Wednesday, August 22, 2012

St. Mark's Place, NYC

In this three block stretch called St. Mark's Place, dive bars and Japanese-Korean restaurants thrive among vintage shops and sidewalk vendors hawking neon Ray Ban inspired sunglasses. From Third Ave to Tompkins Square Park, this little nook is a living reminder of the East Village's punk-rock past and I love stopping by here while I'm in the Big Apple.

According to New York Magazine, significant moments in counterculture history happened right here! Abbie Hoffman invented the Yippies at No. 30 in 1967; Andy Warhol, the Velvet Underground and Jimi Hendrix performed at nightclub Electric Circus, before it closed in 1971; and gallery 51X backed eighties-era graffiti artists like Keith Haring and Basquiat.

If getting inked and pierced is not your thing there is still plenty to explore and tons to eat.

Japadog: would you like the ratwurst, Turkey smoky, Arabiki or Veggie sausage? How about topped with Teriyaki sauce, mayo, seaweed, Miso sauce, shredded cabbage or special plum sauce? Ok you get it... this place serves hotdogs and because it's Japanese inspired, there are a zillion unique toppings! Would you like Shaked Fries with that? They come in Teriyaki, Wasabi or Curry flavour too!

Search and Destroy is a store jam packed with fun and colourful eye candy. Even if you are not into hunting for thrifty graphic T's, ripped acid jeans and overpriced polyester, come to experience a moment in punk rock history or gawk at the endless display of oddities. One wall is dedicated to a collection of creepy dismembered plastic dolls, if you look up, Mickey Mouse is suspended in the air in a bondage swing and at the front you can find jars filled with scorpions and large insects (dead of course). It's conveniently located above Kenka.

This restaurant is called Kenka but everyone just knows it as that super packed Japanese place on "25 St. Marks". Too keep the dozen hungry patrons occupied while they wait in line, they serve fluffy pink cotton candy. Go with a big group because the menu is huge and izakaya style. I love the flavoured sakes but haven't been adventurous enough to try the bull penis dish.

Spot Dessert Bar serves Western desserts infused with an Asian twist - everything from cupcakes, ice creams, bubble teas to creme brulee. I swear no one leaves this place without licking their plates clean. My fave is this Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake. Oh My Yum!

Cap your night off at the Grassroots Tavern. It is the divest bar I've set foot in (and has the lowest of looooow ceilings) but the cheaper than happy hour drinks, friendly staff and casual vibe keeps this place bumping. PS. They also serve popcorn on the side!

Photo credits: Green Tea Lava Cake by

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