Chef Einat Admony of Balaboosta Talks Travel, Cookbooks and Israeli Soul

If you see a pink Vespa pull up in front of Balaboosta on Mulberry Street, odds are chef Einat Admony is arriving at work.

The chef of Taïm, a West Village falafel joint, and Clean Plates-approved Balaboosta, her restaurant in NoLita (read the full review), draws inspiration from her native Tel Aviv. One sunny spring afternoon we sat in the corner booth at Balaboosta and discussed her upcoming cookbook, how she gets in the kitchen even on vacation, and why her signature chicken is anything but boring. Continue reading

On Our Radar: Candle Cafe West

Candle Cafe West

Upper West Side vegans, rejoice! The Zagat-rated vegan oasis of a restaurant, Candle 79, has just opened its newest addition to the Candle clan this month, giving Candle Café on the Upper East Side a little sibling on the Upper West.

Located on Broadway and 89th Street, Candle Café West opened with a majority of the menu reflecting the original Candle Café selections. There are also some new items and a few Candle 79 favorites, owner Joy Pierson said in a piece on Well + Good. Delivery and take-out are available. Continue reading

“Bloomberg’s Finest”: Restaurants Filter Out Bottled Water

Universities and college campuses across the country have begun banning bottled water, and some New York City restaurants are voluntarily putting down the bottle. It makes sense: According to CNBC’s Trash Inc., Americans buy nearly a billion bottles of water every week and spend an average of $11 billion on bottled water each year. That’s a whole lot of plastic and tons of waste.

Only a small percentage of these bottles are recycled; most end up in landfills, some on the neighbor’s front lawn and others find their way into bodies of water where they cause harm and disruption to marine ecosystems.

We’re pleased to report that the already eco-conscious, Clean Plates-approved Bobo Restaurant, Caravan of Dreams, and Northern Spy Food Co. have taken the additional step of replacing bottled water with filtration systems; we’re seeing other restaurants make the switch too. Continue reading

Find Dinner in the Park? Go Foraging with a Wildman

At Clean Plates we enjoy dining out, but we also love a delicious meal at home, ideally with ingredients sourced at greenmarkets, our local CSA, or — wait, the park? That’s right. There are plenty of tender greens (and mushrooms, come autumn) fit to be picked right under your feet. “Wildman” Steve Brill, New York’s favorite foraging guru, runs park and trail tours throughout the state and in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. He also has an iPhone app to help you identify plants in the wild… or park.

A self-taught naturalist who uses his bounty for home-cooked vegan meals, Brill has been educating urbanites about what grows in their backyard for thirty years. I recently joined the Wildman for a foraging walk through Prospect Park. Here are a few of our finds, with his observations: Continue reading

New York Mouth: Artisanal Local Food, Delivered

More the Berrier Taster

With the recent onslaught of gastronomes crafting artisanal products across the Empire State, New Yorkers can find just about anything from chocolate and honey to chutneys, cheese and (of course) pickled everything — especially within the tri-state area. Yet our grocery stores overflow with products from the other side of the country, if not the world. Enter New York Mouth, here to fill cupboards with homegrown goods.

The site allows shoppers to mix and match products, choose themed totes like the More the Berrier Taster (shown above), Beet Me Taster, and Blue Hill Taster (the only source of Blue Hill’s honey, jams and pickles unless you visit them), and has a V.I.P. Concierge shop.

Craig Kanarick, co-founder of Razorfish, was inspired to start Mouth Foods after a visit to a small Brooklyn food purveyor that sells local products alongside their own. “Their website was merely a map and hours of operation,” recalled Kanarick. “I realized there was an opportunity. That is our mission — to help indie food makers thrive.”

Though New York Mouth delivers nationwide and may soon source nationally, they’re fired up about sourcing from local tri-state food makers. “By carrying local products we keep our environmental footprint at a minimum,” Kanarick notes. “We think there is a particular sensibility to the foods being made in and around New York, just like there is a New York vibe to music, movies, fashion and other things.”

Kanarick’s favorite product maker of the moment? “There is so much going on in Brooklyn right now in terms of food, it seems like we discover a new product every day. Some of the more exciting and lesser known ones include Cacao Prieto, a chocolate wizard in Red Hook; Black and Blanco, makers of sandcastle cookies; and Spicy ‘n Sweet, who make incredible tomato sauces.”

And the most esoteric? “The wackiest product I am excited about is the Ostrich Jerky from Roaming Acres in New Jersey that we just added this week,” says Kanarick. “Of course, next week there will be something else.”

Image courtesy of New York Mouth.

Celebrate Earth Month with Eco-Friendly Restaurants in the City

Earth image via Flickr user DonkeyHotey

While eating local is a great way to celebrate Earth Day, it’s month and beyond, we wanted to spotlight a few Clean Plates-approved restaurants that do even more to make the earth a better place.

From wind power and natural lighting to composting and using biodegradable cutlery, here are five restaurants that not only passed the Clean Plates test confirming they’re healthy and sustainable, they also elevate those two words by mingling them with “eco-friendly,” which makes eating at any one of them that much more delightful. Continue reading

Rustic Roots Delivers Local Food with No Commitment

Emer and Jeff Moore with Natural Earth Farms in Calverton, NY

Move over Fresh Direct. There’s another organic and local food delivery service out there: Rustic Roots Delivery.

The service works with farmers to bring quality local food products straight to the doorsteps of New York residents; Rustic Roots Delivery not only offers a CSA program, it allows for one-time orders as well. With a minimum order of $50, they’ll deliver delicious local goods anywhere on Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens or Manhattan. The products to choose from run the gamut: Order seasonal fruit and vegetable baskets, meat packages or items à la carte like local glass-bottled milk, handmade pasta, local cheeses, butter, honey, eggs and more. Continue reading

Weekend Away: Glenmere Mansion in the Hudson Valley

Located 50 miles from New York City in the Lower Hudson Valley, the adults-only Glenmere Mansion is an ideal weekend culinary getaway.

First Things First: The Food

The 18-room Relais and Chateaux hotel is home to two restaurants, the elegant Supper Room and the cozy Frog’s End Tavern. One executive chef oversees the menus at both restaurants, delivering dishes that are polished, comforting, and infused with produce from the surrounding Hudson Valley. Continue reading

An Evening with Farm Aid at Haven’s Kitchen

For over 20 years, Farm Aid has been instrumental in raising awareness and funds to keep local farmers in business. The first Farm Aid Concert was held in 1985 by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp. Today, Farm Aid has raised more than $39 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture.

Now Farm Aid is partnering with Manhattan’s Haven’s Kitchen for a dinner and reception to celebrate New York’s family farms. On Wednesday April 18th enjoy a seasonal, ingredient-driven menu by Haven’s Kitchen’s chef and kitchen director, Julia Sullivan, showcasing the best of what New York’s local farms have to offer (Sullivan trained at Blue Hill at Stone Barns). Continue reading

Clean Plates Picks for Lovely Spring Eating in the City

Bobo Restaurant image courtesy of Yelp user Sarina H.

Chickadees are chirping, the sun is shining and NYC restaurants’ outdoor furniture is finally re-emerging. The minute the weather hits a warm note, spots with outdoor seating or patios are packed with spring-loving foodies eager to enjoy it all: refreshing drinks, quality eats and sunshine in the breeze. Enjoy these lovely Clean Plates-approved restaurants in the city as you celebrate the spring holidays. Continue reading