CLEAN 28, Day 7: The Cloisters & Brunch on the Cleanse

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I have a small obsession with fall foliage. But then again, who doesn't? Vibrant yellow, orange, and red leaves perfectly compliments the much welcomed drop in temperature and humidity.

Being on the cleanse has motivated me to find more non-food related activities to explore in NYC. One of the places I have on my NY bucket list is to go up to the Cloisters in Washington Heights (in the 190s) to see fall foliage. Took this as the perfect time to grab my friends to explore.

George Washington Bridge from the Cloisters
Photo Credit for all pics today: Justin P
The A train was running express so we got to the 190 St stop pretty quickly, but one of the first things I noticed when we stepped out was how GREEN the leaves still were. Booo! I thought if we went up north far enough some of the leaves would be turning, but since we had such a long summer this year, it hasn't really happened yet.

Either way, it was still nice to get out of the city and take a walk. The Cloisters is an extension of the Met Museum and a quick 10 minute walk through Fort Tyson Park from the station. Admissions are the same as the Met, they are "recommended" prices that you can pay. That also means you can choose how much to actually pay, so if $25 feels too hefty to you for Adult Admission, you can scale it down and pay $10, for example. The sticker they give you also allows for same day admission to the Met.
Cloisters Museum & Gardens In the Garden Cloisters Museum & Gardens The Windows Chapel
We wandered around for a 1.5 hours marveling at the architecture and tapestries. My favorite room turns out to be the most popular in the whole place: the unicorn room full of tapestry on the wall

Brunch on the Cleanse at Communal

After The Cloisters, we were planning to grab brunch. I was dreading this a little because of the cleanse. I was a worried about dining out with friends since the cleanse can be a bit restricting. I hate being the "no" person. The one who has to say no to a place because there's nothing on the menu I can eat.

But saying no is the name of the cleanse game. Learning to deal with this guilt of being the nay sayer goes far in the acceptance that even though we all want to eat pizza every day, it might not be the best for us. For my friends, it's always easier to suggest grabbing the most hearty food than say, a salad. It helps to be prepared with suggestions for places with menus that covers a wide range of palettes.

The last time I did the cleanse, I discovered Westville in Chelsea and LES which had a great balance of CLEAN yet hearty items on the menu for my friends who are all "I want to eat the least healthy thing on the menu" (ahem, Justin). This time, I suggested going to Communal in Upper West Side.

Communal had a great mix of salads, flat breads and sandwiches that I figured can go over with even the pickiest eaters. I personally ordered their Baby Arugala Salad made with the following:  Frisee, avocado, radicchio, edamame, shallot and toasted black sesame seeds with honey mustard vinaigrette. I also ordered it with seared salmon which was great - even if it looked a bit dark in the picture.

If you are trying to grab food with friends while being on the cleanse, do some homework on suggestions of places you CAN eat. Don't worry too much about having to be "that" person. I still have a lot to learn in terms of trying to find a balance in eating. I was super satisfied from this salad, yet if I wasn't on the cleanse, I probably would have ordered a sandwich or flatbread because it seems more substantial. Like, who goes to a yummy restaurant to just order a salad?

Not me! But if I really do want to continue leading a 80/20 lifestyle of eating healthy, this is something I should accept as an acceptable thing to do. Baby steps.

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