Friday, September 4

Whole Hearted Guide to NYC

The last four months have been a total whirlwind, flying by at an incomprehensible rate. I guess that's always the complaint of going on 'vacation'. While my stint in New York wasn't all lollygagging and sightseeing, I did get to spend quite a few of my waking moments away from my internship, and in full-on tourist mode. Knowing that I had such a limited time in the city, I wanted to make sure that I never missed a beat (I know, an impossible task in a city that never sleeps). Although, I wasn't always able to go to every spot on my list, I would sometimes spend days on end eating every meal at home so that I could budget to go out for a nice bite to eat. And boy was it worth it! The thing about New York is the longer I stayed, the more I found out about, and the larger and larger my list grew, leaving it in the end looking basically untouched.

While this is in no way an extensive list, I have complied a few of my (and my buddies) favourite spots that we'd routinely visit for light meals and coffee. Please add your own recommendations so  that I and others can add to our overgrowing "next time" list.


  • Happy Bones - Beautiful and minimal coffee shop with little seating, so don't expect to get your drink "for here", but perfect for take-a-way.

  • Stumptown - Some of my favourite coffee around, Stumptown serves an array of cold brew drinks with some of my favourite beans. Best of all, it's super close to Washington Square Park, the best spot for people watching. 

  • Sweatshop - Fact: Aussies make the best coffee in the world (um..wikipedia told me??). Originally, I was put off thinking this place looked too cool for me, by once I got past the hip factor, I found some of the nicest staff and yummiest coffee around. 

  • Homecoming- Part cafe, part flower shop, part cute bibelot store, all around adorable. 


  • El Rey Luncheonette - My most visited eatery in the whole city, this small luncheonette has top notch coffee, the best kale salad and other beautiful light meals with an interior that reminds me of my beloved west coast. 

  • Two Hands - Another Aussie coffee shop which offers wonderfully fresh and healthy light meals. Highly recommend is the avo toast and a flat white - pure bliss! 

  • Dimes - Like El Rey, Dimes has healthy California style meals in a bright and colourful interior (I detect a theme here). A little out of the way, but worth it!

  • Sun in Bloom - Gluten free, raw, and vegan, this Brooklyn cafe offers casual dining that doesn't weigh you down (the shiitake bacon B.L.T. in a collard wrap is near perfect). 

  • Superiority Burger - Super compact and only open for dinner, this burger joint offers vegan and veggie versions of all your greasy fast food favouirtes. Get it to go, and hang out in Tompkins Square Park for a true NYC experience. 

Markets and Shops

  • Black Seed Bagel - I'm a sucker for Montreal style bagels (sorry NYC) and these come pretty close. Small and chewy and baked in a woodfire oven, the are the best in the city. 

  • Life Thyme Market - Cute little health food story that Amy Chaplin recommended, its one of the few places in the city I could find things like Coyo Yogurt. 

  • Home of the Brave - Greenpoint home store that will leave you wishing you had unlimited credit cards.


  • Ovenly - Salted Vegan Chocolate Chip, need I say more? 

  • Zucker Bakery- Recommended by the lovely Izy, this place offers up wonderful little sweets hand made with love. Date Cinnamon bun, anyone?!

  • Van Leeuwen Ice Cream - Cashew and coconut milk ice cream as well as dairy versions. I'm a big fan of the ginger, earl grey, and salted caramel. Oh yeah, and the chocolate...and the chocolate chip mint.....and the peanut butter chocolate...

  • Four and Twenty - I may be a little bias as I've had multiple roommates who've worked here, but I'd say its the best pie in the city, hands down. And their cookbook is divine!

xox Sophie

Sunday, August 16

Burnt Broccoli Salad with Crispy Capers

I'm sure many of you can relate: You write something that you feel nearly proud of then, boom, it disappears from your computer screen without a trace. This has happened to me a couple times in university when I used to use a worse-for-wear 10 year old Vaio complete with a missing "O" on the keyboard. I clearly remember the despair I felt for not backing up any of my work. But did I ever learn from this? Or course not! So yeah, I wrote a post to accompany this roasted broccoli salad, and blogger being the less than perfect platform that it is, decided to delete it. Classic blogger!

But I digress. 

I was inspired to make this salad after I went to check out a new burger place in the East Village which offered up a charred broccoli salad over the conventional fries. Not only was I surprised by how it was exactly what I wanted, but also by how it brought me back to my childhood when my little sister and I would hover around the stove eating all the roasted veggies, long before dinner was served. My love for roasted veggies goes deep. So deep that Adam bars me from entering the kitchen if there happens to be a tray of roasted yams or broccoli resting on the stove (I will secretly pick away at the whole thing like a scavenging crow until its all gone). So lets skip the hustle and bustle of making a fancy meal, and lets just enjoy the roasted veg for what they are! Pure perfection! 

Burnt Broccoli Salad with Crispy Capers

Recipe: (Serves 2)

2 Small Yams, cut into 1 cm quarters
4 Cups Broccoli florets
5 tsp Coconut Oil + 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/8 Chili Flakes
Handful Cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp Toasted Sunflower seeds
1/2 Hot Pepper, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp. Capers
Creamy Sunflower Seed Dressing (recipe below)
Lemon Wedges, for garish 

1. Heat the oven to 205 C (400 F). Combine the chopped broccoli with 3 tsp. Coconut oil, 1/4 tsp. sea salt, and chili. Roast, stirring often until nice and crispy, about 25- 30 minutes.

2. Use the remaining 2 tsp. Coconut oil on the yam slices. Sprinkle them with 1/4 tsp. sea salt and pop them in the oven once the broccoli has been roasting for about 10 minutes. Roast them for about 20 minutes, or until soft, stirring once throughout. 

3. Once the veggies are nice and crispy, toss to combine them. Arrange in a bowl along with a generous helping of dressing, the chopped cilantro, chili, and sunflower seeds, as well as a slice of lemon. 

4. Just prior to serving, heat the last 1 Tbsp. of oil in a small pan until hot. Gently pat the capers dry with a tea towel, and carefully place them into the hot oil, stirring to coat. Once the capers become white and crisp (about 1 minute), remove the pan from the heat and scoop out the capers (place them on a towel to drain). Sprinkle the salad with the hot capers and serve, season with salt and pepper as needed.  

Creamy Sunflower Seed Dressing


1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Sunflower Butter or Tahini
2 Tbsp. Liquid Sweetener of Choice
2 Cloves Garlic
2 cm / 1 inch (or about 1 thumb sized piece of ginger)
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. Toasted Sunflower Seeds

1. Combine the oil, lemon juice, sunflower butter, garlic, salt, and ginger in a blender and puree until smooth. Add water a tbsp. at a time to reach desired consistency. I like mine to be nice and thick, so I only added about 1 Tbsp. 

2.Add the zest and the sunflower seeds and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.  

xox Sophie

Thursday, July 23

Zucchini Dill Fritters with Cashew Aioli

I'm terrible at making myself lunch. I always have been. What can I say, consistency is key, right? In part, this failing is due to working in and around kitchens for all of my adult life, which has left me spoiled with free amazing lunches. And really, if you have the option to pack your lunch at 5 am or eat a bowl of free organic dahl, wouldn't you pick that latter?  Breakfast, on the other hand, is something I got down. I often plan it out in my head the night before, so the next morning when I wake, what I'm going to have and how its going to look comes as a bit of a no-brainer . Dinner is also something that often comes together organically through steaming  or sautéing all the veggies in the fridge with a tasty sauce and maybe a grain - bing, bang, done! But lunch, lunch is tricky. If I eat too much, I feel tired and sluggish and any hope of getting projects done is tossed out the window. Not enough, and well that's just asking for some hangry trouble. So, this leads me the sad place where I eat lazy things like nut butter on stale wassa and handfuls of dried fruit from the pantry.

With my life almost resembling a routine these days, I've been making a conscious effort to be more on top of eating balanced lunches that involve the right amount of food and labour (and no oven, phew!) And I think we got this!
Anyone who has every grown a zucchini plant will be familiar with zucchini fritters, or pancakes, or whatever you happen to call them. For the most part these contain eggs, which make them like little tiny frittatas, but I opted for the vegan version with flour, which turns them more into a veggie latka. And I like it! Served along with some freshly diced avocado, and cashew aioli it's pretty much the best little lunch. And if you're feeling extravagant, a side salad would just put it over the edge.

Zucchini Dill Fritters with Cashew Aioli

Recipe: (Serves 2)

2 Small Zucchinis, about 2 Cups
1 Carrot, Grated 
1 Green Onion, Sliced
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats (or quinoa, or even buckwheat), ground in a Vitamix to make flour
2 Tbsp. Black Sesame Seeds
1 Rounded Tbsp. Chopped Dill
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1/8 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/8 tsp. Ground Pepper 

Avocado and Cashew Aioli to Serve (Recipe Below)

1. Begin by grating the zucchinis. Sprinkle them with a little salt and let them drain in a colander for about 20 minutes. 

2. In a bowl combine the carrot, onion, dill, sesame seeds, oat flour, and spices. 
3. Squeeze the zucchini to remove extra water and add to the mix. Combine thoroughly.
4. Heat a pan to medium heat and add a splash of coconut or avocado oil. Take about 2 Tbsp. of mix and flatten in your palms making a thin pancake shape. Cook them for about 1-2 minutes per side, or until crisp and golden, adding more oil as needed.

Cashew Aioli

1/2 Cup Cashews
1/4 Cup Water 
1/4 Cup of Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
the Zest of one Lemon
1/8 tsp Sea Salt

1. Soak the cashews overnight in fresh water. The next day, drain them and combine alongside the other ingredients (alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup prepared cashew cream). Puree until smooth. You may need to adjust for more water and seasoning. Keeps in the refrigerator for about 5 days. 


xox Sophie