EATING ALL THE THINGS IN NYC

I’ve been travelling a little lately.

I spent a while in a remote region of Northern Ontario. Took a brief but sweet trip to Ottawa. But most recently, I went on a somewhat impulsive trip to New York City.

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If you want a rundown of all the insanely delicious, allergy-free, vegetable-centric, healthy restaurants New York has to offer I highly suggest you check out these posts from Angela and Leanne. In the city that never sleeps, you have virtually round the clock access to clean, healthy eats. And I’m sure they are all fantastic…

However…that was not my New York food experience.

While my usual approach to menu-hunting involves assessing all options and choosing the thing that sounds the most healthful and vegetable-dense, this time I had the singular desire to DO and EAT all the BEST THINGS this new city had to offer me. A bit of a change in strategy, if you will. From best for me, to the straight up best…And I’d say I fared pretty well.

So…where did I go? (In order of appearance)

BAOHAUS

What: light as a feather steamed taiwanese buns filled with braised meat, cilantro, pickled radish, peanuts & red sugar. veg options include tempura broccoli & tofu.

Why: everything is delicious and the place is just cool. blaring hip hop, tiny space and stupid-cute pics of owner Eddie Huang’s grandparents playing mah-jongg hanging on the wall. 

Where: 137 Rivington St, Lower East Side

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Source: The L Mag

LOVELY DAY

What: Thai-ish mixed bag. Fusion style small plates. Mandatory noodles and curries. Fresh fish mains. 

Why: ill admit the food might not blow your mind. but candlelit tables, quirky music, swank cocktails & prime people people watching make this place somewhere i’d go again. also, the waitresses and clientele were notably babely. soooo….theres that. 

Where: 196 Elizabeth St, NoLIta

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SARAGHINA 

What: Naples-style pizza (maxing out at $15) with a selection of other homestyle salads, seafood, pasta and small plates. 

Why: Its pizza. In brooklyn. And the place looks like this. YOU WANT TO GO TO THERE. 

Where: 435 Halsey St. Bed-Stuy. (Brooklyn)

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Source: Gothamist

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And lastly…

MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

What: the compost cookie. a bizarrely satisfying blend of chocolate, butterscotch, graham crumbs, pretzels, potato chips, oats and coffee grinds. Sounds more like my kitchen floor after a particularly solitary Saturday night. Am I right, ladies? 

Why: The short answer is David Chang. And the shorter answer is justgoeathedamncookie. Or was that the long answer?

Where: Multiple locations. I wento 382 Metropolitan Ave. in Williamsburg. OBVI. 

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And there you have it. NYC in a chocolate covered, cheese drenched, pizza flavoured nutshell.

Ima go eat sum salad and fantasize about my next visit.

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Guest Post: Gillian’s Tips for the Gluten-Free Globetrotter


I’ve got a special treat for you this morning! A guest post from the impossibly lovely Gillian from Battle of the Bites. I bonded with Gillian earlier this year at a Chobani blogger event where we became fast friends over glasses of pinot, chatting about our mutual love of travel, healthy eats & Lena Dunham. The twenty-something trifecta.
😉

Today Gillian will be writing about a topic that affects many of us, gluten-free or not, traveling with food allergies. With the holiday/vacation season quickly approaching (hello winter in Canada!) it seemed like a great time to chat about some of the ways you can satisfy your wanderlust without cheating on your happy belly! Enjoy! 

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Meet Gillian.

I have a travel addiction and a gluten-allergy.

These things do not necessarily go well together. When travelling, we’re constantly being thrown into new situations, trying different kinds of food, and risking what I love to call “getting glutened”.

When I have gluten, in any small amount, my stomach blows up like I’m pregnant, I get sick to my stomach, suffer from terrible cramps and sometimes end up bed ridden. As anyone with a gluten allergy knows, it’s not fun, and it’s not smart to “cheat”.

Luckily the world is becoming more friendly to Celiacs and the gluten intolerant. Even Paris, my favourite bread and pastry loving city, is opening up gems like Helmut Newcake, a high end patisserie devoted solely to gluten-free goods and dishes.

When I was in Berlin this summer I went out for Thai food and was handed an entire gluten-free menu. I was so happy I could cry. I wanted to go back to the same restaurant every day.

When I’m not so lucky to stumble upon a miracle like this, the following tips are always helpful:

1. Booking your flight – most flights offer a gluten-free option. I often book
through expedia which doesn’t provide meal options and choose to bring my
own food (also for the sake of health and taste). I’ve learned that I can easily
get through airport security when flying to Europe with my big boxed salad
from Whole Foods.

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2. Packing snacks and staples – this is an obvious but important note. I tend
to pack a ton of protein bars, nuts, protein powder, and some chocolate.
The protein bars are great for layovers or when you’re wandering around
a city lost and unsure of your meal options. If I’m going somewhere for an
extended time I’ll sometimes pack gluten-free flour or my favourite pancake
mix.

3. Language barriers and eating out– if you don’t speak the language, explaining
your allergy at a restaurant can be complicated (I tried in German, “Nein
gluten?!”) Gluten-free restaurant cards can be very helpful in getting
your point across clearly– there are 54 languages available (http://
http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/). If you speak the language, it’s always a good
idea to call ahead and warn them of your allergy.

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4. Finding a place to stay – If your allergy is very serious there is even a gluten

free hotel guide – http://www.glutenfreehotelsguide.com/ – for hotels
that will cater to your gluten sensitive desires. Personally, I like to rent
apartments through Air BnB where I have access to a kitchen. If I’m staying
in a regular hotel I’ll ask that the mini bar be emptied so that I can fill it with
snacks and fresh produce.

5. To the market we go – one of my favourite things about eating gluten-free
Is that it can mean eating more real food. I like to go to markets and stock
up on fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, olives, wine…whatever the local
delicacies (without wheat) are, I have to try it. Hunting down an organic
store also tends to be helpful in finding a great array of gluten-free products.

With these tips I’ve managed to travel with a happy belly through many cities.

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I have a whole chapter on eating gluten-free in Paris in my upcoming book, so stay tuned on more info on how to eat crêpes and éclairs in the city of love (and pastries)!

Gillian’s current book The Guiltless Gourmet is available for purchase here and it is full to the brim with swoon-worthy gluten-free, whole food based recipes. The perfect Holiday gift for the G-Free folks in your life. Enjoy! 

Recovery Food & Ottawa Roundup

While the last week of my life brought a whole new meaning to the phrase Spring Fever I seem to have finally made it through. Hooray!

As I was recovering, I received some lovely emails wishing me well (you’re all so sweet!) as well as a few asking me to post about my nutrition choices while recovering from an illness. I’m not sure if I follow any hard fast rules, I usually just give myself what I crave. This week that meant a lot of green smoothies, soups (lentil, butternut squash, tomato, etc.) and Ezekiel Toast Sandwiches with either almond butter, banana and honey or avocado and egg. I definitely favour starchy vegetables like carrots and potatoes and I can’t seem to get enough of oranges and kiwis (which also happen to be extremely high in Vitamin C).

Here’s a little cheat sheet:

In celebration of feeling a zillion times better, I am (finally) sharing some lovely shots from last weekend’s road trip…Broken down by category of things I love.

1) COFFEE. Bridgehead. Mandatory in Ottawa.

2) VEGAN EATS. 3 Course Lunch @ Zen Kitchen. I’m obsessed.

Butternut Squash Soup with Pepitas

Organic Greens

Vegan Reuben with smoked tempeh, house fermented sauerkraut & thousand island dressing on rye bread. Side of house made frites. 

3) CHEAP MANICURES.

4) Shopping BROWSING JEWELLERY.

5) DANCE PARTY!

Primping ensued… (We kept it real classy with beer cups….)

NDMA Live @ Fall Down Gallery (Accompanied by Live Model Body Painting)

Rafter Brews…

Hot date.

I don’t know why but something about this trip got me excited about summer and more summertime road trips…Look out Montreal 😉

On to Ottawa Road Trek

I’m on the road today for a short but sweet visit to Ottawa, that other Ontario city. First stop: greyhound station (downfall of being completely and utterly carless)20120315-151039.jpg
Some relatively healthy (making due) road food!

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Egg white & Smoked Ham On a Whole Wheat English Muffin from Tim Hortons…doesnt look too exciting but tasted super delicious to early morning me!
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Gigantic bag of celery, fennel and organic heirloom carrots I packed from home.
20120315-164007.jpgVegan, Gluten Free Protein Bar.
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Stevia sweetened Vitamin water. Not the best choice but it was super hydrating after a couple hours of recycled air and kept me from caving and buying a chemical laden Coke Zero (weakness…)

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David Rakoff’s Fraud on audiobook…because 1) He is a clever, charming, snarky & a Canadian born New Yorker 2) I can’t read in a vehicle and 3) The man has the sultriest voice imaginable.

Are you taking any trips over March break? What are your favourite road snacks?

Coffee of the Day

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Americano with a side of Nostalgia @ Halcyon Coffee Bar. Austin, Texas.

The Urban Locavore: Austin Farmers Do it Right

When people ask me why I identify as a flexitarian my first response is usually to say I have commitment issues. Then I laugh and follow up by adding that, in general, I find a diet that emphasizes option and choice far more appealing than one that focuses on restriction and intolerance.

That said, on my recent visit to the Austin Farmer’s Market I was dying for ways to narrow down my options because I was utterly spoiled for choice. Everything I saw – from the dark chocolate covered cacao beans to the honeydew kombucha – seemed to jive perfectly with my food politics. Organic? Sure. Sustainable? Yup. Affordable? Uh-huh. Ethically produced? Why even ask.

The real kicker for me was that on top of all that, everything was local. More often than not this is determining factor for me and the fact that everyone here just took it for granted blew me away. I mean its the middle of January and for a Canadian gal like me local produce in the winter is a total novelty (unless you’re really into burdock root and turnips…) So when I saw this local produce tasting table I knew I was up for something really special.

Once I’d had my fill of free tastes (and more pickled beets than I’d like to admit) I moved on to the prepared food stands because it was 11 o’clock and obviously time for my favourite meal of the day…Second breakfast.

The first stand that caught my eye was Dai Due.

I was immediately drawn to their locavore philosophy:

Dai Due was created to reconsider what “our” food is and will be.  By using  ingredients that are present in our region, we are able to serve foods that are fresher, buy food that is produced in a fair and equitable way, pay homage to the local culinary traditions, and support farmers and ranchers who are striving to improve the quality of our food.

And of course the food looked incredible…

Did I mention that Dai Due also offers seasonal hunting schools (including one geared specifically to women – !!!) in case you want to seriously walk the walk when it comes to the business of eating locally sourced, ethical meat.

Since they were out of many of their breakfast items I moseyed along and ended up choosing 2 unique sounding vegan dishes to curb my mid-morning appetite: a BBQ Tempeh Breakfast Taco and a spicy cactus tamale.

My BBQ Tempeh Breakfast Taco (left) & Cactus Tamale (right) alongside two mandatory varieties of hot sauce

I may never eat another tamale again for fear it would taint the memory of this masa.

Obviously I am so glad I got to check this market out while I was here in Austin. I left feeling happy, inspired and…ahem…totally stuffed. 😉

What are the factors that influence your food choices (local, organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, animal-free, etc.)?  Are you more influenced by what you do want to eat or what you don’t?

The Green Smoothie Morning: Finding Balance in a Sea of Breakfast Tacos

Good Morning, Austin.

While every day spent here in Austin has been different from the last, my mornings have been pretty consistent. I wake up, do some work (yes I’m working from home even while I’m on “vacation”…thats what you get for going out of town right after the holidays right?) and of course I start each day off with big healthy breakfasts. And what signifies healthy start to the day more than a green smoothie? Drinking one of these bad boys before 8am makes you feel like a superhero not only because of the sense of accomplishment you feel chugging down something so strange looking….but because all those B vitamins provide you with the energy you need to deal with whatever your day/night might have in store for you (even if that includes a whole lot of tequila & tacos…)

Simple Green Smoothie

  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop raw vegan protein powder (optional)
  • cinnamon, vanilla & honey

And because I am not a “smoothie for breakfast” type of girl (aka. give me complex carbs in the morning or suffer the consequences) I rounded out my morning meal with 1.5 slices of Ezekiel toast topped with almond butter, mashed banana & cinnamon.

Another thing I’ve been doing since arriving here in Austin is trying my best to squeeze in some type of physical activity before noon. Nothing too strenuous since I want to save my energy for adventuring around the city, but at least a little something. So far I have enjoyed strolls around the neighborhood, light yoga and (on this particularly ambitious morning) a short run to and from the local park.


On this day I went through my favourite interval run. Its a pyramid style workout that is perfect for the outdoors because you can tailor speeds and intensity to match your environment and energy level. It looks something like:

5 minute warm up
30 seconds quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
45 seconds quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
1 min quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
90 seconds quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
Repeat this series in reverse (Run 1 min, then 45 seconds, etc.)
5 min cool down

Enjoyed some local scenery along the way….


I love how the residential areas in Austin have a bit of a country vibe to them. Maybe its all the succulents in their landscaping? The lawn flamingos? Random windowpanes hanging everywhere? Whatever it is I like it.

Following up that morning activity with some tasty eats at home (making sure to leave some room for my ritual mid-day taco feast)…

Mixed greens & Kale topped with diced red peppers, zucchini, crunchy edamame, almond cheese (my new obsession…more on that later), 1 leftover slice of organic turkey breast & roasted kabocha squash. Plus a side of my favourite ginger kombucha. 🙂

Have a lovely Monday, folks!
Stay tuned for upcoming posts on Free Music Week & the Austin Farmers Market (SWOON!)

 

Thrifted Duds & Vegan Grub in Austin’s North Loop

The past few days have been all about getting my bearings in Austin. And (no surprises here) the first thing a gal notices when she’s making her way through this city is its sheer size. After visiting Chicago last summer, I knew what it meant to be in a car city. But this, my friends, is a truck city. Massive 4-5 lane streets plow through every inch of the urban landscape, even the downtown core. Yesterday my cab got on the freeway for a minute as a shortcut… I barely even noticed a difference.

The upside to all this size and space is that when you hit a new neighborhood it feels as if you’ve stumbled upon an oasis of cool in the middle of a truckstop. It feels special and all your own somehow. Or maybe that’s just Austin in general?

The North Loop seems to exemplify this experience best of all. From afar the shops in this area don’t look like much. For the most part they’re just tucked away on the side of the road.

But upon further investigation you’ll find a treasure trove of thrift stores, cafes & of course the long awaited (by me) Austin food truck.

We started our afternoon off with a little thrifting. Snagged a great chair for my friends place at Hog Wild for just $45 (and they deliver!)

And obviously I couldn’t help but try on a few clothing items as well. Basically if it had fringe or a Southwestern print I wanted to wear it. Sadly didn’t snag anything that fit but you better believe I’ll get something before I go. So much turquoise & suede!

And then came the real good stuff…VEGAN FOOD TRUCK! I had heard about Counter Culture before arriving here but had no idea where it was. But apparently I had traveler’s luck on my side because we just happened to stumble across it in our wanderings! I suppose I just hang in areas where the vegan food trucks gravitate…ahem…

Obviously the whole menu was amazing and it was super difficult to make a decision…All healthy comfort food inspired vegan dishes with some healthy raw food options mixed in for good measure.

My choices? Once my friend talked me down from ordering the Almond Butter and Pickle sandwich (you always have my back, Cait) I think I made the perfect choices: BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with a side of PacMan Kale Salad & a donut hole for dessert.

Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich with PacMan Kale Salad


No seriously there were PacMen in my salad.

Never having had jackfruit before I must say I was pleasantly suprised. The texture was a lot like a mushroom and really worked with the smokey barbeque flavours. Plus it came with pickles…so I got my fix after all. The kale salad was simple but flavourful and offered a nice savoury balance to the sweetness of the sandwich.

Oh yeah and then this …

Raw vegan “donut hole” made of almonds, dates & coconut. Definitely had the crumbly texture and even the flavour of a Tim Horton’s timbit. I might be the first one to make that comparison though seeing as we are in the middle of texas.

Then we ended the day with a stop into Epoch, a 24/7 coffee place that was jam packed with people even in the middle of the day. But it was obvious why as they served up some seriously tasty espresso as well as offering free wifi & outlets literally hanging from the ceiling for plugging in. Oh yeah and they had almond milk for my americano. Best way to close out the day.

That’s all the updates for now! I’m off to catch a random vinyasa yoga class then maybe do some gallery hopping.

Basically my dream Sunday. 🙂

Austin, Tacos…I mean Texas.

When somebody asks me about countries I’ve lived in or traveled to the United States will probably be the last place I mention. Not because I haven’t enjoyed my travels there but because, as a Canadian, a trip to the States just doesn’t feel very adventurous. I mean its a domestic flight for goodness sakes.

Still, when I really consider all the notches I’ve racked up on my US State bedpost – California, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina – I realize that I have had some honest to goodness (mis)adventures across the border. And now that I’m here in Austin, experiencing Texas for the first time? Well there’s no question about it, I am not in Canada anymore.

War history makes me feel all kinds of wrong but even I gotta give it up to the Texans at the Battle of Gonzales
Why couldn’t Canadians have come up with a catch phrase when they stormed Vimy Ridge?

As for my daily eats? Tacos.

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Like all day every day….

Corn tortillas come standard here as do delicious toppings like the tequila marinated shrimps, freshly made guacamole and perfectly spiced salsa pictured above. I’m sure you’ll see many more incarnations of this in the days ahead…

And because I’m saving my pennies I’ve also been eating at home once or twice a day, a nice balance for my “out” meals.

This salad consisted of some locally raised roast turkey, crunchy edamame, roasted squash, apples, red onion, zucchini, greens & carrots. Plus a poached egg and some Dijon balsamic dressing.

I intend on hitting up the North Loop, the farmers market and terribly trendy South Congress in the coming days… Can’t wait to share more of my Southwestern adventures with ya!

Guest Post, Y’all: Gluten-Free Mixed Berry Muffins

Mornin Y’all!

The Healthy Hipster is on the road today…heading to AUSTIN, TEXAS of all places! A little while back one of my closest friends was going through some hard times and rather than let herself get any lower she decided to make a change. She packed up her books and a few sparce belongings and moved to a brand new city, in a brand new country to pursue a new kind of life for herself. While I’ve missed her terribly, I find it so dang inspiring that she did it in the first place I just can’t help but be supportive. And now I’m lucky enough to see her again while visiting a pretty cool city along the way…

Oh and just for fun Urban Dictionary defines the Austin Hipster as:

n. A pretentious, self-ironizing, cool person found in certain areas of Austin, Texas. The Austin hipster can be seen prancing around with a morose, pensive look on his face, while he’s secretly enjoying the urban experience. Aside from corrupting the music scene with his mere presence, this Central Texan herbivore also enjoys lounging around in coffee shops and writing poetry. This retro dork conceals the pride he has for whatever hipster shirt he’s sporting at the moment. While he considers himself a liberal, he’s actually supporting the system with his commercialized non-conformity.
Pahahaha. Enjoyable.
In the meantime, you have not been abandoned. My incredibly talented baking bestie Meg is back again! You may remember some of her delicious gluten-free baked goods from previous guest posts including these peanut butter cookies & this grain free bread (one of the most popular recipes on the blog!) This week she was kind enough to take the blogger reigns and share another one of her magical Gluten-Free, Vegan & Refined Sugar Free recipes with ya. She describes them as somewhere between a muffin and a scone. Since I trust her entirely with all things oven-related so I hope you will give these a whirl!
Mixed Berry Buckwheat Breakfast Scones (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)
Ingredients:Dry
2 cups light buckwheat flour (Or you can make your own by grinding raw buckwheat groats in a coffee grinder!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon saltWet
1 mashed banana
2 tbls ground flax seed
1 tbls ground chia seed
1/2 cup water
1 cup almond milk
3 tbls maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2- 2 cups frozen mixed berries *

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. grease a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. In a smaller bowl mash the banana and whisk together with the remaining wet ingredients.
  5. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, do not over-mix.
  6. Fold in frozen mixed berries.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Baking time may vary depending on the size of your muffin tin, for smaller muffins bake only 15-20 minutes.

Serve warm with your favorite spread (almond butter anyone?)
yield: 6 large muffins or 12 small/medium muffins
*frozen berries better maintain their shape and consistency better than fresh when baked.

Can’t wait to update on all my Austin adventures!
…srsly though can a girl survive on tacos, bbq and brunch alone?