4 NYC Dining Out Faves

Recently I wrote a blog asking the question "How the F Do I Cook?". Sometimes the answer is you don't.  Sometimes you are just too hungover from last night’s happy hour, are trying to avoid your ex while grocery shopping, or just simply don't want to clean dishes.  I struggle with all of these things at least once a week too!  One of the best parts of living in a big city is the endless amount of delicious restaurants on every corner! I have to say I am definitely a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dining out- both alone and with my besties. Here are my top five fave food spots to eat in NYC currently, with #AmyintheBigApple approved eats and atmospheres.  

1. Cafe Clover  

Clover is the most "upscale" option on my list, but I had to include it because of the chef’s affinity for using local and seasonal food.  Everything at this cute spot is delicious, and the chef here is very conscious about using bad fats and oils in his cooking.  One of my favorite dishes at Café Clover this season is the Beet and Mushroom Veggie Burger. It is made in house so you know you’re not getting some frozen patty made of chemicals, additives, preservatives, and fillers. It crushes every other veggie burger, and is topped with a spicy sweet potato jam.  Mind blown. 

2.  Dimes

Although the entire menu is a Health Coach's dream, this spot gets super packed, and therefore you're best off coming here alone to avoid the long waits. Do not let this deter you from this spot!  Their acai bowls are to die for. They are the perfect combination of filling, nutrient dense, and refreshing.  

3. By Chloe

Chloe is the answer to the question "If I want a veggie focused meal but also want junk food, what do I do?"  I always want a healthier alternative to junk food, but I want the look and feel of junk food.  This place looks like Shake Shack meets Barbie Dream House, with affordable over the counter vegan eats that won't run you more than $15 an entree.  My personal faves are the air baked sweet potato fries, and the pesto meatballs (#AmyintheBigAppleTip: ask for the "meatballs" on a bed of lettuce instead of the bun).  Also, you absolutely cannot leave without trying the Kale Cookies and Cream "ice cream"; made with coconut milk, raw agave nectar, vanilla, and gluten-free chocolate wafers.  

 

4. Grazin' Tribecca  

Grazin' is bar-meets-barn perfection.  This little watering hole in Tribeca boasts high ceilings in a rustic looking venue; with a bar showcasing whatever game is on that night.  A perfect combo when you want to eat a grass-fed burger and bae wants to watch football (my standard Sunday night).  The burgers are juicy and delicious, and the meat comes from their upstate farm in Hudson, NY.  They also have a kick-ass seasonal dessert right now- a gluten-free organic crustless pumpkin pie in a cute mason jar.  A must-have fo sho.   

B*tch Kitchen Faves

If you follow me on Instagram (you should), you know my cute NYC apt kitchen is fondly referred to as the B*tch Kitch.  My roomies and I love the B*tch Kitch, since we bond in there over a glass of wine after work as we cook dinner. 

I have a few favorite funky gadgets I keep in B*tch Kitch that I cannot live without.  Here are my must-haves for healthy, easy cooking:

 

Paderno Spiralizer

This gadget turns vegetables into noodles.  It's ideal for pasta lovers who want to cut carbs and incorporate more vegetables into their life.   You can spiralize anything from zucchini, to carrots, to potatoes.  There are multiple ways of enjoying your spiralized veggies either hot or cold.  Check out Inspiralized for some great ideas!

 

Silicone Nonstick Reusable Baking Cups

Once I discovered these in a cooking class I took in Charleston, I was hooked.  You don't need a muffin tin, and can make anything from baked egg cups (shown above), to muffins, cakes, even mini mac and cheese cups! Once cooked, your food pops right out of them.  They are also super easy to clean, making these a must-buy for any meal prep connoisseur. 

 

Evo Oil Sprayer

Pouring oil onto something is f'in scary.  It usually pours out of the bottle too quickly, leaving your food soaked and ruined.  This oil sprayer squirts out just the right amount of oil, whether you are going to dress your salad, or coating the bottom of a pan before cooking.  The bottle comes with a funnel so there's no mess when pouring the oil in.  

The Steeper

When I am not having a cocktail and have already drank a ton of water, tea is my beverage of choice.  There is nothing better than loose tea!  The varieties are endless, and with this gadget, loose tea is not escaping into your mug upon steeping.  The Steeper works by placing the tea leaves in the bottom, then pouring your boiling water over it.  Steep according to tea instructions, then place over a mug where the infused water pours out, and none of the leaves escape!  I also love pouring this over ice in the summer for a refreshing treat. 

Cravings... Healthified

Whether yours are sweet or savory, everyone's got 'em.  Cravings have a tendency to sneak up on you at the most bizarre times, but before you cave for your crave, think about it first!  Do you really want that peanut butter cheesecake, or can you substitute it with something else?  Here are a few tips for combating urges:

1.  If you are craving sweets, grab a piece of fruit and top it off with some peanut butter and cinnamon.  You'll be surprised at how this will completely satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you feeling satiated while also giving your body fiber and protein.  My favorite is cutting a date in half and stuffing it with peanut butter and cinnamon for a mini dessert sandwich! 

2.  Deconstruct your craving!  The other week I was pining for bagel sandwiches, so I deconstructed my favorite bagel sandwich and made it into salads for the week to bring to work.  I started with an arugula base, then added capers, tomatoes, smoked salmon, and goat cheese for an awesome, hearty, and filling salad.  I didn't even miss the bagel! 

3.  Share with your besties!  We're only human and sometimes you have to give into what your body wants.  I usually like to go with the three-bite-rule when indulging.  Putting the fork down in between bites also helps you watch how much you are eating, and when you slowly indulge you enjoy what you are eating even more!       

What the F are Sprouted Grains?

Whole Foods and I have a tumultuous relationship.  Every time I get sucked into buying some new product that I absolutely need because it boasts that it is the latest super food.  I walk out spending way more money than I intended, and then I'm all like "Sh*t did I really need that sprouted oat acai berry chia seed hemp heart water?!" (Disclaimer: that's not a real thing).   

Choices in the food store are really hard to make, because it's hard to decode the latest lingo in health and nutrition.  Here are some recent common trends in food we're seeing, along with the health benefits they provide:

1.  Sprouted Grains.  These grains are babies.  They are picked and used to make bread products before turning into a full plant.  The benefits of choosing sprouted grains over whole wheat or multigrain are abundant.  Sprouted grain products contain antioxidants, and boast more Vitamin B and C.  They are also easier on the digestive system.  

Toasted s  prouted grain tortilla with olive oil and za'atar

Toasted sprouted grain tortilla with olive oil and za'atar

2.  GMO Free (also labeled as non GMO).  A GMO is a genetically modified organism and has been causing a stir in the heath world.  At its most basic, scientists have figured out a way to genetically alter the food we are eating.  This is bad because when food is genetically modified, it releases toxins and carcinogens that weren't there before.  Also, the quality and quantity of the nutrients of the original food is diminished. 

3.  Sustainable Seafood.  We are constantly hearing about the conditions our meat is raised and farmed in, but what about the way our fish is harvested?  Sustainable seafood means the fish was caught in the wild (when the fish develops in its natural environment) or responsibly farmed.  The fishermen take great care of how the fish is caught to make sure there is little disruption to the species itself and its natural environment. 

4.  Miso.  Miso soup is always the way to start a sushi night, but did you know miso paste is a health foodie fave too?  Miso is simply fermented soybeans, aids in digestion, and adds a nice dose of probiotics to your meal.  I usually toss my vegetables in it, or put it on fish before baking. 

5.  Chia seeds.  These bad boys have been everywhere lately! They're tiny but pack a serious nutrition punch.  Chia seeds are filled with fiber and protein to keep you fuller longer, and also contain omega-3's and antioxidants.  This is a must buy to add to breakfast in the morning.    

Wellness for the Peeps

Hey all!  Thanks for stopping by for my first post.  If you checked out my "About Me", you already know I'm your average twenty-something young professional urban chick, just trying to navigate my way through making healthier choices, while still maintaining my bi-weekly brunch dates and mid-week happy hours.  Life is all about balance!  

Amy in the Big Apple was born mid-way through training to become a Certified Integrative Nutrition Coach.  I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition when I realized there had to be a way to enjoy my love for food and booze, while looking and feeling fab.  Enrolling in the school was key to learning how to teach myself this concept, and help others do the same. 

"Wellness for the Peeps" will be all about fun, easy tips and tricks to incorporate a little bit of health into your everyday life.  Making small changes can make a HUGE impact in the long run!