Photography by Adam Cantor

Elaine Welteroth

Editor-in-Chief, Teen VOGUE

| West Village

As her Instagram account says, “Don’t be eye candy. Be soul food…”– that is, unless you’re both as is Elaine Welteroth. With a curly blonde coif, flawless complexion and killer street style, the former Teen VOGUE Health and Beauty Director, now Editor-in-Chief is some serious candy, but it’s her spunky sense of humor and laid-back Cali vibes that we love most (she hails from the Bay Area). Constantly debunking beauty myths with her step-by-step YouTube videos, she’s also the reason we’re never scared to try a new look (trust us, her smoky eye how-to has saved us from low-grade escort territory on many an occasion). When she’s not doing her best “Blue Steel” with Cara (Delevingne that is) or making faces with Miley, she’s on the hunt for the perfect workout (think boxing with fellow CITIPHILE Hannah Bronfman or dancing it out with ABT ballerina Isabella Boylston). Here, Welteroth sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: My happy place is Havana Alma de Cuba (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). It’s the most delicious slice of heaven for the ultimate Latin comfort food. I remember when I first tried the Pollo Alla Maggie (chicken breast stuffed with sweet plantains, mozzarella and mushrooms sautéed with zucchini, onion and white wine sauce) with a side of rice and beans— I immediately texted all my friends about it and I never wanted to eat anywhere else again. Also, I’m not even a calamari person, but my boyfriend orders it everywhere we go and Havana Alma de Cuba adorns theirs with diced sweet plantains and cherry tomatoes in a savory tamarind sauce— it’s the best I’ve ever had.

COFFEE OR TEA: Tea at my apartment because there is something meditative about starting your day sipping homemade hot tea in a giant robe. I do it every morning to feel zen before the day gets crazy. I am not a coffee person— even half-caffeine varieties make me jittery and anxious. I’m no tea connoisseur either, but I am thoroughly convinced that Yogi Tea with Organic Ginkgo leaves is the only reason I can remember things… Ok fine, it’s probably just some weird placebo effect, but I take it with a drizzle of raw honey and steep it with a slice of fresh ginger in one of my many Beyoncé-inspired mugs that give positive affirmations like “I Woke Up Like This” or “Like a Boss” and it is instant happiness in a cup. The mugs are beyond cheesy (and kind of obnoxious), but they were the very first glasses I bought myself when I decided to live alone for the first time and, in some strange way, I associate them with my independence. Now they are an essential part of my morning tea time and I’m not giving them up… ever.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Oh god, the pressure! Hard to name just one all-time favorite, but I could always go for ABC Kitchen (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) or ABC Cocina (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)— you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Also, Miss Lily’s (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) has unbeatable authentic Jamaican food and the best music. (Plus, I have girl crushes on all the hostesses!)

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: A Havana Night (jalapeño-infused cachaça, muddled lime and cucumber) from Havana Alma de Cuba. Especially on a balmy summer night after a long week, there is nothing more refreshing; their margaritas are killer too.

GIRLS NIGHT OUT: You wouldn’t know it from the amount of swanky work events and industry dinners flooding my calendar, but I actually prefer to socialize like an 80-year-old granny. On the weekends, I am all for intimate dinners at home with friends, followed by a wild night of Taboo and maybe an impromptu dance party if we’re lucky. But if we are forcing ourselves out of hibernation, we usually start at Omar’s (MAP ITBOOK IT, x), a hidden, members-only gem located on a secluded side street in the West Village. It’s the perfect spot to meet up for drinks (get the Sidecar), people watch and just let the spontaneous spirit of the city dictate the rest of the night— if I have it my way, that means ending up with mics in our hands at Karaoke Boho in the L.E.S. (MAP IT, x) where you can order a private room and go nuts belting out Rihanna’s “Stay,” anything Miley and old-school 90’s (after hours, I go by “Mariah”).

MUSIC PICK: I come from a very musical family (my dad plays Eric Clapton-esque acoustic guitar, my mom sings gospel soul à la Etta James and my brother switches between lead guitar and drums in a hardcore punk rock band), so I’m a sucker for live music of any genre. This is going to make me sound like I have a receding hairline, but recently a friend dragged me to The Blue Note on W. 4th Street (MAP IT, x) to see a jazz band and I was smitten by the old New York feel. Also, it’s sappy, but when my boyfriend (also a music guy) finds an open piano to play or brings his guitar anywhere in the city, it’s pretty magical. Most days are a lot less exciting though— it’s usually just me and Sia vibing out on Spotify.

BEST BRUNCH: For me, NYC brunches are 90% who and 10% where. As long as the conversation is juicy, I can pretty much sit and eat anywhere for hours on end. I love Café Select (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for their avocado toast and cozy vibe, but go early before it turns into a scene. I went during the World Cup once and it was insane. When there’s a stand-off about where to eat or I’m craving something specific, I usually end up all the way uptown at The Cecil in Harlem (*Location now closed) for the yam waffles or roti pizza and collard greens salad.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: I’m never out of the office in time for happy hour, but I discovered the delicious small plates and crazy-cheap bar specials at Sotto 13 (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) while treating myself to a mid-day toast on move-in day. It’s literally steps away from my apartment on the same insanely charming block in the West Village that sold me on my apartment. Their two-for-$13 cocktails are not to be missed and the sublime portobello pizza with wild mushrooms, red onion and truffle oil keeps me coming back more than I should be. It flies under the “NYC hot spot” radar so it still feels refreshingly low-key (although I once spotted my neighbor there aka Gisele’s superstar hairstylist Harry Josh and could hardly resist begging for a haircut on the spot).

HEALTHY STAPLE: Pret-a-Manger (MAP IT) near our new office at 1 World Trade Center for an organic chicken avocado salad with cranberries and walnuts. When it comes to eating lunch during the week, I am such a creature of habit. My only criteria: quick, healthy and easy to eat at my desk while churning out emails. During fashion week, my go-to lunch spot is Spring Street Natural in SoHo (MAP IT, x) for their juice of the day and a ginormous kale salad. It’s like fueling up your body with liquid energy and the brain food you need when you’re whizzing around the city (you may even have a model sighting or two).

GUILTY PLEASURE: Cheesy patatas bravas with spicy aioli sauce from Tía Pol (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)— there are no words. Sometimes I go alone just so I can devour forkfuls in silence without having to share it. It’s a problem. Also, I’m not really into sweets, but if you have ever had the chocolate chip cookies at SoHo House (MAP IT, x), you know they are beyond! If you aren’t a member (and aren’t savvy enough to sneak in under a friend’s name), any NYU alum will tell you ordering in from Insomnia Cookies (MAP IT, x) will make you feel all kinds of better (I promise). You can get a warm stash of cookies delivered to your door at any time of the night.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: City sleighing: it’s a little activity my friend and I invented during a recent snow storm. We bought a cheap sled from a hardware store, tied a rope to it and whizzed around the city like deliriously happy children. True story.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The energy. There’s nothing like it anywhere in the world.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: The Marlton Hotel (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for dimly-lit, sexy vibes, good people-watching and delicious oysters; Claudette (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for a fancy double date night; Miss Lily’s for a guaranteed good time.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Salam (MAP IT, x) is the West Village’s best kept-secret for the heartiest, authentic Moroccan/Middle Eastern food in the city. It’s a local hidden gem that I call on at least once a week and probably wouldn’t have survived this frigid winter without. It’s always ready in under 15 minutes. I would be ridiculously lazy to have it delivered as it’s literally a stone’s throw from my doorstep, but even in a snow storm, I don’t mind picking up because it’s a friendly, family-run atmosphere that feels more like your eccentric aunt’s cozy living room than a NYC restaurant. Be sure to order the spinach pies and Moroccan couscous with whatever fixings you’re in the mood for.

S/S ’15 BEAUTY PICK: A wine-stained lip makes anyone look more put-together.

BEAUTY MUST-HAVE: I could wax poetic about Chanel Les Beiges SPF 15 Sheer Glow powders for their magical, subtle cheekbone sculpting powers for days, but my new discovery for spring is Smashbox’s gel eyeliner pen that is truly genius for a full-on cat eye moment or a clean, tight line that just makes your lashes look more luscious. It’s perfected the art of drawing eyeliner like a pro even if you’re a make-up novice. I also couldn’t leave the house without my daily four pumps of Oribe Hair Plumping Mousse and a 2-minute blast from my DevaCurl hand-shaped DevaFuser— both are a short haired girl’s dream.

CLOSET CHECK: I am a sample sale hoarder— there’s something about the exclusivity of trying on unique pieces mixed with the urgency of a flash sale and the strict no-return policy that’s simultaneously stressful and irresistible. Last season, Phillip Lim’s was the best; I walked out with an oversized emerald coat that practically swallows me whole and the fuzziest white mullet sweater that makes me look fancy, while keeping me warm and toasty when it’s below zero outside.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Anything from my beauty closet.

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: Colorist Aura Friedman (x) at Sally Hershberger Downtown (MAP IT, x) is my hair color guardian angel. She keeps an eye on my hair via Instagram and every 8 weeks or so, I can count on her for a text saying, ”It’s time.” She’s given many a model their career-making color and she’s known for dreaming up unexpected, ahead-of-trend looks that makes any cut more flattering; I trust her implicitly. Once, I even let her dye my hair green!

FIT PICK: I could do an entire CITIPHILE survey just on fitness classes in the city. I feel like I’m trying out new ones every week, but the one I always go back to is Swerve Fitness in Flatiron (MAP IT, x). They have a built-in juice bar where you can pre-order smoothies before you spin. It’s completely co-ed and they’ve designed a competitive team format that brilliantly tricks you into working harder and making friends while you’re at it. I am obsessed with Dyan‘s class— I rely on her playlist and contagious energy to wake me up on Saturday mornings. During the week, I love dragging friends to a fun dance class at Banana Skirt Productions (MAP IT, x). Hannah Bronfman turned me on to these classes and I’m completely hooked. Who doesn’t like to just turn off the lights and dance like Beyoncé for 45 minutes?

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: I was engrossed in typing an email while racing to a show during fashion week when a herd of high schoolers swarmed me. I started to move out of the way, assuming they were running towards someone behind me. Then I realized they were bursting with excitement to tell me how much they love our Teen VOGUE YouTube beauty videos. It was the single-most memorable moment of that season. Sometimes, in our insular little bubble, we can lose perspective and forget why we do what we do— having that reminder felt sort of surreal and really rewarding. CP

Elaine’s New York

From L to R: First Row: SoHo House; Welteroth; Hair by Aura Friedman; Inside Miss Lily’s. Second Row: Omar’s; Insomnia chocolate chip cookies; Small plate at ABC Cocina; Margaux at The Marlton Hotel.


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