New York: East Village
203 E. 10th St., 212/995-9511, chikalicious.com
Sugar-infused tasting menus with dishes like mascarpone semifreddo, espresso granita, and coconut panna cotta with basil sorbet, wine pairings, and petits fours are yours at this ultramodern 400-square-foot dessert bar.
EAT Crif Dogs
113 St. Marks Pl., 212/614-2728
Hot dogs deep fried for your indulgent pleasure.
EAT Jewel Bako Makimono
101 Second Ave., 212/253-7848
Refined Japanese food-tartares, creative makis, and new takes on miso soup-at reasonable prices from culinary wunderkinds Jack and Grace Lamb. There are only 20 seats in all-that's more than their 12-seat formal dining room around the corner at the very precious Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar.
179 Ave. B, 212/529-6490
A bustling, convivial restaurant that's entirely devoted to authentic Mexican food-tender pork tacos, spicy chorizo, and made-to-order guacamole. Slurp a margarita on the back patio.
EAT Miss Williamsburg Portavia
228 E. 10th St., 212/228-5355, miss-williamsburg.com
A feel-good Brooklyn import (the original is in a renovated diner at 206 Kent Ave., 718/963-0802) that churns out grandma-style Italian cooking. The menu includes rich pastas and desserts layered with bold flavors, such as cheese fondue lasagna with pesto and panna cotta draped in berries.
DRINK International Bar
120 1/2 First Ave., 212/777-9244
An awesome (and scruffy) granddad bar, where the drinks are simple, the decor nonexistent, and a killer jukebox is packed with Devo, Run-D.M.C., and the Buzzcocks. Want confirmation of its cool factor? The Coen brothers have been known to belly up to the bar.
DRINK Angel's Share
8 Stuyvesant St., 2nd Fl., 212/777-5415
Masterful bartenders tend this once-little-known Japanese lounge. It's no longer a secret, so hit it on off-hours, or go early. Try the mint julep. Note: It won't seat groups larger than four.
DRINK Bar Veloce
175 Second Ave., 212/260-3200, barveloce.com
A popular neutral-toned Italian wine bar with high, narrow tables, blond woods, and smart spotlighting. Its appeal has only increased since it was the site of a freak incident in 2002-a crazy wielding guns and a sword was tackled to the ground by two female patrons. No one was seriously hurt, so drink up!
443 E. Sixth St., 212/979-0388, gominyc.com
Recycling is brought to new creative heights at this green boutique where everything from clothes to furniture is made from sustainable materials. Items such as bike-chain bracelets and "pot holder" rugs are surprisingly chic.
109 Third Ave., 212/677-3171, kiehls.com
154-year-old pharmacy with a no-frills aesthetic sells its own label of beauty products. Its lip balm, grapefruit body lotion, and other all-natural products have garnered a devoted following. Ask for some free samples.
SHOP East Ninth Street
Between Ave. A and Second Ave.
One of the first enclaves of do-it-yourself designers who thumbed their noses at the fashion and design industries, embarked on the fast track, and opened their own boutiques.
PLAY Rififi/Cinema Classics
332 E. 11th St., 212/677-1027, cinemaclassics.com
A bar/screening room that's part college lounge, part underground arts venue. It pays homage to celluloid greatness and shows old cult horror and sci-fi films on Mon. nights. Other nights are devoted to music (Fri. & Sat.), burlesque (Thurs. & Sun.), and stand-up comedy (Wed.). Cover price: free to $5.
PLAY Amato Opera Theatre
319 Bowery, 212/228-8200, amato.org
Grand opera in a tiny theater. Anthony and Sally Amato have been turning their passion for arias into a reality since 1948, providing a professional space for young singers to stretch their vocal chords and strut their stuff. (Many have gone on to sing opera on great stages around the world.) You can see a phenomenal production like La Bohème for a fraction of what you'd pay uptown. Adults $30, students and seniors $25.
PLAY Joe's Pub
Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., 212/539-8770, joespub.com
Named for the theater's late founder, Joseph Papp. It has perhaps the most exciting roster of singers, musicians, comedians, and assorted off-beat acts anywhere in the city. Expect star-spottings. Shows nightly. From $7.