For spring break, I was lucky enough to head up to NYC again! I took a four day class at the incredible Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI) while I was up there, and I learned so much. Luckily my family loves food just as much as I do, so we ate at the coolest, most local, and most organic places we could. I cannot tell you just how happy my tongue and belly were–there is sooo much great food up in New York. Even since my trip to New York last year, I noticed so many more great healthy and conscious restaurants. We were there for about 5 days, and we ate at a different restaurant every night that seemed to be just as incredible as the one before. Every night I was able to eat gluten free and vegan, and much of what I ate was organic and/or local. To put it simply, I was overtaken and impressed by the options available for me. I just have to give a restaurant-by-restaurant recap because they were all incredible. I completely recommend checking them out if you ever get the opportunity–they are definitely worth your time!
The Vedge–This is actually a vegan restaurant in Philadelphia. It is not too far off of 95, and though you do have to venture into the city a bit, it is well worth going to. It is a bit pricey, but very easy to share appetizers, mains, or sides–and this i recommend anyways so that you can try as many of the plates as possible. Every single one of the dishes are packed with flavors and spices, leaving you completely satisfied with the vivacious flavors. From the appetizer to the dessert, I was completely satisfied. The servings come out in a small and artful presentation, though you will definitely feel full after leaving. The ambiance is very natural and modern at the same time. Some highlights: the Maitake Mushroom, the “Ruben”, the Stuffed Avocado, the Truffle Trail Mix, the Asian Pear-Rosemary Sorbet, and the coffee! Basically, this restaurant is on par with normal restaurants because the flavors are just so incredible.
The Juice Shop–We went to the Chelsea location for breakfast twice, and it was delicious. I am a huge fan of thick smoothies, and this place totally got me. Their smoothies had a ton of body and flavor. Whether you are looking for an acai bowl (which was also scrumptious), a creamy almond butter smoothie, a straight up smoothie of greens, or a super shot of ginger, wheatgrass, E3 Live, this place is for you.
Palà Pizza–You can’t go to NYC without eating pizza, and that is definitely what we were craving the first night there. We took the trip from midtown to the lower east side of the city by subway to eat here and it did not disappoint. As soon as you walk in, you know that it would be a cute date place (which is honestly all I could think of while I was there). The restaurant feels very spacious, and though you can talk fairly loud, it still feels quiet. The menu has a ton of different pizza options, and they serve pastas and salads as well. The pizza was satisfying, the salad with portabella mushroom was incredible, and the dessert was the perfect finish to the night. If you go, definitely get the carrot cake!
Hu Kitchen–Go here for breakfast or brunch. It is equipped with a full kitchen, juice bar, breakfast-bowl bar, espresso machine, prepared cold breakfast or lunch. They have many different options–if you are vegan, paleo, gluten-free, soy-free, you can eat here. It has a wonderful organic, natural feel to it with cool wooden tables and chairs. The breakfast was incredibly filling and dense. They have paleo bread, pastries, and more that are worth checking out.
Breakfast at Hu’s Kitchen
Bouchon Bakery–this is a bakery that was created by a very popular chef, and pretty famous even though I didn’t know about it. While it is extremely sweet and yummy, it is not vegan or gluten free or anything of the sort. I did eat what we got though, and it was all very good. I think the peanut butter cookies were really good, along with the raspberry-almond scone. It was a fun touristy thing to do in NYC for sure! It is right next to the Rockefeller center, so if you are heading in that direction, definitely stop by.
GustOrganics–This place was incredible!! I wish I had more room in my stomach when I went, but alas, I was only hungry enough for a salad. However, this was a kick-butt salad. This vegan restaurant is all organic, farm-to-table, and has tons of options for those with gluten-free, soy-free, or nut-free diets. They even incorporated raw foods into the menu, which as a raw chef, I appreciated so much. I would have gone here every night if I had my way, because I just wanted to try everything on the menu. Whether or not you are vegan or vegetarian, I definitely recommend stopping in if you are in Chelsea.
Carrot Cake from GustOrganics
Free Foods–This was one of my favorite casual, fast restaurant. It is basically a wonderful salad bar that also has an extensive menu of juices and smoothies as well. We were in sort of a rush to eat, and this was the perfect place to go. It was fast, sourced good food, and just felt incredibly nourishing. I would totally go to one if we had any here in Virginia!
Lula’s Sweet Apothecary–It was 10:45 p.m. and we wanted milkshakes, and I was pretty positive that we were NOT going to find any place open that late, for one, and if it was open, I was sure it wouldn’t have any dairy-free ice cream. Boy am I glad I was proved wrong. The place was small and cute, sort of exactly what you’d picture a “hole in the wall” place to look like. The server in there was very sweet and nice, especially since we made it into the store 2 minutes before it closed. The chocolate malt that I got was so incredible, it was a perfect, thick-but-not-too-think consistency and hit my chocolate craving right on the bullseye. My only two complaints are that they didn’t have a bathroom and that I wasn’t able to go here a second time!
Wild-This place had a fun environment and some great gluten free italian food!
Cafe 82–this place was a great, traditional breakfast restaurant with good gluten free options. There is not much for the vegans here, but definitely those GF-ers!
Stumptown Coffee–This place was really cool, it had almond milk and great coffee (all you really need in life, right?). What was neat about them was that they directly source their coffee from growers!