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.
|Photo Credit for all pics today: Justin P|
I have a small obsession with fall foliage. But then again, who doesn't? Vibrant yellow, orange, and red leaves perfectly compliments th...
Something that I didn't realize before moving to New York is how common it is for famous chefs to open up more casual restaurants outside of their fancy namesakes. I was first introduced to ABC Kitchen by my friend Chef Tony who took me here after I asked him to bring me to a "New Yorky" restaurant on my visit here more than four years ago.
It wasn't until I became more interested in the NYC restaurants scene, did I realize that ABC Kitchen is actually the brainchild of famous Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Jean-Georges, the 3-Michelin star rated restaurant that I loved so much.
ABC Kitchen is the ultimate farm-to-table experience. As an extension off of ABC Home, the decor here screams modern cottage-chic with beautiful chandeliers and lovely wooden tables. The menu of ever-changing dishes focuses on ingredients that are local, sustainable, seasonal, doesn't use pesticides or GMOs ... you get the point. You can even find a list of the source of these ingredients on the back of your menus. This place is basically a hipster's dream.
Rebel Bingo, not too sober for this...maybe...Last year I saw that a friend check into "Rebel Bingo" and was immediately intrigued. The website doesn't really do a good job of explaining what it is, but I think that's a part of it's appeal. Rebel Bingo is marketed as bingo for badasses. Started by a Brit, it's now become an "international sensation" and is a traveling bingo show. Personally, I love bingo! Granny Bingo. Rebel Bingo. Friday Night Bingo. Doesn't matter what kind of bingo, I'm there!
The tickets were super cheap too ($10?!), so really, this was a no brainer. I managed to drag a group of friends to check it out with me and on any typical non-cleanse day, I would have participated in their pre-partying activities. Who goes to Rebel Bingo sober?
Well, as it turns out, this girl. When I got to Irving Plaza, a few people asked if I wanted a drink and I had to explain, no, I'm on a Cleanse... "A Cleanse!? Ohhh, Shelly....!" A few cleanse ago, I would have cared a lot more about being the party pooper. But through the years, I've actually learned how to be a lot less FOMO about this. Instead of seeing it as missing out, I'm looking at the whole thing as a perspective of learning to just say no and not feel bad about it. Peer pressure is hard, but if you believe in what you're doing, then you can definitely raise above.
My Friday Night and Saturday revolved around Rebel Bingo and Raw Vegan Food - the two things could not have been any more opposite. Rebe...
Around lunch time, I started feeling a little drowsy and like I wanted to throw up. I've never really felt like this so I knew I had to call in sick for the rest of the day so I could go home and recover.
I've read that during the cleanse, you may feel symptoms of the flu as toxins are leaving your body. This holds true to both the Clean Cleanse which I am following, as well as just the Complete Body Cleanse pills from Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. So what was it? Was I getting sick or am I feeling like this because of the cleanse? I've never had this happen to me before, so I mainly think it's the flu.
The weather in New York in the past few days has been cold and rainy. On top of that, the Fall weather keeps flip flopping between cold and humid. My body doesn't understand! To put it in perspective, it's also flu season. There's always a sick person coughing on me in the subway. Oh, and did I mention that the Doctor with Ebola in New York took the L train - the L train that I use to get to and from work?!
Paranoia set in. Once I got home I slept like a baby for 5 hours. I never take naps so this is really major and I felt a ton better afterwards.
Once I got a little bit better, I made some soup to help nurse myself back to health. This post could have easily been called Chicken Soup for the Soul because my next day and a half revolved around this Chicken Noodle Soup. Instead of egg noodles, I used brown rice spaghetti to make this Clean Cleanse complaint. Thank goodness I was able to eat this because it really nurtured my sick body and provided the warmth that I needed during every meal. And I mean, EVERY MEAL.
I'm talking breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am a simple gal and can really eat the same thing every day if I really liked it. Chicken noodle soup is one of those things. I didn't really care at this point that I was breaking the liquid breakfast and dinner rule. Getting better as fast as possible was worth it to me.
Whatever bug I had, I was much better by Friday night. Good enough to go to Friday spin class and also doing the BBG Abs & Arms Week 1 work out!
I had plans for Rebel Bingo with some friends so I had to quickly shower and get ready after my workout to meet up. This leaves basically no time for dinner, so I downed an entire mini jar of Chia Seed Pudding and took off.
I'll save Rebel Bingo for tomorrow's post, but overall I am glad that my small flu seems to have gone away and that I am ready to face the weekend!
On Day 4, my morning started out with another Mango Avocado & Spinach smoothie. Yes, I know I just said yesterday that I will try to br...
When I told myself, "Stop drinking green juices for breakfast and make yourself a smoothie woman!", this is the smoothie I turned to. Can you blame me? It's just my go-to even when I'm off the cleanse. I did write in the beginning of the year that I'm going to up my smoothie game a little bit and explore different recipes. But goodness, I just want to have this one.
Sometimes you get into a cleanse rut and you keep making the same thing over and over and over again. That's the story with me and this...
Snack Time!Instead of talking about breakfast and lunch first today, I have to tell you about this snack. This Go Raw Carrot Cake Cookies is EVERYTHING. Okay, I let my non-CLEAN coworkers try them and they thought "It's pretty good, if you're on a cleanse." So if you're on a cleanse, these cookies are EVERYTHING!
Obviously, let's face the facts. This is NOT gonna taste like carrot cake. You can't really have your cake and eat it too. The Go Raw Carrot Cake Cookies are made with 5 simple ingredients, mixed together raw and then dehydrated for a few days to make perfect little bites. They also makes other flavors like Lemon Cookies and Ginger Snaps which also uses ingredients that are Elimination Diet approved.
They really make the perfect snack/dessert substitute. While this seems to work against my "trying to get rid of my sweet tooth" objective a little bit, better that I'm "cheating" on raw carrot cake cookies and not salted chocolate chip cookies right? ;)
Snack Time! Instead of talking about breakfast and lunch first today, I have to tell you about this snack. This Go Raw Carrot Cake Cook...
LunchFor lunch, I had roast chicken, cucumber & chickpea salad (tossed in red wine vinegar) and some roasted balsamic mushrooms with shallots. This is all on top of a bed of lettuce, dressed with lemon and a bit of olive oil. This was a great lunch, and I especially enjoyed the mushrooms. Didn't even really notice that I was on a cleanse.
CLEAN Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms, Shallots & Rosemary
Roast a variety of mushrooms (osyter, cremini, white button, shimeji mushrooms, etc.) tossed in olive oil, rosemary, salt, a dash of tamari, and chili flakes in oven for 30 minutes in 375°F. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar after roasting, and leave in fridge. Top with thinly sliced shallows. Put on top of salads or eat by itself!
In the fall, leaves have a chance to change their whole appearance before turning a new leaf in the spring. I have adopted this mentality to try to get over my aging-anxieties. Earlier this month, I got an ombre. This was after 27 years of never having dyed my virgin hair (yes, that's a thing)! LOL. If that doesn't scream quarter-life crisis, I don't know what will. It felt like a step in the right direction.
Besides feeling the need to seize the moment and to live up my last few years of "youth", the voice in my head has also increased it's nagging. It wants me to take better care of my body. I've already told you about some fitness goals I have set for myself in 2014, but it's almost the end of the year and I don't feel like I've really achieved much at all.
I've been pretty flip-floppy with my overall diet, and lately have been craving and allowing myself to have more unhealthy foods than I would like. A cookie here and a bag of chips there might seem innocent once in a while. But when you forget how to say no, it has its multiplying effect. To ensure I don't snowball out of control over the holidays, I've decided to put myself on the Clean Cleanse for the next three weeks leading up to my birthday.
I'm calling this my CLEAN 28 challenge. I want to be the best and healthiest version of myself when I turn 28 next month!
There's 3 things I'm looking to fix in the next 21 days with the cleanse:
- Cut back on sugar cravings. I was able to make the claim a few years ago that I didn't have that much of a sweet tooth. However, I have noticed ever since my daily gelato binges in Italy, I have been wanting something sweet after most meals.
- Enable more portion control. Having done the cleanse in the past, I know I don't need to eat as much as I am eating now to feel satisfied. Lately, I have been eating like a monster.
- Feel less bloated. This one is self explanatory: I wanna look good on my birthday! Also it's pants season again and mine are feeling a little tight.
I did the Clean Cleanse earlier in January during the polar vortex and just found myself not wanting to eat salads and drink smoothies at all. Instead, I constantly carb-ed up on brown rice pasta more often than I would like to admit and kind of failed on the cleanse. Since it is a bit warmer this time around, I hope can manage the whole thing better and get better results in terms of weight loss.
I'll keep you posted on my progress, and hope to develop a few more CLEAN meals ideas to share with you all!
Curious about the Clean Cleanse? Learn the basics here.
I don't mean to get all Game on Thrones on you, but the thought of a New York Winter can be really daunting to someone who has never really been through a real winter. Before moving to New York, all my "winter" clothes were cute jackets and boots that helped me look on trend with the season but not to shield me from cold harsh winter. Why I thought I needed gloves living in the Bay Area, I will never know.
Having survived 3 New York winters and the Polar Vortex now, I feel like I need to help fellow winter newbies out. It's not all snowflakes and hot coco, guys. Here's my list of Winter Essentials that might seem like common sense to those who know, but a complete mystery for those who don't.
1. Long Puffy Jackets. (Here's another cute one.) Okay, this first one is obvious. But it's the details that matter the most.
- First, you MUST get a jacket that will cover your bum. Short jackets might be cute, but you need a long one so that you're not freezing your ass off (as much).
- Windproof is essential. On snowy days, it's not the temperature that's going to get you, it's the wind speed.
- Waterproof, because when snow hits you on a warm-ish day, it turns into water.
- A hood, 50% of your body heat escapes from your head when it's not covered. COVER IT!
- Bonus points if there is a scrunchy sleeve where your hand is so wind doesn't travel upwards.
- Popular winter jackets brands: Zara, Canadian Goose (pricey), North Face, Woolrich.
- If you're getting a wool jacket for winter, make sure you check the % of wool it is on the tag. The higher the percentage, the warmer you'll be.
- Wellington boots such as Hunters are a super popular option for snow boots because it has great grip and usually made with one piece of rubber so that there are no leaks. Most of my friends in NY own Hunters and it's what I've been using for the past 3 years.
- Sorel has been making really great snow boots and they look more like a regular boot so would be great for every day wear. (Update: I ended up buying a pair of Sorels for my trip in Iceland and it's turned out to be SO amazing as a non-slip boot. Definitely recommend them if you plan on living here for more than 2 years! Totally worth the money.)
- Keep in mind that a day of snow turns into a week of ankle-deep slush. Also, most sidewalks are covered in salt to help melt snow and therefore your cute leather boots will definitely get ruined in this lethal combo.
- Speaking of footwear, Hunters makes very cute fleece socks that lines their boots for those extra cold days. Thin ski socks are also great to help you keep warm on regular days.
- Don't wait until it snows to buy boots. Friends from last winter waited too long and couldn't find any weather appropriate shoes ANYWHERE, not online, not in stores. You've been warned.
6. Wool Infinity Scarfs. The bigger the better. Even better if you can cover your face with it, because there will be days where you want to be walking around Manhattan like a ninja, everything covered except for your eyes. That's how you will keep the warmest.
7. Atopalm Facial Moisturizer. This one is a new addition to the list but an old favorite. When winter is drying out your skin, you really need a good moisturizer to help balance out the harshness of the bitter cold hitting your face at 30 mph. Atopalm is perfect for me and if you're having a hard time finding a good moisturizer for your face during the winter, give this one a try - it's only $20 on Amazon. For more info, see my blog post here.
What are some of your Winter Essentials? Any tips for our winter newbies out there?
Winter is coming... I don't mean to get all Game on Thrones on you, but the thought of a New York Winter can be really daunting to so...
Oops, is that not appropriate behavior at a 3-Michelin star restaurant? #noshame here ... I swear the Saucier who makes these drops of heaven is really the one who helped Le Bernardin secure their final 3rd star. Because. ALL the sauces of the night just helped elevate the dishes from good to great, and prompted me to virtually "lick" all my plates clean (with bread).
Anyway, back to the beginning. A few months ago, J's parents came to visit NYC and since Le Bernardin was on the top of our lists of places to go in 2014, we decided to make it an occasion for a nice meal together. As it turns out, this was the perfect choice for a wonder 3-Michelin star place for them to try.
It begins with the amuse bouche, my favorite was the soup. I wonder how I can make soup like that at home, I just wanted to drink endless amounts of it, a tiny cup was just not enough.
At Le Bernardin, you have the choice of a 4-course prix fixe ($135), a 7-course Le Bernardin Tasting ($155), or the more expensive 8-course Chef’s Tasting Menu ($198). From what I understand, it doesn't seem like the menu changes much at all. I'm looking at the menu again six months later and it's exactly the same.
You can use this confit on top of crusty bread. In an omelette. Add it on top of a protein. In a sandwich. Mixed into pasta sauce. Pretty much anything you might put caramelized onions on.
I love all Italian food - pastas, pizzas and gelato - oh my! So imagine my pure bliss during the ten days J and I spent eating our way through Italy!
I've been asked what my food recommendations are for these cities, so I've consolidated all of those here in this Best Bites of Italy series. In this edition, we'll be looking at Rome, Venice, Florence and Cinque Terre. I've also include links to each of my blog post elaborating on why each place was so awesome!
I love all Italian food - pastas, pizzas and gelato - oh my! So imagine my pure bliss during the ten days J and I spent eating our way th...
When she invited me to the new omakase that YUJI Ramen was hosting, I was definitely intrigued. I've been to the YUJI Ramen at Whole Foods a few times and quickly fell in love with Chef Yuji-san's mazemen ramen - basically a broth-less variety. The few different dishes I tried at Whole Foods were wonderful, the ramen noodles acted as a base for all kinds of delicious toppings. My favorite was their Bacon & Egg ramen. Essentially the bacon fat was rendered down to coat the noodles, along with a creamy soft poached egg. A Japanese version of a classic Italian carbonara on perfectly al dente ramen noodles - basically it's heaven.
The Whole Foods location also had an elusive omakase that I kept reading and hearing about, but there was no way for me to track down how to get a reservation for it. $40 for 5 courses of different innovative uses of ramen dough including a ramen uni ravioli... drool.
Anyway, fast forward to July when Pauline found out about Yuji's move to Williamsburg. They were doing a soft opening and you can buy out the whole restaurant by booking the omakase for a group of 8 people - yes, it's that tiny. The omakase $100 per person, and for a ramen tasting, that sounds a little steep. But, curiosity killed the wallet so we went for it.
So what could possibly be served in a multi-course ramen tasting? Good thing I took some pics for you to check out...
One of the most surprising news to me for the 2015 ratings is for Sushi Nakazawa to not get any stars, but for Ichimura to make the jump to two Michelin stars! To put things in perspective, there are now 58 one Michelin star restaurants in NYC, but only 9 two Michelin star rated ones. That extra star is a HUGE deal.
So let's talk about Ichimura. The first time I realized that I absolutely needed to eat here was when I saw this picture of a triple stack of otoro. I mean... just look at it!
I mentioned earlier last November when I wrote about my first ever omakase at Sushi Nakazawa, that I'm a sushi noob. While I can distinguish really fresh sushi from the average sushi joint, I'm still working on that sushi tasting palette. I mean, like, really really getting into it. Figuring out what temperature I prefer my rice to be. Just how vinegary should the rice be. What makes that perfect cut on a fish want to eat. You know, the nit-picking stuff.
Ichimura at Brushstroke was my second "fancy" omakase. I've had numerous foodie friends who tell me that this is on the top of their list, and one even claims that Nakazawa is nothing compared to Ichimura. Strong words, but I wanted to see for myself. J and I decided to come for his birthday in June 2014. As it turns out, just a week before we made the ressie, they raised the price of their omakase, from $160 to now $180. (Update 2015: The price has now been increased to $195 in 2015...Yikes!) Painful, but worth it.
Right off the bat, you'll notice that chef Eiji Ichimura is the only person behind the sushi counter serving 8 eager guests. J and I came here a few minutes late, so everyone was already eating their appetizers. Don't be foolish, come on time!!
Award season for foodies is here! I couldn't care less about which movies win an Oscar, but am all ears when the Michelin Guide releases...