Our idea of what constitutes "food" in American culture has become so skewed that it is almost unrecognizable. Our supermarkets are packed with products whose ingredients include unpronounceable chemicals, dyes, bacteria, and growth hormones. They are irradiated without our consent and contain GMOs.It's time to bring back FOOD. Pure unadulterated organic RAW food.This blog is a documentation of my continuing journey on a plant-based lifestyle.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Going Vintage!

I'm feeling a little nostalgic for my City right now, so this post is dedicated to some of my absolute favs. - those that I discovered in the only city other than Paris, that owns a piece of my heart, forever.
If I was in New York right now, the fact that today is the first day of March would mean A LOT more to me. California has been chilly, yet nothing compared to the freezing temps. and snowy days of the East Coast. This time last year I was dying for 60 degree weather and the fact that I'd be able to wear shorts in February. (I have a clear memory of sitting in Barns&Nobles flipping through trashy tabloids and seeing pictures of Natalie Portman walking around LA, elbowing Kev, and saying, "that's gonna be us!" But, alas, I find myself now wanting the opposite...the fact that i've only gotten one season out of my most favourite DKNY coat is just NOT acceptable! And i'm a little miffed that all this snow just decided to happen upon NY as soon as I left...I LOVE the snow. And so to make up for it i've been frequenting South Coast Plaza to window shop and pretending its Madison Ave; definately not the same, but stores basically are. (They've even got an Yves Saint Laurent!)


While i'm pretty much a self-proclaimed food nerd (hence, the inspiration for the raw food nerd, ta-dah!) i've got a gulity pleasure for designer fashion. Yes, i'm aware of the unethical practices that go into making clothes and handbags, but i'm more of a vintage fashion lover. I'm talking old school Chanel, YSL, Vivienne Westwood, Oscar de la Renta, the like. (I once found the most amazing peach sleeveless silk Oscar de la Renta shirt at an outside market in Chelsea for $10.00! This was 7th grade mind you and mmm, yeah, I still wear it every summer.) Good clothes, much like food, are about two things: quality and creativity. To me, vintage fashion is timeless and the classics always remain regardless of trends that come and go. Thankfully, with a bit of thrifting savy, I never had to compromise my hippie green-loving values in order to wear said awesomely vintage designer clothes. It is AMAZING what you can find on a street corner in the West Village or a Good Will on the Upper East Side. Seriously!

(Enter suitable transition word/phrase garnerd from very expensive college education from said prominent NYC school..uhh, yeah!)

For me, NYC is mecca and it is literally busting at the seams with health food stores filled with raw and vegan options. During the three plus years that i've lived/been visiting this glorious place i've made it my personal goal to visit every health food store that the City offered. A few, were better than all the rest and I would go to those every..single...day. They became my "Classics" if you will, like a vintage Chanel suit - you just cannot go wrong.

#1 Westerly on 54th and 7th Ave. It's down the street from Whole Foods Columbus Circle. They have everything from organic produce, to a raw food deli, to the largest selection of raw food goodies i've seen thus far. They have a huge bulk section with grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit. And they carry all the raw vegan ice cream on the market. This place is by far, my favourite. They are also extremely budget friendly because when produce gets a dent or is a little too ripe they repackage it and sell it at a discounted price. Like I used to get packages and packges of peaches, apricots, apples, cucs, etc. ALL ORGANIC for a mere $1.99.

This place houses some of my absolute favs:
  • Raw Chunks of Energy
  • Gopals Power Wraps/Bars
  • Mrs. Lillians Pies
  • Hawthorne Valley Sauerkraut
  • Mock Salmon/Tuna/Crab sandwiches
  • Garden of Eden (I think) Mustard with sea salt and ACV all organic.
  • Good Stuff by Mom&Me Almond Bars

I went to New School University (Most people know New School because of Project Runway a la Parsons) in the West Village for my Undergrad. (Watch Degrassi? Remember Ellie, the red haired chick who had the hots for Craig, the musician?? Yup, she was in my Reading for Writers class AND sat behind me at graduation. Also went to school with Olivia Palermo from The City.) and so I was lucky enough to be in walking distance to some freaking grandtastic places.

#2 Lifethyme on 9th and 6th Ave. (Avenue of the Americas):

They have a salad bar filled with raw food combinations and a HUGE prepared raw food section including but not limited too cookies, pies, puddings, burgers, etc. You name it they've got it. They have a full scale grocery store with some great produce options. They also have a juice bar and the guy who does the juicing is the sweetest man ever! 

My favs from here are:
  • Chocolate Chewies
  • Coconut Chewies
  • Spirulina Earth pie
  • Sweet Christine juice
  • Salads
  • Spicy Sunflower Falafals
If you aren't raw, but vegan this place is equally as good. They have some of the best vegan pies and cookies i've ever had. Portions are HUGE even for the raw stuff. I mean you could literally eat a slice of pie from here @ $7.99 a slice and not have to eat again for the rest of the night.

#3 Integral Yoga on 13th st. btwn 7th and 8th ave.

This is where I used to get all my spices in bulk as well as raw honey, chia seeds, raw buckwheaties, etc. They are a little expensive in terms of produce and what not, but the bulk options are very reasonably priced. Ouuu, they also have bulk seaweeds, pastas, miso, and tahini.They offer a 10% discount to students and seniors (score!) so that always helped me out. All their spice are from mountain rose herbs and frontiers so they are quality and organic. They have a bar with raw and vegan desserts (though they are skimpy on their slices), but mostly I used to go there to get three things.

  • The best coconut date rolls the world has to offer (they tasted like vanilla cake with vanilla froasting. I kid you not...lovely picture above, however, not a picture of the prized IY date rolls which are a blonde color.)
  • Dried mulberries (like CARAMEL!)
  • Dried banana slices (these single-handedly got me through by far the worst fiction class I ever had to take.)
If you go for those three things and those three things alone your life will have purpose.

#4 Natural Frontiers with a whooping two locations both great for different reasons...24th and 3rd and 81st and 3rd.

 I love these two mostly for sentimental reasons. I spent A LOT of time in these two areas last year for my job...that wasn't even really a job because I loved it so much...

Ok, 24th and 3rd while pretty much out of the way of everything always had a few great things that I couldn't go without last summer...

  • Really excellent ripe bananas
  • Catelope
  • Pears
I know, not raw food snacks, but when you are in a crunch i.e. running over to FDR because the 23rd st. xtown never showed up, you'll appreciate the convience of peel and eat simple food. P.S. avoid the 23rd st xtown if you can, filled with CRAZY people.

And 81st and 3rd, which I used to hit up every day because it was very close to my Bikram Yoga studio on 83rd and right around the corner from Kev's work on 78th, houses my most favourite and ongoing food obsession

(From Chunks of Energy website)

They've got other stuff there too, like T.T.'s favourite  Yogurt Prentzels, but other than that nothing else really matters. These gems are the most delicious combination of nuts, seeds, gojis, and dates that i've ever had. I've been eating them for years and I still cannot get enough of them. When I say I ate them everyday for MONTHS at a time, it is no exaggeration...I really did. Sometimes, i'd eat them twice a day. Yes, they are THAT good. The best thing about them for me (other than they taste horrifically fantastic) is that I barely eat nuts and seeds other than hemp and chia because they always gives me a stomach ache and make me feel really heavy and bloated, except these!! I can eat like 10 in a row and i'm totally fine -- which never happens! Seriously, I go to a potluck and I have one bite of nut pate and i've done myself in. From what I have read, these come from a small, family produced business in Massachusetts and their ingredients are USDA certified organic and obviously a very high quality. They are not baked at all and are sans any artifical ingredients. They've recently come out with a few new flavors like Lemon-Cashew which my San Diego Co-Op offers. However, that is too far away for me to eat everyday so I am working to bring them to my local health food store, Mother's Market because Californians NEED Chunks of Energy!

 The aforementioned food choices are surely oldies but goodies. I've been eating them on a consistant basis for the last three years and I wish I could say I have tired of them or that i'm ready for something new, but I'd certainly be lying. These are classics in my book for a reason. Ugh, trust me, what I wouldn't give for just one chunk of energy or a chewie or yumm, a mock salmon sandwich.

If you live in NYC, be sure to traverse to these shops. You will NOT be sorry.

P.S. Some of you have been asking about my Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce and I plan to deliver. This stuff is off the hizzy and to deprive others from its grandness would make me a really awful person, lol. So, next post will be all about what i've been eating lately AND the Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce.

(All pictures from google images.)


  1. Thanks for all the great tips!!!! You gave me the best one with Westerly!! :)

  2. Sadly, I have yet to visit the east coast but I will one day. Fun post! Thanks for sharing. :)

    Hey, I finally picked up the Viv Agave. YUM! I haven't used it yet in anything but it definitely passed the finger test. I would've missed it if I wasn't purposely looking for it so thanks for sharing your review.

    PS - I miss Cali!

  3. Thanks for the great advice on places that stock raw goodies! I was in NYC over the holiday season and really enjoyed visiting Live Live, next to Quintessence. Do you find any places are more reasonably priced than others?

  4. Hi Alysha!
    I was just talking about NYC, this eve. We would love to go this year. You've laid out some pretty awesome places to stop for healthy eats. The snacks look delish... coconut rolls that taste like vanilla cake... mmm! ;p

  5. saw Tess link your site..awesome! I love her and I am on my way back to San Diego (in Phoenix now) but am a high raw yoga teacher...and you and i could be bff's after just looking at this post here!
    wow!! great stuff!