Weekend Eats Recap: November 20-23rd, NYC

So I’ve never done one of these posts before, where I recap what I ate for a few days. A lot of bloggers do it every day, or post weekly updates on every meal they ate that week. Personally I love to read these and I have no idea why. Why is it so darn interesting what someone you don’t even know in real life ate for a week or a day? I don’t know. Maybe because you can get inspired for new ideas based on something they ate? Or inspired to try a new restaurant or cuisine? I do not have the answer to such questions, but I thought I would try out the whole what-I-ate thing once on this blog and see how it went.

my old stomping grounds !

my old stomping grounds ! #nyu

So heres what I ate from the evening of Thursday, November 20th-Sunday November 23rd while I was back home in good old NYC. Per usual, I ate a lot. I eat constantly. This might be why I’ve never done one of these posts before. I snack so often that I forget to take pics of like 80% of what I eat (yes, all my obnoxious food-instagramming is only a tiny portion of my actual overall food consumption). Anyways, here are my eats for those 3 days in photos and words. Honestly everything I had was great. And it made me excited and eager and anxious to return! NYC, I’ll be back soon ;-). In the meantime, here are my EATS:

Thursday, November 20th, 2014:

Breakfast:

  • 2 slices Angelic Bakehouse Sprouted Raisin Bread (THE BEST bread EVER – has replaced my Ezikel habit…seriously try it; it’s softer and more delicious, and it’s local to my hometown, Milwaukee, although it is available at Whole Foods nationwide) + almond butter and a sliced banana. I also had coffee with soy creamer and chamomile tea on my way to work.

Snack:

  • a sliced pear with cinnamon and almond butter

Lunch:

  • Leftover spaghetti squash marinara, small salad, veggie burger on more Angelic Bakery bread with sriracha, and a big old glass of almond-coconut milk (trying to use things up before leaving for the weekend).

Snack on the plane from MKE–> NYC:

  • half a Kashi peanut butter bar, an apple, a banana, half an almond butter sandwich on more Angelic Bakery bread (#addicted)

Dinner:

  • Beyond Sushi takeout. I landed late at night (like 9:00pm) and got dropped off at the 14th street location to pick up sushi for my friend and I. I had the November Roll of the month, which had Sweet Persimmons, Roasted allspice Turnips, grilled Heriocot Verts, and was topped with Seaweed Salad. It wasn’t my favorite roll of the month (that would go to the one they had in August), but it was delicious none-the-less and fun to try Persimmons, which I’ve been meaning to give a whirl for a while. I also had my go-to favorite roll. The Sweet Tree, with Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, Alfafa sprouts, and 6-grain rice. AMAZING AS ALWAYS. I love you so much, Beyond Sushi.
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November Roll of the Month

The Sweet Tree Roll

The Sweet Tree Roll

Snack:

  • Remaining half of Kashi bar + a few bites of chocolate, after which I face-planted into a pillow and slept!

Friday, November 21th, 2014:

I woke up early and although I usually immediately eat and drink coffee, I was sleeping at a friends and didn’t have a kitchen to use. I had a meeting in Brooklyn at 10 and decided to take a train from Union Square and swing by the Farmer’s market on the way. I ended up grabbing stuff at Whole Foods, cause I saw it as a one-stop place for coffee and food and was running short on time.

Breakfast:

  • Coffee with soy milk, a big-old whole-wheat NYC bagel with peanut butter, and a giant organic Gala apple which was one of the best apples I’ve had in a while. I had to eat this breakfast on the train because I was so low on time, and I felt super obnoxious being that person. I figured it would be no biggie but the train ended up being SUPER packed, but my blood sugar was super low so I wallowed in a corner and ate my apple and half my bagel. Once I could see/think/again, the train was at the Wall Street stop, and like 90% of the people got off. And then I had a whole train car basically to myself to eat the remaining half of my bagel in peace. Lol. #alittlelate

Lunch:

  • After running around Brookyln and back to Manhattan and meeting a friend for coffee quickly, I ended up not eating until around 3 pm, by which time, I happened to be near the Union Square Whole Foods again. I was so hungry and grumpy and indecisive of what to eat, and I remembered I had a $50 Whole Foods giftcard on me so I opted to hit the EPIC Whole Foods hot/cold food bar for lunch. It was perfect because I had no idea what I was in the mood for and the millions of options could all end up in my bowl together. This is my favorite way to eat. Buffet styles are the best, cause I like to try EVERYTHING. I spent $12 on my mixture of salads and grain salads and tofu dishes and falafel chunks and dumplings. I also grabbed a sprouted roll and 3 Mast Brother’s bars and an unsweetened iced tea to use up my $50 giftcard. #freelunch sort of. #winning. I ate upstairs overlooking the park and charged my phone and sat down for a while and people watched. It ended up being perfect.
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this + a million other things at Whole Foods. YUM.

Snack:

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Snack #2:

  • A mini cupcake from Magnolia Bakery (they have minis now !!!)

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Dinner:

  • I met two of my favorite people/friends Joanna and Cassie for dinner at Peacefood, a vegan restaurant in the village. It was late, I had walked 15 miles that day according to my iPhone tracker, and I was HUNGRY. Like, I needed a sandwich hungry. I ordered the Vegan Cheeseburger with Cashew Cheese, Avocado, Caramelized Onions, Sprouts, Tomato, Lettuce, and some drippy delicious sauce. I inhaled it.
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Vegan Cheeseburger at Peacefood NYC. SO GOOD.

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best sandwich of my life. i inhaled it. 

  • We had dessert at Peacefood, too. Strawberry Shortcake and a giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich exploding with frosting. The 3 of us split these two. SO GOOD.

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Saturday, November 22th, 2014:

Breakfast:

  • Shocking fact (not): I ended up leaving my purse at Peacefood, so I headed back in that direction early the next morning. The nearest subway station is Union Square, so I ended up, once again, grabbing some food there. I had the BEST Vegan Blueberry Muffin like, ever and another organic Gala Apple (it was just too good the day before). I have to recreate those muffins. I think they used spelt flour, and I think that did the trick. I ate that on my way to pick up purse and visited a friend who works at an East Village coffee shop, where I got some free coffee with soy milk and some free granola with soymilk. Yummies.

Snack:

  • banana purchased at a bodega #nyc and half a Kashi peanut butter bar

Lunch:

  • I ended up NEEDING food when I was at Dominque Ansel with friends later that day so I ordered real food there, which I’ve never done before. I had a delicious salad with Endive, Sprouts, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pear, Caramelized Pecans, and a Truffle Vinaigrette. The salad was delicious and the Roasted Sweet Potatoes and caramelized nuts were so flavorful that I, thankfully, didn’t need that vinaigrette. Which was nice, because to me, that dressing had a very strong flavor, and was a bit too much for me. I like truffle, but only in small amounts. I found the dressing a bit overpowering, but enjoyed the salad nonetheless.
Salad at Dominque Ansel Bakery

salad at Dominque Ansel Bakery

  • I also had a DKA from Dominique Ansel:
DKA!

DKA!

  • And took a selfie while eating lunch with Dominique in the background. I’m really creepy. Whatever. I idolize him.

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Dinner:

  • I met up with another amazing friend for dinner. We ended up at Peacefood again, which was honestly fine by me. The dinner was early and I’d eaten lunch and a pastry a few hours earlier, so I wanted something lighter. I ordered the Asian Greens Salad with Jicima, Tempeh, Carrots, Greens, and some delicious Peanut Ginger dressing. I’ve ordered this salad many times, and it’s always fresh, flavorful, and light-yet satisfying. It’s still my favorite salad there…minus perhaps when they have the Protein packed Kale Salad on the specials menu.

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  • I wasn’t going to get dessert cause I had just had some, but then my friend ordered carrot cake and I ended up eating half of it because it was so fucking good. (Sorry Olivia…) Great meal, great conversation, great friend. 🙂
  • In other news, Amanda Seyfried (aka Karen from Mean Girls) was dining near us. I tried snapping one creeper pic as I sat down, but it was blurry and I felt rude attempting again, and was also soon distracted by food.

Bedtime Snack:

  • remaining half of Kashi peanut butter bar, more chocolate

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014:

Breakfast:

  • I grabbed some trendy pour-over coffee (with soy milk) at a hipster-y coffee place with my friend Cassie, and ate a banana and an apple and half another Vegan Blueberry Muffin to fuel me up for the day.

Lunch:

  • I met my friend Minhye for lunch at Chelsea Market. I tried to talk myself into eating something “different” but desperately wanted Beyond Sushi again. So I got it. I got a Mighy Mushroom Wrap and another Sweet Tree Roll. I’m not usually into mushrooms, but this wrap is honestly amazing. I get it without the mushroom-y sauce on top and ask for an extra hot sauce. It’s literally so good I almost cried eating it. It was randomly VERY nice out so we ate outside upstairs on The Highline. It was awesome.
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Beyond Sushi on The Highline

  • And went for a stroll. The Highline Park is now fully open, and totally awesome. WALK IT!

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Snack at the Airport:

  • Plane delays = grumpy/hungry me. I had a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with soy milk, a whole-wheat bagel with vegan spread, and highly overpriced apple and banana. #airportfood. I also ended up eating an Enjoy Life Caramel Apple Bar and a Cashew Cookie Larabar that I found in my backpack. I love finding food in my backpack. What a win. I also had some tea and a mini bag of mini pretzels on the plane.

Snack at Home:

  • I got home around 11:30 and needed a second dinner before showering and going to bed. I ate a bunch of veggies with dip and crackers and another veggie burger with an Angelic Bakery whole-wheat wrap and hot sauce/ketchup and chopped lettuce. I then downed a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter and some almond coconut milk and called it a night.
my helper.

my helper.

So that’s it. All my eats last weekend. Lots of fruit and granola bars and carbs and veggies. Like 90% vegan. Pretty standard to my typical eating, but also more eating out than usual. In case you care, which you probably don’t. But it was kind of fun to recap it. Maybe I’ll do it again. Maybe not. That’s sort of the fun of having your own blog. You can experiment. I wonder if anyone is still reading. Doubtful. If you are, leave a comment below and I’ll send you a special surprise. Lol. Have a good day!!

xoxo,

K-Bakes

Recap: The Seed Experience NYC – Cooking Demo with Guy Vaknin of Beyond Sushi

This weekend I was fortunate enough to win tickets to The Seed Experience courtesy of Beyond Sushi. They had a giveaway and I entered and somehow won! Whoohoo. So on Saturday and Sunday I trekked myself down to Soho and ate a lot of samples and talked to a lot of cool inspiring people and ate a lot more samples and had me a good time.

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The Seed Experience was a collection of plant-based speakers, demonstrations, films, samples, more samples, and what I was most interested in: COOKING DEMOS.

vegan goat cheese for days!

vegan goat cheese for days!

And yes! There was a cooking demo by the owner/executive chef of  my ALL time favorite restaurant Beyond Sushi. You better believe I went in squealing.

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fooooooood

So on Saturday afternoon after I drowned myself in new products like aloe water, maple water, tons and tons of vegan cheese and ice cream (which were all very delicious!) I watched Guy Vaknin (owner/executive chef of Beyond Sushi) make some rolls, speak about how he got where he was, and wow the crowd with incredible avocado filleting skills (seriously, you should have seen it).

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I’m planning to soon post a recipe with a how-to for making black rice sushi but I thought I’d dedicate a little time/space to speaking about Guy:

Turns out Guy started as a chef and did a lot of catering for kosher crowds. Kosher people have lots of dietary guidelines that do not allow them to eat certain things at certain times. I’m not going to pretend I understand the rules well, but Guy mentioned there was rule about not preparing and consuming fish and meat together. But Guy wanted to make a sushi roll appetizer for the crowds. So he started making vegetarian rolls. Though he’s a trained chef, he was not a sushi chef, nor even a vegetarian when he started this concept. He sort of learned it form another caterer, and when he was off duty had no other option other than to master the art.

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Guy, a culinary creative genius, used black rice in his sushi instead of white rice. He said he “saw the reaction,” and knew there was something special about this concept. He started bringing his black rice/vegetarian sushi to vegetarian food festivals, and got lots of positive crowd reactions, inquires, and press, he was inspired to go back to the kitchen and keep working. After a second year vegetarian food festivals, he decided to take a big risk, poured everything he had into one business concept, and started Beyond Sushi. He built the original location on 14th street (between 2nd & 3rd – see my original rave review here) and started by serving vegetarian sushi.

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For a few weeks, customers came in and Guy noticed that some were confused by the different vegetarian vs. vegan options, as some of his original menu items contained eggs and dairy in their rolls and/or sauces. Guy made a lot of personal reflections and seriously considered desires of customers, and decided to turn the restaurant completely vegan, and made the switch to a vegan lifestyle himself. He says he can now “not even picture” life any other way.

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The tiny sushi shop quickly exploded in popularity and has received endless rave reviews and press features for its creative and delicious approach to vegan dining and sushi. Guy still works there 7 days a week, usually in the downstairs kitchen area.

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He puts a phenomenal amount of thought and effort into every roll and every piece of sushi that beyond sushi produces. I was shocked at the time and effort the prep work behind each item on their menu. All the regular rolls have such depth and preparation – including marinating and fermenting of vegetables (often overnight) to get the flavors exactly where he wants them. The rolls of the month are all produced using local, seasonal produce from the Union Square Green Market, which although are more expensive, truly reflect the flavors of the season and the responsible sustainable drive behind the Beyond Sushi concept. It was humbling to see such a successful man so deeply passionate about his craft. He also addressed the possibility of expansion – turns out he has been approached for franchise opportunities, but wants to stay small so the quality of each roll can be carefully controlled. People are hard at work, Guy insists, every morning at 5am, julienning and prepping vegetables and sauces to stuff the rolls with flavor. This care and attention to detail are part of the reason Guy won’t go big (yet). “You can’t mass-produce this,” he said, looking down at his just-crafted roll.

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And as a huge fan having had almost every roll and wrap on the menu, I must agree with him. There is nothing like it. That’s why it’s my favorite restaurant and why I can’t even go to another sushi place since trying Beyond Sushi.

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So thank you, Guy, for the inspiration. And thank you Beyond Sushi for the tickets to The Seed, the inspiration, and for continuously delighting my taste buds. I will forever be a loyal fan and customer – wishing you all the success in the world !

Beyond Sushi

Hello again! Once again, school and NYU Spoon got busy, and I got a dog and stuff. So basically I got really busy again and let blogging fall wayside. Because it turns out blogging is time-consuming. Which you don’t really realize until you start. I mean like, you gotta take a bunch of pics, upload them, write stuff, blah blah blah….anyways I’m back, and better than ever! Can’t wait to get this thing re-rolling this summer. I plan to start explaining the last semester (my new dog, my life, etc). 

You can get a sneak preview of the latest in my updated About Me section. In other news the cashier at starbucks asked me yesterday, “Aren’t you a bit young to be drinking iced coffee?” I’m 23. This doesn’t really bother me any more; I mostly just think it’s funny.

But before I start adding all my new stuff this summer, I’m going to add all the stuff I collaborated on this semester, including NYU Spoon and my friend Dan’s blog Like It’s Your Last. Both are really cool projects with really cool people and you should check them out. 

Here is my first piece published on Like It’s Your Last. It’s about Beyond Sushi, which is my current addiction. It’s also the photo that’s on my homepage. Its gorgeous. It’s vegan sushi. But it doesn’t really taste like sushi. Basically it’s like constant flavor explosions and I can’t get enough. For skeptics I beg you to keep an open mind and an open mouth (but then close it when you chew plz). This piece was also edited quite a bit and and published on NYU Spoon and The Daily Meal. The one I wrote for Dan is more my own thoughts and stuff but in publications apparently things get changed a bunch. That’s fine. I’m still learning. But that’s also why I want my own blog so I can say whatever the heck I want and not get tweaked. More on this later.

Anyways here it is. I’m gonna copy/paste it from Dan’s site:

Beyond Sushi, located on 14th street between 2nd and 3rd, is easy to miss. In fact, even as I regular, I sometimes walk by it. A no-longer-hidden gem, the green space is small but tidy, with a zen dining room that seats up to 12. The three small tables are for sharing, elbow room is a small sacrifice to make for such innovative cuisine.

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Beyond Sushi is a vegan establishment, and while the idea of vegan sushi may sound paradoxical, I bring even my most carnivorous friends here, soliciting their blind trust to follow me into the delicious world of Beyond’s redefinition of sushi.

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I like to start with the carrot salad. The carrots themselves are lightly blanched: slightly tender but with a nice, crisp bite and lightly dressed in a heavenly sauce. The sweetness of the carrots is enhanced with notes of chili, ginger, garlic, fresh cilantro and sesame seeds. Although the flavor combination sounds like it could overwhelm, it doesn’t. It’s simply perfect.

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Then comes the sushi. Surprising combinations of healthful but hearty ingredients like sweet potatoes, avocado, mushrooms, tofu and crisp green vegetables are thoughtfully paired together, wrapped in a seaweed hug, covered with a layer of rice and finished with a specially paired sauce. This food is beautiful. It’s art. It’s almost impossible to eat without snapping a picture. What’s even better to discover is that its beauty is not just skin deep; when it hits the palate, it delivers flavors that surpass expectations.

Take, for example, the La Fiesta roll. Filled with avocado, pickled jalapeño and chayote, this beauty is artfully topped with a mango chili sauce, bringing a burst of sweet and spicy to the earthy roll. One thing that is striking at Beyond, both aesthetically and to taste buds, is the rice. Beyond Sushi uses a 6-Grain blend or black rice in all their rolls. Both of these rices put white rice to shame, providing more flavor and a far superior mouthfeel. The quality of the seaweed (which, in my opinion, makes or breaks a sushi experience) is reflective of every ingredient they use: it’s at its peak freshness and prepared perfectly.


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Food is clean, and flavors shine. I liken my journey through a roll to solving a puzzle. As I make my way through, I discover a new element in each piece: Tanginess from the pickled jalapeño. Umami from the black rice. I just got a hint of chili. That brightness…wow the cilantro was a nice touch. By the time I’m finished, I’ve gone through an entire whirlwind of flavors, and eagerly move on to the next roll.

If it were up to my taste buds, I would pack away ten rolls without taking a breath. However, the limits of a student budget usually stop me after 2 or 3, which, I have found (after a few minutes surfacing for air) to be surprisingly satisfying, leaving a feeling of full nourishment for body, belly and spirit.

 

“That’s the best sushi I’ve ever had,” is what my mother (a carnivore) said when I took her for the first time, and I’ve heard this phrase echoed from every skeptic I’ve brought along. I tend to agree. Each time I gather my things to leave the small healthy haven, I catch myself thinking, “Wow, that wasn’t even sushi – it was better than sushi – like, beyond sushi.” For a moment I mistake this as a profound thought; I then realize, I’m simply reiterating their quintessential name.

Beyond Sushi
229 E 14th St
(646) 861 2889
@BeyondSushi