“So what do you like to do for fun?”

Me: “Uh….eat.”

No, seriously. It’s a hobby and I take it very seriously.

About 2 years ago, I started seriously using Yelp to document my food experiences. I found the process of reflecting on my dining experiences and food an enjoyable hobby (because let’s be real, it’s like re-living your eating experience all over again). I honestly had no idea that Yelp was a thriving community and that people took this stuff so seriously.

…until one day I got a message in my inbox on Yelp. My first thought was–You can message people on here?

It just so happened to be the Brooklyn community manager who reached out and said he liked my reviews! He invited me to apply to a community called the “Yelp Elite.” With only 60 reviews written at the time, I ¬†didn’t think I was good enough to be a part of this “elite group.” I was completely flattered by the thought of someone else enjoying my reviews. I mean, after all, I began writing them for myself.

While it crossed my mind that I should apply, I honestly forgot about it. Until a few months later, I got another message. This time, it read: “Congratulations! You’ve been nominated and approved to the Brooklyn Yelp Elite community!”

This, my friends, opened a whole new world of possibilities. This Yelp Elite group was like unlocking a secret access to a world of like-minded foodie friends and of course, being invited to food events that has allowed me to try new restaurants, new venues and places for free! And being Yelp Elite in the mecca of delicious and diverse food has certainly provided it’s perks. ūüôā Absolutely no complaints here.

And so with this new flag next to my username that reads “Elite,” I try to make it a point to try a new restaurant every month. As much as I’d loooove to be eating out all the time, it’s just not realistic given my very real #teacherbudget and to be honest, I don’t eat out during the week days because #aintnoteachergottimeforthat.

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One of my absolute favorite things to do is treat myself to a nice weekend brunch. About a month ago, my good friend and I tried out a very popular brunch destination called¬†Ruby’s Cafe. ¬†Ironically, this wasn’t even our first choice–we only happened to come across this place after I found out that our original choice was closed on Sundays. This sort of serendipitous find worked out perfectly because I’m pretty sure this is one of my favorite brunch spots now!

Ruby’s Cafe offers a wide variety of brunch items from your traditional breakfast food items, to delicious salads, to your standard burger and fries. ¬†One thing that I appreciate about Ruby’s is their variety of gluten free options. ¬†While I did not try it, they offer gluten free buns for their burgers and sammies, and also gluten free pasta options. I will certainly have to come back and try it!

As for what I did try…well it was delicious. ¬†I ordered the crispy rice bowl filled with¬†radish, scallions, cucumber, tomato, onion, cucumber, fried egg and haloumi cheese. ¬†Because I was feeling bougie, I added avocado to my bowl. The rice was exactly what it is described as: crispy and delicious. ¬†Think crunchy rice that almost tastes like it’s been fried. To be honest, it could have been. And that would make sense given it’s deliciousness.

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The ingredients were fresh and melted together nicely to create a celebration of flavors for my tastebuds.  As any other millennial would, I ordered the $7 fresh juice that came with freshly blended pineapple and mint for a refreshing and light drink that paired well with my bowl.

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The ambience is hip and trendy–with open walls that overlook the streets of Soho, allowing for the fresh, crisp, fall air to blow through your hair as you enjoy your meal. ¬†Service was fast, friendly and the vibes were chill. ¬†It was pretty busy and there was about a 25 minute wait for a table of two on a Sunday at 1pm. ¬†Overall, if you’re into the brunch scene, are gluten free (or not), you should definitely consider coming here! The food is fresh, delicious and you will probably walk away with a smile on your face just like I have here below:

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Can you see the happiness in my eyes?!

Happy Brunching, y’all! Let me know your favorite brunch spots in NYC below!

P.S. If you want to keep up with my yelp adventures, add me here!                  https://alwaysam.yelp.com