Going (Modern) Paleo with Hu Kitchen’s Jordan Brown

Hu Kitchen

Whether you call it “Stone Age,” “Primal,” or “Paleo,” there’s a dietary plan that says everything JORDANyou need is what was readily available in nature—before the discovery of grains, dairy, and legumes. At Manhattan’s Paleo-inspired Hu Kitchen, owner Jordan Brown calls it “getting back to human.” We talked to him about his old, old school diet…with a twist.

Q. Isn’t the Paleo diet very meat-heavy?

A. A common misconception is that anybody who decides to go grain-, dairy-, legume- free spends their days eating raw organ meat and foraging wild mushrooms. I am all for that lifestyle—it is perfectly healthy given the removal of all toxins, et cetera. Nonetheless, there is no one “human diet.” Depending on geographic location, prehistoric humans were eating an array of things.

Q. Not everything on Hu’s menu was in the Stone Age person’s diet. What are some of the tweaks you’ve made, and why?

0U7G4343

A. At Hu, we cater to all ways of eating that get us back to human—a more natural way of eating. We’re big proponents of Michael Pollan’s maxim, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” We do serve very limited grains, such as brown rice and amaranth, but you will never find gluten in any of our food. Our goal is to change the way modern humans eat; maximizing high-quality vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, animal protein and fat from animals fed their natural diet.

Q. We’re guessing that real-life hunting and gathering isn’t part of your repertoire. Where do you “forage”?

A. Our chefs take trips to local markets and are always on the lookout for new sources of the highest possible quality. Our ingredients change daily, because high-quality food isn’t reliably available in the same kind of way that mass produced food is. That said, we also source from some big suppliers because they have fantastic products that are consistent with our ideals.

Q. A lot of health “fad” diets are anti-fat. How do Paleolithic cooking techniques differ?

SONY DSC

A. We totally reject the focus on avoiding fats. In our opinion, it is the onslaught of whole and refined grains, sugars, poor quality dairy and animal protein, and laboratory fats that are the true problem. At Hu, we love good fats. We cook with olive oil, organic coconut oil, and also use grass-fed butter in a few baked goods. The key is to make sure that the animals we eat also ate [as nature intended].

Q. When did you go Paleo?

A. I randomly stumbled upon The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. I did three weeks of dietary self-experimentation based on its principles, and that was that. My skin started glowing, my energy levels reached new heights, I exercised less with better results, and my mood was great.

Q. For someone who’s brand new to Paleo, which dishes would you recommend?

A. Cauliflower purée, our take on mashed potatoes. “Mashbar,” our take on a

sundae/yogurt bar. The only dairy is a bit of grass-fed butter in the cookies. We mix fruits, nuts, seeds, non-dairy puddings and creams, and no refined sugars. Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders, our take on the classic, fried delicacies. These are roasted. No grains or gluten, of course. And muffins, made with coconut flour. Compare that to a grain-based muffin that will have you craving another one an hour later.

Q. Why do you believe omnivores need this diet, especially in this day and age?

A. At Hu, our main goal is to take the anxiety out of eating well. Now that we have unlocked the ability to manufacture foods rich in sugar and refined-grains, we have essentially become children who have found the bottomless cookie jar. The results are becoming quite obvious: premature aging, obesity, diabetes, and myriad other lifestyle diseases. “Get back to human” is really about getting back to a pre-neurotic relationship with our food. We think we are on our way to achieving that.

SONY DSC

Hu Kitchen
78 5th Ave. ( bet. 13th & 14th St.)

Mon-Fri: 7am-10pm  Sat: 8am-10pm  Sun: 9am-10pm
212 510-8919

Pomegranate Party: A Twist on the French 75 Cocktail

The Red 75

With its early-20th-century Paris roots in a spot called Harry’s New York Bar, the classic “French 75″ cocktail traditionally includes cognac or gin mixed with champagne. It packs a punch, but not much nutrition.

So for our holiday toast—and a twist on that cocktail—we turned to Rouge Tomate, the Upper East Side’s Michelin-rated, seasonally inspired new-American restaurant. Wine and Beverage Director Pascaline Lepeltier gave us her refreshed version of the old-time celebratory sip: the “Red 75.” Showcasing organic gin and organic prickly pear juice (this recipe uses organic pomegranate juice for a more seasonal approach; feel free to use a juice of your choice), this drink is a festive visual tease. We also love the frothy egg mixed in.

“This is a celebration cocktail, combining the taste and the incredible vibrance of the pomegranate color to the bubbly touch of the champagne,” says Lepeltier. “This Rouge Tomate variation—by using seasonal and rich-in-nutrients ingredients—is a perfect indulgence cocktail for the holiday season.”

We’re red-y, are you?

Red 75
1 oz. organic gin (Rouge Tomate uses Farmer’s)
1½ oz. organic pomegranate juice
½ oz. organic lemon juice
½ oz. organic agave
½ oz. organic egg
¾ oz. Aperol
2 oz. organic champagne

In a mixing glass, add all ingredients but the champagne; shake with ice. Pour the champagne into a champagne coupe, then strain the cocktail and pour over it. No garnish; the drink should have a nice, white foam.

Rouge Tomate
10 E. 60th St.
646 237-8977

Market Driven

Farmigo logo

Leafy, vibrant, farm-fresh produce, bursting with flavor…sounds like winter. Yes, really—if you know where to shop.

Bring the market to you with Farmigo, a website that connects consumers to farmers, allowing you to order in-season, locally produced food and to pick it up at convenient locations. We talked to Kallie Weinkle, Farmigo’s New York regional manager, to find out which goodies New York farms are growing and shipping now.

Red Malabar Spinach
Monkshood Nursery, Stuyvesant, NY
This crisp Asian vine is technically unrelated to true spinach, but produces thick, sweet, red-veined green leaves that taste great in salads and stir-fries. (Monkshood grows it in winter, thanks to season extension techniques.) It’s certified organic, and available in Farmigo’s “Salad Greens” pack.

Sunshine Kabocha Squash
Monkshood Nursery, Stuyvesant, NY
A close relative of the Japanese Kabocha (normally dark green with orange insides), this version is smooth, sweet and reminiscent of butternut squash or even sweet potato—and it’s at its peak now. Try cubing one with the skin off or on (it’s edible), roasting at 400°F for 30 minutes, mixing it with farro and ricotta salata cheese, and drizzling it with a red wine vinaigrette. Find it in Farmigo’s “Winter Squash Selection”; it’s certified organic.

Heritage Breed Eggs
Sawkill Farm, Red Hook, NY
You’ve never tasted eggs like these before. Hailing from a farm with four different heritage-breed hens, these flavorful blue(!) and brown free-range treasures are actually seasonal. Certain heritage hens are more sensitive to the number of daylight hours—they don’t lay as often in winter, so the last of fall’s gorgeous eggs are coming in now.

Those are seasonal “blues” we like.

Spinach image by Dr. Malcolm M. Manners, logo courtesy of Farmigo

Coffee Talk

Photo by Scott Feldstein

Gingersnap’s Organic owner Jamie Graber

There’s something brewing in the East Village. It can wake you in the morning, get you through a late night…and it goes with raw pizza. It’s vegan coffee, and it’s new to raw gourmet café Gingersnap’s OrganicWe caught up with Gingersnap’s owner Jamie Graber to get the buzz:

Q: Isn’t all coffee vegan?

A: Yes, and we only use direct trade and organic coffee from Crop to Cup. The difference is we also use fresh-made raw organic almond milk.

Q: OK, some of us are kind of used to milk with coffee.  Does almond milk taste as rich?

A: It tastes even better! It’s not the boxed stuff you find in stores. We make it daily from unpasteurized Sicilian almonds.

 

 

 

Q: We love cappuccino. Which milk alternatives make good foam?

A: We were concerned about that too, but our raw almond milk foams well!

Q: Do you use non-traditional sweeteners? Which do you prefer for vegan coffee?

A: We make our own simple syrup out of coconut palm sugar.

Q: If we’re not in the mood for coffee, what else can you offer?

A: We have an assortment of herbal teas with healing properties to rejuvenate, uplift, unwind, purify and be well, as well as chai, maté, oolong and hot cocoa.

Q: We sometimes like a treat with our java. Which Gingersnap’s dessert would you recommend?

A: My favorites at the moment are the donut holes and ganache. Both raw, naturally sweetened, and delicious!

Thirsty yet? Try Gingersnap’s Organic with this week’s special Perks offer delivered fresh to your inbox!

Gingersnap’s Organic
130 E. 7th St. (between 1st Ave. & Avenue A)
(212) 533-9939

Photos courtesy of Gingersnap’s Organic, Chandrika Nair, and HealthAliciousNess.

On Our Radar: Maysville Food & Bourbon

LP cover - The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers - Bluegrass!

Images of thoroughbred horses gallop across the walls…scents of smoked, charred, raw and grilled meats and seafood fill the air…and bourbon flows like water.

Welcome to Maysville. In the Flatiron, that is.

The bounty of The Bluegrass State has made its way north–with a twist. This southern-inspired spot highlights local, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats and sustainable seafoods. And the produce is all organic–Executive Chef Kyle Knall, formerly a sous-chef at Gramercy Tavern, goes to the Greenmarket every morning with a wheelbarrow to fill for the day’s menu.

Owner Sean Josephs (of Char No. 4) named the three-week-old bar and restaurant for Maysville, Kentucky, the port town that is the birthplace of bourbon. Chef Knall’s Southern roots (he’s originally from Birmingham) influence such refined regional interpretations as roasted oysters with salsify (a white root similar to parsnip) and pickled shallots; braised pork shoulder with butter beans, pigeon peas, turnips, and greens, and a whole smoked trout served with watercress, charred red onions and pickled mushrooms.

A variety of craft beers and a wide selection of wines rounds out the beverage list, but bourbons take center stage in the rustic space, with four backlit shelves of the stuff, at least 30 feet long, behind the bar (the menu features nearly 200 kinds of whiskey). The illuminated ceiling, a sculptured mosaic of boxed shapes, replicates an aerial view of Maysville, KY’s tobacco fields.

For now, patrons can enjoy dinner, drinks, or a full bar menu.  A private room that seats up to 25 is available for parties, and lunch and brunch are soon to come.

Maysville

17 W. 26th St., between 6th Ave. & Broadway, New York, NY 10010

“On Our Radar” features restaurants that might meet Clean Plates standards, but haven’t yet been thoroughly vetted and reviewed. For a directory of reviewed restaurants, see our Restaurant Finder.

Image courtesy of Ruffin_Ready.