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  • IF (94 Grand St.): "Since I can't really afford to buy designer anything unless it's from outlets or sample sales, I go to high-end boutiques merely for inspiration. IF in SoHo is my favorite multi-brand boutique. I like to come here alone and soak up as much inspiration as I can. It's much smaller than Barneys and Bergdorf's, but that's what makes it special. I'm a big fan their selection. I mean, nearly all Antwerp 7 designers are available here. Need I say more?"
  • Raffetto's (144 W. Houston St.): ""A lot of the best fresh pastas in New York City restaurants are from here. Most of the people behind the counter are family members who will share different ways to cook and serve the pastas and, best of all, the prices are unbelievably affordable. I always come here and buy 3-5 boxes of frozen ravioli that I eat too fast for my own good."
  • Attaboy (134 Eldridge St.): ""This happens to be the old and iconic Milk & Honey spot. You knock on the door and wait to be let in. There was quite a wait but the minute we went in, I knew it was worth it. The Hawaiian print-clad bartender-slash-iPod DJ named Sam was jumping with energy while playing alt-J, Vampire Weekend, and lots of old-school rock. There's no menu. Sam will ask you what you're in the mood for. That night was the start of a long obsession with Attaboy."
  • Eleven Madison Park (11 Madison Ave.): "This turned out to be the best restaurant experience of my life. 16 courses that included the best herb-crusted, lavender-stuffed, dry-aged duck you will ever have. But two things stood our for me: the amazing training of the staff and the inventiveness of the dishes. For example, a platter of home-cured beef pastrami with rye bread and pickled leek was served in what was an imitation of a New York-style deli. We made our own open sandwiches with mustard and black garlic aioli. The pastrami was amazing. Perfect proportion of meat and fat. To complete the meal, they served a soda in the flavor you chose at the beginning of the meal. Inventive, exciting, different, entertaining and most of all, did not try too hard."
  • 39th Street Between 7th and 8th Avenue: "The best strip for buying fabric. Usually not made for bulk buying but if you're naturally thrifty with a good eye, this street has a lot to offer."
  • Felix Restaurant & Bar (340 West Broadway): "My go-to spot in SoHo because one of my favorite NYC Pinoys, Thea, an ex-Binibing Pilipinas contestant and two-time NYC marathoner, always welcomes us with arms wide open. Andres & Jeff, the bartenders, give us generous pours and make the meanest maracoujas. When I don't want to think and I want my experience to be solid, I come to Felix and usually end up ordering the calamari and a big piece of cote de boeuf even when "I'm not that hungry." Felix always feels like home."

01/22/15 Footnotes on New York City by Designer Stacy Rodriguez

For anyone new to New York City, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of buzzy establishments. Lately, there’s been no shortage of trendy taquerias or barber shop-slash-bars popping up. As with the city’s inhabitants, however, restaurants and retail here is transient, and a favorite today could be another blog-heralded hotspot tomorrow.

“I can’t say that everything going on in New York City is fresh but it’s definitely exciting,” says Stacy Rodriguez, who put a pause on her clothing line Glasnost to move to a city that is still arguably at the forefront of fashion. Now a graduate of Parsons with an internship at The Row under her belt, Rodriguez plans to rack up more experience—but not without exploring the city’s greats rather than its gone-tomorrows. The designer talks to NOUS about the places she relies on for everything from fabric to generous pours of liquor.