As fall is “falling” away from us and we enter into the colder winter months, I would like to share some of my “hidden gems.” Now, this is New York City, a city of 8 million people. So sadly nothing is “really” that hidden nor exclusive anymore. I mean I’m not Beyonce or anything! However, when the weather drops, and a nightly park stroll is out of the question, these 3 stops are my go to spots. So whether you are in the mood for Southeast Asian cuisine in the Lower East Side, getting pampered on a dime in Chelsea, or some mind blowing magic in Flatiron District– then please read on my friends!!
First up is Pig & Khao – This funky Southeast Asian fusion eatery is one of my favorites in the city. Located in the heart of the Lower East Side on Clinton St, just north of Delancy. Chef/owner Leah Cohen (and Top Chef alum) is a visionary. I first went to Pig & Khao for brunch in the summer of 2014 and immediately fell in love. Not only is the food TO DIE FOR, the decor is brilliant. It has such a cozy vibe, the light wood compliments the green and orange pops of color throughout the space. The kitchen is located in the middle of the room and the openness lends such a beautiful and intimate aesthetic to the space. The grill is sizzling, the cooks are intensely at work and the aroma, hit me as if I was temporarily transplanted to Thailand or Vietnam.
I recently went back for a nice Monday supper and took a seat at the bar. It was pretty early and the dinner rush was still at bay. I ordered a San Miguel beer and Bun Bo Nam Bo (rice noodles, lemongrass, peanuts and garnished with fresh herbs.) I sat and talked with Steven and two of the other cooks. I was in awe. The woks ignited with fire with my fresh noodles inside, and the San Miguels kept flowing. I chatted with Steven, who was brilliantly manning the open kitchen, for about two hours. Overly stuffed from not just the food but the whole experience, It was my time to head out. I was invited to a Steven’s culinary birthday party extravaganza, and at that moment I found my local home away from home. The staff, food, and neighborhood feel entered my soul. Hopefully, the feeling’s mutual for you too. Next time you’re in the LES (that’s the Lower East Side for all you West Coasters!) swing by Pig & Khao. Be sure to say Hi to Steven and Leah!
Skin care on a steal Dermalogica Academy –
Dermalogica Academy is located in the heart of Chelsea at 140 W 22nd St. Dermalogica stands out in a league of their own. Their natural products and skin care experts keeps me going back each and every month. The Chelsea flagship store offer spa services at a fraction of the price. Though I love to indulge in spas and facials monthly, but it inevitably became too expensive. My sister, who is a skin therapist in Los Angeles, recommended this “Chelsea gem.” She raved about how they offered 60 mins face mapping customizing facials. I booked an appointment right away. It was so simple. No waiting months to get in to see someone, no on whether the skin therapist knew what she/he was doing. I arrived and walked into the white and silver lobby. I checked in and was giving a questions and concerns form to fill out. It was as if I was receiving a one on one skin care counseling session.
My therapist came out and escorted me to the treatment room. I changed into a strapless robe and took a seat. The lights are very dim, as they played mellow spa music on an overhead speaker. There are about 10 chairs in one long narrow room. It was my first time having a facial done in a common room but, to be honest, I didn’t even notice. She analyzed my skin and came up with a plan to address all my concerns. The 60 min appointment never felt rushed and she used a cool electrical glass wand to deliver oxygen deep into my face, as well as a infrared mask to see any new problems that may come up in the near future. You can also get an aromatherapy facial massage instead of extractions. The facial was almost over as I awoke from a deep relaxing sleep. The room was still quiet and tranquil. I went to change back into my clothes before meeting her in the front. I looked at my skin and it was glowing. Plump, refreshed and soft to the touch. It looked like I was on a 10 day tropical holiday or emerged from a deep and relaxed slumber. As I walked to the front I was so happy with the service and that the total bill came out to $54.00! I like to tip them about $10/$15 extra. Still I don’t know many places you can get a hour facial and massage in a clean environment. So if you’re ever in Chelsea and would like a little luxury R&R on the cheap be sure to make it over to Dermalogica Academy!
NoMad-ic Magician: The Magician at the NoMad Hotel–
Now, yes ladies and gentleman, I am speaking of a sexy, cool magic show located on the 2nd story of the ever so cool NoMad Hotel. The jaw dropping show stars Dan White. His boyish good looks and his finely tailored suit balances well with his charismatic presence and intensity. His cheeky jokes deliver ab engaging performance from beginning till end. I met a few pals from LA to view this well talked about performance. We were greeted by selecting 4 cards from the hostess and were guided to the lifts. The lift dropped us at floor two and we walked down a long hall, where we were greeted by NoMad Maitre D’ Kristen Gutierrez. She escorted us to our seats in the very middle of the small cozy room.
The performance is in a very intimate setting. Dimmed lights, old wall paper, pictures of old iconic magicians covered the walls. I felt has if I was in Vienna circa 1915. As they do not serve food they do provide a light snack and they also have a diverse cocktail list. The management was so kind to bring us a huge special punch that was presented in a gorgeous crystal pitcher garnished with a real life pig skull, banana leaf and a flaming lime. It was one of the coolest cocktails I have ever had the privilege to lay eyes on (as well as taste). The lights dimmed and the show started at 6:30pm sharp. Now, I would love to describe the show….. But, I DO NOT want to spoil it. It is literally that good and would I’d go every weekend if I could. It consists of old fashion card tricks, mind reading, and lots of crowd interaction and some new school sh*t.
Dan is a master and this one trick he performed in front of us literally blew my mind. I’m still trying to figure it out 4 days later. If you are into trying something new and surprising, then I suggest you head to the NoMad Hotel. Enjoy a wonderful dinner downstairs in the dinning room then head upstairs for a “magical” Saturday! You will not be disappointed.
So next time the temperature drops, don’t “Netflix and Chill.”
Get dressed, call an Uber or hit the always delayed winter trains. And, brunch on the Lower East Side, pamper yourself in Chelsea, and lets meet in the middle on Broadway between 27th and 28th for a few card tricks and cocktails!
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