September 09, 2020
I’m just going to go ahead and say it, this summer has been weird. Crawling out of our hideaways for the first time in months… the awkward six-feet-apart wave hello in place of a hug and kiss… wondering why you bothered to ask to hear the specials when you can’t understand a thing the waitress is saying through her mask. I’ve personally found that the best “nights out” (who even knows what that means anymore?) now consist of takeout and a little picnic in a cozy and socially distanced spot. Last weekend’s lineup: Bareburger takeout, Washington Square Park, and Popbar for dessert. If you check out any of these places you can call it a win. But, the combo of the three makes it a perfect, casual Saturday night.
We took the 45-minute drive into Manhattan (#suburbanlife) to Bareburger LaGuardia and placed our order online about 30 minutes before arriving. There were parking spaces right across the street on LaGuardia Place. So, what did we get? Well, a better question is what didn’t we get. Now, normally when we order nearly everything off of a menu, we tend to regret it, feel overly full, and vow to chill out with the over-ordering next time, even though we are fully aware that we will definitely not chill out next time. However, with Bareburger, we didn’t feel that way at all. Bareburger works with sustainable farmers to create clean comfort food, including organic burgers and an over one-third vegetarian and plant-based menu. Think: farm-to-table meets burger and fries. We started off with crispy brussels sprouts (gf), onion rings (v), fries (gf, v), and organic sweet potato fries (gf, v). For mains, we opted for the Standard Burger (organic beef, organic colby, caramelized onions, dill pickles, and special sauce, on a brioche bun), the Blazin’ Bacon (organic beef, pepper jack, smoked bacon, organic green leaf, pickled jalapeños, and habanero mayo on a brioche bun) and the Dilly Chick sandwich (buttermilk-fried, organic chicken, organic green leaf, organic tomatoes, dill pickles, and organic garlic aioli on a brioche bun). The rotating menu also features tons of substitute options, including a gluten-free bun and Impossible burger. To drink, we went with the cute, all-natural Boylan soda bottles. The menu also features some cool drink options, including Rise Brewing Coffees, Honest Iced Teas, and Olipop Prebiotic Sparkling Tonics. Select napkins, straws, and utensils from the “To Go Essentials” category on the menu, and remember to wear a mask when picking up at the restaurant.
The park is less than a two-minute walk from Bareburger. The entrance on the Southside will take you right past the dog parks into a wide-open, tree-lined space where lots of people have set up their picnic blankets (socially distanced of course). Don’t forget your mask and hand sanitizer! The pup-friendly park makes this the perfect night to bring your furry bestie along, too – just make sure they are on a leash when outside the designated dog park area. My maltipoo, Oreo, loved the fresh air and was happy to take care of the few fries I dropped. The park also offers Wi-Fi hot spots, bathrooms, a playground, and the monumental Washington Square Arch.
Anyone else immediately crave something sweet after dinner? A short walk from the park is a longtime favorite dessert spot of mine since my days of living in Downtown Manhattan (although it’s not exclusive to New York). Popbar makes frozen desserts and gelato on a stick. They are open for takeout, and require masks to be worn when in the store. My go-to is always a dairy-free Popsorbetto consisting of fruit-flavored gelato (usually passion fruit or peach) dipped in dark chocolate and coconut – SO GOOD.