saltie

If you’re looking for an easy, but satisfying lunch in Williamsburg, I highly recommend Saltie. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get there, but this tiny neighborhood spot makes some seriously delicious (and unique!) sandwiches. Whether you're a vegetarian or meat-eater, if you're looking for breakfast or lunch, I'm sure you'll find something that hits the spot. I loved my "clean slate", which was a fluffy naan just overflowing with hummus, bulgur, and fresh & pickled veggies. Just check out how charred and chewy that focaccia looks! Keep an eye out for daily specials, like rotating seasonal egg bowls and salads, as well as refreshing beverages like a turmeric tonic. I can't wait to go back and try some of their desserts! The massive cookies (chocolate chip & pistachio or oatmeal with caraway & pumpkin seeds) looked particularly tasty!


de maria

I've been following Camille Becerra for a while now. She's a female chef whose approach to creating beautiful food I truly admire. In the past, she would collaborate with other chefs on menus and host pop-up dinners, but I was so excited when she finally opened her own place. De Maria is an all-day hip café in Nolita serving up a contemporary menu full of vibrant and healthy dishes. Practically everything is up my alley, so it's really hard to go wrong when ordering. For breakfast, I recommend the banana bread with flax, ginger & coconut, or the tahini yogurt with apricot, sumac & urfa bieber. Housemade soft drinks like the carrot, cinnamon, and ginger tonic are super refreshing and not too sweet. For lunch, I love the summer dragon bowl with coconut grains, turmeric poached egg, sungold tomatoes, heirloom beans & tarragon tahini- it's so satisfying and just bursting with flavor!

I also got to host a group of friends for my birthday dinner at De Maria, and although I didn't snap any pictures, everyone totally raved about the food. The lemon focaccia is perfectly fluffy and chewy, and the halibut with pappadum, chickpeas, apricot-mustard chutney, fermented cabbage & curry cultured cream was to die for. Camille's tendency to combine unique flavors so seamlessly is truly impressive, and makes you question why you didn't think to do it yourself. Don't skip out on the simple, yet delicious desserts- the raw milk ice cream with almonds & lavender makes a wonderful finish to any meal. Click through the pics to read more about these tasty brunch dishes as well. It's safe to say De Maria has joined the list of my fave NYC restaurants, and I can't wait to go back soon. 


jajaja

New York City- the land of endless food options. There's literally something for everyone here, which great, but there's also a lot of average places to filter through to find the true gems. When it comes to vegan restaurants, it seems like there's a new place at every corner, but many of them serve standard veggie cuisine (think fresh, seasonally-inspired American eats). Jajaja thinks outside the box, by creating a vegan menu full of unique and flavorful Mexican dishes. I stopped by with my vegan bestie Stephanie (of Ripe Cuisine) on her recent trip to NYC, and we noshed on some seriously delicious eats. Their taco menu offers some classics like housemade "chorizo" and heart of palm "carnitas", but also gets creative with mezcal mushrooms and chayote "fish" tacos! I love that they make their own tortillas, and infused them with vibrants colors and flavors like turmeric and blueberries! I also highly recommend the Sikil Pak, a Mayan pumpkin seed dip served with plantain chips that was so up my alley and totally addicting! Please excuse the poor lighting, but the restaurant is a bit dark with a fun, nightlife vibe to it (and since it's right in the middle of the Lower East Side, why not?!). Click through the pics to read more about our tasty meal. We have a return trip planned for a fun dinner for Steph's 30th birthday, and I'm already counting down the days!


superiority burger

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When the former pastry chef of a fine dining Italian restaurant opens up a vegetarian burger joint, people take notice. Brooks Headley, who previously ran the pastry department at Del Posto, surprised us all with Superiority Burger, his fast-casual East Village spot. The food and atmosphere are no-frills and reminiscent of a retro fast-food restaurant, albeit one with no meat involved. The superiority burger itself is obviously the main draw here, however, you really cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. I loved that the small menu was still super creative and unique- it changes often so keep an eye out for enticing specials! All the food at Superiority Burger is vegetarian to begin with, and can be made vegan if necessary, so don't hesitate to ask!

fig sorbet // cinnamon tahini gelato

can't say no to dessert!

Since Chef Headley is a famed pastry chef, I was super pumped to try his gelato and sorbet. Lucky for me, the housemade flavors available on my visit were fig sorbet and cinnamon tahini gelato! Oh my glory, they were both so delicious, but the cinnamon tahini truly stole the show. It was perfectly creamy and I loved the big swirls of tahini inside. Savory-wise things were not too shabby either, and I really enjoyed my burnt broccoli salad. The smoky eggplant, spicy red chile and crunchy cashews all played together nicely to create a wonderfully balanced dish. Just a heads up, this spot is tiny with only a few seats, so I suggest going at off-peak times as things can get pretty busy! Regardless, I look forward to planning a return trip soon!

warm potato salad // pickled zucchini, parsley, zig zag mayo

new creation // griddled yuba on roll

burnt broccoli salad // eggplant, red chile, coriander, cashews

tahini ranch romaine salad // cauliflower, sneaky avocado


butterscotch pots de crème with salted caramel tahini sauce & toasted kasha

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I first met Athena Calderone of Eye Swoon through my husband at The Heyward, a local Brooklyn restaurant where he was executive chef. Athena's passion for food and all things beautiful was clear from our first conversation, and I quickly became an avid fan and follower. Both Derek and I got the opportunity to be featured on her site- Derek as part of "The Chefs" series, and me as one of "The Tastemakers". Athena came over and we baked a chocolate and toasted coconut cake with salted caramel (that I highly recommend you try!), and it soon became clear that we had a lot in common, from food to fashion! Athena and I have gotten close over the last couple of years, and often see each other out & about at various fun events

I was so excited, and not all that surprised, when I heard that Athena was writing a cookbook. Her background in design gives her an eye to be able to create beautiful, artistic dishes, so I just knew the book would be absolutely swoon-worthy. Cook Beautiful is just that- Athena's offering of 100 seasonal recipes that are both gorgeous and delicious! After browsing through the entire book and drooling over practically every photo, I decided the first recipe I wanted to try would be a dessert (duh!). The butterscotch pots de crème with salted caramel tahini sauce & toasted kasha really spoke to me, as I've been having a love affair with tahini for as long as I can remember. Seriously though, whether it's sweet or savory- it can be stuffed into Medjool dates with dark chocolate, or mixed with lemon juice and herbs for a dressing, I'm obsessed.

Naturally then, I had high hopes for these babies, and they did not disappoint. The rich and smooth butterscotch crèmes were complemented perfectly by the slightly savory tahini caramel, as well as the crunchy toasted kasha & sesame seeds. Bonus points that they look super fancy, but are actually quite easy to make- these would be a great dessert to impress guests at your next dinner party. Get your copy of Cook Beautiful today, and start creating beautiful, swoon-worthy food pronto! 


loring place

 
 

Loring Place had been on my must-visit list before it even opened, and I’m actually embarrassed how long it took me to get there. Alas, my parents were coming to town, and in my opinion, that’s the best excuse to make a reservation at the new hotspot in town. Chef Dan Kluger, who previously ran the kitchens at the highly successful ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina, branched off on his own to open his own place where seasonal, local, American cuisine shines. Loring Place truly is a celebration of all things local- you’ll find ingredients from New York all over the menu. Kluger has built relationships with many farms and farmers over the years at the Union Square Greenmarket, and it’s so great to see their bounty on offer at the restaurant.

I really enjoyed the wide range of market-driven dishes, just bursting with flavor and creativity. Fruits and veggies at their peak ripeness really stood front and center to me- I love that they’re such a focal part of the menu! The grilled strawberry salad with sungold tomatoes, and carrot-hazelnut romesco with roasted eggplant and pita really impressed, as did the roasted corn with shishitos and basil. The wood-fired grill and oven lend themselves to some freshly baked bread and pizzas (all the grains are milled in-house!), as well as some tender, juicy cuts of meat. The savory duck was perfectly balanced by sweet & tart cherries and crunchy pistachios. We ordered plenty, but obviously still finished with dessert- a trio of deliciousness that I won’t soon forget. A fancy take on a DQ Blizzard?! Yes please! Click through the slideshow for more details on our meal. My husband and I are already planning a return trip specifically for pizza, because we just couldn’t fit it in this time! Too many tempting dishes, which is a great problem to have- well done, Chef!