Monday, April 21, 2008

Blossom Restaurant and other upper west side health food favorites

I am loving living on the upper west side. There's Gary Nulls uptown whole foods at 89th and Broadway. It has wonderful prepared foods and this new chocolate product called "Nutritious Chocolate". This product, a chocolate bar that professes to be made of kale, avocado, brocolli, pomegranates and many other fruits and veggies seems too good to be true, but does have a whopping 14 grams of sugar per serving - much more than I usually like in my 85% cacao content valhrona which only has 5 grams (but 20 grams of fat...I am really only inclined to eat 3 squares though whereas I ate half the bar of nutritious chocolate and really wanted to finish the whole bar in one sitting, but I forced myself not to). There's a wonderful prepared foods section which has a lovely red quinoa salad made with green and yellow squash. Its quite good, although a bit too tangy. It gave me an idea to remake at home with a bit less cider vinegar or whatever they used.

I discovered a new vegan restaurant the other day which I have been meaning to try. I walked in and it reminds me a bit of Candle Cafe one of my favorite upper east side vegan haunts. Blossom (Blossom Vegan Restaurant & Cafe 466 Columbus Avenue (82nd/83rd) New York, NY 10024 (212) 875-2600) either relocated or expanded to a new location from 9th avenue. The new space is clean and stylish and the manager Jonathan was very nice when I went in to drop off some marketing materials. Diners looked extremely happy with the dishes. Looks good. Can't wait to try it. I've been trying my hand at smoothies at various west side health food stores. The store on Broadway and 96th so far is nothing special as is the health nuts a bit further down. Both make me crave gary nulls a few blocks down. I'm still mildly addicted to the acai supercharger at Jamba Juice on 86th. I hope that raspberry sherbet they add doesn't have too much sugar! I saw on the menu today at Jamba that they have new smoothies that are just fruit. If only their protein boosts weren't so super processed and they had hemp seeds, I wouldn't have to make smoothies myself anymore. I do try to mix and match from their raw materials. Strangely enough I had this variation of a green smoothie in Brooklyn near the board of ed building off court street that was fantastic albeit $6. It was some sort of co-op that was fairly interesting. I'm sure my summer travels and adventures as a substitute teacher and teaching fellow will lead me back to that store several times and I'll learn the name. Thank you now to the 2/3 train outside my doorstep, Brooklyn doesn't seem so far and difficult to get to any more.

Anyway, there's still no place like Fairway's organic market. Though sometimes I question their products. There are an awful lot of snack and junk foods there. As I educate my clients and try to get them off regular junk food and onto healthier junk foods it just makes me realize how much junk food there still is left in our food supply and how much more work I have to do.

I am joining the Roxbury Farm CSA later this week with a half share. I'll start getting my pick ups in June at a church on 86th and West End where the chubby bunny farm also does drop offs. Both are sold out, but the Garden of Eden farm at Ansche Chesed on 100th and West End still has a few shares left. I wish the CSA movement would figure out a way to better mobilize so more new yorkers could take advantage of this fabulous program. I have run out of $2 per dozen farm fresh eggs from Abner my farmer from Lancaster, PA. I still have butter left - at $11 a tub, I should. Its fantastic! Although I wonder how long it will keep. It is cultured, but still raw.

Over the weekend, I had this wonderful cheese from a farmers market in the Philadelphia Main line suburbs called Brillat Savarin. It was one of the most wonderful cheeses I have ever eaten...and I've been to France and Belgium several times. I remember one cheese from Belgium that was slightly better - but this one was probably the second best I have had in my lifetime. I bought another small piece from whole foods in Columbus Circle today. Not even close to the taste of that cheese. Actually the one from Whole Foods tasted almost spoiled. I'm still alive, so I guess it wasn't, but it just didn't have any of the taste or qualities of this one I had in philly. Wonderful! I also had it with (sorry to my kosher friends!) a lovely merguez sausage from the union square farmers market, which apparently is only available on Saturdays. I have seen this guy, but I could never justify buying a pound of merguez (spicy lamb sausage) for myself. My cousin's husband who is of North African descent brought it to philly from New York where I was spending passover. It was just lovely and if I have a group of people over for brunch I intend to get some again. Yum yum and apparently not breaking the 100 mile rule!

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