Food trucks in New York – what you need do try

A lot of people may even be prejudiced about it, but the truth is that New York food trucks are a great option to try some tasty food without spending too much! NYC Department of Health is very careful with the requirements – in fact, it is not easy to get a license to operate in the streets of the city. In New York, life is always very rush, lunchtime is short and many people prefer to get food on the street and back to the office. That’s why food trucks are so popular. Today, I selected four food trucks that I think you should check out here in the city while you are visiting.

Wafels & Dinges – your trip to New York needs  one of Wafels & Dinges’ delicious waffles. The food truck is famous in the city and there is no way to resist, you will feel the smell: warm waffle, with crunchy dough  the outside and soft inside. The toppings include flavors like Nutella, chocolate, dulce de leche … Seriously, it’s going to be the best waffle of your life!

Click here and check out the locations.  

Halal Guys – You will see several Halal carts in New York. The dish consists of rice, gyro (lamb) or chicken (or a mix of the two), a salad and a white sauce. It is a huge. But the most classic of the carts is the Halal Guys – it’s the white sauce of the chain – which opened two restaurant here – that makes all the difference! Just be careful with the spicy sauce, it’s pretty strong.

Click here and check out the locations.

Calexico – How about Mexican food? Calexico has a restaurant in New York, but it began with food trucks, which continue to operate in the city. Three California brothers have created the chain that has a tasty menu: tacos, burritos, and nachos awarded as best in New York by Zagat. The burrito is the best!

Click here and check out the locations.

Brooklyn Popcorn – Who does not like popcorn? The snack that looks simple and goes well with everything – especially at the movie theater – has delicious versions signed by the Brooklyn Popcorn. In addition to the sweet flavors like chocolate and caramel, there are salty versions like cheddar and sour cream. It is impossible to resist the taste, the smell and the crunchy texture.

Click here and check out the locations.


10 things to do in Brooklyn

For a long time, Manhattan was the protagonist of the of the trips to New York. You can not deny that the island has an unlimited range of things to do, but, as I always say, New York is not only about Manhattan! The other boroughs of the city offer incredible things to do and today I decided to list 10 cool things to do in Brooklyn. Yes, Brooklyn goes way beyond the iconic bridge and no, you can not cover this neighborhood in just one day (not even in a lifetime). Below are suggestions of what to do in the area!

Crossing Brooklyn Bridge  – crossing this bridge is mandatory for those coming to New York for the first time – and worth repeating if you have other opportunities. Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges around the world – and the first built to connect Manhattan to Brooklyn, almost two kilometers long. It was inaugurated in 1883 – 13 years after the start of its construction. John Augustus Roebling was the engineer responsible for the work – he was German, but he lived in the US for many years – and had a lot of experience in the construction of suspension bridges and the Brooklyn Bridge was his most ambitious project. Today, on average, 120,000 vehicles cross Brooklyn Bridge every day, and 4,000 pedestrians and 2,600 cyclists. After you crossing the bridge, spend a time at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The view is amazing!

Click here and check out more details. 

Also, explore Brooklyn Heghts Promenade.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden – There are more than 12,000 species in an area adjacent to Prospect Park (like Brooklyn Central Park) with lots of green space and beautiful flowers. It is one of the most beautiful places to see the cherry blossom season. There are tulip gardens, rose gardens and the Japanese Garden, which sits on the edge of a lake and is beautiful. Admission is free on Saturdays from 10 am to noon (except when there are special events). On Tuesdays, the admission is free all day. On other days, the ticket costs $ 12 (adults) and $ 6 for seniors over 65 and students with valid ID. Children up to 12 years old do not pay.

Address: 990 Washington Ave.

Street arts in Bushwick – Bushwick is a Brooklym neighboorhood where is located The Bushwick Colletive. The curator of the place is due to Joseph Ficalora, which is the  project creator and long-time resident of the area. Along with other owners of local buildings, Ficalora tries to find and provide empty walls for street artists – who are not only from the United States but also from countries such as France and Italy. The gallery begins on Jefferson Street and continues through Troutman Street to Saint Nicholas Avenue. T

Click here and check out more details.

Coney Island – Coney Island is far from a perfect beach for summer. But taking into account that New York is a concrete jungle, the place is a good place to escape and enjoy a relaxing day. I particularly think that Coney Island is a magical place, charming and nostalgic – since many movies and TV series were shooted there. The greatest charm and differential are the two amusement parks that stand on the waterfront, giving a magical aura to the place. How about to take a ride on Wonder Wheel, a Ferris wheel that is one of the symbols of the place? Upstairs, the view is simply amazing and you even get to see Manhattan. In addition, the beach has many nice places to eat.

To get there, use the D, N, F or Q lines

Click here and check the last new things in Coney Island.

Mast Brothers Chocolate -Mast Brothers was founded by two brothers, Rick and Michael Mast, in 2007 and now there are stores in New York and London – and soon in Los Angeles. The highlight of the brand is the manufacturing process. With cocoa from Tanzania and Peru, chocolates recipes take few ingredients – and all organic – and do not have preservatives – they are super natural. The production follows a ritual to make chocolates with intense flavor and texture that melts in your mouth. The formulas are not filled with a lot of sugar. Those who loves more intense flavors will surely enjoy. It is a gourmet concept. The brand has a shop and factory in the neighborhood – and the coolest thing is that you can take a tour to learn more about the manufacturing process of chocolate.

Address: 111 N 3rd St – use a linha L. 

Click here and check out more information.

Smorgasburg – it is one of the most famous street food markets in New York is Smorgasburg. It happens all year round n Brooklyn, but in summer it is cooler because the event rolls outdoor. More than 80 vendors offering the most diverse types of dishes and snacks, sweet and salty. The Smorgasburg happens every weekend in Brooklyn. On Saturdays, at East River State Park, Williamsburg. On Sundays, at Prospect Park. Always from 11am to 6pm, rain or shine, until November. Then, the food market goes to another location, covered. Check out the website to seed details and click locations to check the other addresses of Smorgasburg (with less vendors).

Click here and check out 5 delights to try at Smorgasburg.

Red Hook -To the southwest of Carroll Gardens, beyond the BQE, the formerly rough-and-tumble industrial locale of Red Hook remains a secluded neighborhood, thanks to the lack of subway stops, which makes it perfect for a day out exploring. It is not a touristica explored area, which is a pity, because there are a lot of things to do. The area is home to smaller, artisanal businesses and factories. Its time-warp charm is still evident, and its decaying piers make a moody backdrop for massive cranes, empty warehouses and trucks clattering over cobblestone streets. If you never heard about it, it is where Ikea is located – but there is more than furniture shopping at Red Hook! The quiet streets with cobblestones make you feel in a small country town. Rich in gastronomy, the area has restaurants and factories perfect for a day of tasting many delights. Winery, BBQ place, seafood restaurante, chocolate factories: there are a ot of things to do.

Click here and check out things to do in Red Hook.

Exploring Greenpoint -Tucked into Brooklyn’s northwest corner — just above Williamsburg and south of Long Island City — the area has of late shed its sleepy image and emerged as a borough hot spot, with a lot of cool restaurants and coffee shops, besides the real state investment. The 2012 arrival of Lena Dunham and her HBO show “Girls,” which adopted Greenpoint for its setting, giving a boost to the hood’s pop cultural cache. With a quiet atmosphere – with charming streets and architecture – Greenpoint can be a great option for a day in New York – especially if you are looking for places off the touristic route.

Click here and check out things do do in Greenponit.

Dyker Heights Christimas Lights – this region is famous for super decorated houses at Christmas time. There are thousands of colored lights in a lot of houses, illuminating the streets, attracting many tourists to the area. The tradition began in 1986 and now the place attracts about 100,000 tourists every year who visit the neighborhood to check this decorating show. The houses have that typical American design, which makes it even more charming. Generally, some lights already appear after Thanksgiving (late November), but the best view is in mid-December – and they keep the lights through January 8th. Also, it is better to visit the neighborhood during the weekends, from 5pm to 9pm – because the lights are switched off after this time, generally. The houses are located between 11th Avenue and 13th Avenue, from 83rd to 86th Street.

Check out more pictures and more information.

Brooklyn Museum – Great alternative to get away from the crowded museums in Manhattan, Brooklyn Museum has a huge collection. Among the highlights, an Egyptian collection of 4000 pieces – which includes a mummy preserved in its original coffin. There are paintings from Cézanne and Monet, as well as sculptures and art galleries from Africa and Pacific Islands. The Museum also has special exhibitions periodically. The ticket costs $16 but admission is free on Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Address: 200 Eastern Pkwy.
Do you like it? Don’t forget to explore the related posts, because they have more details! 

Say goodbye to Girls: 16 Filming Locations of HBO’s series

Last Sunday, one of my favorite TV shows ended: Girls. From HBO, the same channel that brings us Sex and the City some years ago, Girls premiered with an huge expectation. After all, the series would tell us the story of four girlfriends living in New York. Soon, many people have already made the comparison with Sex and the City – to reinforce, Hannah, the protagonist, is also a writer (Carrie Bradshaw feelings). When the series premiered, we quickly realized that the comparison with Sex and the City could no longer exist. Girls portrayed four girlfriends in their 20s living in the city. Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna do what they can to afford the rent, they don’t go to the best restaurants and parties, and their clothes pass away from the famous brands. The girls are full of defects (and who is not?) and for me, the series made even more sense after I came to live in New York, as I think the story portrays the reality of the city more. Not to mention that the plot is nothing obvious and predictable. I will miss Girls so badly… and since I already post about Mad Men locations and also Sex and the City restaurants, I thought it would be nice to write a post to show you 16 locations of the series.

Above you get a photo of each scene and below the points marked on the map with the information of the season and a short summary of the scene. Obviously, these are not the only locations for Girls in New York. On this link, you can check more than 40 locations.

Bonus: To celebrate the six seasons, HBO and Refinery 29 held a special exhibition last week. It lasted only two days and I went there to check it out. It had several objects, some costumes, scripts.. very nostalgic! There was even a reproduction of Hannah’s apartment! How not to love?

Bonus 2: The picture of the sixth season poster was made in front of River Deli, a restaurant that is in Brooklyn Heights and that is a delight – I already mentioned it in this post here!

I will miss Girls, a lot! If you want a souvenir, you can stop by at HBO store and get a shirt or another object. Check out more information about the store.

Did you like this post? Do you also love Girls?

Conservatory Garden, at Central park

Central Park is one of New York’s most famous landmarks. No matter the season, the park is always charming. It is like the oasis of the city, the point of refuge of New Yorkers, a place to relax, do physical activities, watch life go by. Winter? Everybody’s going to Central Park to play with the snow. Beautiful sunny day? Everyone goes to Central Park to enjoy. I often say that on hot days, it’s like our beach: everyone ends up going to the park – and there are those who take the concept of beach seriously and wear biquinis. I always say it’s the kind of place that deserves a lot of time of your trip – at least one afternoon, depending on the weather, obviously. After all, the place is huge: it goes from 59th St to 110th Street. There are several famous spots there – I’m planning a post to guide you in this matter – but today I wanted to talk about a very special one: the Conservatory Garden. I do not see many people talking about it, but I think the place is worth a visit during your walk through Central Park.

Located at 5th Avenue and 105th street and open daily from 8am until dusk, Conservatory Garden is the only formal garden found in Central Park. The quiet, calm atmosphere of the Garden, free from runners and bicyclists, makes it an ideal spot for both weddings and relaxing afternoon walks. Opened in 1937, is composed of six acres of beautiful seasonal plants that are arranged into three styles: English, French, and Italian. I was super curious to visit the place and, last weekend, in a sunny Sunday – and with the cherry blossom – we stopped by to take some pictures for you. I loved – the vibe is different from the park itself, it is like a botanical garden. The water fountains were not turned on yet. But there were a lot of flowers! Conservatory Garden has a lot of places to sit and and also an elevated area where you can see all the garden. It’s also a favorite place for weddings.

I loved the Conservatory Garden! On the website, it is possible to check out the bloom schedule.

Things you need to know before living abroad

You know that, besides tips about New York, I really like to share with you the truths about living abroad. I wrote several posts about this subject – and videos – and is something that always inspires me. We always have this idea that living abroad is always better and I think when it comes to New York this idea is even more romanticized. I am living here for three years now – and for the time being, we have no plans to return to Brazil. Yes, I am very happy living here – and no, that does not mean that my life is perfect and I don’t have problems. Living abroad solves, yes, some problems, but does not zero this equation. The problems are different. Today, I decided to talk about 7 very important things about living abroad, which have a lot to do with lifestyle and the process of adaptation here. These facts are based on my experience and may not apply to all people. But, anyway, I found it worth sharing ….

1. Language will always be a barrier – no matter how many English classes I take – my first language will always be Portuguese. And here I am not even talking about accent, which will always shows that I am a foreigner – in a city like New York, this is not a problem at all. I am talking about vocabulary. I consider myself fluent, but unfortunately, we are not prepared 100% for all the situations that life presents you. At the moment, I am doing a medical treatment and every time I have an appointment, my English is put to the test. There are words I do not understand – and what I am learning – are words that I must find to express myself. I confess: it’s frustrating. Especially when the doctor does not understand what you mean. And it does not matter if I ever become an American citizen – I’ll always be Brazilian. And I’m not saying that I feel smaller because of that, on the contrary, I’m very proud of my origins.

2. You need to reinvent yourself and start from scratch – I have many friends who came to live here for the same reason I did – the husband was hired or transferred here. We all had careers in Brazil: lawyer, journalist, chemical engineer, pharmaceutical. Contrary to what many people think, the job market here is fierce. Have you thought how many people are here trying to achieve their dreams? How many people, from every corner of the world, are here trying to be successful? And have you thought that it is not always just to get there and start your career? Professions such as lawyers and others in the health field require more training and testing so that you fit the job requirements here. Often, it is necessary to start from scratch. I know people who are working in completely different areas, others who have been studying and working for some time to fill the requirements. And did you know that not all work visa categories automatically give work permit to the spouse? Yes, the work visa, the most desired by 90% of the people, does not give work authorization to the spouse. Do not ask me why, this is the question that should pop into the heads of all women (yes, the vast majority of H1B visas are issued for men) who are here and are unable to work. For those who have career plans and ambition, it is very frustrating. That’s what we’re talking about formal jobs. You can not ignore the fact that there are thousands of people who come to the US to try. People who had “nice” jobs in their country of origin and come here to work as a waiter, cleaning or taking care of children. Nothing less dignified, because no job makes you better than the other, right? But you: Would you do any type of work?

3. Loss of identity – this has a lot to do with the previous topic. In your country, you had your career, your profession, your identity. I was Laura, from Meleiro, who studied at Unisul, daughter of Donato and Meri, who worked with social media, who had a blog about fashion and beauty. Here, your references are no longer good for anything. It is as if you have zeroled your life and needed to rebuild your identity. Now, I am Laura, Brazilian, who has lived here since 2014, a blogger who writes about New York, an app founder, married. Obviously that’s not all that sums up who I am, but a lot has changed. Everything I’ve lived until moving to New York has contributed a lot to the person I’ve become, but they are internal references. No one knows my city – in fact, few people know more than Rio or Sao Paulo when it comes to Brazil. My resume, which was interesting to the city where I lived, is not as good for a place like New York. Although I am living here – legally, in case anyone is wondering – I am not free to do what I want, because the immigration limits quite what a person can do here in bureaucratic terms.

4. Change your patterns – for everything, even for food. You have to keep up with the news, know what’s happening in the place where you live. Also keep in mind that habits are other. Speaking of New York, do not forget that space is a luxury item and the apartments are small, that having a car is not viable, that winter is very cold (and lasts for months), that you will need to do your laundry… And maybe you will not find that fruit from your country in the supermarket, but you will find strawberries and raspberry for a cheaper price. That you may not find that product that you love, but here are thousands of other things that do not exist in your country. Cut the umbilical cord. “Ah, but in my country it was not like that.” Exactly, but, remember: you’re no longer in your country. Deconstructing concepts and adapting to the new routine is much easier than struggling with things you will not be able to change.

5. Living the culture – last Sunday was Easter, and days before, when I said goodbye to someone I would not see until the following week, the person wished me a Happy Easter. I thanked and did the same, but then I was thinking about how life in New York changed my mind about some holidays Christmas is still special to me, but Easter always goes blank. I confess it was never my favorite date and maybe that’s why we never did anything special. On the other hand, we get excited for Halloween and make plans for Thanksgiving. I think it very good to incorporate new celebrations into our lives, it makes us feel more “included” in the place where we live.

6. The truth about “everything is cheap” – Brazilians are very excited to shop in New York because the prices of many products tend to be cheaper when compared to Brazil. But living here is not like Becky Bloom and Carrie Bradshaw lives. Speaking specifically about the Big Apple – and I always hit that key – it’s good to remember that life here is very expensive. Yes, it is cheap to buy clothes, makeup and electronics, but rent, grocery and health insurance are not cheap at all. Services, then, do not even talk. Forget maid and beauty salon every week – this has never been a problem for me, because I have never had this standard of living in Brazil, but I know it is a reality for many people. Not everyone can live alone – in a charming place in the West Village – no one has a view of the Empire State, you can not go out for a drink every day. In fact, you can not even be a crazy consumer, because it is very likely that you do not have enough space to store everything you buy.

I hope you enjoyed the post! Living abroad is a great, an enriching experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect…

Ayios: a Greek restaurant in the East Village

Last week, after a super busy Friday, Thiago and I decided to enjoy the good weather and enjoy some time outside before we went back home. We had a beer in a bar and then we wanted to eat. We walked through St. Mark’s Place in the East Village, a busy and nice area, until we found  Ayios Greek Rotissiere, a Greek restaurant with interesting menu. We love our experience, so I decided to share the tip.

I have said on other occasions that I love tasting different foods, and I think that Greek dishes are super delicious, like Moussaka, a kind of lasagna made with eggplant, potatoes and ground beef. This dish is even available on the Ayios menu ($ 16), but I was not that hungry. Another highlight of the menu are the Rotisserie meats. It has chicken and pork and these meats are roasted slowly (they are known as gyro) and are available in the dish version, with sides ($14) and also in the sandwich version ($9), with pita bread, which is a delight ! And we ordered the Yeero Sampler, which comes four sandwiches in “mini” version (not so mini) for $ 20. You can share with someone, because the sandwiches are not small and are super stuffed.

We also really enjoyed the appetizer and side options, which start at $6 and include dishes such as French fries, fried calamari, soup, shrimp … We ordered the kolokithokeftedes, made with zucchini. The portion with 6 cost $10 and we loved it! The basket with 4 sandwiches plus that portion ofkolokithokeftedes was more than enough for both of us and we still brought food home. Remember that the menu also has salads and there are vegan /vegetarian options as well. The servic is also sensational – not to mention that they serve warm pita bread with hummus as a courtesy of the house.

I also have to talk about the atmosphere, with super cute decoration and very ample space. We loved our experience and thought the place is a great option for lunch or dinner without spending too much! Check the website for the full menu.

Address: 2 St Mark’s Place