Photo Friday: Soups

Happy Friday to all!

I am so excited the weekend is almost here–the weather is beautiful and everyone seems to be in a good mood .  I hope this is the case for you.  Anyway, I have been thinking back on the cooking class I took a month ago at NGI, and realized I have a ton of pictures from it! I wish the lighting had been better, but I think I was able to get some pretty good pictures out of it.  That didn’t seem to stop me when we were making things though–I was snapping away at the shutter any time we prepared or tasted a dish.  Let me tell you, it was hard not to just dig straight in because all the recipes were so delicious.  However, I constantly found myself the last one to start eating because I wanted to capture the moment right before devouring a dish.  Since I took so many pictures, I decided I would just post the soups for this week.  So without further ado, here are my soups:

Zucchini and Bone Broth Soup
Zucchini and Bone Broth Soup
Lentil soup with crème fraîche
Lentil soup with crème fraîche
Chicken, Chickpea, and Cauliflower Curry
Chicken, Chickpea, and Cauliflower Curry
Broiled chicken stew with a homemade chicken bone broth
Broiled chicken stew with a homemade chicken bone broth
Delicious seafood stew
Delicious seafood stew
Two empty dishes signaling immense satisfaction
Two empty dishes signaling immense satisfaction

Thanks for stopping by.  If you have feedback (positive or negative), I would love to hear it! Have a wonderful day, and remember to make time for the things that you love and that make you happy.  You deserve to be happy.

Love,
Lucy

New York, New York

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!

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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.

DSC_0571Breakfast 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.

DSC_0727Carrot 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!

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New York…a Trip for Food!

Well here is my first post, how exciting! I figured since the trip was so centered around food that this would make a somewhat eventful first post.  Bear with me though, I am still learning about, well, everything, but mostly blogging and photography and food and life!  My point being, it might be rough, but it’s all about the journey, right?

I just got back from a trip to New York City with my mom and my sister, it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing.  I have become increasingly interested in making food my career, and we figured that we would take the trip up to see the Natural Gourmet Institute for an open house to see if we liked it.  In addition, one of the best raw food restaurants–well, the best one I know of–that I had never been to was in New York, so we figured, why not make a trip out of it?

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So, my Mom and my sister, Elly, and I packed into the car and made the 7 hour drive into NYC.  We made a list of things we wanted to see and the places we wanted to eat and just went from there.  Number One on our list was Pure Food and Wine, the raw food restaurant.  We literally got into the city and didn’t stop the car until we were parked a block away from the restaurant.  All I can say is that it set the bar pretty high for the rest of the trip.  As a dairy-free pretty much vegan eater, it was so incredible to look at the menu and choose any item I wanted!   I decided to go for the lasagna, which consisted of three sauces, a creamy cheese-inspired sauce, a pesto, and some sort of tomato sauce, all piled onto layers of zucchini.  The croquettes as well as the falafel salad were great too (my family is so great because we love to share food!).  For dessert, I got a simple cookie with ice cream on top, which was good, though it was hard to be satisfied with a small cookie when there is a giant sundae in front of you.  The ice cream tasted amazing–especially considering it didn’t have any dairy or soy products in it, and was completely raw!

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That night we ate at a great restaurant named Bistango, an Italian extremely gluten-free restaurant.  I was cautious because italian food and cheese (dairy) just go hand in hand, but there were a few options open for me! I was able to eat a cheese-less pizza, which was so good, along with a simple salad and some great chocolate and black-raspberry sorbet.  The sorbet was good, though I wished I could have combined the chocolate’s flavor with the raspberry’s texture–then it would be a match truly made in heaven. The next morning, we happened upon a tiny hole in the wall of a juice and smoothie bar right next to our hotel.  It was called Pulp NYC, and it advertised for green juices, smoothies, even acai berry bowls, and it was just calling my name.  I talked Elly and my mom into going there for a late breakfast, and we all ended up getting the same thing: The Green Monster that consisted of spinach, avocado, mango, and almond milk.  Let me tell you, if I was a skeptic of avocados in shakes, I am a believer now.  It was so smooth and creamy, with just enough sweetness and the nice flavor of the spinach at the end.  We liked it so much that we went there again for breakfast the next day and got the exact same thing!

I didn’t take this picture (I found it on google), but this is exactly what they looked like and I wanted to show just how delicious the shakes look!

After we spent the day walking through museums and past hundreds of stores, we ended up at an all-vegan restaurant called Blossom Cafe.  I had heard great reviews from friends, so I was super excited about eating it all! The two highlights were the mushroom calamari and the “milk”shakes.  Elly and I both agreed that the mushroom calamari was even better than real calamari–it took up flavor more than squid would.  And the milk shakes met all of my expectations.  They were thick enough to leave a sweet taste in your mouth, and had a great extra flavor and lingering texture of crushed butterfingers (the flavor I picked).  This restaurant had a nice grill-like feel to it, much more relaxed and casual.  My only concern was the amount of soy in all of the dishes.  I am not allergic or sensitive to it, but I have heard so many things about soy causing hormonal imbalances that it makes me a little cautious about the amount that I eat. The next day we ended up eating brunch at a tiny diner that had good reviews on Yelp called Good Enough To Eat.  It was good, though it wasn’t vegan.  That didn’t seem to stop me though, because I was set on getting some french toast.  I ate all of it even though I knew it had dairy (which tends to really hurt my stomach), and about 20 minutes later I knew I had made a mistake.  However, the pumpkin in the bread tasted amazing topped with cranberries and pears, it was almost worth it.  On the ride home, I was exhausted and must have slept for almost half the trip! I wondered if any of it was due to the dairy, because it also tends to make me tired. DSC_0136 All in all, a wonderful trip to discover food and interests! I hope to return some day to attend the Natural Gourmet Institute and learn about cooking healthy food! I hope you have a wonderful day!   Love, Lucy