By the Way Bakery

As you know very well by now, I believe everyone should have the comfort of their favorite bakery in NYC. As the temperatures get colder and the holidays get closer, the joy of baked goods can only get sweeter. (Heh.) Since coming to the Big Apple, we have found some beautiful bakeries and today we are taking you to visit yet another gem: By the Way Bakery!

by the way bakery (storefront)

Describing themselves as an “old-fashioned bakery,” By the Way Bakery is located on the Upper West Side, and therefore more accessible than some of our more obscure favorites downtown. Located on Broadway just off the corner of 90th Street, By the Way Bakery is just a quick walk from local attractions such as the American Museum of National History and the Westside Community Garden. The closest subway station would be the 86th Street stop on the 1, B, or C trains.

by the way bakery (samples)

The best thing about By the Way Bakery, besides the fact that it’s a dairy-free bakery that is easy to get to, is that they give free samples! The day I was there, they had some adorable crumbly almond cookies and some lemon poppyseed cake. Usually when I walk into a bakery, I stand at the counter for about ten minutes being amazed, and it was much more natural for me to munch on free samples and say things like, “Hmmm, yeah, lemon,” than to stand and stare like a robot.

by the way bakery (menu)

The bakery is small in the front, but the whole kitchen set-up is pretty visible and you can see lots of new treats coming on trays, which adds to the excitement. Everything on their chalkboard menu is well-lettered and legible, and the various baked goods are displayed to their advantage in glass cases. By the Way Bakery is not as sugary and cutesy as Babycakes or Sugar and Plumm, so they have things like tea cakes rather than cupcakes. Much as I love cupcakes, teatime is my favorite kind of snacktime so tea cakes are just perfect!

by the way bakery (cake display)

I had, as always, a lot of trouble deciding what to get as there were so many yummy options. By the Way Bakery is on the expensive side, as many upscale and special-diet boutique bakeries are, so I limited myself to one small item, plus as many free samples as I could get away with eating. They had adorable miniature tea cakes, perfectly sized for a Bear, and in a variety of flavors. I settled for the pear plum mini cake, which was adorable and delicious.

by the way bakery (plum pear teacake)

We took our snack to the park to enjoy, and it was as yummy as it was beautiful. I love both pears and plums, and they are both extremely underappreciated fruits as far as the dessert industry goes. The piece of plum folded into the top of the mini cake gave it a beautiful and rich color accent, and the cinnamon crumbles on the top reminded me of cinnamon toast—a cult classic—with a little sugary texture. All in all, the perfect snack for a lovely warm spring afternoon.

by the way bakery (bear in park)

Bear loves warm snacks on a sunny afternoon, and is always happy to find something perfectly sweet and golden brown as he is. We so enjoyed our excursion to By the Way Bakery, and can’t wait to return for more!

Kang Suh

Sometimes my cousin invites me to posh events on the East Side, full of business people and free wine. I get to wear my leather pants, and he gets someone to fix his pants when they have holes, and usually food is involved. It’s a win-win-win sort of deal. So earlier this spring, post-event at the Asia Society, we wandered up and down the Upper East Side, looking for a place to grab a bite. We passed several subway stops before he finally just said, “You know, I really just want to go to Koreatown.” So we went. And it was great.

kang suh (sign)

One of our favorite K-town spots is Kang Suh, located on the edge of the neighborhood. The heart of Koreatown is the block of 32nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, accessible via a short walk from the 34th Street Station on the B, D, F, M, N, Q, or R trains. Kang Suh is on the south side of the street, closer to 6th Avenue.

kang suh (restaurant)

Kang Suh is a fairly large restaurant and has two floors of seating. The first floor is a typical restaurant experience, with menus and tea service, and the second floor is more of the coveted KBBQ experience, complete with hibachi grills and steam vents.

kang suh (menu)

For the uninitiated, part of the allure of Korean barbecue is a do-it-yourself grilling experience. First you order trays of marinated and sliced meat, and then you grill it on your own table. You can also order various rice and noodle dishes to supplement, and the entire thing is family-style to the next level.

kang suh (small plates)

The grill option is very good for an intimate party who has varying tastes—you can pick your meat off the grill at any time, and therefore control your level of doneness. Be very careful, of course, with young children, and with expensive clothing, as the table can get very smoky and the grill can be greasy and obviously extremely hot. One thing that concerns my family is the contamination of raw meat with cooking utensils, and it is typical for the waitstaff to come by your table and mix up your meat for you, often with the tongs that came with the platter of raw meat. Everything gets cooked eventually though, so I would definitely recommend cooking your own food at least once!

kang suh (meat)

Kang Suh has a very nice grill set up, with lots of other table space, so you don’t have to worry about your sleeves getting greasy like you might at some other restaurants. One interesting thing at Kang Suh is that they change the grill for practically every platter of meat, which can be overwhelming. We tried to ask them not to change it once, and they seemed very unhappy about that. Overall, they give decent portions of food, and it’s easy to order a combo platter to try a little bit of everything. We always recommend the short ribs and the beef, but look at the menu and ask questions about what seems interesting to you. Because the meat is only marinated and served raw, it is easy to avoid dairy and peanuts, because those do not generally appear in meat marinades.

kang suh (jap chae)

If you have a large party, it can be difficult to grill yourself because you will have to be separated into different tables because the hibachi is built into the table and can usually only allow six or so people to one grill. Therefore, we recommend you eat on the first floor, at the regular table service section. The regular restaurant section can also be good for parties with young kids, or with people who are upset by raw meat or afraid of hot grills.

kang suh (plate)

The food will be cooked in the kitchen, as usual, and served family style. I like to supplement my barbecue with noodles and a bibimbap, sort of the Korean style of fried rice. The kitchen service is very fast, and they usually have your food on the table within minutes of ordering it. Whether you choose to do your own grilling or not, Kang Suh is a great place to eat!

kang suh (bear)

K-town is generally cool, full of karaoke and boba and barbecue, but is also fairly expensive so be mindful when you plan your outing. Luckily, Kang Suh has a great lunch special and is pretty reasonable given the average prices of KBBQ. We’ve also done dinner there a few times, and it has turned out to be a decent value compared to some of the portion sizes.

kang suh (steamed egg)

As the temperatures drop and the holidays start, you might find yourself with an influx of guests and cold air. Instead of cooking up a storm—or just cooking in a storm—take the night off and venture down to Koreatown for a hot hibachi grill, and even a steamed egg if you order enough. Your friends and your taste buds will thank you, and you might finally get around to trying that one new thing you resolved to do this year!


“So, like, you’re allergic to bread?” Of all the questions that I get about my allergies, I find these kinds of questions to be rather inane. I hate having to explain to people that I’m not allergic to the concept of “bread” but rather the dairy or nuts that are potentially in the bread. Is your bread dairy-free and peanut-free? Then I’m not allergic! (If you can’t figure this one out, just stop here.)

There are, of course, some foods that I consider categorically dangerous, foods like pizza that inherently contains gooey cheese as a necessary component. Pizza is a food that I had previously placed on the strict DO NOT EAT list, and I am largely okay with that. I may have been ostracized at sleepovers and Girl Scout meetings in my younger years, but as a fastidious avoider of pizza, I have also been immune to the bribery of several thousand campus clubs—“Meeting on Tuesday at 7 PM! FREE PIZZA!!!!!!”

As I said, though, I am technically just allergic to the cheese on pizza, and so if someone, somewhere made a cheeseless pizza, technically, I could eat it. A city like New York, which some would argue is the capital of pizza (sorry Naples), must have that somewhere, right? Behold, the Brunch with Bear team has found the impossible: allergy-friendly pizza!

nizza (front)

Amidst the dirt and danger of Hell’s Kitchen and New York’s Theater District stands Nizza, right on 9th Avenue, between 44th and 45th Streets, just a short walk from the 42nd Street – Times Square station on the 1, 2, 3, 7, A, C, E, N, Q, R, and S trains. It is close to most Broadway theaters, and is a great place to go for your pre-theatre dinner!

nizza (restaurant)

The inside of Nizza is pretty standard for a New York restaurant—cute décor, nice ambience, low lighting. The walls are lined with colorful bottles and the bar features prominently as an entire wall of the establishment. Outdoor seating is an option during the warmer months, but do take into account the crowd and traffic of 9th Avenue (read: cigarette smoke and truckers honking constantly).

nizza (menu)

The waitstaff at Nizza is a tad blasé but don’t let that stop you from being direct. They were able to accommodate the dairy and peanut allergy easily, and did not hesitate to double and triple check when I had questions. They seem very used to accommodating special requests, particularly food allergies. One of the things that our waitress checked on was the bread, a rosemary and olive oil focaccia sort of bread, which was very olive-oily but very delicious. I don’t know if we’ve gone over this before but I love bread so Nizza gets extra points for extra bread.

nizza (bread)

The pizza crust at Nizza, according to our waitress, is completely dairy-free. (For our non-gluten friends, I am told they have many gluten-free options as well, but obviously we cannot speak of those with any expertise.) Seeing as this blog is about brunch, I ordered the brunch pizza, the pizza uova, with eggs, pancetta, cherry tomatoes, and arugula.

nizza (pizza uova)

At this point, I might just start to cheer, because pizza! As I mentioned earlier, I really have no reference point for pizza but the idea of a brunch pizza is just genius. The sauce was not overwhelming, and the crust was puffy enough to accommodate the pile of ingredients. The eggs were cooked firmly enough that they did not go dripping over everything, and the pancetta and tomatoes kept it full of flavor. Altogether, the pizza encompassed some of my favorite things—arugula! arugula!—and combined them in a way that was both filling and thrilling! Pizza! What a concept!

nizza (bear)

If any campus clubs were offering me a free Nizza pizza uova, I would likely hand over my email address, phone number, and possibly several volunteer hours to get that pizza. While no one else in the restaurant was as excited as I was about the idea of eating pizza, they seemed to be enjoying the pleasant atmosphere. The clientele at Nizza was mostly just trendy adults eating pizza, but a few young families were also enjoying themselves. As I said before, Nizza is a great pre-theatre venue, and also a great casual lunch spot if you can handle the madness of Midtown.

nizza (to-go box)

The pizza portion was enough food for two people, so I kept half and took it home for lunch the next day. It was very easy to reheat in the oven, top with a little fresh arugula, and enjoy over a Netflix night. If it were a little closer to campus, and a little farther from Times Square, I would easily head back to Nizza often!

New York is a city of food and possibility, and unfortunately when I first came to live here that was a more dangerous combination than I would have liked. Thanks to restaurants like Nizza, New York has retained its potential for adventure—the good kind—and we can’t wait to have many, many more.

Café Gitane

Happy Labor Day everyone! As the summer season comes to a close, so does the season of wearing crisp whites and nautical stripes. So for one last summer weekend, we are taking you to Café Gitane at the Jane, where the legends of sailors and shipmen live on!

New York is a city full of secrets and among those secrets are darling little cafés tucked into all sort of pockets and hollows throughout Gotham. This particular café has two locations, but one of them is the elusive Jane Hotel. Originally a hotel for sailors, the Jane Hotel was apparently the refuge site for survivors of the Titanic, and has since functioned as an off-Broadway theatre and a ballroom. Now a New York City landmark, the Jane Hotel is still full of secrets, including the adorable Café Gitane.


Enter the grand entrance of the Jane Hotel on far corner of Jane Street and West Street, near the Pier 51 playground on the Hudson River Park. There you will find a French-Moroccan-themed establishment boasting accented waitresses in perfectly pressed uniforms and a bohemian décor that is reminiscent of both the Epcot Center at Disneyworld and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!. The closest subway stations are the 14th Street station on the 1, 2, or 3 trains, or the 8th Avenue stop on the L train. Café Gitane also has another location on Mott Street, though not attached to a historic hotel.


The menu is extensive and features French-Mediterranean fare at generally affordable prices. Their most popular item is an avocado toast, which has seen rising popularity since the settlement of California and the onset of celebrity lifestyle blogs. Unfortunately, according to our waitress, their French baguette does indeed contain milk, but she recommended a couple salads as well as their baked eggs.


The baked eggs were well-presented and topped with a generous heaping of tomato sauce and basil. On the side came a couple pieces of French bread, even though the waitress had mentioned the bread had dairy in it. I will admit, I was curious to see if she was telling the truth, as French baguettes are traditionally dairy-free. Alas, I will reveal that the waitress was right—one piece of French bread in, and my throat was already slightly itchy. The eggs themselves were runny and warm, and went well with the soupy tomato sauce. A large serving—three eggs!—was perfect for sharing, and certainly a complete breakfast.


Café Gitane has a family-friendly atmosphere and there were many young children with their scooters and stuffed animals, mostly sleeping while their parents finished sharing gossip and catching up. The high ceilings kept the restaurant airy but not drafty, and the many eclectic decorative elements made great conversation pieces.


Café Gitane, sadly, does not have enough selection to contend as a regular brunch option for Brunch with Bearees, but they do have a full bar, classic cocktails, and a building full of history that may be more conducive to a night out in one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Once a meeting place for salty seadogs and the artistic elite, the Jane Hotel and Café Gitane now maintain a quaint and quiet atmosphere for reminiscing and rediscovery.


Nothing says a perfect summer brunch like an open-air restaurant and some good huevos rancheros, so today we are taking a trip downtown to Edward’s for some sunshine and simple new American brunch. Edward’s, a TriBeCa staple, is a charming sidewalk café that boasts a family-friendly atmosphere as well as a full bar. Whatever you’re looking for this weekend, Edward’s has the brunch for you.

edward's (sidewalk)

Located on Broadway between Duane Street and Thomas Street, Edward’s is an easy walk from either the Franklin Street station on the 1 train or the Chambers Street station on the 1, 2, and 3 trains. Edward’s is also near the Hudson River Park, which is the perfect place for a weekend stroll before or after brunch.

When we swung by Edward’s on a Saturday afternoon, the sidewalk café was already filled with people sipping mimosas and munching their brunch. Consequently, we sat at the bar, which still had lots of natural lighting and a great view of the entire restaurant. (Of course, sitting at the bar means not a lot of places to put your bags, so don’t bring your whole life in your tote, especially if you also have to carry a stuffed bear, ahem.)

edward's (bar)

Our server was the bartender himself, and while he winced when I told him that I was allergic to butter, he recovered quickly and offered up any egg dish. I asked about the huevos rancheros and he nodded vigorously. “Oh, yes, huevos rancheros, yes, yes, we can definitely do that.” He ran to the kitchen to double check, and there seemed to be no problem.

edward's (menu)

For the uninitiated, huevos rancheros are a classic breakfast plate, with eggs (huevos), tortillas, rice, beans, and whatever else restaurants like to put on them, or consequently, whatever else you have in your refrigerator. I think of huevos rancheros like fried rice—it’s what you make the day after you’ve made tacos, and you throw all the ingredients together again with some eggs and call it breakfast. The eggs are classically served over easy, so if you like runny eggs but can’t eat Hollandaise, this breakfast dish is a great one!

edward's (food)

At Edward’s, huevos rancheros, though elegantly plated, is remarkably simple: black beans and tomato sauce, with a crispy tortilla, eggs, and diced tomatoes as a garnish. What started off as a fork-and-knife breakfast quickly became a spoon breakfast, but the simplicity allowed for the main ingredients to be powerful and complement each other fully. The runny eggs softened the crispy tortilla, and the tomatoes and the sauce gave a sweetness to the salty, hearty beans. Although there was not many ingredients on the plate, and we would have certainly eaten a larger portion, we appreciated that Edward’s was able to preserve a classic dish with integrity and respect to its simplicity, unlike so many restaurants who constantly try to reinvent things.

edward's (restaurant)

The ambience at Edward’s is friendly, and the volume level was low enough that we were able to converse sitting sideways at a bar, but not so soft that we felt uncomfortable discussing our personal lives. The bartender was attentive and kept our drinks filled and checked in about the allergies again after we started eating. He even let us split our bill three ways on three different cards! (Bless that man.)

edward's (matches)

New York can be overwhelming with its trends, especially the foodie ones, and it’s often frustrating to find a simple place to grab brunch and catch up without having to wait in lines for the hottest new place, or sift through the menu to find something where you recognize all the ingredients listed. Welcome to Edward’s, where you can embrace the romance of summer in New York and promptly ignore the rest. They even have old-school matchbooks with their logo printed on it, a throwback to the days when restaurants still did that!

edward's (bear)

Edward’s is the New York that you hope to find as a New Yorker—not the dazzling danger of Times Square and Rockefeller, but the quiet New York that you can tuck in your back pocket like a matchbook and keep for another sunny weekend.