Paleo dining in downtown Manhattan?

March 30, 2014

I wrote a dining guide to help you find great paleo / grain-free options around downtown Manhattan!  Enjoy!


Great place to have coffee and get some work done?

December 6, 2013

That place is Pushcart Coffee on 9th Avenue and 25th Street!  It’s my new favorite spot to get some tea, meet with writing partners or clients, or get work done on my own.  Nice people, nice vibe, there is tea I like (the green jasmine), they don’t use toxic tea bags, their snacks are great (my son loves the pumpkin bread, and I love the Brooklyn-made Rawpothecary Juices they carry), and their soup is wonderful (thanks for making me try it, Ashley!).  They also have a bunch of fancy ways of making coffee that boggle my tea-drinking mind. There is a community work table, a few individual tables, a comfy corner spot in the back and counter seats and there is free wifi (you have to sign up for it, but it’s free). Go there. You know I know what I’m talking about.


Alert: Melvin’s Juice Box Open in Chelsea!

October 21, 2013


Melvin, at his new Chelsea location of Melvin’s Juice Box.

There’s a new Melvin’s Juice Box in the Dream Hotel – 355 West 16th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues, closer to 9th).  I was riding my bike past it today and saw Melvin out front.  I have enjoyed Melvin’s juice concoctions for years and am so happy his place is now (relatively) in my neighborhood.  Melvin is a great guy – always friendly and positive, and he really knows his juice!  All juices are 100% organic, and they also serve soups, salad, burgers, sandwiches, entrees, wine, beer, shakes, and shots (wheat grass and ginger).  There is eat-in, take-out and delivery, and it’s open 7 a.m. “until late,” 7 days a week.

Where should we go to eat when none of us can agree on a cuisine?

July 7, 2013

OMG, this is my life!  I feel your pain!  Either go to Whole Foods* or Todd English Food Hall in the basement of the Plaza Hotel.  Look at this TEFH menu and tell me that each of you cannot find something.  C’mon.  I’m not going to tell you that either of them is spectacular or the best food you’ve ever eaten or anything like that, but if you’ve all got conflicting priorities, these two places could do it for you.

* (Whole Foods warning: Chelsea location has nowhere to sit, Columbus Circle is always way too crowded – it’s a complete madhouse, Union Square is nearly always way too crowded, but Tribeca and Houston St have a lot of seating and great selections.)

Where can I find great paleo food?

November 30, 2012

Hu Kitchen

Hu Kitchen

People, let me tell you about a little slice of heaven called Hu on 5th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets in Manhattan.  It’s all familiar looking food – meatloaf, rotisserie chicken, great looking veggies, soups, coffee, muffins, wine, beer.  But it’s better sourced, more unprocessed, healthier, and more thoughtfully curated.


Should I still even bake when I can just buy stuff this good? Srsly, $hi+ just got real here.

You can take your Grandmother, your girlfriend who’s in that Greenpoint noise band, your supplement-popping and highly allergic uncle, and your pretentious college roommate here.  You’re going to be very sorry regarding your choice of dining companions, and they’ll balk at the prices (it’s not cheap), but they will all end up finding something delicious and they will love what they’re eating.  There are actual greens on the juice bar AND they have alkaline water, okay?  And the bread and the muffins are grain-free AND delicious.  What the what?!  I mean really delicious, not just some strange, dense, cardboard-y imitation of a pastry item like grain-free or even gluten-free bread tends to be.  Your grain-loving friends will like it.  Just trust me, fool.

Kale and Ridick Delish Cauliflower Mash

The cauliflower mash (left) is stupid good.

Hu has no table service.  It’s all take-out and self-serve, but there’s plenty of seating.  The design is wood-focused modern minimalist and the music was late 90s Kruder and Dorfmeister-esque slo-beat trip hop (but really, what the hell else are they supposed to play?), so it can be welcoming to some and off-putting to others, but no matter how you view the superficial parts of this place, try the food.

A lot of variety, great combinations.

A lot of variety, great combinations.

Alert: Good restaurant opens in Chelsea Piers!

May 18, 2012

Chelsea's Table

Chelsea’s Table

Their website is still active, with no indication of closure, but I assure you, Chelsea’s Table is no longer at Chelsea Piers.  The location is now a ‘wichcraft.  I like ‘wichcraft, but I will definitely miss Chelsea’s Table.  In looking at their Facebook page, I’m not the only one.  I called them today to find out if they have any plans to re-open, either at Chelsea Piers or anywhere in Manhattan.  I was told they do not have any plans to do so.  Sniff!

Chelsea’s Table opened this month (May, 2012).  Last weekend, five of us ate lunch there and were all very pleased with the selection, freshness, price and taste.  One caveat – we were all dying of thirst later in the day – was it the heat, too much salt or both?  Another trip is necessary!  I had the cous cous salad with grilled chicken, which was delicious.  The pastas and sandwiches got high ratings from others in my party.  This place is a goldmine for families.  There are tons of kid-type things to do right nearby (waterside playground, all the facilities at Chelsea Piers, bike paths, lawns and skateboard park above Chelsea Piers, etc.), and the food here is healthy, delicious and fairly reasonably priced (for a desirable area in Manhattan).  I highly recommend it!

If you are interested in farm-to-table restaurants in downtown Manhattan, see this earlier post of mine.

Alert: Union Square Souen is open for lunch!

June 21, 2011

June: 2011
I went there last week, and IT WAS ON!  The sushi bar was not open, so my craving for an umeboshi/shiso roll went unsatisfied, but alas, I lived through it.

Great food in Atlanta?

June 8, 2011

My family and I were so pleased to find a great farm-to-table restaurant / brew house in Atlanta called Five Seasons.  We went to the Alpharetta location and loved our meals.  We went with a big group and some of the dishes we had were the pretzel, beets, iceberg wedge, asparagus and mushroom pizza (w/grilled steak addition and gluten-free crust), beef burgers, regular fries, sweet potato fries and kid’s chicken fingers (which were impressively made from chicken breast, not miscellaneous processed chicken pulp!!!).  Also, those of us who tried the beer (which is made in house) loved it!

I loved everything about this place – the service was fantastic (I think our server’s name was Johnny), the place was not the least bit pretentious and very comfortable, the food was amazing (with a good variety on the menu, everything is prepared fresh, and they know what gluten-free means!) and everything was local and organic and reasonably priced (it was not cheap, but it was good quality food, so I felt it was worth it).  And, oh my gosh, we just happened to go on a Sunday and KIDS ATE FREE!

Also, during our trip to Atlanta, I discovered Georgia-based American Gra-Frutti Coconut Drops and Arden’s Garden Very Very Berry Squares, both of which are absolutely amazing!  The next time I go to Atlanta, I have to be sure to stop into an Arden’s Garden (I found the berry squares at a Whole Foods), because it looks like a great juice and raw food place!

Your favorite spots in Iceland?

April 5, 2011

Lake Myvatn area, Iceland, January 2000

Lake Myvatn area, January 2000

Hotels I liked:

Looking at Dyrhólaey from the beach in front of H Isanefshellir, July 2007

Looking at Dyrhólaey from the beach in front of H Isanefshellir, July 2007

Restaurants I liked:

  • Vox – at the Hotel Nordica, high end, over-the-top Sunday brunch
  • Silfur – in the Hotel Borg – high end
  • Primavera – near the Hotel Borg
  • Icelandic Fish and Chips – By far, the best fish and chips I’ve ever had, very casual (seriously, you must eat here!)
Skogafoss, Iceland, August 2001

Skogafoss, August 2001

Reykjavik Activities:

  • Laugardalslaug – the big public pool in Reykjavik
  • Arbaejarlaug – the public pool which is more in the suburbs, but smaller and better for kids – we took the bus there, which was convenient.
  • Nautholsvik – Geothermally heated beach
  • Reykjavik Zoo and Family Park – Allocate at least one full day here if you have children.
Iceland, near Landmannalaugar, August 2001 - wild cotton?

near Landmannalaugar, August 2001 – wild cotton?

Outside Reykjavik:

  • Blue Lagoon – I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard it’s great
  • Alafoss Yarn Outlet in Mosfellsbaer – I have gone to other locations of Alafoss “outlets” but none compare to this one.  If you’re a knitter, make this a priority.
  • Landmannalaugar – where hot and cold springs meet, beautiful.  It’s in the interior and it seemed very remote.  Apparently, there are buses there, but we were taken there by Kiddi from Iceland Mountain Cruiser, who I couldn’t recommend highly enough!  He is WONDERFUL.
  • Dyrhólaey and Skogar– This whole area is beautiful, especially Skogafoss (foss means waterfall) and H Isanefshellir (hellir means cave), the basalt cave on a black sand beach where my husband and I got married.  It’s just off the ring road when you’re traveling between Reykjavik and Vik.  Most of our honeymoon was spent in the Icelandic interior, but we did spend 2 nights at the Hotel Skogar, a tiny, peaceful little hotel, where we had a wonderful dinner.  They were so kind to us, even managing to make us our own little sugarless wedding cake!  What lovely people!
  • Lake Myvatn (pronounced Mee-Va) – was beautiful in the winter, I have no idea how it is in the summer, but I have heard there are a lot of mosquitoes, but that may have been an isolated incident.  I don’t know.  Near here is Dimmu Borgir, which has some very interesting and spooky lava formations and is the subject of fascinating folklore.  There is also a band named Dimmu Borgir, which you’ll find pretty interesting if you’re into Norwegian Black Metal.
  • Snaefellsjokull Glacier – Coming back from Stikkisholmur in the western part of Iceland, we stopped by Snaefellsjokull (jokull means glacier).  It was summer time and the glacier looked like a desert to me, which was odd, because the other glaciers I had seen in the summer were snowy.  But, it was still beautiful.  We also stopped at a lovely area called Hellnar, which had gorgeous sea cliffs and rock formations and a lava field in which we got lost.  In hindsight, the lava field adventure was great fun (though while I was in it, I was wondering if I would ever get out).
A Landsvirkjun Power Plant, Iceland, August 2001

A Landsvirkjun Power Plant, August 2001

I love Iceland.  I’ve been there in the winter and summer and they are both spectacular.  The natural beauty of Iceland is breathtaking, even the power plant I visited was beautiful (how do they do that?).  No one can possibly explain to you how beautiful Iceland can be (but this Flickr Photostream by “letstryiceland” is close —  I went from this point forward.).  The landscape changes quickly mile to mile, so there is always something new to see, and the weather is equally dynamic, so make sure you have a a good waterproof rain jacket, rain pants and waterproof, comfortable hiking/trail shoes/boots.  It will rain, but not for long.

Good crepe place?

February 9, 2011

I like Bar Suzette in Chelsea Market because the ingredients are fresh and delicious and wherever possible, sourced locally,  cooked meats are cooked sous-vide, there are sweet and savory options, there are many delicious combinations to choose from, and for a “fast food” option, it’s healthy and not very resource-intensive (eco friendly).  I love Bar Suzette because it is very kid-friendly and they also have a gluten-free crepe!

Gluten Free Crepe

Gluten Free Crepe

I have had their bresaola crepe, their smoked salmon crepe and their heirloom squash crepe.


Heirloom Squash Crepe

Heirloom Squash Crepe with three sauces (dijonnaise, pesto and balsamic glaze).


I have eaten at Bar Suzette prior to eating gluten-free so I’ve tried (and liked) both versions of their crepes.  My son has had the nutella crepe and a regular chese crepe, and my husband has had many of these plus the chicken sausage crepe.  We unanimously agree that we’ve loved everything we’ve gotten there and that Bar Suzette is our favorite crepe place in NYC and one of our favorite places to eat in general.

Be forewarned:  it is cash-only, and the bathrooms are in a different part of Chelsea Market.  Also, Bar Suzette is merely an open counter, not an enclosed restaurant.  You can eat on the run or sit at any of the community tables (or large window seats) in the area.  I’ve never found seating to be a problem.

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