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Serious Eats Neighborhood Guides: Missy Robbins' West Village

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[Excerpt photograph: Melissa Hom]

Missy Robbins doesn't get much time to leave the West Village after work, but that suits her just fine. Named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs of 2010, she's spent the past few years juggling her time between two very busy restaurants, and enjoying what little downtime she has in the neighborhood where she's lived for the past four-plus years. She likes that she sees the same people at her morning coffee spot every day—except during the hurricane, when a power outage shut down most of the local businesses, and she had to whip up a bowl of cacio e pepe in her tiny kitchen in the dark. She's grateful that things are gradually going back to usual in her world—A Voce re-opened for business last week—and she can once again leave her apartment for a classic cure to her frequent red sauce cravings.

Missy's Picks

Pizza, slice: Joe's is a classic New York slice, and really fast. I'm a cheese girl, all the way.

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John's pie [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Pizza, pie: I'm still a fan of John's. I lived in the West Village when I was 25, then left and came back, so John's is just nostalgic for me. There's something about it. I live a block away, so I get it to go. It's usually cheese, or cheese with garlic. I don't like a lot of crap on my pizza.

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The Spotted Pig burger [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Burger: I only go to The Spotted Pig for burgers—it's my spot. I love the combo of blue cheese on a burger that's always cooked perfectly, and the fries are amazing. I mostly go on Sunday afternoons.

Coffee: I love the whole milk lattes at Joe. Their coffee is perfectly roasted—not too dark or too light—and they're really nice there. They know my name. I go every morning unless there's a long line and I'll be late for work. When they were closed for the hurricane, I was having a really big problem. In the summer, they have unbelievable cold brew, it's like rocket fuel. It makes me a little shaky.

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Sesame bagel [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Bagel: I get a sesame poppy or everything bagel from Murray's, toasted with cream cheese. Pretty basic. Sometimes I go for a little lox.

Delivery food: Bleecker Street Pizza serves their eggplant parm over pasta, but I order it without. I recently ordered it by mistake without cheese, and it was actually really good. The sauce is great. I crave it on a regular basis, and I probably eat it once a week. Seamless Web is a really amazing thing. I'm lazy—why would you walk to get it?

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Twice-cooked pork [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Chinese: I always get the twice-cooked pork from Grand Sichuan. They have these really awesome cold, spicy noodles. There's a spicy chicken with bamboo shoots. I'm not gonna lie, I also get General Tso's chicken—they do a really good version.

Korean: I order in from Do Hwa all the time. I get the cellophane noodles, the kimchee and seafood pancake, and the rice cakes in the spicy sauce. The tofu with scallions is also great, and I've taken recently to the spicy chicken breast with lettuce wrap.

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Mint gelato on Mint Chocolate and Mocha Latte cookies [Photograph: Kathy YL Chan]

Ice cream: It's usually Häagen-Dazs on my couch, but if you're craving ice cream, Milk and Cookies does awesome ice cream sandwiches. I get the chocolate cookie with mint ice cream.

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Wogie's buffalo wings

Dive bar: Wogie's is my new place for wings and beer. The wings are super-spicy if you want them that way, and they have awesome waffle fries.

Nicer wine, beer, or cocktail bar: Buvette has amazing Manhattans and really good wines. I also get the Forestier sandwich—it's like a croque monsieur, but vegetarian.

Classic Italian: I get red sauce cravings. I used to go to Arturo's for old-school Italian food when I worked at the Soho Grand. They have a dish that's veal parm and eggplant parm mixed together; it's like a dream come true. Recently, I've been going to Piccolo Angolo. It's a super-fun, family-run place, and they have great energy. It's so small that you don't have a choice but to talk to your neighbor. I get the linguine with clams, or the penne arrabiata, and meatballs—they were out of them last time, but my neighbor let me have some of his.

Falafel sandwich [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Falafel: I'm a big, big fan of Taim; I was pretty addicted to it this summer. I get the falafel sandwich with pretty much everything on it. Sometimes I just do pita with a side of hummus and a side of baba ghanoush.

Late-night eats: I go to Employees Only a lot. They're nice, not pretentious. I usually get a Negroni, but I'm really good friends with the chef, and she drinks Americanos, so she got me into them. She makes really awesome spicy rock shrimp, steak tartare, and bone marrow poppers. I like to go after work, around midnight, when I'm not too tired.

Date night: Gottino is one of my date spots. I usually get cheese there, and they have a fun, interesting, not super-expensive wine list. It's quiet and mellow.

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Dell'anima's spaghetti [Photograph: Zachary Feldman]

Can't-miss neighborhood spot: The bar at Dell'anima is quintessential West Village, on a great little corner. I love eating outside there. The pastas are good, and they have a white Lambrusco that's really awesome.

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