just without all the seeds, which is arguably the most annoying part of eating a watermelon. Since the soft serve comes within an actual watermelon as the serving vessel, you can eat that as well. It all comes together so well because the watermelon was just as sweet and tasty as the soft serve! I love everything about this dessert, and I will definitely get more next year.
1. The Shota (SF)
Shota brings contemporary sushi dining to SF amidst a city that is overrun with high-end sushi restaurants. Shota stands out to me however as they’re able to straddle between traditional preparations of fish while also providing beautifully adorned plates and a different level of mindfulness to the meal that reminds me of what you get in Japan. In conjunction to the meal itself, the modern elements come from the space itself – it’s small yet sleek, surrounded by white walls, a few orchids carefully placed throughout the waiting area, a large marble counter where you are seated on high plush chairs, and donabe pots that line the walls.
In addition to their nigiri pieces, they also serve a few dishes throughout the meal so it felt like it was more than just a sushi dinner. Their presentation of these dishes were well-timed by the waitstaff, synchronized and coordinated, that reminds me of fine dining service.
They also did a great job in talking about sustainable bluefin tuna, and walked through the different cuts of this coveted fish. Similar to Ju-Ni, the sushi chefs were happy to speak to you about any questions about the fish and/or preparations they make, which I personally love since I always want to satiate my curiosity.
Each fish was fresh, and the chefs did a great job highlighting the seasonal fish to maximize on taste and interesting product.
It’s a memorable meal, from the food to the service. While this was an incredible experience, it was also expensive. Be ready to spend – this omakase starts off at $125 per person, and the sake pairing is an additional $80. I recommend getting the sake pairing, especially since it is something that can be shared and they bring out some pretty special sakes.
I had a blast there so if you’re ready to splurge on sushi, it’ll be worth it to go to Shota.
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