My Favorite New York City Eats

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My Favorite New York City Eats

Three years after having moved to Southern California, I am still surprisingly asked where one should eat while in New York City, my home for a number of years. A combination of my desire to continuously try new things and having the most diverse, and some of the best, cuisines represented in the city, made me the foodie I consider myself to be today. New York City restaurants change all of the time, so I put together a list of my classic, always-go-to-when-I'm-home-in-NYC eats! 

While I've written about other foodie adventures before, in writing this blog post, the reality hit me that all of these foods bring me back to positive experiences. Taim is what I used to always eat post spin class at the Greenwich Equinox. Levaine's is where I always took my many out of town friends visiting the city, and ordering at Vanessa's reminds me of the beautiful chaos - the yelling, the close knit quarters - that New York City is on a day to day basis.

One Brooklyn Bridge View

With that said, every single one of these eats make my mouth water as I write about them and makes me wish I could transport them to San Diego. Every single one makes me say it's the best of its kind in THE world, so enjoy homies and let me know what you think if you visit! xo, Evelyn


Taim Falafal New York City

The best falafel has a soft center and crispy, but not TOO crispy, shell. Taim gives you THE perfect falafel (in three flavors!) with the freshest ingredients and most flavorful tahini. I love their original location in the West Village. Yes, a little small, but so are many spaces in NYC! 

What to order: Falafel sandwhich with the traditional green (parsley, cilantro, mint) falafel, "with everything" being KEY! This gets you pickles (SO. BOMB.) and more. Wash it down with a date, lime, banana, soy smoothie. I actually make this smoothie at home with Greek yogurt for a protein kick AND it reminds me of sitting at Taim, looking out the window watching life go by in the West Village. Sigh. 

Taim Falafel New York City

167 West 74th St. New York City

Levaine Bakery

Levaine Bakery Cookie

Levaine Bakery cookies are THE. BEST. IN. THE. WORLD. Every bite has the perfect amount of melty, gooey, chips (whether chocolate chip or peanut butter) Each cookie is hefty, and they should be as they were created by two former triathletes for major substance! They are slightly firm on the outside, perfectly soft in the center, and remain soft even a day or two later. No Levaine cookie has lasted longer than 2 days in my presence :) I always go to their tiny Upper West Side location but as of June 2017, they've opened up a second location three blocks away!

What to order: I love their original walnut chocolate chip cookie followed by their dark chocolate peanut butter cookie. Their bakeries have other options - scones, sticky buns, etc - but the cookies are why you go!

Levaine Bakery Cookie

118 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

Vanessa's Dumplings

Vanessa's Dumplings NYC

There are a lot of amazing dumplings options in Chinatown but I keep going back to Vanessa's! I like a variety of dumpling options and freshness, and Vanessa's gives both of that to you! You literally see the dumplings being fried and boiled as you order them. Do not let the almost always crowded tables turn you off: people eat dumplings quick and keep it moving! Also, ensure you go to their original Chinatown location and not 14th St. Note a theme here: I like the original places of each of my fav places! It's where it all started for these places!

What to order: If you get ONE thing, get the chive and pork boiled dumplings. Those are the ones below and are my fav! If you order a bunch of things, as you should, get the sesame pancake, the pork fried buns, and another order of the chive and pork dumplings, but the fried version! Also, eat them there! Everything is best just a little after they hand you over your order, because everything will be hot! 

Vanessa's Dumplings NYC

W 53rd Street & 6th Ave. New York City 10019

Halal Guys NYC

$7, chicken and rice. Extra white sauce, please. These two things will bring you great joy and is what you need to know about ordering at the Halal Guys. These carts that are open from 11am to the wee hours of the night (hello, post bar/club food!) crank out the best Halal food! Juicy chicken and gyros! Yessss! While they have several platters and falafel too, I am all about going to mid-town for the original cart experience and sitting near by to eat.

What to order: As mentioned, chicken and rice with the white sauce! The white sauce is clutch! If you like spicy, ask for the red sauce too! 


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Little Italy San Diego Engagement: Sarah and Martin

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Little Italy San Diego Engagement: Sarah and Martin

Love is embracing things the person you love holds close to their heart. Sarah loves Easter: springtime, the pastel colors, and flowers have always brought her so much excitement and joy. When the time was right for Martin to propose to Sarah, he tied in her love for this holiday by taking her on an Easter egg hunt for a ring in their apartment. She, of course, said yes!

Martin, once again, embraced one of Sarah's loves at their engagement session: you see, Sarah loves James Coffee Co. in Little Italy. When we decided to have this coffee shop be part of the backdrop for their engagement session, I incorrectly assumed that they both love coffee. No, in fact, Martin doesn't drink coffee but was open to the idea because Sarah beams when he holds her hand and they are recapping their day, and she has her coffee. 

Sarah and Martin, you two are so much fun and the absolute cutest! I love that you are both so thoughtful with each other and I cannot wait to photograph your wedding this fall! I will be multitasking on the dance floor -  jamming out and taking photos at the same time - as that band gets down! xoxo, Evelyn


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Harbor Island, San Diego Wedding: Maggie and Brent

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Harbor Island, San Diego Wedding: Maggie and Brent

Maggie holds Brent's face before she kisses him in the most utterly romantic way - she deeply loves this man! - and Brent smiles from ear to ear when he's close to her. These two wanted to wed with a bit of tradition, a bit of intimacy, yet also a sense of inclusion of all of their friends and family, both near and far. The result: a Jewish wedding ceremony overlooking the San Diego bayside attended only by their absolute inner circle, followed by a fun filled, food and cocktail flowing party at The Pearl for all of their loved ones a few days later. 

Maggie, your love for champagne, the Bachelorette, and absolute kind heart makes me so grateful we crossed paths. Brent, your speech and wonderful words spoken about Maggie had me holding back the tears. The genuine love you two share is so very evident and I'm beyond honored you chose me to document your entire wedding celebration. xo, Evelyn

A few days post ceremony, Maggie and Brent invited all of their friends and family for an amazing party at The Pearl Hotel! Maggie LOVES rose gold, so it was no surprise to see pops of this color throughout the reception's decor!

One of the best part's about having a reception on a different date than the ceremony? New dress, new hair do, and more portraits of Maggie and Brent!

Photography: Evelyn Molina Photography | Rabbi: Rabbi Ian | Hair & Make Up: Jeslin Salon | Reception: The Pearl Hotel

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Park Hyatt Aviara Wedding Inspiration Shoot

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Park Hyatt Aviara Wedding Inspiration Shoot

I believe in timelessness: neutrals never go out of style and dressing up formally for momentous occasions is a must. These thoughts are what inspired this Park Hyatt Aviara classic wedding inspiration shoot wedding industry vendors who I admire and deeply respect!

With luxurious, lush foliage and Spanish colonial architecture, Park Hyatt Aviara was the perfect backdrop for this classic couple’s portraits. The bride was dressed in a Pronovias gown found at Downtown San Diego's Elle Bridal and with hair and make-up done by the talented and sweet Cindy Tran of Noir Beaute. The groom wore a classic tuxedo from Stitch & Tie like it was custom made for him! A little back story: I told Stitch & Tie, "My 'groom' works out. Can you ensure this will fit?!" and with just his measurements, they delivered!

The neutral colored bouquet and boutonniere from the amazingly warm LaVonne Crawford of Adorations Inc, made my heart fly: not only was it gorgeous, it smelled amazing.

Eoy this Park Hyatt Avaira wedding inspiration for the classic, San Diego resort wedding!


Photography: Evelyn Molina | Venue: Park Hyatt Aviara | Wedding Dress: Elle Bridal | Hair & Make-Up: Noir Beaute | Tuxedo: Stitch & Tie | Florals: Adorations Inc


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San Francisco Pier 7 Engagement: Lien and Phil

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San Francisco Pier 7 Engagement: Lien and Phil

When Lien and Phil initially crossed paths, their schedules simply wouldn't align for them to go on an actual date because things they are both equally passionate about - their careers and travel - kept getting in the way. When they finally sat down, face to face on a real date, sparks flew and they bonded over their sense for international adventure, family, and their love for food!

As their relationship developed, there were very specific moments that defined the love they have for each other. Lien and Phil were out running errands one day, when she spotted her favorite store. Like a good boyfriend Phil was, he agreed to go in with her. Lien, both excited to explore this location and slightly nervous to express to Phil the absolute thrill she got from this shopping experience, was immediately calmed and overwhelmed with happiness when Phil said, "Lets go down every isle!" As easy as it came for Phil to join in on something that made her so happy, it was equally as simple for Lien to know that she loved Phil. Phil on the other hand, knew he was all in when Lien met his Mom for the first time, and given their mutual value on family, is looking forward to family portraits on the day of their wedding.

Lien and Phil have spent many of days and nights in San Francisco, so the city served as the perfect backdrop for their engagement session!

Lien and Phil, I love that we can talk travel, food, and simply crack jokes together: you are my kind of people and I am beyond honored to be capturing your big day this spring! I can't wait! xo, Evelyn

 

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