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FOOD

Olio e Piú: An Italian Garden Oasis within NYC

Mable Yiu

Ask anyone who’s dined with the Fairweather team, and they’ll tell you our number one cuisine of choice is Italian. I mean sushi and salads are good, too, here and there, but basically, the more pasta, pizza and bread, the better (because don’t we walk around enough?). 

We recently dined at Olio e Piú, a charming Naples eatery located in Greenwich Village, and were we impressed. The atmosphere there is reason enough to go—you are transported into an garden-like oasis, whether you sit indoors or outdoors. As for the food, their menu, created by Chef Dominick Pepe (also the chef at Dominique Bistro) and his team, carries all of your favorite authentic Italian dishes, from Linguine all Astice Arrabbiata with lobster to a Diavola pizza with mozzarella, hot soppressata, olives and basil. Their salad options are also delicious—we opted for the Panzanella with kale, croutons, capers, chickpeas and veggies, because greens are important, too.  

Washington Square Park is just a few blocks away, so you can continue you nature-filled afternoon there after a satisfying meal. 

By Mable Yiu

Photos courtesy of Olio e Piú

A Taste of France Without the Flight: Dominique Bistro

Mable Yiu

In the intersection between Christopher and Gay Streets is nestled a bit of Paris: a little bistro with dark wood and worn leather, dimly lit with dishes served on homey patterned plates. Jazzy music plays in the background, and service is pithy yet efficient. Like the restaurant’s décor, the food at Dominique Bistro is similarly classic—simple but well-executed, well-seasoned and full-fat.

From Chef Dominick Pepe’s menu, we enjoyed escargot with parsley butter, grilled octopus over frisee salad with chickpeas and potatoes, crisp-skinned duck with cauliflower puree and flavorful corn, rich black truffle risotto, and chocolate soufflé with berries. Portions are reasonable, leaving diners’ satisfied but not overindulged.

For a taste of France without the fuss of a flight, visit Dominique Bistro in the West Village, open 7 days a week from 8 AM to 12 AM, 1 AM on weekends.

By Meena Lee

Photos courtesy of Dominique Bistro

Duet: Your New Date Night Spot

Mable Yiu

Why haven't we heard of Duet before? We don't know. But we do know that we'll be back.

While Duet may be known more for its brunch scene, we recently decided to try dinner at the Greenwich Village restaurant. With white brick walls, chandeliers, and a large space, Duet's cozy atmosphere reminds us of an intimate, yet open, French brasserie. The dinner menu offers a variety of dishes and cuisines — from Russian borscht soup to skirt steak yakitori, lobster ravioli, and miso glazed Chilean sea bass. Definite re-orders from us include the pan-seared scallops in lemon butter sauce and the fried brussels sprouts salad. Their brasserie also features a very impressive bar area, so make sure to order a Moscow mule (or two). 

Based on our experience, here's our formula for the perfect week night out: after work, hang out with friends at the nearby Washington Square Park until sunset, then enjoy a romantic and intimate date night at what could be your new go-to spot.

By Mable Yiu

Photo courtesy of Duet Restaurant

 

La Esquina: Three Restaurants in One Corner of Soho

Mable Yiu

Tacos, tacos, and more tacos.

La Esquina is literally a triple-threat restaurant. With three restaurants in one place, it's easy to choose whether you want some delicious Mexican fare to-go at the taqueria, or if you want to sit down at the next-door cafe or downstairs brasserie. Each room has a different vibe, so you could really go with friends, co-workers, or parents all day, everyday. 

What should you order? Everything is both authentic and gourmet, but we highly recommend any of the tacos they have on the cafe menu. Our favorite was the shrimp taco, but the cauliflower option was unique and loved by all, vegetarian or not. Drinks-wise, margaritas are definitely the go-to choice for dinner, but the ice-cold horchatas proved to be the perfect balance to the spicy tacos any time of the day. 

Located across the street from a little park called Petrosino Square, La Esquina is just a quick walk from the New Museum, Bloomingdale's Soho, and the ever-so-trendy Cha Cha Matcha.  

By Mable Yiu

Photos by Kim Chmura

Waking Up Without Coffee

Mable Yiu

Photo via Instagram @lexiscaduto

Photo via Instagram @lexiscaduto

According to TIME Magazine, experts say that the average adult should be sleeping between seven and nine hours per night. This may seem intimidating, simply because that much sleep can be tough to fit into a busy schedule. In the city that never sleeps, it’s not uncommon for New Yorkers to wake up for work at 6 A.M. or possibly attend parties that stretches into the wee hours of the night.

Running on so little sleep can be daunting, slow, and cumbersome. The obvious solution to avoid such a slump would be a rich cup of coffee. Coffee contains caffeine which helps temporarily lift our energy levels, allowing us to accomplish more and eliminate sleepiness.

The beverage, which can be purchased on virtually any street corner in New York, has negative side effects as well. Drinking coffee frequently, especially without food to go with it, can cause an upset stomach, heartburn, and headaches. Most coffee drinkers can attest to having the occasional jitters due to the high levels of caffeine in the drink. If coffee doesn’t cooperate with your body, you need not worry. Here are a few gentler alternatives to help you wake up in the morning without harsh side effects.

  1. Matcha (about $5 at Matchabar or Cha Cha Matcha) - If you’ve stepped into Soho this summer, chances are you’ve seen the rapidly spreading Matcha trend. The concept is simple: matcha is an aggressive twist on green tea. The flavorful beverage differs from typical green tea because the tea leaves are powdered and dissolved in water, whereas they are traditionally steeped for flavor and then discarded. Because matcha contains actual tea leaves, it is highly potent in flavor. One cup of matcha contains roughly the same amount of caffeine as coffee, however, the drink is known to provide a subtler, more relaxed feeling of energy.

  2. Starbucks Refreshers (16 oz. for $3.95) - A personal favorite on a hot summer day, Starbucks Refreshers are a light way to add a bit of caffeine to your morning. Starbucks offers the classic Very Berry Hibiscus as well as the recent addition Strawberry Acai, both priced significantly cheaper than other “trendier” options around the city. The icy drinks are fruity and lightweight, making them more palatable than other caffeinated drinks. However, they contain considerably less caffeine than a standard espresso drink. A 16 oz. Refresher contains 45-55 mg of caffeine, while a 16 oz. Starbucks cappuccino holds 150 mg of caffeine by comparison.

  3. Cucumber Water (homemade) - While not a caffeinated drink, cucumber infused water is an often underestimated but nonetheless effective beverage to take along with you on a busy day. A key to maintaining a healthy, energetic day-to-day diet is drinking lots of water -- in fact, average adults are supposed to drink two liters of water each day. Infusing cucumber into bottled or filtered tap water can stimulate the senses without overwhelming them. Cucumber water has a variety of other benefits as well; it is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and promotes healthy skin.

By Matt Bernstein

Summer’s Cool-Down Snack: Popsicles

Mable Yiu

As we turn the corner and step into August, summer still seems to be in full swing in New York. With temperatures reaching the mid to high 80’s almost everyday, cooling down without leaving the apartment or office seems almost impossible. Have no fear -- we’ve got a solution.

Popsicles are a quick, easy, and potentially healthy way to beat the heat. However, in an ice cream market saturated with unhealthy and artificial treats, how can you be sure that your frozen pop is good for you? Our solution: make your own. With homemade popsicle molds running for as low as $12 at Target, you’ll be able to cool down at any time of day with this low cost, time-efficient snack.

All you need to get started on making savory frozen creations is a popsicle mold (available for under $15 at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, or Crate and Barrel), a freezer, and any ingredients that you’d enjoy freezing into a delicious treat. For healthy, everyday options, we recommend combining solid fruits, purees, organic juices, and yogurts. Because you’re the creator of your popsicle, the consistency and degree of sweetness is entirely up to you. One easy, go-to option is to select your favorite fruits, crush them in a blender or food processor, and freeze them in the popsicle molds. This works incredibly well for strawberries, bananas, blueberries, mangos -- whatever your heart desires. The best part? All of the required prep work to make these fruity pick-me-ups can be completed in under 20 minutes.

For an incredibly light popsicle, try simply freezing your favorite juice or sparkling beverage. These treats are smooth, thin in consistency, and maintain all of the taste qualities you love in a beverage. The frozen, carry-along pop is sure to lower your body temperature and lift your mood on a hot summer day. At Fairweather, we love making popsicles with our organic Hottie Tottie juices and teas. For a fun party drink, try putting juice popsicles upside down in glasses of Prosecco for a Loopy Doopy-style cocktail.

Freezing homemade popsicles only takes a few hours, though for efficiency purposes, we recommend preparing the snack at night time so they will be frozen and ready the following day. There is no limit to how unique you can be with this chilly treat, so get creative and enjoy!

By Matt Bernstein

The Ultimate Wedding Cake

Emily Allen

Ladurée, a French pastry company, bakes up delicious and elegant cakes for posh weddings. The bakery’s history traces back to 1862, when the prominent Ladurée family set out to create a tea room for social and culinary excellence. Ladurée’s famous macaron cake features a cone-shaped pyramid comprised of their signature treats in various color schemes, which add just the right amount of charm and sweetness to stylish summer nuptials.

 By Emily Allen

Photo Courtesy of Ladurée

Grumpy Cafe, Happy Customers: Q & A with Caroline Bell, Co-founder of Cafe Grumpy

Emily Allen

Caroline Bell is the co-founder of Cafe Grumpy. We recently got the chance to ask her a few questions. 

It is known that you started Cafe Grumpy in 2005 when you were disappointed with the coffee options in NYC. What is it like seeing the booming coffee shop culture now? Can you share your experience in seeing this change, and how did you adapt?

It seems like people are more interested in where their food comes from and how it is produced now, so that is a positive. We are transparent with where we source our coffee from and roast locally in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and customers appreciate that.

Coffee has always been a big part of New Yorker's lives, and with more and more coffee shops opening up, people are becoming more familiar with specialty coffee and becoming more open-minded about trying different coffees. 

There are some challenges though – as an independently owned and operated business and it is sometimes hard to be competitive with the resources we have compared with the resources other coffee shops backed by bigger corporations have. We are extra careful with every decision we make and try to grow organically and remain committed to creating a positive environment for customers and for our staff (some staff have been with us since 2006).

What is it like working with your husband? Do you have any advice for couples thinking about starting a business together?

When we started, we were working behind the bar together seven days a week, which was challenging! We have now taken on different roles within the business. I would recommend moving into roles that suit your individual skills – you can cover more ground this way and gain different perspectives.

Starting any business with or without a partner can be an all-consuming more than full-time commitment. My main advice for anyone is to try to stay healthy – eat well and find time to exercise even if it is just for 30 minutes a day. It will make a big difference to your energy and outlook.

I remember coming to your Chelsea location because I loved the name, and then kept going back for the good coffee. What inspired the name "Cafe Grumpy?"

The name was inspired by some bad customer service we received at a (since closed) coffee shop back in 2004 – as in this place is making us so grumpy it should be called cafe grumpy! The logo was designed by my brother and was based on the shape of a coffee bean. We wanted it to be fun and approachable.

Can you share a bit about your partnership with Action Against Hunger?

We had been donating items to some of Action Against Hunger's auctions since 2008 and we decided we wanted to do something more substantial and long-term. Action Against Hunger works within many coffee producing countries so we thought the partnership made sense and would resonate with our customers. We selected Guatemalan coffee specifically because we purchase more coffee from Guatemala than from any other origin: Action Against Hunger. 

Are there any others charities that you support?

We work with charities, non-profits and organizations that support the local community and also have an impact on the broader community – that enhance the quality of life, care about the environment, support the arts and promote the welfare of individuals and animals. In 2015, we donated 25% of Cafe Grumpy's profits to charitable organizations. Some organizations we support are The Bowery Residents' Committee, Food Bank for New York City, AIDS Walk NY, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Sean Casey Animal Rescue, Bike MS.

We also focus on fostering direct relationships with our coffee growers who provide their workers with safe working conditions, food, housing, education, health initiatives and general well-being. We also look to work with producers who use sustainable agricultural practices including soil health and biodiversity. One project we are currently raising money for is the Shamba Mushroom Project in Burundi. Our coffee buyer Cheryl is in Burundi this week checking on the progress: Mushroom Project. 

By Mable Yiu

Photos courtesy of Cafe Grumpy

 

Summertime Snacking

Emily Allen

As the Summer heat increases, so does the call for refreshing and healthy snacks. Professional chefs and at-home cooks alike love to use organic, natural, and healthy ingredients, so we've compiled a list of our favorite healthy summer munchies. These snacks are simple to make -  just like their simple, natural ingredients. Additionally, these summer nibbles are perfect for keeping around the house, at a summer picnic, a rooftop party, poolside, or any other fun occasion. 

For starters, the avocado strawberry Caprese salad is a beautiful and refreshing salad packed with vitamins and nutrients. The only ingredients it requires are a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar, a cup of sliced strawberries, a cup of halved grape tomatoes, a cup of halved mini mozzarella balls, a diced avocado, and olive oil and chopped basil to taste. Bring the balsamic vinegar to a high simmer over medium heat and then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for about nine minutes, until it shrinks in size and becomes a reduction. Then, combine all the other ingredients and drizzle with the balsamic reduction and a pinch of salt to finish off the colorful salad. 

For something sweet and innovative, our favorite is key lime chia pudding. This easy recipes requires only a cup and a half of unsweetened coconut milk, half an avocado, a quarter cup of both lime juice and maple syrup, three tablespoons of coconut butter, and a pinch of sea salt, all of which are combined in a food processor. Then, add a quarter cup of chia seeds and let it sit overnight, and a healthy but fun snack will appear. This snack is especially great as a canvas for fun toppings, such as our favorites: dried berries, lime zest, and coconut whipped cream. 

For a salty fix without the carbs, we love Parmesan zucchini fries. The only ingredients are two zucchinis, peeled and cut into strips, an egg, a half cup of Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste, and parsley for decoration. Whisk the egg in one bowl and put the Parmesan in another, and one by one dip the raw zucchini into the egg and then the Parmesan. Place the faux-breaded zucchini sticks on a baking tray in a 400 degree oven for about twenty minutes, and the results are crunchy and delicious. All of the french fry taste, with none of the guilt. We like to pair the fries with a dip made of greek yogurt, sriracha, and lime juice to give them a spicy and tangy kick.

For dessert, chocolate banana bites are our go-to for a taste of decadence and freshness. These delicious morsels only call for five ingredients: a half cup of pecans, a tablespoon of melted coconut oil, and sea salt, which are combined in a bowl so as to evenly coat the pecans and baked at 325 degrees for about fifteen minutes until they are toasted. Separately, melt six ounces of dark chocolate in a double boiler and then take two sliced bananas and dip them in the liquid chocolate, followed by the pecan pieces for crunchy textural interest. Store these bites in the freezer for a refreshing, tropical solution to a summer sweet tooth. 

Four courses of deliciously nutritious snacks that won’t jeopardize bikini body season: Bon appetit!

By Emily Allen

Photo Courtesy of Blissful Basil and Two Peas & Their Pod

 

New Eats: Eastfield's

Mable Yiu

Newly-opened Eastfield’s Kitchen & Bar looks like a cross between classy diner and airy greenhouse with its diner-style booths, marble table tops, wooden décor, exposed light bulbs, and herb garden decorating the large front windows—creating a simple, bright, and elegant effect that is mirrored in Head Chef Joseph Capozzi’s food. Eastfield’s serves up fresh, homey, but elevated farm-to-table fare, like its sister restaurant, UES brunch mainstay East Pole. The seasonal menu includes lightly dressed radishes, beet gazpacho served in espresso cups, burrata over maitake and red onion-topped puff pastry, and a deconstructed take on chicken parm. All ingredients are locally sourced, and portions are generous. Eastfield’s, located in Yorkville between 78th and 79th Streets and York, is open for dinner, brunch, and drinks.

By Meena Lee

Photos courtesy of Nick Solares.

One Stop Shopping at Columbus Circle

Mable Yiu

One stop shopping has achieved new meaning at the TurnStyle underground mall. The mall, located adjacent to the Columbus Circle subway station, has everything a New Yorker needs: food, shopping, and quick access to transportation. 

The project opened this past April, and had been four years secretly in the making by the time of its grand opening. The mall, complete with 20 eateries and 17 retailers, is the first of its kind. Some of these residents are permanent shops, while others are pop-ups, ensuring variety for years to come. TurnStyle’s true innovation comes from the fact that its entire operation exists underground and is privately owned. 

The 30,000 square foot space bustles with the energy of the city, and is so alive with light and commotion that it is easy to forget it’s sub-earthly location. However, just steps away is the 59th St. - Columbus Circle stop, which contains a considerable number of subway lines, making TurnStyle all the more convenient for shoppers. 

For eating options, Turnstyle features all types of tastes and cuisines. The underground mall contains Fika, Gastronomie 491, Doughnuttery, Semson Eatery, Pressed Juicery, Blossom Du Jour, Ellary’s Greens, and Dylan’s Candy Bar, to name a few. With this extensive list of places for snacks, meals, desserts, and drinks, Turnnstyle is relevant at any time of day. 

In terms of shopping, TurnStyle features many of New York City’s hottest retailers, such as Lush, Spectre & Co., Elma Blint, Papyrus, Saskia de Vries Designs, R. Nichols, Dog & Co., and more. This diverse group of retailers adds to the unique and heterogenous nature of the space. 

TurnStyle, which was a surprise to New Yorkers, is a welcome one. With its interesting mix of shops in both food and retail and its proximity to the heart of transportation in the city, TurnStyle is the convenient solution to shopping in the city. 

By Emily Allen

Q&A with Christina Elliott, Chef at Modern Market

Mable Yiu

Chef Christina Elliott began her career at the New York Times four star restaurant, The Ryland Inn in New Jersey. She then went on to work at several highly rated establishments across the country including the Michelin three star rated L20. With such an impressive background in the culinary arts, Elliott easily transitioned to the corporate side of cuisine and began Modern Market, a weekly food delivery service. Based in New York City, Modern Market brings food lovers Michelin-quality protein, grains, vegetables, soups, and sauces. Modern Market uses a point system where users can spend up to 100 points on "a la carte" items or have their weekly menu curated by a "personal chef" who takes both tastes and dietary restrictions into consideration. This service is all about convenience, so much so that every food item has already been prepared, and all the customer has to do is use their imagination to create delicious dishes. Below, founder Christina Elliott discusses her passion for food and the uniqueness of Modern Market. 

By Kat Jones

You have had an amazing career so far working in various high-end and Michelin star ranked restaurants. During that time, what would you say was the catalyst that brought you out of the kitchen and into the business side of food?

My parents were both in finance and I think business was always in the back of my mind. My father was a six sigma black belt back in the 90s, when I started cooking. You’d be amazed at how relevant that is in a Michelin three star kitchen! I have the best of both worlds now; and at MM I don’t think of them as mutually exclusive.

Anyone who reads your website can see that this stands out from many other weekly food delivery services, but in your words, how is Modern Market unique? 

Our team. Scaling high quality fresh food is challenging – the team makes a big difference. My co-founders are incredibly focused, driven and dedicated. They are really excited about what we are doing and I think this comes through in the product and service. In terms of the product and service – I don’t think there is anything else out there that is this high quality but also convenient and customizable. We genuinely care about each of our subscribers and we have created a model where each of them can be extremely happy – no matter who they are or what their eating habits are.

Your selection looks fantastic and it's great that anyone can find something they like, but how many dietary restrictions does Modern Market take into consideration? And how often do menu items change? 

I haven’t come across a dietary restriction or preference that we can’t accommodate. That is the beauty of MM! When you subscribe you fill out a short survey about your dietary restrictions and taste preferences and from that moment on, you only get foods that you love – subscribers compare it to having a personal chef.. but it’s more affordable and less to manage. We change the menu every week – certain favorites appear regularly – but most of the menu changes every week.

How would you like the Modern Market brand to grow in the future? Do you have any plans to extend your delivery locations?

Carefully and consistently. Word of mouth has been very powerful – people have been very excited to tell their friends about MM – and we are going to ride that wave for a bit. What we offer is very personal – we are aiming for that sweet spot where we are big enough but not too big; growing, but not growing too quickly. Currently we deliver to most zip codes in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, but if you are interested in subscribing and you don’t live in these areas, we want to know where you live! Call us!

Photo courtesy of Modern Market.

Brooklyn Diamond Coffee

Mable Yiu

It was amazing to sit down with Lottie Terzi, the founder of the delicious cold brew coffee shops, Brooklyn Diamond Coffee. At the age of 21, Terzi opened her first store in Brooklyn in 2013 and she is excited to share that she just launched a new shop on 54th street right next to Soul Cycle. How did it all begin? "I just loved coffee," smiles Terzi. "But I was also very particular about my coffee and I would never settle. I'm very picky," laughs the gorgeous entrepreneur. So when she started making her own cold brew coffee at home, it quickly became a hit among friends. And word spread that she had something beyond your regular cup of joe. And that is certainly the case as it takes 18-20 hours to brew her yummy cold brew.

In the spring of 2013, she started to do door-to-door deliveries of cold brew coffee and by the summer, she was asked to open a summer pop up in South Street Seaport. The budding entrepreneur generously donated the summer’s proceeds to the victims of Hurricane Sandy and by the fall of 2013 bottled Brooklyn Diamond Cold Brew was available at local grocery stores and health food markets throughout the tri-state area. Next, Terzi decided to open her first location in Gravesend, Brooklyn. And she found that the stores are more than just coffee shops. As Terzi put it, “It has almost become a culture,” a community that is expanding with her new location in midtown as well as a popup shop during the summer at the Jersey Shore. In 2016, Terzi plans to open 2 more locations in NY as well as to expand her wholesale business of cold brew coffee.

What advice does she have for entrepreneurs? “Today you need hard work but it has to be strategic work and smart work,” reflects Terzi. “You need to constantly educate yourself. Always read. Read about CEOs and entrepreneurs. It’s very important to have role models.” And after seeing Terzi’s success, I’m sure she will become an incredible role model for others. So, if you are looking for a role model or an insanely delicious cup of cold brew, make sure to visit one of Brooklyn Diamond Coffee’s shops.

By Alexandra Fairweather

Q&A with Julie and Dan Resnick, feedfeed

Mable Yiu

Photo courtesy of @lindsaymorrisphoto

Photo courtesy of @lindsaymorrisphoto

by Christine Wong

In two short years, feedfeed, a crowd-sourced highly curated digital cooking website, developed by Julie and Dan Resnick, a husband and wife team based in Amagansett, NY, has become one of the biggest influencers in social media's global food community of home cooks, chefs, bloggers, and food organizations/suppliers. This ecosystem of food/cooking enthusiasts share thousands of images/recipes with feedfeed each day on one of the most prominent hashtags (#feedfeed) on Instagram, which after careful curation, fuels feedfeed’s publication, offering the most dynamic insight into what the world is cooking today. feedfeed’s website was developed as a comprehensive online recipe share platform offering inspiration to anyone who cooks. 

Dedicated to the notion of crowdsourcing, Dan and Julie are helped by 100 community editors, experts in their culinary fields, to curate a growing list of over 200 specialty ingredient/occasion/lifestyle feeds, ranging fromBlack Sesame to Healthy Athlete to Dinner Parties to Pie Crust Inspirationand more on their website. Complimentary to their global outreach, Julie and Dan are also strong supporters of small, local farms, and partner withGrowNYC. It was here, when they were distributing their autumn-inspired recipe cards at Union Square Greenmarket, that I got the chance to speak to them. 

Christine Wong: How did feedfeed start?

Julie Resnick: Since moving out of NYC to a small coastal farming and fishing community on Eastern Long Island, Dan and I have been cooking and eating local, seasonal food almost exclusively. We are constantly seeking inspiration for what to make with what we have on hand, and often wondered what other like-minded people with the same ingredients were making at that moment; both in our local area and around the world.  That is when we decided to try to connect with people on social media around the topic of cooking, which quickly evolved into growing a community. 

Photo courtesy of @dan_resnick

Photo courtesy of @dan_resnick

CW: What do you love most about the feedfeed community that you've created and inspire every day?

JR: From the beginning, the value of this community for us personally has been the ability to have a lens into kitchens around the world, to see what people are making with similar products, how they create unique flavors and beautiful photography, and a chance to play a role in connecting people and organizaitons from around the world. 

CW: What is unique about the feedfeed community as compared to other communities or publications?

DR: The democratic nature of the feedfeed community has alway been a major source of gratification and differentiation for us; the way people with 100 followers connect and inspire others that may have 10s of thousands and still gain an equal voice, judged only by the creativity of their recipes and photography. 

CW: What is your favorite "go to" meal to cook, or to eat, and to stay healthy particularly in the cold winter months?

JR:  Root veggies in a coconut curry!

Photo courtesy of @dan_resnick

Photo courtesy of @dan_resnick

CW: The holidays are here, how are you preparing for them? What's on your Holiday Table?

JR: As always, I turn to the feedfeed community for inspiration...when making latkes, I go to the Latkes feed and find kimchi latkes, or when thinking of holiday gifts I find myself gravitating towards making a Gingerbread Granola on our DIY Holiday feed. For Christmas Cookies, I will be making the Rose Pistachio Shortbread Cookies. 

CW: In the spirit of the holiday season, what are you giving? 

JR:  We have been excited to put together a great gift package for our tireless supporters and community editors.  

DR: From a philanthropic standpoint, we have made several small donations to our local farms, which has always been a part of our mission, in addition to the supportive promotional and community building work we do for the Grow NYC Greenmarkets in New York City. 

 

Christine Wong is a proud member of the feedfeed community and editor of the Healthy Kids and Fermented Food feeds. She empowers people to take charge of their well-being with plant-based clean eating through coaching, detoxes, cooking workshops, and cookbooks and can be found at www.yommme.com and @conscious_cooking on Instagram.

Q&A with Chloe Coscarelli, by CHLOE

Mable Yiu

A lifelong vegetarian and vegan for ten years, Chef Chloe Coscarelli is an award-winning chef and best-selling cookbook author. The first-ever vegan chef to win Food Network's hit show Cupcake Wars, she demonstrated how eating vegan doesn't mean giving up your favorite treats and flavors. Having committed herself to bringing delicious, meat-free dishes to a mainstream audience, Chef Chloe recently made a splash in NYC's dining scene with her popular fast-casual spot, by CHLOE.

by Minnie Kim

Minnie Kim: You were the first vegan chef to win a culinary competition on national television - what first got you into cooking?

Chloe Coscarelli: I grew up cooking with my mom, and once I went vegan, we had so much fun veganizing all of our family recipes.  It showed me that food can still be flavorful, satisfying and delicious. I took that passion to the Natural Gourmet Institute and it just grew from there! 

MK: What made you transition from being a vegetarian to being vegan?

CC: I was a lifelong vegetarian, once I tried the vegan lifestyle, I realized there were so many options to make vegan cooking just as delicious, but without all of the cheese and dairy. My family was beyond supportive in my decision and made the transition that much easier.

MK: Most memorable moment from "Cupcake Wars"?

CC: Aside from winning, it would have to be when I left my audition and realized that I had forgotten to tell the casting directors that my cupcakes were vegan.  When they followed up I filled them in and they said “we don’t care, they are delicious!” That as a really exciting moment where I realized that my sweets had a real shot. 

MK: By CHLOE has been a huge hit since its recent opening - any plans for expansion?

CC: It’s been incredible to see everyone’s excitement and support for the restaurant – we'll ever not be excited to see the lines out the door. We currently have two additional New York City locations planned for 2016 – in Flatiron and Soho. We are excited to see the brand grow!

MK: Will you be adding any holiday specials at by CHLOE?

CC: We will be! We just wrapped our Thanksgiving special but still have our pumpkin latte and pumpkin cupcakes with maple frosting through the end of December.  We also recently launched a No-Egg Nog for December that you can enjoy as is or spiked for an extra treat!

MK: What is your go-to dish to bring to a holiday pot luck?

CC: The Stuffed Shells from my latest cookbook, Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, is a solid holiday stand by. Whenever I’m hosting a dinner party at home, it’s usually the first recipe I decide on for the menu.  It’s a crowd pleaser, super easy to make ahead of time, and tastes great as leftovers.

MK: Baking or cooking?

CC: That’s like asking someone who their favorite child is! I love them both! The science behind baking is really exciting – you can get into the zone in that kitchen and perfect the details, while cooking I feel like you can toss in a little kale, a sprinkle of paprika, and just watch a dish meld together as you go along.

MK: Do you have any festive holiday traditions?

CC: Vegan cinnamon rolls all season long. My mom and I make them and are popping them out of the oven for breakfast lunch and dinner during the holidays. Nothing like the smell of cinnamon and yeast filing your home!

MK: Favorite holiday cocktail?

CC: I say keep it simple – I love a glass of rose' champagne, something a little on the sweeter side but still dry enough to enjoy alongside appetizers.

MK: Dream client to cook for?

CC: Kate Middleton! I'd make her vegan sticky toffee pudding.

MK: What are you giving this holiday season?

CC: Fresh baked vegan chocolate chip cookies! The perfect gift on a budget that everyone loves. I just pick out some cute tins and gift tags at the Container Store.

 

Minnie Kim works as a social media marketing coordinator in NYC. An avid foodie, you will often find her shamelessly standing on chairs to photograph for her food Instagram @eatingwithminnie.

Photos courtesy of by CHLOE.

Victory Club's Cookie Swap

Mable Yiu

On Saturday (12/12), Fairweather got a head start on our holiday celebrations at a cookie swap, hosted by Stephanie Nass, a dear friend and Founder of Victory Club.  (She was recently featured in our November CAVU edition, and will be sharing a holiday cookie recipe in our December Holiday issue coming out at the end of this week!) The event was hosted at Geary Contemporary, an art gallery currently featuring Michael Meehan’s latest series, “Ice Bather.” We enjoyed seeing familiar faces, and also had the opportunity to meet many new, wonderful friends.  

There was a plethora of delicious cookies, which made for a sweet afternoon. Our team brought homemade chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies, and we enjoyed sampling everyone else’s treats. Every type of cookie was represented, from homemade chocolate-dipped shortbread, to peppermint crusted sugar cookies from Neuman's Kitchen. Other photogenic cookies were provided by Studmuffin, Brookie's Cookies, and Amy's Bread. There were even emoji-inspired cookies from Eleni’s New York! As we savored our cookies, we sipped on champagne, provided by G.H. Mumm, which paired perfectly with Victory Club’s savory comté cookies.

After a great afternoon, we left feeling very satisfied, and now have a lot of new recipes to try this holiday season! 

Stay tuned for Fairweather's Holiday Issue, coming later this week, for a killer gift guide and interviews with some amazing people.

Q&A with Max and Graham Fortgang, Founders of MatchaBar

Mable Yiu

Photo courtesy of Issy Croke

Photo courtesy of Issy Croke

Taste it to believe it: the original MatchaBar brothers make it best.

By Mable Yiu

Why did you start MatchaBar? 

Where do I begin? It began with an obsession – followed by a vision. I think any great product, really any great brand is created out of drive to share something with the world. For my brother Max & I, we wanted to bring matcha to the people. Plain and simple. We whole heartedly fell in love with the way matcha made us feel. I was amazed at how hard it was to find, and how few people even knew of matcha. In fact, there was so much education and awareness in the category to achieve, we knew right away a physical location was essential. We had to create a real community and hub for matcha lovers in New York! That community today is known as our MatchaFam.

What are your thoughts on the matcha trend?  How did that all begin recently? 

I like to think any product that becomes a household name needs to go through a "trendy" phase. Let's look at similar examples... salad, coconut water, yoga, fresh juice, even specialty espresso shops. When Max & I created the concept to launch MatchaBar, hardly anyone knew what it was. I remember Max and I joking that there was a good chance 50% of our sales would come from espresso in the first year. That being said, we had faith in the product, and our ability to educate and foster a real community. We have seen first hand the excitement behind matcha as we have brought pop-up stores to College Campuses, Music Festivals, cities as far as LA and Tokyo, corporate offices from the New York Post to Forbes Magazine. We do anything we can to share our matcha with the world. Why? Because we believe matcha is on its way to become a staple in the caffeinated beverage world, what I call your "morning cup." Now the key to success lies in who is promoting the product, how it is positioned, and the baseline quality behind it. Matcha is a tricky product. NOT ALL MATCHA IS CREATED EQUAL. The crap the Starbucks, The Bean, etc is serving... Even half the trendy coffee shops in New York who are launching lines of matcha - the preparation is inconsistent and generally lacking in taste, but what really upsets me, is that they are using at most, 1 gram of matcha per cup.... essentially shorting the customer half of what we call "the good stuff" (caffeine, L-theanine, and antioxidants). At MatchaBar we use a 2 gram serving, something that may make the margins less pretty, but delivers the full functional benefit of matcha. Imagine a cafe serving an espresso with a half shot of an espresso - good luck getting through your day with that.

Now, how do we create a unified movement behind matcha when there is such a lack of quality control on the market? It's a tough challenge that we plan on tackling! 

What have your experiences in Japan been like? How did you find the family farm to partner with? 

Japan is a wonderful country. It all started with cold calls to farms we could find online with a translator on the line. Some were more receptive than others. In the end, I had to travel to Japan myself, meet with these farmers, and find a partner that was right for us. Our current farming partners are extremely supportive of our vision as a company. What really surprised us was the reaction from our pop-up store in Tokyo! To this day, we see a great chunk of business coming from those traveling to New York from Japan!

How did the pop-up in Japan come about? What was that like? 

The pop-up in Japan came about from a fantasy. We see ourselves as the authority of matcha in New York - but how can we think of ourselves so highly when the home of matcha itself hasn't even heard of us. There is only one thing to do, get on a damn plane and open up in Tokyo - even if it is for 3 days!

I remember Max, my partner Eli, and I sitting in Tokyo the night before the pop-up wondering if anyone would even show up. To see 2-3 hour lines the following day was one of the most humbling and exciting experiences of our lives. 

We were so inspired by this event that we will not only return this spring, but also have our eyes on expanding our cafes out there in the next few years!

What are your plans for the near and distant future?

We just opened a cafe in Chelsea. 256 W 15th, come by! 

Our biggest venture yet will launch this winter. We are launching a bottled product! We have taken three signature flavors from our cafe, and created a 10oz glass bottled product we will distribute throughout New York, and soon after, the rest of the United States. Each bottle will contain a full 2 gram serving of MatchaBar matcha. We are beyond excited to share this project with our MatchaFam - and look forward with being able to share our matcha with so many passionate matcha lovers who cannot make it to our stores in New York! 

Q&A with Alireza Niroomand, Sant Ambroeus Soho

Mable Yiu

Photo courtesy of Kat Irlin

Photo courtesy of Kat Irlin

By Mable Yiu

Alireza Niroomand, stylistic eye behind Sant Ambroeus Soho, shares fashion and design insights.

Born in Iran, raised in Paris, and having made New York City his home 12 years ago, Alireza Niroomand is the charismatic manager behind the fashion establishment. He's also the reason why the restaurant has attracted waves of celebrities and developed a stylish following. Niroomand is not only an expert in the hospitality industry, but has also made fashion part of his lifestyle by working with brands such as Kate Spade, where he was photographed for her fall campaign. We asked him about his experience working with such brands.

It's been a true honor! And very inspiring. The best part is that I got to meet most of the artists I ever dreamed to meet...The whole experience has been rather surreal. I am very grateful.

The famous plate wall at Sant Ambroeus Soho. Photo courtesy of Sant Ambroeus.

The famous plate wall at Sant Ambroeus Soho. Photo courtesy of Sant Ambroeus.

What are your plans for the future?

The plan for the future is no plan, which I believe is the best plan. I leave room for spontaneity, which has been very effective thus far!

Q&A with Stephanie Nass, Founder of Victory Club

Mable Yiu

Photo courtesy of Katie Kosaya, The International Culinary Cente

Photo courtesy of Katie Kosaya, The International Culinary Cente

By Mable Yiu

Chef, artist, and entrepreneur Stephanie Nass finds new ways to tie together culinary and artistic expression...and not just with beautiful photos. 

Please tell us about Victory Club and how it all came about. 

Victory Club is the supper club I founded to bring together friends of friends over the culinary and visual arts. Events take place 2-3 times per month in artists’ studios, private collections, galleries, and museums. The art in each space inspires the menus. Members bring their friends so the group at each event is comprised of friends of friends.

Last winter, I started culinary school at ICC and hosting people in my apartment for dinner. Everyone invited was asked to bring a guest, and the art on my walls— my own paintings but also treasured pieces from artist friends—sparked our conversations. These informal homecooked meals helped me connect the art and food lovers of New York City, in person andon Instagram, and ultimately led to the membership organization that Victory Club is...

How did you get into the food industry and what are you doing that's unique in the food world?

Growing up, my brother Teddy gave me the nickname “Chefanie” because I spent every free second in the kitchen. After college, I worked in Silicon Valley, and Victory Club is exactly what I wished existed when I was doing that job: a way for food, art, and friendship to converge in my busy schedule.

I am passionate about food & art and constantly look for ways to bring these things together. I look for modern plating techniques to apply to familiar dishes and consider food an important artistic medium for self-expression.

What are your plans for the future?

I hope Victory Club will continue to inspire more people in interesting venues for many years in the future!! I also hope the club will find partners that share a passion for reaching food and art lovers. I am personally working on a cookbook, as well as designing and producing embroidered napkins with aspirations to do more tableware.

Dream client to cook for/work with?

Ralph Lauren!!