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Last weekend, Tom and I went into the city to meet with a travel agent and explore our options for our Italy trip in September.  Our Labor Day getaway is my new project (yes, I love to plan) and I’m balancing a half DIY, half guided tour for me (who has been to Italy twice – yes, I’m spoiled) and Tom who has never been (don’t feel bad for him, he went to Switzerland, Germany, and Netherlands). Yeah, after graduation we both spent our life savings on traveling.  Three years later, with full-time jobs and funds regenerating, and it’s time to travel again!

Anyway, afterwards we of course took advantage of NYC dining and tried out a new restaurant that I saw on UrbanDaddy.  Circolo is an authentic Italian farm-to-table restaurant in NoHo.  Since we were planning our Italy trip at STA in nearby East Village, it only seemed fitting.

Circolo: East Village Farm-to-Table Restaurant

Circolo: East Village Farm-to-Table Restaurant

Circolo: East Village Farm-to-Table Restaurant

We were a bit early for NYC standards so we had the place to ourselves (although the bar was getting quite crowded). The atmosphere was amazing – it really had that “farm-to-table” look – cute, quaint, and natural while still being modern.

Circolo: East Village Farm-to-Table Restaurant

We had the mozzarella appetizer (I’m predictable) which I knew would be great (because it’s cheese).  Even the bread and olive oil tasted imported – the best I’ve had since Italy.

Circolo: Fresh Mozzarella

Circolo: Fresh Mozzarella

Tom had the pasta stuffed with spinach in a ragu sauce.  I had the butternut squash ravioli.  Both were homemade, shaped in more of a tortellini pasta.  Also, both were delicious.

Circolo's Stuffed Pasta with Spinach and Ragu

Circolo’s Stuffed Pasta with Spinach and Ragu

Stuffed Butternut Squash Ravioli

Stuffed Butternut Squash Ravioli

My one complaint was the price, but we expected a $100 bill for a place like this (appetizer + 2 meals + 2 glasses of wine). Homemade, East Village, farm-to-table… I’m not sure it was worth going back often with that price tag, but it was definitely worth trying.

After, since we were already in the freezing cold city, we wanted to make the most of crossing the river on a weekend.  So, what else was there to do but bar crawl our way back to the PATH station?

We ended up at nearby Sweet & Vicious.  Confession: I thought this was a dessert place similar to Sweet Revenge which we previously visited.  It was not. Sweet & Vicious is just a bar, but a pretty fun one at that. Apparently in the summer it has a great outdoor area.  But even in the winter, we weren’t disappointed.  I’ll keep it on the list.

Sweet & Vicious

Sweet & Vicious

Next we headed towards Wilfie & Nell in the West Village, closer to the PATH.  On the way, we had to stop in the puppy store.  It wasn’t the first time I’ve been to this specific puppy store on the way to Wilfie & Nell.  Kiley and I stopped in a few months back … it’s a real issue with Manhattan nightlife.  The problem: NYC picks out the cutest puppies in the most popular breeds and brings them into the city when they are probably too young and adorable to even be sold.  The puppies stare at you through their plastic windows and beg you to take them home.  After even just two drinks, you want all of them.  Sobriety struggles to win this internal battle, reminding you that you live in a 600 square foot apartment and have more expenses than you do income.

Drunk puppy buying is a serious epidemic in Manhattan.  Do NOT fall victim.  Luckily, I walked away. Some other bar hoppers are not as lucky.  This girl was buying a pocket-sized Chihuahua that was smaller than my hand.  It was the smallest dog I have ever seen in my life, and the girl admitted it will only grow to be 3 pounds – FULL GROWN.  Majority of girls are only one drink away from shoplifting this little rat dog like it’s a lipstick from WalMart.

The smallest dog... ever. That I've seen.

Yes, Chihuauah shown to scale.

Just sayin.

But I digress.  I made it home, sans puppy.  The next day, we visited my FAVORITE Italian place which is Grandma Travis’ kitchen. In addition to a true home style Italian meal, complete with pasta and “gravy” and some great stories from Grandma, we even explored some old photos.  Guess who this handsome little guy is?

Lilttle Jimmy Jr.

If you guessed Lilttle Jimmy Jr., you’re dead on. :)

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