Juiced up Supercharged cocktails at a Union Square newcomer


Move over Bloody Mary, you’ve been dethroned as the healthiest brunch drink in town.

After you pile up your bags at the Saturday morning Union Square Greenmarket, head over to Irvington and grab a seat at the bar for an amped-up cocktail.

At Irvington, chef David Nichols is in the open kitchen cooking smart new-American food with zippy Mediterranean influences. When it comes to sourcing locally, the restaurant has exactly zero excuses: It’s located catty-corner from Union Square.

The healthful touches don’t stop at the food: bartender Nico Szymanski is behind the list of super-juice cocktails boosted with Liquiteria’s cold-pressed blends.

Settle in for a Green Dream ($15) made with Crop organic cucumber vodka and Liquiteria’s All Greens blend of kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, celery and cucumber.

Grab a seat and enjoy the good food and better-for-you cocktails at Irvington.

When we pressed Nico about calling a cocktail “healthy,” he gave it to us straight up. “I’ll put it this way: They’re as healthy as you’re going to get with something that’s also loaded with alcohol,” he says. “The vast majority of calories in a cocktail come from the alcohol itself (1 ounce of an 80 proof spirit contains about 65 calories). So beyond that, the only things that you can tweak to make a drink more or less healthy are the mixers. And in this case the mixers are fresh, whole ingredients loaded with nutrients, instead of sugar. So yes, they are as healthy as possible with anything that still gives you a buzz.”

Nico’s favorite is “The Seeing Red” ($15). In it, he pairs the sharp bite of rye whiskey with the earthiness of Liquiteria’s Beets Me blend of carrots, beets, ginger, orange and pineapple—garnished with candied ginger.

Add an order of avocado and spring pea toast with pickled cage-free eggs and shaved cucumber ($15), and we’d call that a brunch of champions.

201 Park Ave. S. (inside W. Union Square)

Go go getaway Head to Treehouse Retreats for a wellness refresher


You may want to give your landlord notice now, because once you visit Heather Cox’s idyllic Treehouse Retreats, you might want to stay forever.

What makes Treehouse Retreats different from other retreat centers out there? There’s the intimate nature of the drop-dead gorgeous Amagansett house, to start. The A-frame structure is awash in sun and white linens and accommodates only six guests at a time (women only; sorry guys). Everything about the space invites you to unwind from the stresses of the city and learn how to live a balanced, sustainable, healthy life without going to extremes.

Hang out on the beach or paddle board: be as active or laid back as you need to be!

Sign up for a one-day Pilates workshop with a family-style vegetarian lunch this August or a weekend-long yoga immersion this October. While you are there, you can also hang out on the beach, go stand-up paddle boarding or hit up a local farm stand. Or, just soak up the lazy, hazy Treehouse vibe and sleep if that’s what you need.

Heather, who is also the one-woman-show behind the popular food blog Eat. Real. Food says, “My vision is to teach people that you CAN indulge in the good stuff occasionally and still be ok!”

Hidden Kitchens Get home schooled (literally) at a League of Kitchens class


Step onto Sunny’s porch in Bayside, Queens and the first thing you’ll notice is a crock of soy sauce fermenting.

Step inside her kitchen and you’ll learn the secrets to making watercress salad with toasted sesame seeds and pajeon (scallion pancakes) made with organic eggs and just the faintest dusting of flour.

The only way to gain entrance to Sunny’s place? That would be League of Kitchens.

League of Kitchens is an immersive culinary adventure where immigrants teach intimate cooking workshops in their own homes ($95 to $145).

The idea was cooked up by Lisa Gross, the grandchild of a Korean immigrant. Lisa’s grandmother was so intent on making sure that her grandchild studied that she kept her out of the kitchen. As an adult, Lisa had a B.A. from Yale to show for her efforts, but couldn’t replicate the flavors of her grandmother’s cooking. “Nothing I made ever tasted as good as my grandmother’s food,” she says.

League of kitchens is a hands-on cooking class under the guidance of a seasoned home cook.

This experience led her to dream up League of Kitchens, which can connect you with instructors from every pocket of the world, including Trinidad, Afghanistan and Greece. Many of the instructors also grow their own produce—like Sunny, who grows 20 varieties of vegetables and six different fruit trees.

The experience of being in a stranger’s home means this is an intimate cooking experience, best for those adventurous at heart. However, any lingering awkwardness is easy to gloss over when you are welcomed so warmly with green tea and personal tales. The benefit of learning next to a seasoned cook means you’ll get to pick up on those subtle but important techniques and tricks that so often get left out of written recipes.

After cooking alongside the instructor, you will sit down to enjoy your dishes and hear more stories. Best of all: The leftovers go home with you, along with new recipes and a huge helping of inspiration.

Clean Habits: Nick Anderer How Maialino's chef keeps it clean


It’s hard out there for a chef. (To stay fit and healthy, that is).As the executive chef of MaialinoNick Anderer is surrounded by swaths of food every day—everything from the restaurant’s morning oatmeal to dinner’s braised local suckling pig. However, Anderer is also one of the fittest guys we know.

With that in mind, we asked him to spill his tried-and-true secrets to staying healthy with us. His Clean Habits will come in handy come August, when Anderer will add more to his already-full plate when he opens Marta, a thin-crust pizzeria that emphases local ingredients.

What’s a typical day of eating like for you?
I eat a lot of small meals and bites throughout the day, either via recipe testing, quality control or just straight snacking. Rarely do I sit down to a full plate of food on a workday. I don’t follow any strict diet, but as a meat-lover, I try to balance my meat consumption with a healthy dose of raw fruits and veggies. And I also try not to eat anything after 10 pm and to limit my carb intake during the second half of the day.


He even cycles for charity! (photo Credit: Jordan A. Mermell)

How do you stay balanced and healthy while working in the restaurant industry? 
You need a lot of restraint from the temptations of constant pecking. And you need to find time to stay active outside of work. With a job that requires you to be on your feet all day, I’ve been focusing more and more on keeping my core as strong as possible so that my lower back is supported—in the chef world, that’s usually the first part of your body that gives out. 

Has your healthy lifestyle rubbed off on the menu at Maialino or the upcoming Marta?
Definitely. We are always talking about more healthy ways to serve Italian food. We stopped toasting our almonds in butter or oil, and are instead leaving them raw and unseasoned. With really good Sicilian almonds, not only are they healthier raw, but they actually taste better. We’ve added extra fish options to the menu and are sure to keep them predominantly carb-free, utilizing as much raw vegetables as possible and dressing with light vinaigrettes as opposed to heavier sauces or purees. At breakfast, we’ve focused on serving more healthy grains, even adding a house-made, whole-grain cereal to the menu.

How do you stay fit?
I try to do something active with my body at least five times a week, going heavy on cardio and peppering in light doses of strength training and stretching/ lengthening. I probably SoulCycle at least twice a week, and when it’s nice out, I opt for long runs along the East River. And every so often I do one-on-one Pilates sessions, which focus much more on balance and muscle lengthening than on traditional ab work.


Move! With free outdoor fitness classes

The New New The New Amsterdam Market is back and better than ever


After this year’s brutal winter, we feel we should be doing something extra, extra special to welcome the arrival of the Summer Solstice this Saturday, June 21.

And since New York’s Finest probably wouldn’t take too kindly to us lighting a bonfire (as the Finns do) in the middle of Manhattan, we’ve settled on the next best thing: attending the New Amsterdam Market (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at the South Street Seaport.

There is no better place to understand the shear bounty and to give thanks for the exquisite deliciousness of the New York-area foodshed than at this market. In addition to farmers, the New Amsterdam Market celebrates “purveyors, manufacturers, distributors and other small businesses who fall outside of the traditional farmers market model but nonetheless hold the same values and ideals” says founder Robert LaValva.

Heirloom fruit handpicked by Maggie nescuir


More than a dozen new vendors and programs debut this summer, like fruiterer (it’s a real thing: a retailer of fruit) Maggie Nescuir, who is offering a “fruit-share program” of rare and heirloom varieties in the CSA model (email info@newamsterdammarket.org if you’d like to join). Or buzz by her table this weekend to browse the first strawberry crop of the season with over a dozen varieties, each one unique in flavor and size.

Newbies Sather and Ruby Duke of Raven & Boar will feature foraged foods along with traditional Italian cured meats made exclusively from their heritage whey-fed pigs. Brooklyn’s She Wolf Bakery will make their market debut with sourdough bread made entirely from organic grains and a natural culture that uses absolutely no commercial yeast. 

Finally, bouquets featuring seasonal fruits, herbs and vegetables from Pretty Streets Botanical are a sweet-smelling way to bring the season inside.

To market, to market!


Attend the upcoming nightmarket event

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Sohha Yogurt Yogurt gets a veg-ucation

Yogurt, you're lookin' good

John and Angela Fout want to blow your mind when it comes to yogurt.

You know yogurt as a base for a sweet drizzle of maple syrup, a spoonful of jam or a sprinkling of granola, but the Fouts’ product, Sohha Yogurt, will take you over to the savory side of things.

At the Fout’s new stand in Chelsea Market, you’ll choose from two types of thick, plain Middle Eastern-style strained yogurt: the creamy Classic or the more tart Tangy. Once you’ve put that critical decision behind you, you can move on to a full-blown yogurt topping frenzy.

We love the brand’s signature Everything Bagel mix, layered with poppy seeds, pine nuts, sesame, garlic and onion. Or try the za’atar (a mix of thyme, sumac and olive oil) with a scattering of choppedcucumber, Greek olives and tomatoes.

Every batch of Sohha yogurt is made with only three ingredients: hormone-free milk from Hudson Valley Fresh, culture and sea salt. The brand was “founded on the belief that yogurt could really be farm-to-container and made with no added sugar, preservatives, or gelatins,” says John.

As warmer weather rolls in, Sohha will shift all of their toppings towards local options. Look for herbs, greens and tomatoes from urban farms, such as Brooklyn Grange and Gotham Greens, for afternoon snacking perfection.

CHECK OUT: Sohaa Yogurt Chelsea Market Arcade, 75 Ninth Ave

Sea to Haven: Slow U Seafood Supper


What: Slow U: Sustainable Seafood taste and talk

When: Tuesday, October 16, 6:00 to 8:00pm

Where: Haven’s Kitchen, 109 17th Street, Manhattan

How Much: $35 for Slow Food Members, $45 for Non-members

In a sea of guilty pleasures, sashimi is many a city dweller’s purest craving. But the good stuff doesn’t always come cheap, and the cheap stuff doesn’t always come sustainable (we have our doubts about you, East Village all-you-can-inhale party palaces).

This Tuesday, you can fill your belly with fish and keep your conscience clear with Slow U: Sustainable Seafood. This installment of Slow Food NYC’s talking and tasting education series brings a boatload of sustainable sashimi and other seafood to Haven’s Kitchen, a recreational cooking school, specialty shop and event space. Continue reading

NYC Honey Week: Something to Buzz About


What: New York City Honey Week

When: Through September 15.
Honey Day at the High Line
: September 12, 2:00pm to 6:00pm
NYC Honey Festival: September 15, 10:00am-sundown, dinner from 7:00 to 10:00pm.

Where: Honey Day at the High Line: from West 14th-West 22nd Street
Honey Fest at Rockaway Beach: 96th Street concessions stand

How Much: Free admission to events, with food, drinks and honey available for purchase. $20 for festival dinner.

The final days of summer can be bittersweet. Why not celebrate the slow decline in humidity and influx of crisp apples with a week of local, raw, unfiltered honey and one last day at the beach?

The very first NYC Honey Week brings seven sticky-sweet days of honey menus, beverages and special events across all five boroughs. Here are two of the events we’re looking forward to: Continue reading

Clean Plates, Cool Cravings: Dessert Pop Up With an Entrepreneurial Twist


Close out summer with a delicious exploration of New York City’s most innovative dessert companies curated by Clean Plates and Openhouse Gallery with Yumspring. Cool Cravings & Hot Startups features homemade ice cream, brewed ice pops, soft serve with mounds of fruit and more! All made with fresh, local and small-batch ingredients. Get tickets here and enjoy. Continue reading

1 Island + 80 Pigs = The Return of Pig Island


What: Pig Island III

When: September 1, 11:30 to 4:30pm

Where: Colonel’s Row, Governor’s Island

How Much: $85 plus fees. Free admission for kids 12 and under, accompanied by a ticketed parent. Free ferry to Governor’s Island.

How about a quick island getaway this Labor Day weekend? Not just any island, but Pig Island: This Saturday it will be teeming with ethically-raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free pigs in every (edible) form imaginable — with the promise that not one bit will be wasted. The event also offers a tent with food to keep vegetarian friends happy, plus plenty of craft beer, wine and cider. If that’s not enough to make you jump, the live bluegrass, blues and the Chef’s Band should get you dancing.

In between butchering demos and dancing, attendees can nosh on the creations of local chefs, many of whom helm Clean Plates-approved restaurants like: Anthony Sasso of Casa Mono, George Weld and Evan Hanczor of Egg and Parish Hall, Jacques Gautier of Palo Santo and Fort Reno, Danny Mena of Hecho en Dumbo and Karma Projects founder Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43.

The day is presented by socially conscious events producers Food Karma Projects, and raises funds for Food Systems Network NYC and City Harvest. The meat will come from ethically raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free pigs, and no scrap will go to waste. Last year’s menu featured pig’s head tacos, linguica with liver mousse and hickory-smoked whole pig. This year’s New York hogs will come from two farms: Raven & Boar Farm in East Chatham, and Autumn’s Harvest Farm in Romulus. The New Jersey farms include: Fossil Farms, Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse in Milford — farmer Jonathan White will cook his own pig — and Møsefund Farm in Branchville will provide the delectable Hungarian breed of Mangalitsa pigs.

We hear Sixpoint is pouring exclusive custom beers for occasion, and there’s only one way to find out exactly what that means. Yes, your Labor Day planning just got a lot easier.

Image courtesy of Pig Island.