Final #LauraLovesNYC Post: Dinner at Brasserie Les Halles Park Avenue


Standing right in front of the ICONIC Brasserie Les Halles Park Avenue window, located on NYC’s Upper East Side

*NOTE*: Les Halles did not ask me to write this blog post. I am glad a Friendly Foodie & Yogini, who enjoys sharing her foodie and yoga adventures with others! Photos captured with an iPhone 5s, and were edited with Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended.

I saved the best post for last! The reason why I wanted to visit New York City in the first place: to dine at Brasserie Les Halles Park Avenue, where Anthony Bourdain used to be Executive Chef.

Eventually, he wrote an article in a newspaper, that earned him a book deal- the book was Kitchen Confidential. Next came a book tour, and then, his first T.V. show (A Cook’s Tour on Food Network. Yes, Bourdain was originally part of the network that he pokes fun of to this day). Then, it was Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover with Anthony Bourdain, both on Travel Channel. These two shows made him a bonafide Food and Travel Star.

Of course, Bourdain went on to star on The Taste on ABC and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN. Despite all his fame, he has never forgotten his job at Les Halles. The owner has been featured in both A Cook’s Tour and No Reservations. The dearly departed Carlos was featured several times, mainly on No Reservations, and once on The Layover.

Anywho- enough about Bourdain; time to talk food!


The first two courses of my dinner at Les Halles! If you look in the upper right-hand corner, I shared a roasted brie crostini, with honey and black pepper. The main dish was duck, with fig, creme fruit and heirloom tomatoes (I think this might of been one of that night’s specials).

I must say, the crostini was amazing, and this duck dish was the best duck dish I’ve EVER had!


Main course: P.E.I. Mussels with saffron!

Until this dinner, I had only had mussels at The Olive Garden; I am VERY happy to report that these mussels were MUCH better. As of matter of fact, they were THE best mussels I’ve EVER had!


Close-up shot of the P.E.I. Mussels


BEST French fries I’ve EVER had in my entire LIFE!

I know Bourdain thinks Bouchon makes better fries. Since I haven’t tried the French Fries at Bouchon, I can’t say if that’s true, but the French Fries at Les Halles were THE best French fries I’ve had at this point on my life. Also, they were perfectly paired with the mussel sauce!


My dessert at Les Halles: frozen espresso mousse

Even though the presentation is impeccable, the taste was good, but not great.


Close up of this beautiful dessert


Well there you go, folks! Thanks for reading my #LauraLovesNYC posts!

Next up on the blog: brunch at The Vandal, in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh!


-Friendly Fitness Foodie


Les Halles Park Avenue’s website

Les Halles Park Avenue’s Facebook page

Les Halles Park Avenues Twitter page




Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s my lovely plate of full from VegFeast (the first annual Vegan Thanksgiving dinner in Pittsburgh, that raised money for the PA Humane Society)!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I apologize for the big pause between #LauraLovesNYC post #3 and #4! I have been pretty busy with work, yoga teaching, being a yoga student, family, friends, and random appointments. Never fear, the next two posts are on their way!

Next two posts: Dinner at Les Halles, and Brunch at The Vandal.

Thanks everyone, for your continued patience and support!



-Friendly Fitness Foodie


#LauraLovesNYC Post #2: Crif Dogs

Crif Dogs painting
The Legendary painting at Crif Dogs (located in the East Village of New York City)

*NOTE*: Crif Dogs didn’t ask me to write this review; as a Foodie, I’ve decided to share my experience at Crif Dogs with all of my fellow Foodies of the world! Photos captures with an iPhone 5s, and were edited with Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended.

Ever since I watched The Layover New York City episode, where Anthony Bourdain and David Chang both dined at Crif Dogs, I knew that someday, I needed to make a pilgrimage to New York City to eat said hot dog.

Low and behold, my opportunity had finally arrived! During the first night of my NYC vacation, my Mom and I decided to call an UBER car, and head over to the East Village for some hot dogs!

When we walked in, the restaurant was much smaller than expected (literally a “hole in the wall” type of place), but as my Sex & The City Tour Hostess said to my tour group: “in New York City, you pay for the luxury of living here- not the size of the space”. Man oh man, she was right.

Anywho: my Mom and I walked up to the counter, and were greeted by a very nice young gentleman with stylish black hair. He explained to us the method of ordering your hot dog at Crif Dogs: first, you choose your “hot dog type”. This means: do you want either a Crif Dog (the restaurant’s handmade & naturally smoked beef & pork dog), a New Yorker (the classic snappy grilled all-beef dog), or a Veggie dog (which I would image is probably a tofu hot dog). Next, you decide if you would just like to add toppings, or try one of the “signature dogs” (which are all the Crif Dog, pork & beef blend).

Tsunami & New Yorker Hot Dogs from Crif Dogs in New York City
(Left) Tsunami Dog and (right) New Yorker Dog from Crif Dogs

My Mom chose the classic New Yorker Hot Dog (right), with mustard, relish & onion. Of course, I went for one of the signature dogs (specifically, the Tsunami Dog)! The Tsunami Dog (left) is a Crif Dog that is bacon-wrapped, with teriyaki, pineapple & green onions. 😀

I must say, this hot dog may just be THE best hot dog I EVER had! I am a HUG fan of ham & pineapple pizza; thus, the pineapple worked for me. I am also a fan of green onions, and I love it Teriyaki sauce. Thus: Crif Dogs really hit it out of the park with my hot dog! I really enjoyed the pork & beef custom hot dog blend; in my opinion, that tastes better than your average all-beef hot dog.

Crif Dog hot dogs New York City
Another glamor shot of our hot dogs from Crif Dogs!
Waffle Fries Crif Dogs
Waffle Fries from Crif Dogs!

As soon as I noticed waffle fries on the menu, I knew we had to order them! Waffle Fries are very nostalgic for me- when I was in college at Edinboro University (of PA, not Scotland. Although, that would’ve been pretty cool!), I used to sometimes order the chicken tenders and waffle fries with honey mustard sauce from John’s Pizza. After a fun “night on the town”, this was one of my two late night snacks of choice! Anytime I see waffle fries, it always brings back fond memories of Edinboro.

Luckily, Crif Dogs didn’t disappoint! These might just be the best waffle fries I’ve EVER had!

My only somewhat critical comment: I kept comparing Crif Dogs to Pittsburgh-based restaurant chain Franktuary; in my opinion, Franktuary has a more witty and original take on the gourmet hot dog. Plus they offer other items on the menu (such as poutine, salads and chili), and host a Sunday Brunch (pretty much every Sunday) at their Lawrenceville location.

Perhaps this would be something to think about for the future? I would love to see Crif Dogs make a chilli, using the custom Crif Dog blend of meat!

Cheers to food & health,

-Friendly Fitness Foodie

Crif Dog’s website

#LauraLoves NYC Post #1

Ellen's Stardust Diner NYC
The famous Ellen’s StarDust Diner! Lots of future Broadway stars have started off as servers here!
Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Fluffy chocolate chip pancakes from Ellen’s Stardust Diner! This was on the first day, right after stepping off the Megabus and checked into the hotel.
Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall
TCM Classic Film Tour
TCM Classic Film Tour, on day two of my NYC vacation!
Queensboro Bridge
The Queensboro Bridge
Holly Golightly's stoop from Breakfast at Tiffany's
Holly Golightly‘s stoop in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Upper East Side)
Buddhakon bar Sex & The City Tour
Buddhakan– the bar area, which was one of the scenes for Carrie & Big’s engagement party in the first Sex & The City movie.
Rehearsal Dinner room Buddhakan Sex & The City Tour
The room at Buddhakan where Carrie & Big celebrated their rehearsal dinner in the first Sex & The City movie
O'Neills Scout Sex & The City Tour
Free Cosmopolitan (served by a very hot bartender) from O’Neills (the bar “Scout” that Steve & Aidan owned on Sex & The City)!
O'Neill's New York City
Second view of my strong, but tasty Cosmopolitan from O’Neills in New York City!
Carrie Bradshaw's stoop Sex & The City Tour
Carrie Bradshaw’s legendary stoop (which is actually in Greenwich Village, not the Upper East Side)
Italian Soda Lombardi's New York City
Italian Soda from Lombardi’s (the first pizzeria in America)
Lombardi's Pizza
The best pizza I’ve ever had in my entire life was from Lombardi’s Pizza in New York City!

Stay tuned for #LauraLovesNYC Post #2: my review of Crif Dogs in the East Village!

Cheers to food & fitness,

-Friendly Fitness Foodie

You can book both the TCM Classic Film Tour and the Sex and the City Hotspots Tour at!