Brunch at Essex – for $16 (for a Saturday brunch in NYC, that’s cheap!), you get a tasty meal from a varied menu (pictured: omelet with spinach, feta, tomato, and chive; mixed greens and home fries) and 3 drinks, which are seemingly unlimited (pitchers of mimosas? YES.). Make reservations ~3 weeks in advance. 120 Essex St, NY, NY 10002

img_0237A brief walk around the Essex St. Market – which has a large assortment of fresh fruit, veggies, spices, dairy and meat…

img_0236…Including, ginormous carrots, a number of unidentifiable vegetables, and tripe. Essex St Market, 120 Essex St, NY, NY 10002

magnolia-cupcakesAnd, of course, cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery – still my favorite cupcakery in NYC, despite the hundreds that have popped up since I left. As per usual, I went with a classic vanilla on vanilla. Scrumptious. 401 Bleecker St., NY, NY 10014

img_0238Last but not least, a lemon cupcake at Buttercup. German chocolate cupcake lurking in the background. Not the prettiest cupcakes – sort of sloppy, in fact – but tasty nonetheless. Moist, lemony cupcake with a tangy, sweet lemon icing. 973 2nd Ave, NY, NY 10022