Find the Balance: 2016 Healthy New York Restaurants

I continue to work on the balance between being social and healthy. New York restaurant options are endless, my love of food and drink can be obsessive and I truly enjoy going out with friends/family to experience new cuisines/dishes/cocktails.

I know the extremes of being 100% healthy – no carbs, no dairy, no sugar, no booze, etc. I also know the other side of this pendulum – just go after it… and then I feel awful. I have struggled to find that middle ground. Experts say that 80% of the fitness and health battle is your diet.

Enter Lara Shriftman – a PR icon/influencer, mentor and friend. In LA, she introduced me to Real Food Daily. I couldn’t believe how tasty, satisfying and healthy the food was. I returned to NY on a mission to find and try as many ‘healthy’ NY restaurants as possible. After 2 years, here is my top 20 list – enjoy and #stayinspired

  • ReViVer: The original location is in Columbus Circle. A Flatiron one just opened! Every item on the menu is backed by a nutrient score (think vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and good fatty acids). I am all over the Lemon Chicken, Moroccan Tofu and Steak and Veggies Hot Dishes. The soups are also outstanding. Shout out to Yao-Hsuan Huang for introducing me to this place!

reviver

  • Hu Kitchen: Paleo at it’s best. It’s a casual, clean eatery with a changing seasonal menu. The organic pot pie at the bowl station is outstanding and if you like desserts, all of their paleo-approved versions could fool you. They also have the best crack coffee – fuel for the day!  Shout out to Lorin Carlino for introducing me to this place! 

SONY DSC

  • Nix: I will admit, I was skeptical. How could luxe vegetarian be that good? Well, it is! Dinner reservations are strongly recommended. The tandoor bread appetizer was sensational. So many flavor profiles going on. On the lighter side, the heirloom tomatoes were outstanding, and the cauliflower tempura, charred brussels sprouts and tofu-skin pockets rounded out the bolder portion of the meal nicely. Jonathan Libutti, thanks for taking a chance with me on this place!

nix

  • Ladybird: A ‘globally inspired vegan tapas bar’! The smoked cauliflower and baby beets are exquisite.
  • Rouge Tomate Chelsea: With an extensive wine list and a Michelin-star, the nutrient packed food is sublime and guilt-free. The pumpkin hummus and anchovy are power-packed snacks. The carrot soup and cauliflower under small plates are stand outs. The cod, venison and chicken are exceptional pieces of protein. I love pear, and they have a roasted pear dessert which is sinfully good! Orit, you got me hooked on the original! 

rouge

  • Farmer & The Fish: Three quarters of the ingredients are sourced directly from the restaurant’s farm in North Salem, New York. True to it’s name, the seafood is superb marrying spicy flavors to mix things up. The surf and turf offerings are my favorite.
  • Blossom: This was one of my earlier introductions to healthy restaurants. Lie to me! Buffalo risotto croquettes, a cheeseburger, southern seiten sandwich, lasagna, moroccan tagine. It covered all my culinary favorites! Brey and Keyla Pena, thank you for this intro. We even got Keith to eat it!

blossom

  • Urban Vegan Kitchen: If you love the Blossom empire, this is the more rocking sister. DJ’s play from brunch to dinner to keep the atmosphere lively. All the small dishes are unbelievable, but given my love for comfort food, I adore the baked mac n cheese. As for the large plates, how can you go wrong with a BLT, seitan and gravy steak and chick-un and waffles? I didn’t have room for desert but will try next time!
  • Bobo: Clean, light french food in a beautiful townhouse setting.

bobo

  • Dig Inn: There are various locations in New York. Their goal is to build a community through food. It’s a no frills, shared table style, nurturing setting for a casual and healthy meal.

dig-inn

  • Juice Generation: I have tried to get into  juices but failed miserably. I never feel full or satisfied. Instead of viewing them as a meal, I now use them as the ‘snack’ portion of my day’s consumption. Juice Generation has an awesome charcoal juice that I find very cleansing. Thank you Dennis Pena for this recommendation.
  • Westville: There are also multiple locations in NY. Where do I begin? For casual dining with a cozy restaurant feel, this is one of my favorites. I have been here so many times I should open my own in Jersey City! The entire menu is magnifcent. From classic comfort foods, to simply prepared dishes, to the most amazing vegetable assortment! This menu could work for anyone. There are not enough good things to say. Trish Mannion, this was one of the best dinner spots you ever recommended! I am addicted. 
  • Chalk Point: Seared octopus and truffled Jerusalem artichokes and burrata is a must to start. Their call out entree is the mustard crusted rack of lamb. As for veggies, you cannot go wrong with the Za’Atar spiced califlower steak and roasted carrots. Debbie Carlino, this was a gem of a find!

cafe-clover

  • Café Clover: Seasonal and local focused and located in the West Village, the simple ingredients in each dish simply stand out in their purest forms. All of the fishes are exceptional good, and the chickpea spaghetti was a pleasant surprise.

chalk-point

  • Souen: Japanese macrobiotic food at it’s best, and one of the oldest ‘healthy’ restaurants in NY.  I love all the soups and noodle entrees (Pad Thai!), but the seafood dishes are fantastic, too.
  • Red Bamboo: This was my first vegetarian restaurant thanks to Tricia Kosnik Purdy. I was craving Chili’s buffalo wings and she suggested I try this place. All I thought was ‘Is she crazy? It’s vegetarian. There is NO way it could taste like a chicken wing.’ I take it all back. The bamboo nuggets, bbq wings and chicken parm could totally fool me. I love this place! It’s tiny and in a basement practically, but totally worth it.

red-bamboo

  • Quantum Leap: Outside of Hillstone (can I consider that healthy – what do you think John Santos and Trish Mannion?!), the veggie burger is outstanding. Like, crave worthy! I went 2 days in row cause I couldn’t get enough. It’s like a little natural food mecca in Greenwich Village.
  • Eva’s on 8th: Another oldie but goodie. Serving since the 1970’s, this place has been an establishment for many. Simple preparations but a whole lot of variation and no frills atsmphere makes this place a great spot for a pre-post workout meal. Honestly, I love the entire menu and am working on trying everything.
  • V Spot: Thanks again to Brey and Keyla Pena my two favorite vegan friends. This was one of the greatest finds this year. Latin vegan food – who knew? Again, we even got Keith to eat it! I didn’t know where to start with the menu. Nachos, avocado fries, buffalo strips, quesadillas – it can’t get better!
  • By Chloe: Lorin Carlino, we might have given up our Soul Cycle once a week dates, BUT we always find new, healthy places to catch up. This was also recommended by the lovely Natalie Weeks – thank you! Love the grab and go option. The burger is delicious along with the air baked fries. And to add to that comfort, throw in the mac n’ cheese alongside the kale artichoke dip!

chloe

So there are all my tried and true recommendations for healthy places in NY! As we go into the holiday season and need places to eat & celebrate, I hope these are helpful!

Japan’s Nursing Home for Dogs!

I am always researching ways to live out my best life. I haven’t presented this idea for my last days to mom and dad, but I am gathering all options to share eventually.

I found a nursing home for dogs in Japan. I have never been, but my parents loved their journey there. I have a feeling I would enjoy it – Kobe Beef? Cherry Blossoms? Sake? Such a beautiful culture! I should get my mom to write about her Japan trip…ok, let’s re-focus on this post!

Here is the article from TIME magazine: http://time.com/2881761/a-nursing-home-for-dogs-is-opening-in-japan/

animal-massage-therapy

Check out this daily schedule:

  1. 8am: Breakfast
  2. 8:30am: Walking exercise
  3. 9am: Rehabilitation massage
  4. 9:15am: Relax
  5. Noon: Massage again
  6. 12:15pm: Relax again
  7. 1pm: Spend time with parents, any medication exams
  8. 5pm: Massage again 🙂
  9. 5:15pm: Additional relaxing
  10. 5:30pm: Dinner
  11. 6:30pm: Bedtime

I could be very happy ending my life at this nursing home. Here is the link for Aeon Pet: http://www.aeonpet.com

Rambo

#stayinspired

 

 

Steak Temps 101

I have discovered many people are confused by the different temperature options when cooking steak. Here is a handy guide that visually shows what each one looks like! Enjoy 🙂 #stayinspired.

Steak

4 Tips to Stay Healthy When Traveling

I love traveling but have faced some challenges on my adventures. It’s been touch and go, and I have not perfected them but have identified what I need help on, and am working towards getting better every time I go away.

Healthy Travel

Hope these tips help you. #stayinspired

  1. There’s too much drinking. The opportunities for this have been so tempting in my past 10 years working in wine/spirits. The possibilities are endless and honestly delicious. Alcohol will not ruin you, but this will impact your eating decisions and quality of sleep. If you choose to drink, have one or two. 1 drink = 5oz of wine, 12oz light beer or 1.5oz of hard liquor. To minimize empty calorie intake, take SMALL, SLOW sips and if possible, alternate those sips with water and lemon (this helps keep your body in an alkaline state).
  2. where can i buy prilosec There’s too much food. Remember you are in charge of what you put in your mouth. Empower yourself to put the brakes on mindless eating. When you are satisfied with the food intake create a ritual to stop the next bite and overeat. Pop a sugar free mint/breath mint, have a cup of tea, go to the bathroom and brush your teeth (this is really helpful for me).
  3. I don’t eat like this! Prepare! You may not always have control of the food at events, but if you prep in advance you can navigate this challenge. The goal is to make sure you don’t go hungry and have healthy snacks (200 calorie portions of nonperishable foods that contain protein and fiber). My go to’s are: nuts/seeds, dry roasted edamame, Quest Bars, jerky, banana.
  4. I have no time for exercise. Create opportunities – a gym doesn’t have to be the only option. Take the stairs, park your rental car further away and walk, walk where you can – just move! Before, in between or after events, do jumping jacks, lunges, squats, planks, crunches. This can be done in your hotel room. Moving keeps you alert, awake and focused and is necessarary for health in our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. BC Workout

2016 Asia: Hong Kong – Post 4/4

Hong Kong…Manhattan on Crack

Hong Kong is a hedonistic engine room of cultural fusion: East meets West in high style with a unique identity due to its British and Portuguese influence. We were fortunate to have our friend, Harry Pang, show us around both nights we were in town.

General Info:

  • Currency: Hong Kong Dollar
  • Tipping: Not necessary, but 10% appreciated
  • Respect the Food:
    • Dim Sum: Felicia and Shendi Lu, thanks for the prep!
    • Cha Siu: HK National dish – pork, honey, spices
    • Moon cake: Revolutionaries in imperial China used to smuggle messages to each other hidden in a moon cake’s dense filling (I wish my mail was wrapped in food!)
    • Eggettes: Egg waffles are a HK classic…it’s an iconic twist on waffles

img_5922

  • Misc: HK is grouped into islands, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island being the two main ones. Main tourist sights and eats are divided up between the two. They are just a 10 min cab/5 min subway ride away. Star Ferry travels between them and takes around 10 minutes (costs around $1 US).
  • Transport Recos:
    • MTR: Best way around is Metro – quick, cost effective and efficient
    • Aiport Express Link: 24 minutes from airport to Kowloon / Hong Kong. Charging stations and TVs, comfortable seats, air conditioning…what more could you ask for? They will also check in your luggage on the return trip and send it to airline. Easy, breezy service.
    • Taxis: Cabbies are as psychotic as any big city cabbie. Hold on for dear life!

Hotel:

  • W Hotel (Bruce Starr, thanks for reco)
  • Site: http://www.w-hongkong.com
  • The hotel is in West Kowloon. Fly into Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and travel to the hotel by Airport Express, the most direct and quickest route. It takes 24 minutes, has charging outlets and is the most efficient way to get to the W, which is a 5 minute walk from the station, and it’s through a lovely indoor mall.
  • The concierge, Billie, was the most enthusiastic person I met on this trip. His energy and knowledge of where to go / how to get there was fantastic. Jasper, the bellboy, that greeted us upon arrival was incredibly helpful and just genuiniely kind. It was a nice way to start our experience in Hong Kong.

 Dining:

  • Tung Kee Seafood: Point at what you want and eat it.
  • Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine: Super cute eatery featuring the world’s most celebrated cartoon in the form of dim sum, rice and motif teapots. Yes, we had to go…

img_5954img_5956

  • The Kitchen (W Hotel): This is fat Brielle speaking. This was a buffet like no other (Mel Mao – you know what I’m talking about!). All types of cuisine. I literally sampled everything from the lobster, to meats, to soups, to donuts, to pasta… nothing went to waste and it was a glorious morning breakfast to fuel up for the day’s activity.

img_5858

  • Mad for Garlic: An Italian restaurant that originated in Korea. Garlic is in every dish. You will smell awesome after this…
  • J&G Fried Chicken: Taiwanese-style chicken bites are peppery and sizzing hot on the outside and moist on the inside. Different spice levels available! (After Thailand, I couldn’t stop eating spicy food!)
  • Yung Kee in Central: Our last night and some traditional Chinese. They also had Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc for $30USD. What a deal! Harry ordered and we went to town…but I distinctly remember the lemon chicken…

img_5983

  • Din Tai Fung: Dim Sum and Chinese Buns and then some…

img_5955

  • Mammy Pancake: Michelin Star rated streetfood. Advice from Harry: Get the chocolate chip pancake and follow it with the Everything Waffle – this was dessert heaven.

 img_5923

  • Sohofama: Slow cooked 48 hour natural short rib pancake sliders and crab with sticky rice

img_5953img_5943 img_5944

 Drinking:

  • Ozone @ The Ritz Carlton: This takes the honors as the highest bar in the world. 118th Floor with outdoor seating and exquisite views. Sadly, there was a rain storm when we went so we were limited to the inside space. The cocktails were brilliant – check out this Ritz Carlton Signature. Now if only they would use Caliche Rum!

img_5935

  • Dada Bar & Lounge: Think Alice in Wonderland
  • J Boroski: Named after owner, Joseph Boroski, this hidden spot in central is a bespoke creative cocktail space. There is no menu so everything is customized. The bartenders are not only true creatives, but they exhibit such a passion for their craft. Watching them make the cocktails was mesmerizing. I have been lucky enough to have drank at amazing bars but the food-cocktail blew my mind. I LOVE soup, and that was the base. It’s a food – drink blend. I was blown away. After Harry, Keith and I enjoyed 3 cocktails a piece, the rhinoceros beetles that adorn the curved ceiling started to look more appealing. If you are in HK, request an invitation (call 2603 6020).

img_5961 

  • Quinary: Craft cocktails (Earl Grey tea foam!) that are a true sensory experience

  • Lily & Bloom: An immaculate yet industrial bar. Expect vintage spirits and well-executed textbook cocktails.
  • Lan Kwai Fong (party zone): Bars all over – tons of ex-pats.

Must See/Excursions:

  • The Peak: Spectacular views, wooded walks and exclusive properties (it houses the world’s most expensive street, Pollock’s Path). Take the Metro to the Peak Tram and in under 10 minutes you will arrive to Victoria Gap. *If it’s misty / cloudy, do not go. You won’t be able to see much.
  • The Star Ferry / Harbour City: One of HK’s most beloved institutions, the Star Ferries have plied between Kowloon and HK Island since 1888. If you take the evening voyage, you will witness the harbour’s neon spectacle, The Symphony of Lights – 45 harbour buildings put on a light and sound show.
  • Temple Street Night Market: Fortune tellers, opera street performers, clothes, knick knacks, food! What more could you want? Accessible by Metro, the overwhelming array of cheap goods and unbeatable lively atmosphere is a must see.
  • Tsim Sha Tsui area: great dim sum spots, musesums, ritzy arcades – fun destaination to walk around in.
  • Heritage Plaza and Avenue of the Stars
  • Ladies Market: Flea market like Temple but not at night, lots of cheap goods.
  • Elements: more than 1 million square feet of pure shopping bliss themed after the five Chinse elements.
  • Pet Street: Here’s one for our 4-legged furry friends. Mong Kok’s Tung Choi Street is disarmingly charming. Full of pups, kittens, rabbits, goldfish, turtles and frogs, it’s difficult not to say ‘awww’ in adoration of these cute little creatures.
  • Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery: Take the metro, and get there by 10am so it’s not too hot. Once a humble house built by 3 monks, Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island is an important temple and the giant Buddha facing the monastery is an object of veneration for devotees and tourists alike. 260 steps lead you to the base, and you can go inside (the museum) and see Buddha’s tooth (no pictures allowed). For me, this was a very spiritual spot. I not only left Rambo’s hair, but one of the crosses I had blessed in Jerusalem at the base. Buddha and Jesus – that’s a righteous combo.

 img_5866     img_5888 img_5892 img_5896 img_5898   img_5906

Well…our 2016 travel adventure is complete, and it was everything I hoped for. Seeing the world, meeting new people, and educating myself on other cultures/way of living is a passion of mine & Keith’s. I hope these recaps/guides are not only entertaining, but informative should you travel to any of these amazing cities.

So Hong Kong in summary? It transcends cultural and culinary borders in an accessible way so that nothing feels truly foreign and nothing doesn’t belong, yet it’s wrapped in a mist of exoticism and opulence.

Oh! When we got home, the first thing we did was order pizza. Nothing says home like good old Italian food, haha! Now, where should we go next year??? Cheers to the new adventures.

#stayinspired we are always #3QT

Love,

Brielle

 

 

A Mexican Rendition of Matzoh Ball Soup (What?!)

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

My friend Tricia Kosnik texted this recipe over the weekend by way of the NPR.org website. Brace yourself: A MEXICAN rendition of the classic Matzoh Ball Soup. 

Matzo Ball Soup by way of Mexico

The flavors. The comfort. The heat 🙂 *Happy New Year* Enjoy!

matzoh

Motivational Monday w/o Oct 3rd: New Day

We forget that every day is a new #beginning. It’s literally a chance to start over & become who you want to be. Change those habits. Start that #journey. #Dreams don’t have deadlines but you have to start somewhere so why not today? #stayinspired #3QT

wallpaper-on-every-new-day