Mav’s Fab 5 – September 4th, 2012

Cupcake Spots
our 5 picks 

Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery
126 Rivington St.
New York, New York 10002
(212) 995-1960

From the minds of two former Magnolia employees comes Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery.  With a 1960’s throw back feel, this little shop is built on friendly service, welcoming atmosphere, and some seriously good cupcakes.  The cupcakes have endearing names like Bob and Goodey Goodey, but our favorite is the Pumpkin! And unlike some of their competitors, there is no limit on how many you can get!

The Cupcake Café
545 Ninth Avenue
New York, New York 10018
(212) 268-9975 or (212) 465-1530

A song and dance is always nice, but substance is what we’re really looking for in our cupcake relationships!  At the Cupcake Café, quality reigns supreme.  The calm, no frills atmosphere allows their three cake options to do the talking. And they do! Only three options you say?? Honey, with cupcakes this good, and icing so delicious it deserves it own write-up, three is all you need!

359 Van Brunt St.
Brooklyn, New York 11231
(718) 222-1345

Baked is what happened when two NYC pencil pushers, each with a passion for sweets, met while working at an ad agency and decided to ditch their careers and do what they loved. Putting the baking and the customer experience first, these two created a haven where the Ipod play list is fun, the atmosphere is relaxing and the air is sweet.  Oh and the Sweet and Salty cupcake is no joke.

The Doughnut Plant
379 Grand St. (btwn Suffolk and Norfolk)
New York, New York 10002
(212) 505-3700

Ok, so it’s not actually a cupcake but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to write about individually sized pieces of sweet goodness without talking about the cake doughnut.  It is far and away one of the best things we’ve ever put in our mouths, and frankly we consider it a NYC treasure.  Moist is not a good enough word to describe the inside of the cake doughnut.  Just go and get one, you can thank us later.

**Babycakes NYC
248 Broome St. (btwn Ludlow and Orchard)
New York, New York 10002
(855) 462-2292 

SO you loved cupcakes as a kid but later in life found that you were allergic to gluten? Maybe you’re vegan, or kosher, or allergic to wheat/soy/dairy/tunafish?? Babycakes has got you covered!  The bakery for the sweet lover with dietary restrictions, Babycakes works around the danger zones and turns out delicious treats that will make you forget you ever felt restricted!

 ** Specialty Bakery accommodating specific dietary needs

 Hookah Bars
our 5 picks 

Sahara East
184 First Avenue
New York, New York 10009
(212) 353-9000

A small storefront that leads out to a tiki-style backyard, Sahara East is one of our favorite summer spots for Hookah.  The food is authentic, the sangria is delicious and the hookah service is on point.  Boasting sixty-five (yes, we’re serious) flavors of tobacco, this hookah bar is where you can go to try new and fun flavor combinations and enjoy the summer air.

Cloister Café
238 East Ninth St.
New York, New York 10003
(212) 777-9128

Ambiance is key at the Cloister Café, where the backyard is shrouded by a sky of woven grape vines and fountains and light strands twinkle wistfully.  If you’re looking for a date spot where you can keep it casual but still set the mood, this is the place for you.  In addition to extensive bar and food menus, the Cloister Café offers 40 flavors of hookah nightly as well as an early evening happy hour.

Scarab Lounge
139 First Avenue
New York, New York 10003
(212) 533-4488

If you’re looking for a more intimate feel, then Scarab is the hookah lounge for you.  A smaller space to cozy up in, this lounge doesn’t get too crazy on weekends until about one in the morning, when the music starts to crank.  If you’re lucky you might even catch a belly dancer shimmying around, and who doesn’t love that?!

Khyber Pass Restaurant
34 Saint Marks Place
New York, New York 10003
(212) 473-0989

If you’re looking to transported to a land where hookah originated, Khyber pass will be your dream.  Lush silk ceilings and throw pillow strewn seats wrap around you as you are presented with the option of delicious traditional Afghani food, Turkish coffee, native tea blends and of course, sumptuous hookah blends.


Underground Salsa
our 5 picks 

Iguana Club NYC
240 West Fifty-Fourth St.
New York, New York 10019
(212) 765-5454

Iguana NYC may seem like a Latin restaurant to the naked eye, but Wednesday through Saturday nights they turn out some serious salsa dancing!  Churning out Latin beats until four in the morning, this is a haven for those with a passion for moving their hips! If you’re feeling the salsa itch but are nervous about your lack of technique, go for a free lesson Wed/Thurs/Fri at 6:45pm and their pros will show you the ropes!

81 South Sixth St.
Brooklyn, New York 11211
(718) 387-3589

Patching cultures together to create a truly internationally inspired and community driven space, Bembe offers up DJ’s spinning world music seven nights a week in their eclectic space.  Decorated almost entirely in recycled and locally found objects and serving up festive cocktails (including one served in a watermelon!) Bembe will keep you sashaying your hips til the early morning.  And if you tootsies get tired, you can take a break upstairs in their tropical oasis of an art gallery complete with hammocks for resting and gazing!

268 West 47th St.
New York, New York 10036
(212) 221-2672

Copacabana may look like a restaurant from downstairs, but their upper level is all Latin club! Happy hour on Tuesdays and Fridays includes drink specials and free food.  If you’re feeling shy they do frequent dance lessons (around 8pm), which you can join in on or just watch.  On summery Monday nights you can enjoy their rooftop while on Fridays they often have live music and you can dance the night away.

Latin Quarters Nightclub
511 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York 10017
(212) 782-9909

When friends from Miami starting arguing that this is the best Latin club in NYC, we take notice!  Latin Quarters offers two rooms of dancing.  The smaller room which offers some terrific bachata, is more relaxed and easier to find a seat and snuggle with your date in between dances.  The larger room often has a DJ (Alex Sensation and DJIobo are favorites) spinning a mix of all their best Latin beats.

Hookah Bar AND Underground Salsa!

While compiling our lists this week, we discovered that one of our favorite hookah spots had a pretty great salsa scene too!  We couldn’t resist sharing this combo-pack of fun with you!

130 Seventh Avenue (corner of West 10th St.)
New York, New York 10014
(212) 255-3331

Part restaurant, part bar, part hookah lounge, Veranda takes the hookah lounge scene to the next level.  With a line often sweeping down the block, this is place people are willing to wait to get into!  Even more fun is their Tuesday night salsa party, where regulars flock in to burn up the floor.  Hookah and Salsa?  Yes please!


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