The Cellar

The Cellar, as the name suggests, is in the basement of Beecher's Handmade Cheese Shop.  This nice size lounge is a great place to catch up with some friends over some wine and cheese, especially on a gloomy day like today. 

Since it's part of a cheese shop, we figured we can't go wrong with the cheese plate...

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Or the mac & cheese.  There were actually 6 different types of mac 'n cheese to choose from!  I really liked the Pork Belly version. The pickled fennel cut down the grease from the pork belly and gave the dish a really nice flavor.  

PORK BELLY, PICKLED FENNEL STEM MAC & CHEESE

PORK BELLY, PICKLED FENNEL STEM MAC & CHEESE

Can't really go wrong with the crab either.  Large chunks of crab meat mixed in with the cheesy goodness. 

CRAB, REMOULADE MAC & CHEESE

CRAB, REMOULADE MAC & CHEESE

Since we were celebrating two birthdays, we also got the cheesecake and the chocolate cake.  The chocolate cake had the consistency of a thick chocolate mousse. Very tasty.  Cheesecake was creamy and more "cheesy" than a typical NY cheesecake. All in all a great outing. 

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Ground Central Coffee

Discovered a nice coffee shop in midtown east where one can meet friends for coffee, just chill and unwind, or set up a mobile office (free wifi) and work on a blog ;). 

The space: very spacious for a coffee joints. It's designed as a place for lingering rather than coffee on-the-go. The front of the cafe opens up to the street. The cafe is divided into several seating areas: A large communal table toward the front of the cafe, smaller bar tables along the length of the cafe, and a cozy library in the back.   

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Cozy "Library" at the back of the cafe 

Cozy "Library" at the back of the cafe 

Aside from coffee and pastries, the place also sells sandwiches and salads.  Wine and beer are available too!  My only complaint is that the food quality leaves much to be desired.  If they can make some improvements on the food front, I can definitely see myself camping out here on a regular basis.  

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Ground Central 
155 East 52nd Street (Between 3rd. & Lexington Ave.)
http://www.ground-central.com

Little Collins

A little wave of Australian cafe culture is invading Manhattan. Little Collins, the namesake of a street in Melbourne, Australia, definitely gives off that carefree Aussie cafe vibe.  

The cafe boasts the first Modbar espresso machine in the city. I don't know much about espresso machines, but these steamlined chrome modules set on top of the white counter do look gorgeous!

Modbar Espresso machine

Modbar Espresso machine

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Aside from the typical coffee offerings, the cafe also offers toasts and sandwiches, including Australian classics, avocado smash and Vegemite on toast.

The avocado smash was delicious!  Extra points for piling on a generous portion of the avocado spread….unlike Bluestone Lane Coffee, another Aussie cafe a few blocks south of Little Collins, which doles out pathetic portions of the spread. 

My Brekkie: The smash with Cappuccino 

My Brekkie: The smash with Cappuccino 

Verdict: AA.  This is a great place to grab a good cup of coffee and a quick brekkie before heading off to work. A very welcomed addition to Midtown. Highly recommend! 

Little Collins
667 Lexington Avenue (Between 55th & 56th St)
http://www.littlecollinsnyc.com

Briciola Wine Bar

This cute Italian wine bar in midtown is a great place to grab a drink after work.  The place is tiny and very popular, so the key is to get there early.

The bartender will not let you sit at the bar unless you are ordering food. I am always hungry, so no problem there.  The food here is also surprisingly good!  We enjoyed everything we ordered. 

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FRESH BURRATA WITH PROSCIUTTO

FRESH BURRATA WITH PROSCIUTTO

PAPPARDELLE BOLOGNESE 

PAPPARDELLE BOLOGNESE 

Generous portion of octopus, which I appreciate.  I am sick of restaurants that charges $16 for 2 small octopus tentacles.  Octopus is not THAT much of a delicacy.  

SPECIAL OF THE DAY: OCTOPUS WITH PESTO SAUCE.

SPECIAL OF THE DAY: OCTOPUS WITH PESTO SAUCE.