From Pineapples

Travel tips, stories, and adventures from around the world.

Tag: halal guys

#GirlsTrip – Where we ate in Philly

TL;DRPhilly’s food scene is legit. Check out the BYO places (BYO brunch, what?!) and epic happy hours (see Double Knot below) and make a reso at one of the fancier…

TL;DRPhilly’s food scene is legit. Check out the BYO places (BYO brunch, what?!) and epic happy hours (see Double Knot below) and make a reso at one of the fancier neighborhood places. Loosen your belt loop a notch and enjoy!

Before we dive in

A little background – it’s been FIFTEEN YEARS since we graduated high school! Man those years have flown. What started as a Facebook post about a new food hall in Brooklyn escalated pretty quickly into a trip to the East Coast.

Scattered across the country since graduation, the four of us have not been in the same place together since… senior year when Alani came to visit us (she left us a year early). We’ve all come a long way since those days sitting under the library during lunch. College. Marriage. More College. Kids. It’s wild to think how long I’ve known these girls. 🙂

Flying in

Aside from Kristy, who lives in Philly and let us all crash at her place (thanks!!), we flew in. Alani from San Francisco, Karen from Minneapolis, and me from Hawaii. I expected epic jetlag the first few days, but my new strategy worked and we were all up and eating shake shack at 11pm because #vacay.

We crammed a LOT into those two days. Thanks once again to Kristy for being our tour guide and planning everything! She made sure we were able to see a ton for such a short trip.


Reading Terminal Market

While it’s a bit of a tourist trap, I’m still a sucker for a good food hall. We started off at Dutch Eating Place and Beiler’s Doughnuts in Reading Terminal Market. The turkey sandwich was delish, but the apple dumplings are what I’d go back for. Skip all the cake doughnuts at Beiler’s and go straight for the Fritters (blueberry or apple). The line can be long, but it moves fast and those fritters are legit. They were super fresh and reminded me of a combo between a malasada and a doughnut. This is also a cool spot to swing by for omiyage since there’s so many little Philly-only shops.

Chinatown and City Center Quick Eats

Philly has a LOT to offer in terms of shopping and eating. In the City Center, you’ll find Shake Shack, Uniqlo as well as all the standard retailers (H&M, Sephora, etc). Chinatown Square is a new-ish food hall that opened up with HALAL GUYS (!) and the original rolled ice cream place from NYC (I-CE-NY). We walked through, but since we just ate didn’t pick anything up (plus, we would be in NYC in a few days). We did manage to fit in a trip to Shake Shack, even though it was at 11pm.

Double Knot

Aside from the quick service places, there’s a huge foodie scene and tons of restaurants that are BYO (bring your own alcohol and no corkage = amazing). On our first night, we had happy hour at Double Knot, where the happy hour menu plates and drinks were $4! The food was amazing and the four of us left super full and a bit tipsy with a tab under $50.


What’s Philly without a cheesesteak!? We went to Jim’s but were a bit disappointed. The line was long, and while that gave us time to google the right words to order, it also maybe added to the hype. We’ll have to try one of the other places next time. The meat was more like ground beef and a bit flavorless. Maybe we should’ve had it whiz wit afterall.


We had dinner at Noord on the second night – Scandinavian fare. I had rabbit for the first time (and it was delish, sorry bunnies) and wow the bread here. I probably could’ve survived on just the bread, but the rest of the food was amazing as well. I’m usually not a huge raw fish person unless it’s poke, but the salmon was tasty! It was another BYO place and we brought 2 bottles of wine and took our time enjoying the food and the company. 🙂 The restaurant is small, but they do take reservations.

Honey’s Sit N Eat

Who knew that BYO BRUNCH places exist? Philly, definitely doing it right! Brought some champagne and made mimosas, because #vacay. We got the toad in a hole, corned beef and eggs and the honey cristo. The honey cristo was my fave because the sweet and savory was perfect – and it was topped with a sunny egg. Perfection. Toad in a hole was also delish, but a little too much cheese for me to handle *pops lactaid*.

La Colombe

After brunch, we went to the La Colombe in Fishtown. It was huuuuuge and this neighborhood 100% reminded me of Williamsburg. The guy at the register was even wearing plaid and had a handlebar mustache. Haha. If you haven’t been to a La Colombe (in Philly or in NYC) you should definitely check it out. Their draft lattes and cold brew (you can get a black and tan which is half cold brew and half draft latte) are delish.

Federal Donuts

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about donuts – but did you know that I actually do NOT like cake donuts? I mean, does anyone even like them? Hahaha. Moving on. Kristy said that we have to try this place, as she also doesn’t like cake donuts, but loves these! So we gave them a shot. We got a fancy (smores) as well as their standard hot and fresh (Cinnamon) – and okay, fine. I’m mayyyyybe sold – but only on the hot and fresh. 😉 The fancy was okay, but too sweet and too many things going on for me.

Talula’s Garden

A half-open garden / half-inside restaurant, we came here for dinner on our last night in the City. This one, although not BYO, is a place I would definitely come back to. We sat and had a drink at the garden bar before we moved inside for dinner. We ordered the Ricotta Gnudi, Berkshire Pork Belly, Collard Greens, and Overnight Bone-In Short Rib. The pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Seriously. Their menu changes often, so definitely check in with the servers on what’s popular for the type of food you’re craving.

Heh. Alani also sneakily told the server that it was my birthday. 🙂 It was our last dinner together, so it was kind of a perfect send-off.

It was an amazing weekend that I seriously should’ve written about earlier. I can’t believe it’s already been so long! While we were there, Kristy was taking part in the Holoholo Lens Project a neat traveling photography project coordinated by Ricky Li. You can check out her pics here: Kristy’s Holoholo Lens Project photos.

Heading to Philly?

I created a quick google map of everywhere we ate.

Map of our Philly Adventures

Map of our Philly Adventures


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If you’re headed to New York…

TL;DR If you want to be a tourist in NYC, just google “Things to do in NYC” and be done with it. You can do all the things that no…


If you want to be a tourist in NYC, just google “Things to do in NYC” and be done with it. You can do all the things that no NYer actually ever does (re: Times Square / Katz / Magnolia) – like going to Waikiki for peeps who grow up in Hawaii.
If you want something a bit more adventurous and exciting (and NY), read on.

We’re going to take a break from all of our cruise postings and post a bit about NYC because Sara and I get asked pretty frequently about what people should do when they visit the city. Of course, take this all with a grain of salt as how you like to travel is pretty personal – and I get that. 🙂

We were (very, very) fortunate enough to live in Manhattan (re: Midtown, West Village, LES) for a few years with a short stint in Brooklyn. (Ok, fine – Williamsburg isn’t really BK.) Many of our friends and family came to visit, and we ended up being tour guides for a large chunk of our time there.

Trust me when I say – as a tourist, you can “do all the things no NYer ever does” – because we did them and when we told NYers, they were pretty amazed.

Over the years, a lot of people have emailed and asked Sara and I what to do – so here’s a small guide of what I’d suggest – maybe Sara will add some of her favs in the comments as there’s no way to capture the magic of the city in a single post. Since I still visit quite often, I’ll periodically update this post as time goes on (or maybe add new posts).

Note: We’re pretty adventurous and try a lot of new things and put ourselves in a lot of different (sometimes awkward/uncomfortable) situations. If that isn’t your thing, you probably should just stop right here and google “Things to do in NYC”.

Sleep No More

It’s now a bit old, but 6 years ago it was the best interactive theater experience we’d been to. If you want to read a bit about it before jumping in, the Times has an extensive write up about it.

#protip: If you don’t like surprises (BOOOOO!) and want to enter with #godmode, check out the Foursquare tips.  If you’re an explorer, you might even run into the orgy room (re: NC-17). If naked bodies aren’t your thing, you should probably stay away from this, but then again, what are you doing in NYC again? 🙂

MP3 Experiment

From Improv NYC – Sara found this on the Googles.  To find out more about our experience, check out recap #9. I can tell you that this is one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever participated in in my life as you listen to an audio track while taking part in a larger production.

#protip: If you don’t want to act silly in front of strangers, then do not do this. I repeat, do not do this. If your idea of fun is having a pillow or a water gun fight with a few hundred/thousand of your new best friends, then this is definitely for you. It was very, very fun.


If you’re like me and wondering wtf “Drunch” is – it’s basically Sunday Brunch + all you can drink + club music… at 10 am. Yes, 10 am.  It’s a thing and generally happens in the Meatpacking District with 20-somethings who want to keep their Saturday night buzz going. It was also something we only did once with friends because honestly, I’m too old  – but it was a ton of fun. You’ll eat good food, down a bunch of Mimosas (re: bottomless) and see a lot of people dancing on tables. Reminded me of Ocean’s heyday in the 2000’s – but on Sunday morning.

#protip: Second rule of Drunch – Never meet up with your folks and plan to show them around town after Drunch. Sorry mom + dad! Good times.


Discussing NYC Pizza is like talking about politics or climate change in the office, but here goes. If you want classic NYC, sit-down pizza in Manhattan, my favorites are John’s of Bleecker and Lombardi’s in Soho. We lived right off of Bleecker in the West Village, so you know I ate a lot of pizza.  For take-out slices, my favorites are Joe’s and Bleecker Street Pizza in the West Village and Prince Street Pizza in Soho. If you want something a bit more unique – Artichoke Pizza in Greenwich Village. (I’ll probably get an earful for that rec.) As of late, I’ve been trekking it out to Williamsburg to hit up Emmy Squared (from the Emily’s duo) for Detroit Style pizza. If you don’t mind a trek, head to Di Fara‘s out in Brooklyn. Whatever you do, if you can afford it, don’t eat pizza from those dollar slice places. #doingitwrong

#protip: All the best pizza places are Downtown or in Brooklyn. If you’re eating pizza and not in one of those spots, you’re doing it wrong. Terribly wrong.

Street meat

You haven’t really lived if you’ve never eaten out of a NYC food cart.  From the Churro lady @ the Bedford stop to the Halal vendors on… well, everywhere – they’re (mostly) tasty and wonderful. Definitely try some. If it’s running, my first recommendation would be to hit up Smorgasburg in Williamsburg. It’s a food truck convention with about 100 local vendors. It looks like they’re headed to the city soon so you won’t have to catch the dreaded L train. My second recommendation would be Halal Guys on 53rd and 6th. During our first year in NYC, they were on my walk home from the office and I ate there at least 2x a week for a year straight. I’m exaggerating – kinda, but not really. They started to recognize me and even gave me a special reusable bag because I went so often. #nojoke #friends Haha.

#protip: They’re on all the corners except one, even if you see the NE/NW corners with super long lines, the SW corner is still them.  Watch out for the fake carts – it’s a dog-eat-dog street vendor world out there. Since they’ve become a national chain (and have brick and mortars around the city) , if you want something a bit more NYC, I’d highly recommend the King of Falafel on 53rd and Mad (Mon-Fri). Best falafels I’ve eaten in my whole life and being vegetarian, you know I’ve eaten a lot of them. It’s no joke that he’s the King of Falafel. They also have a place out in Queens – then again, what are you doing in Queens?

Games, games and well, more games

Fat Cat. Modern PinballSunshine Laundromat. Barcade. Chinatown Fair. SPiN NY. Royal Palms. Like with most things in life, I’m pretty competitive – these are my favorite places to play in the city.

Fat Cat: A bunch of TechStars folk (w/ Austen & myself) used to get together for a monthly foosball outing – sometimes crossing nights with NYC Foosball. There’s *really* cheap beer along with foosball, ping-pong, and pool. During the school year, there’s an endless supply of young NYUers to beat-up on. 😀 You might even run into professional ping pong players who will beat you with a shoe, right Austen?

Pinball: I used to drag Sara to Modern Pinball in Kips Bay after work on Fridays because you can pay a flat rate to play unlimited games for X number of hours or what I like to call “heaven”.  If you love pinball as much as I do, you should also trek it to Sunshine Laundromat out in Greenpoint because they have a sweet collection of pinball machines and a bar nestled behind a laundromat.

Barcade: While not as amazing as pinball, getting your fix in of old school video games is still super fun. There’s a ton of locations around the city now, but my favorite is still the Williamsburg one. As we’re on the subject of arcades, don’t forget to check out one of the last classic NYC arcades in Chinatown. Last time I was there, Chinatown Fair also has one of the few Killer Queen 5v5 machines (but I’m not positive it’s still there since it’s not listed on the KQ homepage anymore).

Royal Palms: This is probably the most unique of the bunch as it’s a shuffleboard spot out in Brooklyn. I always imagined it to be a game I’d play when I’m 70, but hey, it’s the BK and full of hipsters, so yeah. It’s a really large space with good drinks and a good bbq (Dinosaur) / ice cream (Ample Hill) joints nearby – so great for date night. Warning: if you’re playing locals, watch out for this guy named Austen – he’s pretty good I hear.

#protip: Do yourself a favor and do something on this list. Guarans that it’ll bring out your inner-child.


There are tons of speakeasies in NYC. And if you haven’t been to one, you should go once. Sara and I went to most of them at least once and some of them a few times – here’s a decent Foursquare list of the most popular ones. Personally, I’d recommend PDT because it’s both gimmicky and awesome to enter a bar through a phone booth in a hot dog shop. As a bonus, they also have a Double Dragon machine – so you can waste your quarters reliving your youth while you wait. You have to make a reservation (or end up waiting for hours) because it’s a tiny bar. Just keep calling, it’s not that hard to get a reso. If you’re just trying to grab a drink, head out to the Lower East Side (LES) or the East Village (EV) because drinks will be cheaper and the crowd will be a lot less “douchey” and a lot more real.  With that said, I’m not a huge cocktail drinker as I tend to only drink Islay “band-aid” Scotch in my old age. For that, there’s no better place than the Brandy Library out in Tribeca. It’s pricey, but it’s quiet on slow nights and they have an insane collection of alcohol.

#protip: Not everywhere in the city is it $10 a beer. There are a lot of cheap places to drink downtown. Just avoid Midtown, Wall Street, and Tribeca and you’ll be fine. 😀

Whew. There were so many things we did in those 4 years that it’s hard to sum up all the amazing things that make up NYC in a single blog post. If I think up anything else, I’ll definitely add it here. If you’ve done something amazing in NYC that isn’t Times Square or the standard tourist trap (or just have a question or two about the city), definitely leave a comment!

Good Luck and safe travels!

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