Clean Habits: Scott Reinhardt How Gramercy Tavern's Assistant GM keeps it clean

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To walk into Gramercy Tavern is to be reminded of the bounty of New York’s local foodshed. The ever-changing front table highlights a profusion of area flowers and vegetables. The commitment to local sourcing isn’t just decorative; it expands well into the menu—making it easy to see why this spot is also a Clean Plates favorite.

Assistant General Manager Scott Reinhardt, who’s worked at the restaurant for 17 years, is part of the glue that holds the gracious staff at Gramercy Tavern together. Here, he tells us how he keeps it together—from small meals to a dedicated daily exercise practice and why absolutely you need to know what “Dock to Dish” is.

What’s a typical day of eating like for you?

I eat many small meals. Breakfast is 1 egg/cured meat/aged cheddar/toast. Lunch is at 11 a.m. and our lunch cooks put together a great meal for us with lots of vegetables. I usually skip the carbs and go heavier on the protein and greens. We eat again at 4:30 p.m. and this time I eat very light: a half portion of protein, a small amount of vegetables and a starch. Then I eat again around 7:30 p.m., usually roasted fish or chicken and a vegetable. At 10:30 p.m. I always end the day with peanut butter and bananas.

From Scott Reinhardt’s training table:”I always end the day with peanut butter and bananas.” (Photo credit: Maura McEvoy)

 

How do you stay balanced and healthy while working in the restaurant industry?

Luckily I have a steady schedule, which makes that much easier. But other than that, I just say NO to all the temptations of breads and sweets.

How do you stay fit?

I do go to the gym every day. Each week I do two days of cardio, two days of light weight training, one day of heavy weight training (with a trainer) and one day of stretching and abs. Right now I am starting to run outside to get ready for two team-building functions that I am the team captain for: Tough Mudder in October and the God’s Love We Deliver run in November. We have had a team for many years and are one of the top fundraisers for it. Last year we raised over $33,000 and had about 40 people on our team.

Any suggestions for someone eating at Gramercy Tavern who wants to keep their meal light and local?

That is so easy—everything we feature is local, and our culinary team led by Executive Chef Michael Anthony also focuses on vegetables a lot, so it’s very easy to have a light, local and seasonal meal. I really love any of the fresh fish we get from “Dock to Dish.”

*CP Note: Dock to Dish is modeled on a community-supported-agriculture (CSA) system. Chefs prepay for seafood and receive deliveries of fish (complete with details about how the fish was harvested) within 24 hours of it being brought to shore.

Watch a short film about Gramercy Tavern

Spinning Plates Dan Barber is a superstar chef—and now, author

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The trees are already showing signs of autumn and there is a certain feeling in the air that has us chucking our floozy beach reads for something more substantial.

If you’re feeling anything like us, have we got just the book for you: The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food ($30). The book is authored by local-boy-made-good, Dan Barber, who in addition to now being an accomplished writer, is also the esteemed chef of Blue Hill in the West Village and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, located within the nonprofit Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. Oh, and in 2009, he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

So it’s with good reason we should all lend an ear to Barber’s realization that the farm-to-table movement doesn’t do enough to have a lasting impact on our food system.

Dan Barber: author, chef and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world (2009).

Coming in at almost 450 pages, this book is no lightweight, but neither are its ideas. Barber reimagines our food system and our plate centered not around meat with a few vegetables, or even grass-fed meat with local vegetables, but a new way of eating rooted in cooking with the whole farm—an integrated system of vegetable, grain and livestock production.

Barber says it best himself: “Truly flavorful food involves a recipe more complex than anything I can conceive in the kitchen. It speaks to something beyond the crop, the cook, or the farmer—to the entirety of the landscape, and how it fits together. It can best be expressed in places where good farming and delicious food are inseparable.”

Buy the book!

Street Smart Organic Avenue offers so much more than juice

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It’s been all about cold-pressed juices at Organic Avenue since Denise Mari founded the brand in 2000.

Now with 10 stores in NYC to the brand’s name (click here for locations), OA is getting even hotter (literally) with grab-and-go foods that are part of the new SPE-certified Feed Your Brain menu. OA now has you covered from breakfast’s warm steel cut oatmeal to an after-dinner chocolate mousse made with avocado, cacao, cold-pressed coffee, vanilla bean, maple sugar and coconut sugar.

Martin Bates, Organic Avenue’s CEO, was formerly the chief executive of another Clean Plates favorite, Pret A Manger, and he’s brought his business smarts to a happy, healthy new audience.

You’ll want to sit around and enjoy the beautiful space and good food

Stop in for a kimchi wild rice bowl filled with broccolini and radishes, or grab a wrap blanketed in a whole wheat tortilla or a nutrient-rich collard green leaf, like a Middle Eastern version with a smoky baba ghanouj and oregano-packed za’atar.

Even if you’re too busy to scrupulously study every label, you can take comfort in OA’s mince-no-words philosophy: “If we can’t find it organic, we won’t make it.” OA believes in a 100 percent organic, plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

All the juice and clean eating is clearly paying off: OA is set to launch six more stores in the next few months.

Check out the menu at Organic Avenue

Like Mad ACME now offers an all-vegetarian tasting menu

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ACME knows how to party. This Noho restaurant spent the first 25 years of its life as Acme Bar & Grill, a solid staple of New Orleans-style cooking.

In January 2012, a makeover, new management and a shooting star of a chef transformed the spot into the glitteringly hip ACME.

This summer, there’s even more to get excited about at this downtown spot: Chef Mads Refslund, who comes to Manhattan by way of Copenhagen’s Noma (frequently called the best restaurant in the world), has just launched an all-vegetarian tasting menu ($65), backed by his creative Nordic approach.

Chef Mads Refslund from Copenhagen’s Noma brings a nordic spin to Acme’s menu

Refslund’s thoughtful nine-course menu (see it here) is rife with unusual bits like foraged and pickled ingredients, and his way with vegetables is unlike any you are likely to see anywhere else around town. Take his summer cabbage, for instance: “It is one of the things on the vegetarian menu I like most,” he says. “We grill it for hours with hickory bark, thyme, lots of herbs, which gives it a smoky flavor, and then we serve the cabbage heart with fermented pear juice and coriander.”

Refslund is also a strong proponent of seasonality and local sourcing. “It’s very, very important to make people think about eating more vegetables and care for Mother Earth; it’s ultimately going to make the world a better place for people to eat more vegetables—and not just any vegetables, good vegetables, that are well raised, without pesticides, by small farmers.”

We think that sentiment is the hippest of all.

What is Nordic cuisine?

Clean Habits: Ashley Newsome How Roman's manager keeps it clean

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It’s only fitting that Ashley Newsome teaches fitness classes called intenSati: she leads a pretty intense life. When she’s not wrangling the team at Fort Greene’s beloved Roman’s restaurant as a manager and wine pro, she’s empowering people through movement classes, wine tastings, cycling to work and challenging the kitchen staff to push-up contests.

Here, Newsome shares some personal tips, tricks and hints.

What’s a typical day of eating like for you?

I don’t follow any sort of diet. In fact I don’t believe in them. My two rules are: think before you eat—what I like to call “eating on purpose”—and, secondly, eat every three hours. Typically I have carbs in the morning, to get them in early so I can burn them off throughout my day. Right now I’m farmer’s market crazy. This morning I made a brown rice salad with snap peas, pecorino, mint, lots of black pepper and plenty of olive oil, plus a fried egg on top. From there I get as much protein and as much green as I can.

How do you stay balanced and healthy while working in the restaurant industry?

I strive to keep my work life and my play life separate. After hours and on my days off I do not check my work email. I don’t answer work calls. If there’s an emergency I will get a text and reply only if it’s urgent. Also, I meditate in the mornings—just six minutes of elongated breathing to clear my mind. And as long as I “eat on purpose,” Roman’s takes care of the rest for me. Those guys know all the produce and proteins are coming from some of the healthiest, most-trusted sources one can get, period. Roman’s keeps me healthy.

Roman’s in Fort Greene helps Ashley “eat on purpose”

How do you stay fit?

Being a fitness instructor does wonders. I teach this class called intenSati three times a week. That does a lot of good for my body. But I also do two days of yoga and four days of cardio. It also helps that I walk or bike to work most days. And from time to time I challenge the kitchen staff to a push-up contest!

What’s your philosophy behind wine?

Well, I believe in stories. Getting to know the families behind the wine, that it comes from a real place with a real history. I believe wine should be drunk with food and, more importantly, shared with cherished friends and family. Right now I’ve been drinking this lovely wine, Salcheto, from Tuscany. It’s a light, summer red I can just not get enough of.

*CP Note: Salcheto is an ultra-natural wine grown on a self-sustaining winery with solar panels, geo-thermal heating and cooling and plenty of honeybees for pollination. The winery uses no herbicides, no pesticides and no artificial grooming (weeds grow amidst vines).
Check out Ashley’s intenSati videos

Dumpling Delight Mimi Cheng's makes dumplings to get excited about

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When it comes to problems, Hannah and Marian Cheng, the sisters behind the new Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings, have the very best kind: They are too busy.

Once you too try their superlative dumplings, you’ll understand why they can barely wrap them fast enough to keep up with demand at their East Village spot.

Dumplings are inherently juicy little pockets of perfection. But when these portable delights get messed around with (sub-par meat, questionable ingredients) they can be the opposite of a healthy choice.

Thank goodness the Cheng’s are on our side, as Hannah says, “We refuse to compromise the integrity of the dumpling.”

At Mimi Cheng’s every dumpling is cooked to order in the open kitchen, whether you choose pan-fried or the healthier boiled option. All of the recipes, including the olive oil-based dipping sauce, are inspired by the sisters’ mother, Mimi.

Sisters Marian and Hannah Cheng get their inspiration and DELICIOUS secret recipes from their mom, Mimi

Fillings include pasture-raised, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat from Fleisher’s (says Hannah: “We’re not into the mystery meat thing”) and all organic vegetables. The Mighty Veggie, plumped with organic kale and zucchini, free-range eggs and shiitake mushrooms is a superstar. Meat-eaters can choose from the Mimi Cheng (chicken and zucchini) or the Reinvented Classic (pork, bok choy and cabbage); all dumplings are 6 for $8 or 8 for $10.

In addition to the dumplings, you’ll find a daily choice of fresh market vegetables ($5 each). Recent options include a refreshing cucumber salad, simple pickled cabbage and sautéed broccoli with garlic and olive oil.

Mama knows a good thing when she sees it.

Mimi Cheng’s
179 Second Avenue
212-533-0391
mimichengs.com

 

 

Get Happy Why maple water is the next big thing

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Here at Clean Plates, we take hydration seriously.

Beyond the joys of fresh-filtered water, we keep ourselves hydrated with everything from fermented watermelon basil coolers to iced cocoa to silky homemade almond milk.

But drinking water tapped from a tree was a new idea we had to try on. Thankfully for us city-dwellers, we won’t need to tap any trees ourselves for this experience: Happy Tree maple water ($4 for 10 oz. and $5.50 for 16 oz.) has just launched and is available in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Last March, Happy Tree co-founder Ari Tolwin was visiting his brother in the Catskills. While the two were making maple syrup, he had a discovery, “I had no idea that maple syrup is actually made from the tree’s water,” he says, “Which is refreshing, hydrating and nutrient-rich as-is, straight from the tree.”

 

Co-founders—and Brothers—Chaim (Left) and ari tolwin (right), and brand ambassador nomi carmen

 

Happy Tree comes to you having never been heated and full of naturally occurring Thiamin (B1) and Riboflavin (B2). Tolwin and his comrades even shipped samples off to food scientists at Silliker Labs to confirm the presence of those metabolism-boosting B vitamins, electrolytes and anti-inflammatories.

If the word “maple” has you thinking of sticky-sweet pancake syrup, stop right there. This stuff is faintly sweet (it has a 2% concentration of maple sugar, versus syrup’s heavy 60 to 70% concentration) but tastes pleasantly earthy too. This new beverage is perfect for anyone watching his or her sugar intake: Happy Tree clocks in at only 35 calories and 7g of sugar per 10 oz. bottle.

Watch your back, coconut water.

 

Learn more about Happy Tree

Doggone Good It's easy to say yes to Yeah Dawg's vegan hot dogs

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The mystery meat nature of most hot dogs skeeve us out.

And fakey substances that pose as the real thing? We’ll take a pass, thank you very much. But then Marina Benedetto’s vegan Yeah Dawg!!! came along and blew all of our pre-conceived notions awa.

Benedetto’s Brooklyn-based company specializes in soy-, gluten- and chemical-free organic hot dogs that are made without any weird fillers or casings.

First, Benedetto roasts root vegetables—including potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes and carrots—and mixes them into a base of chickpea and white-rice flours. Then she rolls each dog by hand, perking up their flavor with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, garlic, onion, parsley and cilantro.

 

Want to be inspired? Listen to Marina Benedetto talk about how and why she started Yeah Dawg!!!

 

The dogs can’t compare in price to the pinkish oblong franks at your corner bodega, but then these dogs are a triumph of a bounty of ingredients with both real chew and great texture.

Find fully-loaded Dawgs ($8 to $10, with toppings like ruby red sauerkraut, pineapple pickles, coconut bacon, cashew mayo and more) Pine Box Rock Shop pop-up, or order a pack from Good Eggs ($15 for four) and try them out with your favorite combination at home.

 

Follow Yeah Dawg!!! on Twitter to find out where they are popping up next!

Cool Cukes Stay cool, calm and collected with this summer recipe

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When it comes to the Greenmarket, we are like the Postal Service: Neither snow, nor rain nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays us from making our weekly appointed rounds until we are laden with local goods.

But we love the market most during these hazy summer days, when the market’s tents can barely contain the baskets of ripe and bright produce.

A newly released cookbook, The New Greenmarket Cookbook: Recipes and Tips from Today’s Finest Chefs—and the Stories behind the Farms That Inspire Them ($20) is here just in time to make good use of all of those peak-season fruits and vegetables.

Author Gabrielle Langholtz (who knows a thing or two about all things local as the editor of Edible Manhattan magazine) had notable Greenmarket lovers—including Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert—contribute a bevy of recipes to the collection.

Whip these up for your next summer dinner party

Organized by the four seasons, the recipes follow the natural cycle of a year at the market, making it easy to flip the book open and find a recipe using things that are being stocked at the market right this very minute.

We’re smitten with the ever-growing number of cucumbers available at the market right now: thin-skinned Korean cucumbers, round Lemon cucumbers and runty Kirby cucumbers.

As fun as all the shapes and sizes of cucumbers are to look at, they are even better for you: At around 95 percent water, they are wonderfully hydrating and can help reduce inflammation, while being high in potassium and antioxidants like B-carotene.

Try using a selection of cucumbers in this recipe for a fantastically refreshing cucumber soup from chef Kenneth Wis of Brooklyn’s steadfastly farm-to-table Diner and Marlow & Sons.

Cucumber Soup by Kenneth Wiss, Diner and Marlow & Sons

Serves 4 to 6

6 to 7 cucumbers, about 3 1⁄2 pounds

1⁄3 cup lime juice, from about 3 limes

1⁄2 cup olive oil, divided

1⁄4 cup loosely packed dill leaves

1⁄4 cup loosely packed tarragon leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1⁄2 cup loosely packed basil leaves

1⁄2 cup loosely packed mint leaves

Some Garnishes We’ve Loved:

Toasted almonds

Fresh blackberries

Watermelon

Crème fraîche

Fresh herbs

1. Peel the cucumbers and halve lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape the seeds from half of the cucumbers, so the soup is not too bitter. Slice the cucumbers thinly and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

2. Toss with the lime juice, 1⁄4 cup of olive oil, dill, tarragon, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of black pepper. Dress the cucumbers like a salad that you would eat raw and let sit for one hour. The seasoning will marinate the cucumbers, and they will begin to break down and release liquid.

3. Transfer the mixture and its liquid to a blender (in batches if needed) and add the basil and mint. Blend at high speed, stopping to scrape down as needed. Puree for at least one minute, until perfectly smooth.

4. Reduce the blender speed to medium-low and slowly drizzle in the remaining 1⁄4 cup of olive oil.

5. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and lime juice and serve chilled.

From The New Greenmarket Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014

Jerked Around Jonty Jacobs gives jerky the comeback it deserves

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If you think beef jerky is just processed rubbish suited only for long-haul truckers and desperately hungry gas station stops, Monique Daniels is here to change your mind. The founder of Jonty Jacobs (and a South Africa native) was aghast at the taste, quality and texture of the cured beef products that she found in the US when she moved to New York in 2010. So she made do without. But then memories of the delicious, all-natural childhood snacks of biltong (thin dried beef slices) and droewors (dried beef sausage) crept up on her when she became pregnant. She told us, “Funnily enough, it was my pregnancy cravings for biltong that put me over the edge. I started the company when I was in my first trimester.” Just last week, Daniels and her husband, Camran St. Luce, threw open the doors to a West Village emporium where you can taste-test their entire line of various cuts and styles.

At the grand opening of the Jonty Jacobs store

All of Jonty Jacobs’ products utilize traditional South African curing methods and a recipe that includes vinegar, salt, brown sugar and cardamom—with absolutely no gluten, chemicals, additives or preservatives like sodium nitrates. We recommend choosing the leaner grass-fed variety of droewors and biltong ($10 for 4 oz.) made from premium meat sourced from a Georgia farm. This is a tasty snack with benefits: This jerky requires no refrigeration and it comes in at whopping 54 percent pure protein (hello low-carb and Paleo diet followers!), making it the ideal thing to throw in your bag and tote around for a blast of good protein and quality fat in emergency hunger situations. Just let that hunger lead you to the storefront emblazoned with the South African flag.

 
Jonty Jacobs
114 Christopher St.
855-952-2627
www.jontyjacobs.com