Here is a fun little guide to the neighborhood of the strala studio downtown NYC. We have the pleasure of hosting so many amazing people form all around the globe who brave coming to NYC to practice the ease with us. What a place to practice softness and moving in agreement with yourself. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. That goes for the yoga and some other things too. Well it’s been our home for a decade so we thought we’d share some amazing local spots for coffee, tea, lunch and dinner. There are so many great places in walking distance to the studio. You really can’t go too wrong. These are just a few of our favorites. Oh, and all these spots were way awesome, and built their followings even before instagram. Even cooler is they still don’t need anything but word of mouth advertising. They are just that good.
Steven, the owner is there most days, which makes this place like the sober version of cheers. The coffee and tea are awesome, sandwiches and cookies are delicious and you’ll always find an interesting dog or 5 hanging around. Also GS insta wins for least cheesy and most rad (all dogs) of all successful coffee shops ever. Mike and I spent pretty much every morning here when we lived in SOHO, a couple blocks from the studio and always stop by when we are around the studio. I went there not pregnant, all the way pregnant, and it was our first, very slow walk, with a 2 week old Daisy. Pro tip, if you go early in the mornings, the most magical Japanese man with all the secrets to the universe sits outside with his dog. He will probably talk with you if you are friendly.
You are a true downtown New Yorker if you have been at Mamouns around 2am a time or twenty. And if it’s your first time, that’s cool too. In my early 20s I lived on Macdougal street for a few months and survived on their insanely good falafel and grape leaves. I kept going ever since. Mike also loves the Baklava but he’s the sweet tooth. It’s all SO GOOD. Pro tip: Have your order ready, keep it simple, say it politely, have your cash in hand, and for God’s sake, leave a tip. I was able to start a savings account and eat healthy because of this place. It’s a city treasure.
Bleecker street between Broadway and Lafyette has seen amazing cafes come and go. We lost Two Boots a couple years back and Organic Avenue had a strange recent run of open and closed. The corner cafe changes it’s entire menu, vibe and ownership every year or so, but always seems to have decent food whatever is there. And then, there is the adorable, Cafe Angelique, who offers yummy sandwiches, and nice coffee. It’s actually kind of an authentic Paris vibe food and decor wise. People are nice and it’s always easy, fast, and yummy.
Come hungry, leave happy and a bit spiced up. Mike does pancakes, I do huevos rancheros, or rice and beans with a side of spinach. Also CORN ON THE COB best thing ever. Everything on the menu is fantastic and they are easy and cool. The main cafe is the trailer like thing on the corner and the outpost is next door with a limited menu. Everything is good. Seriously. Everything.
For a nice but chill night out, or if you want to impress a friend with really cool atmosphere in that dark velvet chairs, worn in candelabra kind of way, Gemma, the restaurant at the Bowery hotel is the spot. Early dinner is my favorite. There is usually an amazing pasta special and their pizzas and salads are super fresh. Whether a dinner meeting, a group of friends, lunch alone, or meeting for a drink, you won’t want to leave once you step inside Gemma. Oh, the bread. Make sure you try the bread.
On a practical note for picking up fruits, veggies, and anything you might need / want, there is the mecca of Whole Foods on Bowery and Houston. There is a pretty great sneeze bar with salad, hot, cold, soup, and everything else. You have to stay focused otherwise it’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up eating mac and cheese, curry, veggie soup, cherry tomatoes, and a cookie, which isn’t all together horrible. Get a cart, or at least a basket and bring reusable bags.
Tara & Mike