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Just Opened Meets: Friends with Forks

In this series, we delve into the lives of some of New York’s best-informed food and drink bloggers. We’re asking about what’s new and exciting on their foodie radar, as well those old favorite haunts they just keep going back to.

This week, we meet Lauren, Claire and Eliza, the girls behind Friends with Forks.

Tell us a bit about Friends with Forks – how long have you been doing this and how did you get started? 

“Me (Lauren), Claire and Eliza started the account in 2014. The idea came when the three of us were chatting over brunch about how all our guy friends were getting bored of our food posts on Instagram. We decided to club together to make a food-based Instagram account for people who actually wanted to see our pictures!

Food is an integral part of the New York lifestyle and a fun way to experience the culture, but the food scene can be hard to navigate with so many options to choose from. Our Instagram gave us the opportunity to explore different neighborhoods and cuisines that we wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise experienced, and we hope people use it as a guide of cool places to try out!”

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What makes Friends with Forks different from other Instagram accounts focusing on food in NYC?

“Well for starters, there are three of us. We all work in marketing in some shape or form and this is a passion project for us, to do what we love in a creative, different way. We’re not chefs so we’re less about describing the food and the flavors, and more about letting the dishes speak for themselves and bringing a bit of humor to it. We spend the majority of our pay checks on eating out, so we’ve got a lot of experience in what’s good and what’s not!”

Where’s your fail-safe date night in NYC?

“To be honest, there’s so much choice in the city, I don’t really like to go to the same place more than once. But I often recommend The Django, in The Roxy Hotel in Tribeca, to people who are going on a date. There’s a live jazz bar downstairs in the basement where you really feel like you’re experiencing New York as it used to be. The drinks are spectacular and the food is seriously good as well – you get free little nibbles with your drinks and then you can order other delicious bites too. It’s a fun and different way to enjoy food and live music with a date.”

What’s your favorite recent opening in New York?

“So it opened a few months ago – it’s called Tokyo Record Bar. It was opened by this rockstar woman called Ariel and it’s this really small Japanese restaurant that seats 20 people max. There are two/three sittings per evening, it’s a set menu and there’s a real sense of communal dining. The cool part is, when you walk in, everyone picks a song from a list of records. They then play your chosen records as you eat, so there’s a real feeling of bonding as you’ve all curated the playlist for the evening – and the music is freaking good! It’s a really unique dining experience; and at the end of the meal they bring round a treat for everyone, which is totally unexpected but awesome, and something all New Yorkers love. I’ll let you guys go for yourselves and find out what it is…!”

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Where do you think you can get the best desserts in the city?

“I love all food, but I’m definitely more of a savory girl than a sweet one! Having said that, I used to live in Midtown and would walk past Buttercup Bake Shop every day on my way home from work. On the tough days, I’d pop in and get a cupcake and they are some of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. Which coming from someone who doesn’t love desserts, is high praise! My favorites were the spiced carrot and the buttercup golden cupcake with chocolate frosting.”

Best cocktails you’ve ever tasted?

“One of my favorite places for cocktails is Westlight in Williamsburg – I’ve definitely had some of my most memorable cocktail drinking experiences there. It’s a bar at the top of the William Vale hotel and it’s got one of the best views of New York City I’ve ever seen. You should definitely go around sunset as you can stand out on the deck and watch the sun go down – the cocktails are A and the view is A+!” 

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Are there any new restaurants you’re excited about that are opening soon?

“To be honest I always rely on you guys to give me the heads up on new restaurants that are opening!”

Best foodie destination in the USA outside of New York?

“Claire now lives in Nashville and her favorite restaurant there is 5th and Taylor. It’s an old converted warehouse turned restaurant in the trendy little section of Nashville known as Germantown. Unmissable dishes include the duck wings with truffle honey, beer can chicken, and the grilled beer short rib appetizer. Also, every table gets a free side of their famous mashed potatoes!”

And Eliza, reporting in from Austin, where she’s currently living, highly recommends June’s All Day Café in South Congress. She says: “The vibe is perfect, the food is delicious, and it’s on one of the most fun/interesting streets in Austin. Favorite dishes include: buckwheat crepe, breakfast chalupa, fried chicken sandwich, and the snapper carpaccio. You won’t be disappointed popping into June’s for a great meal and an instant mood boost!”

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Who’s your favorite chef?

“The chef that I’m really into right now is Jeremiah Langhorn. He’s the executive chef and owner of The Dabney restaurant in Washington DC and he’s currently the guest chef at Chef’s Club here in New York (he’s here until March 31, so go check it out!). Every dish I’ve ever eaten of his has been amazing – his food is hyper-localised and there’s a real farm-to-table vibe, with a unique take on the new-American genre. I wouldn’t be surprised if he opens a restaurant in New York soon, so watch this space…”

Is there anything new you discovered on a menu recently that we should know about?

“Somewhere that’s been on my go-to list for a while and a restaurant that really deserves a lot of attention is i sodi. There are two pasta dishes on their menu that are to die for – the cacio e pepe and the Lasagne a Sugo. I urge you all to go and taste them!”

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What’s your Instagram post that’s got the most likes?

“Pasta goes down really well with our followers. People loved the pic we posted from Gnoccheria by Luzzo’s of three different types of gnocchi – it was red, white and green, like the Mexican flag; a really nice colorful picture, and we got over 100 comments.”

Photography by Friends with Forks

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