As it turns out, eating your way through a city is really hard.
I know! It sounds crazy. But really it’s true.
Because unless you’re out to gorge yourself (you’re not, even if you joke that you are) you want to feel hungry and excited for new flavors when you sit down to the table. Because sometimes you’re overwhelmed by choice. And even if you have a set plan – an amazing pizzeria, or delicious ramen, or a really amazing donut shop – you might not feel like eating those things when it’s time to check them off. And, in a city like New York City, where there’s so much choice it’s hard to choose, and once you’ve kicked open one new door, or tasted one new bite, there are literally hundreds more to try. So you make no progress. You never get anywhere…only more hungry.
I’ve been in New York City all weekend enjoying the CherryBombe Magazine Jubilee Conference. CherryBombe is an absolutely awesome indie magazine all about women in food and the conference draws women from across the world for a couple of days of eating, talking about food, and all the parts of our lives that food and preparing it together touches. I’ve been looking forward to coming to the conference for years and it absolutely lived up to my expectations; and I don’t just mean the things we ate. In our time, we chatted about social justice, entrepreneurship, empowerment, history, community, creativity, and growth in the culinary industry and the world of food. My mind is buzzing with ideas and inspirations, digesting quotes and empowering tidbits from these women. I don’t know quite what to do with it all. But I do know this – it’s a really exciting time to be a woman in food, with an idea about making change and doing good through the things we eat and the way we prepare meals for those we care about most. And frankly, even though I’ve spent all weekend planning things to eat and where to go, I’m hungry. To get to work, and to eat.
So in the time when we weren’t talking about food, I was hunting down new flavors. I (perhaps surprisingly) really enjoy traveling and exploring alone and it’s been a while since I was in a city with the time to do just that. I make little lists and plan my days bopping between special shops, restaurants or things I want to eat. I love to sit down to meals alone – with a book or not- and watch the kitchen work and just take my time to enjoy or sit, or frankly, be served. I go without a schedule if I can help it, poking into new shops that inspire me as I go, taking pictures. Eating through a city, both aimlessly and intentionally, is my version of a retreat because it challenges me to think about what I really want, to answer my inner urges, to have little dinner conversations with myself and to do and enjoy whatever the f*ck I please. It’s fabulous. And it brings me back to a balanced state of being – with my work, with myself, and with food.
On this trip, the dinner conversations that I had with myself reminded me that I haven’t taken much time to process this new chapter of my life. The one where I’m an entrepreneur doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing; inspiring people to be live their best lives through food. Those conversations also reminded me that I just hit the ground running and haven’t stopped and haven’t taken the time to process the journey, to take charge of my personal well-being, and that I was started to lose touch with what it means to cook and write and be joyful about the process of all that for myself as well as for others. My little soul needed a little soothing and so it’s not surprising that I sought out some great comforts in the Big Apple. I look forward to sharing those spots here soon (part of the promise to self!) But for now, I want to share the first thing I’m going to eat when I get home: this simple smoothie breakfast bowl. Because as it turns out, at the end of the day — when the exploring and talking to myself is done — I love being home in my own kitchen where I know that I have the power in my hands to make something that will soothe, inspire, and rejuvinate me.
I started playing with this recipe for a VeloNews Instagram takeover last week, when I was asked to see how many ways I could use tart cherries., but it’s been on my mind since. I crave the light but satisfying, bright, textural, slightly sweet and fresh flavors in this bowl (especially after eating the poached eggs, avocado toasts, chocolate croissants and pretzels of my LIFE on this trip.) That food is for comforting conversations with myself, and this food is what gets me back to the good hard hustle.
This bowl is ridiculously easy, and even on a weekday morning. Just blend the fruit up with the milk of your choice and top with whatever you have in your pantry. This – of course – means you’ve got to have a well-stocked pantry (I’ll get to that soon too because I have some fun new ingredients to add from my trip!) but I like anything crunchy, with flavor and texture. The more ingredients I can add here, the better I feel because all of them add nutrients that are important for skin, digestion and just general well-being. (Very helpful if you know you’ve been depriving yourself of sleep, *maybe* drinking too much coffee, and *maybe* having a couple of cocktails each night because its New York and fuck-it-you’re-on-vacation, and bourbon is relaxing and that’s good for your muscles, right?!)
This recipe is not at all dissimilar to the acai bowls that pop up and become popular in strip malls all over, only you don’t need any fancy or exotic ingredients here nor do you need to drive to a strip mall to have a bowl – just use what’s in your pantry and your freezer. (And, hopefully, this bowl inspires you to get a few new pantry ingredients that make it really shine!) I had a version of it this morning at Dimes in NYC with carob and banana, and have seen other lovely iterations around so give the recipe below a shot, and then — really and truly — make it your own. I think of it as a cleansing power-bowl that makes you lean, mean and ready to do….whatever it is I need to get out there and be the fucking boss (even if that means putting your big-adult-look-ma-I’m-caring-for-myself pants on. : )
A SIMPLE SMOOTHIE BREAKFAST BOWL
- 1 cup your favorite frozen berries or cherries
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup coconut milk, almond milk or hemp milk
- maple syrup or honey to taste
- top with: yogurt or more milk of your choice
- fresh fruit such as pineapple wedges, mandarin segments or bananas
- good crunchy stuff: your favorite granola, toasted coconut, toasted almonds, pepitas, cacao nibs, hemp seeds and bee pollen
Combine the frozen berries, chia seeds and nut milk in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Divide the smoothie mixture amongst two bowls.
Top with yogurt, fruits, nuts, seeds, granola, toasted coconut -- really anything to add texture and flavor to your bowl.
Peek into your pantry and get creative!