Nice to matcha you Why matcha is the green drink on everyone's lips


Cups of frothy green matcha brought brothers Max and Graham Fortgang together during a stressful time in their lives.

Graham, a born-and-bred New Yorker, explains: “We were working around-the-clock and we didn’t have as many reasons to hang out, so we started getting together over a daily ritual of matcha. I felt myself getting sick less and I was more positive and attentive during the day without caffeine crashes.”

This brotherly love and wellness motivation are the driving forces behind the brother’s chic new Williamsburg café, MatchaBar.

If the name matcha (and the shockingly green color) is intimidating in the slightest, remember this: matcha is just powdered green tea. But instead of steeping the leaves in hot water, the entire leaf is ingested.

Wrap your hands around a warm, green, cup-O-matcha this winter!

If you’ve never tasted matcha before, prepare yourself for a fresh, grassy wallop, coupled with a creamy sweetness. Matcha comes packed with the calming amino acid L- Theanine, antioxidants (even more than gojiberries!) and roughly 70 mg of caffeine in every cup (compared to up to 110 milligrams in a cup of coffee).

Matchabar does offer Battenkill Valley Creamery cow’s milk, but the brothers try to gently steer their customers to alternatives like hemp, soy and almond milk. For an extra anti-inflammatory boost, top your latte with raw ground cinnamon (small $4.10; large $4.80).

The menu doesn’t stop with traditional Japanese preparations. Go seasonal with an iced drink that combines local Red Jacket Fuji apple juice, ginger juice and matcha (small $4.60; large $5.45). Or, go green-on-green with matcha mixed with Greenmarket cucumber juice (small $4.60; large $5.45).

These pioneers already have their eyes on the horizon: A west coast location is already in the works.

93 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg

Clean Habits: Takashi Inoue How a beef-obsessed chef keeps it clean


When it comes to beef, eating sustainable means more than just eating local, grass-fed steaks—it means we have to consider all the many other parts of the cow, too. One of the best places to do this in New York is at the West Village joint Takashi, where owner and executive chef Takashi Inoue serves an almost all-beef menu, everything from beef-heart bolognese to shredded beef tendon and ultra-fresh raw beef liver with sesame oil.

All of the restaurant’s meat is raised without antibiotics or hormones and sourced from the city’s best meat suppliers, including local meat from Dickson’s Farmstand, Black Angus beef from Kansas’s Creekstone Farm and Washugyu meat from Japanese Premium Beef.

We checked in with Takashi to see what he does to keep healthy. Turns out, he’s just as much of a fiend for lots of greens and raw broccoli as he is for making sure no part of an animal goes to waste.

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

I usually eat before I go to work (usually a bagel, a banana and a yogurt), which is usually around 8 a.m., then I do prep work at the restaurant and before dinner service I go to the gym. After the gym I drink an organic raw protein shake, followed by as many greens as possible, including lots of raw broccoli. After 6 p.m. I don’t eat carbs, just protein and vegetables. I have to be careful because I love going out for dinner, which isn’t always a healthy option.

“After 6 p.m. I don’t eat carbs, just protein and vegetables.”


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

It’s difficult to maintain a balance. I have to try hard. I’ve been going to the gym for 15 years. I do three days on, then one day rest: the first day is focused on a chest workout, the second day on arms and shoulders, the third day on lower body strength. There’s always a bike or running warm-up and cool-down.

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

Protein is healthy, and at Takashi, where we specialize in all parts of the cow, the only carbs we have on the menu are the rice bombs. Most of the vegetables are from the Greenmarket, where I go every week.

How do you incorporate sustainability at the restaurant?

We use all the parts of the cow at the restaurant, which I think is the most sustainable way of being a carnivore.

Cook it now: Kabocha Make this tasty squash part of your fall


If your squash vocabulary starts and ends with butternut, you are missing out big time.

There’s a wide world of gnarly-shaped, diversely-colored and wonderfully-named squashes out there to be had, but our new favorite is a Japanese variety called kabocha .

Ben Towill and Phil Winser of The Fat Radish on the Lower East Side are out with a cookbook just in time to capture fall’s incoming squash storm. The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries ($40) takes the restaurant’s menu of unfussy, vegetable-focused food, all with a charming British accent, and lets you take it home.

Though the restaurant is usually swarmed with the fashion set, thankfully these guys don’t take themselves too seriously. They say, “For us, there is nothing more exciting than the anticipation of the seasons and cooking within them. (What a pretentious thing to say, but we promise it’s true.)” The book is broken down simply into the four seasons and filled with enough handsome photos of vegetables to make you blush.

Phil Winser and Ben Towill of The Fat Radish


That lilting English-ness of the recipes means ideas like a spring sweet pea pot pie that is laden with a trio of snow, snap and English peas and plenty of fresh mint. We’ve already bookmarked their savory beet and Swiss chard crumble for this Thanksgiving.

But for right now we recommend heading out to hunt down the closest deep green-skinned kabocha you can get your hands on (easily found at any Greenmarket). Kabocha is blessed with a dense, sweet flesh that is reminiscent in flavor of chestnuts and it is even sweeter than butternut—with half of the carbs. Then turn your market prize into this creamy, rich soup that is completely vegan and brimming with beta-carotene, iron and vitamins C and A.

 Serves 6

One 3-pound kabocha squash

Coarse salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

3 cups vegetable stock

1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Small handful chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 425 degree F.

1.  Cut the kabocha in half and scoop out and discard the seeds and the stringy flesh inside. Wrap the cleaned squash in aluminum foil and place in the oven. Roast until softened, about an hour. Set the squash aside.

2. Meanwhile, place the olive oil in a large, heavy pot set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring now and then, until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and coconut milk, bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and simmer while you prepare the squash.

3. Peel off and discard the skin from half of the roasted squash and add the flesh to the soup. Use an immersion blender to puree. Season to taste with salt.

4. Cut the remaining half of roasted squash into wedges and place them in the soup. Serve the soup hot, garnishing each serving with toasted pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of chives.

Buy the book

Join the Club However you eat, there's a dinner collective for you


If your list of must-try destinations in New York City is dwindling, it’s time to rejigger how you think about dining out. Consider skipping your usual restaurant haunts for a supper club-style dinner in a stranger’s home—or even a dumpster (keep reading).

Paleo: Whether you are a hard-core paleo follower or just want to try eschewing grains and dairy for one evening, Cave Kitchen is for you. While Linh Kieu and David Gull appreciate the paleo resources found around town (think Hu Kitchen), they realized that it is still “very hard to be paleo and social in New York City.” To remedy their own problem, the couple launched the club “to share our love for good food while building relationship with like-minded people” from the comfort of their own dining room table. Get in on the action by filling out a membership form. From there, booking one of the twice-monthly three-course dinners (suggested donation of $45, or $60 with a wine pairing) is a snap.

Salvage Supper Club’s Josh treuhaft and Celia Lam turn ugly produce into delicious morsels. Click image to watch!

Waste Not: Meet up with the folks behind Salvage Supperclub and you could be feasting with 15 others at a table in a dumpster—albeit one set under twinkly lights and scrubbed within an inch of its life. Salvage Supperclub blossomed from Josh Treuhaft’s masters thesis at the School of Visual Arts in New York when he “started thinking about how to use food experiences to get people to waste less food” and make it an enjoyable experience to boot.

Treuhaft and chef Celia Lam, who was educated at the Natural Gourmet Institute, source food that normally is forsaken (think edible weeds from the Queens County Farm Museum, bruised apples from Migliorelli Farm, day-old bread from Bien Cuit and aesthetically unsellable carrots from Norwich Meadow Organic Farm) and keep it from ending up in the trash by crafting six course meals form the bounty. To stay up-to-date on the happenings, send an email.


Happy Screams Downtown Creamery does ice cream right


This summer, you (pick one):

  1. Ate too much ice cream.
  2. Didn’t consume enough ice cream.
  3. Were disheartened by the general state of crappy ice cream.

Whatever your answer, Downtown Creamery is your Autumn salvation.

For $40 a month, a bicycle will roll up to your home and deliver two pints of creamy vegan ice cream made from a base of coconut milk, cashew butter and maple syrup.

Downtown Creamery ice cream is not nearly as sweet as the commercial stuff, and the ever-rotating flavors (included chocolate and toasted almond, peaches and cream, and Concord grape sorbet) are richly complex stunners. Founder Megan Huylo says she dreams up flavors through “a combination of seasonality and creative high jinks.”

Megan huylo, Founder and Chef of Downtown creamery

Huylo’s intense relationship with food runs to her pre-teen years when she battled cancer. While undergoing chemo, Huylo’s parents gave her foods like seaweed and ginger for their nutritional and healing properties. Since then, she’s embraced a balanced, holistic, mostly plant-based approach which inform the classes she teaches at the Natural Gourmet Institute and the custom cleanses, catering and wellness coaching she offers through Downtown Epicure.

If you want to take your ice cream consumption to the next level, Huylo will even design custom flavors for you, like a salty-sweet chocolate miso combination, or a labor-intensive kabocha squash blend.

Sign us up.

Sign up for hand delivered ice cream from Downtown Creamery!

Sea the difference Urban Sproule makes salt in the city


Take a peek at our salt collection and you’ll find a sodium rainbow of the good stuff: pristine white Fleur de Sel finishing flakes, rough red Himalayan crystals mixed with iron-rich clay and distinctively black Hawaiian granules made with detoxifying activated charcoal.

We reach for these salts (in moderation) over processed salts because they contain naturally occurring trace minerals and elements, including calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc.

But until Sarah Sproule and her business, Urban Sproule, came along, we never thought we’d have the opportunity to stock our pantry with sea salt from our very own city.

While NYC goes about its business, Sproule’s sea salt is dried on a rooftop on West 30th Street. Sproule pumps water from an aquifer on the South Shore of Long Island, where 250 feet below the surface the salt water is slowly filtered through layers of sand, silt and clay.

Sarah Sproule, the one woman (powerhouse) behind Urban Sproule.

This journey to hyper-local salt greatness was a trial-and-error process. Sproule tried waters gathered from Long Island to the Bronx and experimented with different methods of production until she settled on solar evaporation. She told us, “I fell in love with this production method because of the story each salt crystal tells. When you cook your salt you strip it of trace minerals—the very things that sets natural sea salts apart from processed table salt. When producing solar salt you are allowing Mother Nature to control the shape, size, color and even the flavor of your salt.”

Sproule now offers a virgin raw salt along with a variety of flavored versions infused with ingredients such as zippy celery leaves and Montauk squid ink (all salts are $8 for 1.5 ounces).

Sproule’s salt revolution is just getting started: In October, look for a revamp of packaging and surprising new flavors including Cave-Aged Cheddar Salt.


Where to find Urban Sproule in stores

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


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


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


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


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?