Udon Noodle Soup with Beef Shortrib & Vegetables

M2M
19 Waverly Place bet. Mercer & Greene Streets


I'm not one to promote getting your dinner from a convenience store, but you have to trust me when I tell you to try the udon noodle soup from M2M. In a matter of five minutes, you'll be presented with a deep Styrofoam cup filled with a light yet complex broth, chewy al dente udon noodles, and an array of toppings, from tofu to shrimp tempura. I happened to pick the beef udon, which came with succulent slices of beef shortrib and a medley of wakame (seaweed), enoki mushrooms, bits of tender broccoli, julienned carrots, and chopped scallions. It's one of my go-to #singlegirldinners. When I'm in a rush, I just eat it there. Sure, I'm sitting next to a whirly stand of colorful packages of Japanese candy, but, at $6, it'll do just fine!

The Smile

 
Transient

THE SMILE

26 Bond Street bet. Bowery and Lafayette Streets
646.329.5836
 


The Smile is a hipster's haven on Bond Street. Seriously. Upon entering, you'll immediately notice that everyone inside is stylishly disheveled. If you wear skinny jeans, a drapey t-shirt, an oversized cardigan, and a pair of ankle boots, you'll fit right in. (But don't forget the bedhead!) This rustic cafe-slash-restaurant is quaint and cozy, which is great for those late afternoons where you want to catch up with a friend over a pot of Mariages Freres' beautifully perfumed Marco Polo tea. Breakfast here is really nice, too. You've gotta try their steel-cut oatmeal cooked in coconut milk. It's lush and filling, and nice and warm in the tummy. There's a wooden bench outside—NoHo's version of Balthazar's bench, if you will. It's a great perch for people-watching, though, here, it's more quality versus quantity.

Dill Pickle Martini and Cracklings

FIVE POINTS
31 Great Jones Street bet. Bowery & Lafayette Streets
212.253.570


I like reserving the remaining brine from a jar of pickles so that I can add it to chilled vodka. (Sometimes I'll even take a straight sip of it. I find the salty -sour flavor refreshing.) Does anyone else do that? When I saw the Dill Pickle Martini on Five Points' drinks menu, it felt like a cocktail that was formulated just pour moi. An equally thrilling discovery was that pork cracklings are offered as a bar snack ($6), which makes the perfect accompaniment. I usually come to Five Points for brunch, but it'll now also be classified in my mind as a neighborhood bar. 

Bayou Beast Pizza

TWO BOOTS
74 Bleecker Street near Broadway
212.777.1033


Two Boots' namesake is derived from the boot-shaped outline of Italy and Louisiana: Cajun-Italian pizza--how that's for fusion? Nothing else epitomizes this better than a slice of their Bayou Beast, which has BBQ shrimp, crawfish, andouille sausage, chopped jalapeños, and mozzarella on a red pie. The crust is neither too thick or too thin, and there's a cornmeal crust at the bottom that keeps it crisp. When I'm hungry, I can polish off two slices without a hitch.

The Wren

THE WREN
44 Bowery Street bet. Great Jones and Bond Street
212.388.0148


There's definitely a bar scene up front at The Wren, but, if you can snag a table in the back, it can be quite quaint and lovely. I love the modern-rustic decor here and they a British pub-inspired menu to match: cheese and charcuterie boards, fish and chips, and a whole array of spreads and goodies served in little jars. My favorites are the chicken liver mousse and the steak tartare, which come with warm toast points on the side. Add a glass of beer or wine to that and I'm happy.