Paleo Christmas Menu and Christmas in NYC

Bryant Park Christmas Tree

New York City is a magical place at Christmas time. This was not the first year I have ventured in from the ‘burbs to partake of the festive atmosphere.

*Static Noises*

STOP!

Ben-time.

Mwahahahahahahaha! My mom was going to write about her paleo Christmas recipes but I have taken her computer hostage to write about MY day in NYC. I write this on an airplane, with a dying macbook pro, my mom is looking over my shoulder at the progress window as we back up the whole computer onto a hard drive. I am super tech savvy, so I helped her use it even though it is meant for Microsoft Windows machines. SO there. Ha!

Oh, you wan’t me to stay on-topic? Where do I start? Well… I’ll break our day up into small segments, (in chronological order) that have titles that sum-up the segment.

Enjoy!

Boys with Empire State Building

  • Take the train, he said. It will be fun, he said.

The first memorable part of my day was waiting for the train to arrive at the station. Because NJ transit is pretty much the worst commuter train ever, we literally had about 45 minutes in delays. Fun! :|

  • Omnamnomnomnomamnomnom-munch-munchnomnomnomnomnomnom. Nom.

Bareburger. Yum. Best burgers. Ever. Not sure if I get the bear theme, but you know, BURGERS! By the time we got there we were pretty tired out from walking for such a long time, so I was ready for some epic omnom time. The food was ready almost immediately after we ordered, which was awesome, because it usually takes longer based on past experiences. Gluten-free bun + bison patty + bacon = heaven in a burger.  I’m completely serious. It was delicious. My mouth waters at the thought of such deliciousness.

  • Hat

I got a new hat. I guess you could say that I am a “smurf.” See photo below!

  • WhoahAhhhhhhh!

We went Ice skating next, which was a nightmare at first but got better as I got the hang of skating, Nathaniel, on the other hand, never quite got it, but he had fun regardless of his skill level. We both fell over like 700 million times, and the zamboni took like 300 years, but like I said, we had fun. Afterwards we got hot chocolate which tasted SOOOOO good.


Boys at Bryant Park Rink-2

  • OOOOOH! AHHHHH!

We walked to the Rockefeller tree afterwards. It was pretty amazing but then we realized that it lined up with angelic statues, when you looked at it from a certain angle it was absolutely stunning. It was quite literally breathtaking. The amount of work that must have gone into making it look like that is crazy if you think about it. The Saks 5th avenue show ON THE SIDE of the building was pretty incredible too.

  • The ride home

Of course, not everything can be perfect. That’s why our day unfortunately ended with my worst experience I’ve ever had on a train, ever. It was a double-decker train, but it was packed. We didn’t get a seat until much later in the train ride, but that was almost immediately before we got off the train, so it didn’t really help. Whatever, the day as a whole was great, so it made up for the bad train ride.

Radio City Music Hall

Now my mom will take it from here. Bye!

Lea’s Paleo Christmas Menu Continue reading

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Paleo Spirit in Brooklyn: Botanic Garden, Fatty ‘Cue and OddFellows

Brooklyn Bridge

It’s been decided. Brooklyn is where I want to live.

Of course, I also want to live in Costa Rica, Tuscany and New Zealand. Well, then there’s Hawaii, Sardinia and Austin. Okay, so maybe I’m a little fickle when it comes to places I have visited or wish to visit. But seriously, Brooklyn does have its charms. Having lived in the New York City area for many years it is a bit of a travesty we had never visited Brooklyn. So one Saturday in August we ventured to Brooklyn to take in a few sites and enjoy some tasty (hopefully paleo-friendly food). We tackled the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and a couple of establishments serving cutting edge, high-quality eats: Fatty ‘Cue and OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The gardens were recommended by an artist friend, Graydon Parrish, who lived in Brooklyn during his early art-school days. He knows I like flowers and did not steer me wrong because the gardens are absolutely stunning.

The BBG has a lot of educational sections for kids. I love how it provides an area for city kids to learn a lot about gardening and just have plain old fun interacting with nature.

Boys playing with watercompostingNat gardening

The flowers in the garden are amazing, astounding, astonishing!

Wisdom in a flowerBotanic Garden triple sign #2Sunflowers

Butterflies and flowers #2Butterfly and flowers

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden left us spellbound with all the natural beauty from the ponds with lilies to the Shakespeare Garden, Japanese garden, Gingko Tree Alley and more.

Botanic Garden Collage #1

Asian garden double #2

Fatty ‘Cue Restaurant

After our visit to the gardens we ventured to the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn for dinner at Fatty ‘Cue. Continue reading

Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers: Paleo Appetizer Recipe

shishito peppers recipe paleo

This post and recipe for Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers is by my husband G who was inspired by a young farmer at our local CSA to turn the pepper bounty from Saturday’s pick-up into a tasty appetizer. Take it away G!

What comes to mind when you hear the word “pepper”? Other than “salt,” I mean.

For some of us, it might conjure up sensations like hot, spicy, or burning. For others, it may be colors like the vibrant red of a shiny bell pepper, the brilliant green of a jalapeño, or the fiery orange of a habanero. Still others may be reminded of a country, like Mexico, the appropriately named Chile, or even…Japan?

shishito peppers paleo appetizer

That’s right – Japan! Land of sushi, sashimi, New York Yankee’s outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, the world’s coolest electronic gadgets, Godzilla, books that are read from right-to-left, and the tasty Shishito pepper.

shishito peppers paleo appetizer

We found some Shishitos at our local CSA farm (along with all sorts of fresh and beautiful produce), and filled our weekly basket with 9-10 peppers. One of the farmers said the shishito peppers are delicious when sauteéd in olive oil and salted to taste, so that’s what we did, with minor modifications.

Paleo Spirit | Paleo Appetizer

Instead of using only olive oil, we added equal amounts of leaf lard -the highest grade of lard from the visceral – or “soft” – fat from around the kidneys and loin of the pig. It lacks any real pork or meaty flavor, making it an excellent neutral-flavored cooking fat with a high smoking point. Leaf lard is particularly prized by bakers for use in producing moist, flaky pie crusts.( We used leaf lard it in this recipe because we had it on hand. But you could use regular lard given the savory flavor of the dish.)

leaf lard

We purchased the lard a few weeks back at Red Apron Butchery during the book release party for the cookbook Beyond Bacon.

Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers

Here’s how I made this amazing paleo appetizer recipe:

To make the pan-fried shishito peppers, first, I heated some of the lard along with some olive oil (for flavor) in a cast iron skillet until hot. Next, I also added the peppers and fried them for about 10 minutes, adding in some minced garlic in the last minute, then sprinkling the finished peppers with fresh lemon juice and sea salt. The result was the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and spicy – enough to please most any palate.

Getting back to the original question, when I hear the word “pepper,” I instantly think back to memories of my Dad watching football on a Sunday afternoon with a plate of jalapeño peppers and sliced cheese. He’d eat the jalapeños whole, turn beet red, and sweat like a madman. It looked painful, but he said he enjoyed it. Funny, but he often complained of heartburn…I wonder if there was a connection?

Fried Shishito Peppers | Paleo Appetizer Recipe

Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers Recipe Continue reading

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Beyond Bacon Book Release Party

A few weeks ago, G and I attended the book release party for Beyond Bacon, the amazing cookbook by our friends Matt and Stacy from Paleo Parents. At the time, we were vacationing at G’s parents’ home in Ocean City, Maryland. After deciding to leave the boys with their grandparents, we proceeded to drive across the Chesapeake Bay (via a rather scary bridge*) to Virginia. Our destination was the Red Apron Butchery for a party celebrating the book release.

Red Apron is just about the coolest butcher shop ever, filled with delicious, pastured meat products and much more.

Beyond Bacon Red Apron

G and I enjoyed the meat-themed ambiance of the venue. Pastured pork products celebrated in abundance! Check out G eyeing me with skepticism while trying to peek at his phone. We spied a few tongue-in-cheek album cover recreations and sampled the “Original Sin” hard cider. (Don’t tell my mom. She once photoshopped out a beer I was holding in a photo because she didn’t think it was becoming. Oh Mom.)

4 pics Lea and Gav red apron

After waiting in a fairly substantial line of folks wanting to congratulate Matt and Stacy, I took my turn posing with the couple of hour. Stacy looked beautiful and glowing and Matt was quite the buff Crossfit guy. They were both justifiably proud of their creation!

Paleo Spirit and Paleo Parents Continue reading

Sunday in Southampton: Duck Confit Hash, Goat Milk Fudge and More

My husband’s boss had a party on Long Island this past weekend. You never turn down an invitation to your boss’ house…ever. And in this case his boss is awesome so we happily trekked to Long Island for the Saturday party and stayed the night with the intention of doing a little exploring the following day. The location we chose was the village of Southampton on the eastern end of Long Island. For years I have heard about “The Hamptons” and the crowds of New Yorkers who brave the traffic to spend luxurious weekends in this storied area.

The Village of Southampton

We spent a little time wandering around the downtown area drinking in the sites on that gorgeous, sunny and cool day. As you can see from this sign, the Village of Southampton has been around for a while.

In fact, the Village of Southampton was settled in 1640 and incorporated in 1894. It began with a small group of English Puritans who set sail from Lynn, Massachusetts and landed on June 12, 1640 at what is now known as Conscience Point. It is the oldest English settlement in the state of New York and is named after the British Earl of Southampton.

We passed by the Presbyterian Church building.

We said hello to a dog on the top of a car.

We happened upon a seriously cool car. A Dual Ghia.

According to Wikipedia, the Dual Ghia is a rare, short-lived, automobile make, produced in the United States between 1956 and 1958. It was a joint venture between American and Italian car makers.

Out of the 117 cars produced, 32 still existed as of 2006. The cars were mostly bought by American celebrities, such as Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, Richard Nixon and Desi Arnaz. Ronald Reagan owned one, but lost it in a high-stakes poker game with then-President Lyndon Johnson. Dean Martin can be seen driving his Dual-Ghia in the film Kiss Me, Stupid.

After gawking at the Dual Ghia – hoping to catch a glimpse of a celebrity owner – we visited a few unique stores in town including a cheese shop. It has some amazing selections and I noticed their deli offers gluten-free bread. Not paleo, but at least a step in the right direction.

village cheese shop

We investigated a fudge shop but managed to avoid indulging in the sweet treats. Such willpower!

The Fudge Company

Our willpower did not hold out long… Continue reading

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Paleo and the City: Bareburger (New York City)

When the boys are out of school in the summer we like to take a few trips into nearby New York City. We always have fun adventures. Recently, we trekked to Bareburger, a restaurant I have been interested in trying ever since hearing about it from a friend at Paleo FX in Austin. We journeyed to the heart of Midtown Manhattan to find this Paleo-friendly burger joint.

It was well worth the trip.

Benjamin was excited. He gave me his best suave look.

B at Bareburger

Bareburger’s Food

Bareburger offers organic, all natural, free-range, grass-fed meats; organic and all-natural cheeses; and organic vegetables. They partner with local artisans and sustainable farmers and emphasize old-fashioned quality.

Here’s a description of some of the ingredients they use:

Meats:
Beef: 100% organic, grass-fed, 85% lean
Bison: 100% organic, grass-fed, 91% lean
Turkey: 100% organic, free-range, 94% lean
Elk: 100% all-natural, pasture raised, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, 92% lean
Wild Boar: 100% all-natural, pasture raised, hormone-free, antibiotic-free
Ostrich: 100% all-natural, pasture raised, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, 95% lean
Lamb: 100% all-natural, pasture raised, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, 90% lean
Chicken: 100% all-natural, free-range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free
Portabella Cap: 100% organic
Veggie Burger: Made with organic grains and local vegetables
Bacons: 100% all-natural, hormone-free and nitrate free
Sausage: 100% organic

Cheeses: 100% all-natural, made from pasture raised cows, rbgh-free (growth hormone)

Vegetables and Fruits: 100% organic, pesticide, herbicide and ammonia free

Dairy and Eggs: 100% organic, made from grass-fed cows

Pretty impressive.

Gluten-Free Options at Bareburger

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Paleo in Maryland: Steamed Crabs

I’m a very crabby guy.

But when I say crabby, I don’t mean curmudgeonly or cantankerous, although I’ve occasionally been accused of both.

I mean I love to eat crabs. Steamed crabs.

Maryland steamed crabServe’em up with some ice-cold beer on a picnic table covered with old newspaper and in my humble opinion, you’ve pretty much achieved Nirvana.

But that’s because I’m from Maryland, where steamed crabs are more than food – they’re a way of life. Marylanders have been gorging themselves on steamed crabs since the first settlers paddled up the Chesapeake Bay in 1634, and even before that if you consider Native American tribes like the Nanticoke and the Powhatan.

There was a time when hardly anyone outside of the Delmarva Peninsula – that’s where Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia all collide on the eastern side of the Chesapeake – ate much crabs, but that’s changed in recent years. It’s not hard to get a decent crab cake in most American cities nowadays, but steamed crabs? That’s a different story!

So whenever Lea and I visit my Mom & Dad on Maryland’s eastern shore, we make a point to have steamed crabs. Lea, a native Texan, had never had steamed crabs before she met me, but after 15 years of marriage she can tear into them with gusto! She also likes that eating steamed crabs fits in well with her lower-carb, paleo diet.

Now…a little bit about the crabs, themselves. The ones that we eat in Maryland are called Callinectes sappidus, which means “tasty beautiful swimmer” in Latin. But that’s a mouthful for a Marylander, so we just call them “Blue crabs,” which makes sense because before they get tossed in the pot they actually are…blue.

We like to think of blue crabs as our own, but the truth is they’re found all the way from Nova Scotia down into the Gulf of Mexico and even as far south as Argentina! Good thing, too, because due to over-fishing, most of the crabs we eat are imported from Louisiana! No matter, they’re still blue crabs, and nobody does them like they’re done in Maryland…sorry, Virginia! Continue reading

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The Paleo Perspective on Babycakes NYC™

It was the last full day of school for my two boys (yes, school ends late around here) Taking advantage of the time, I trekked into New York City for a little fun on my own. One of my stops was a bakery I first visited last summer: Babycakes NYC™. Found on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Babycakes Bakery serves

“all-natural, organic and delicious alternatives free from the common allergens: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs. Rest assured, all sweeteners have been chosen responsibly and used sparingly. White sugar will never be found in our bakery, nor will we ever use toxic chemical sweeteners. Instead, most products are sweetened with agave nectar—a natural syrup from a cactus which is low on the glycemia index and often a safe alternative to most non-insulin dependant diabetics. Occasionally, unprocessed and unrefined sugar is used in certain goods, although sparingly.”

As someone with food allergies and intolerances, as well as some strong preferences, I greatly appreciate owner Erin McKenna’s vision. She set out to create a bakery that would serve, not a “vegan” cupcake, but a delicious cupcake that just happens to be vegan. I love that.

Let’s take a peek inside and learn a little more about Babycakes.

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Paleo and The City: Greensquare Tavern

Greetings, everyone! “G,” here, filling in for Lea to write a glowing review of Greensquare Tavern, a very Paleo-friendly, “farm to table” restaurant in New York City.

Lea and I really enjoy dining out – probably too much, if my wallet has anything to say about it – but her celiac disease adds an extra dimension of difficulty to finding a suitable restaurant. On more than a few occasions we’ve found great restaurants unfortunately using ingredients that make it virtually impossible to dine safely, so we have been forced to cross them off our list. Therefore, it was a genuine pleasure to come across the Greensquare Tavern.

Located at 5 West 21st Street in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, Greensquare Tavern is spacious, airy, and inviting. A picture window in the front by the bar and a large, overhead skylight flood the dining area with soft, bright light even on a gray rainy day like the day of our visit.

We arrived just before the lunch rush and were greeted by Renee Typaldos, one of the managing partners. There were still plenty of seats, but that didn’t last long. Within 10 minutes, most of the tables were full of hungry office workers and assorted cube mice looking for a healthy, delicious lunch.

Greensquare Tavern

I started off as I usually do, by checking the beer list, and was pleased to inform Lea that Estrella Damm DAURA, a gluten-free ale from Spain, was available! She clapped her hands with delight and promptly ordered one in a large, frosty glass. There aren’t many gluten-free beers, and seemingly fewer restaurants that serve them, so a nice, tasty bottle of DAURA was an unexpected treat.

Estrella Damm Daura

After delivering the gluten-free beer, our waiter returned to tell us about the daily specials. Lea and I both started off with the Chilled Beet Soup. Chilled Beet Soup Continue reading

A Grass-Fed Elevation Burger

During Spring Break week the boys and I took a little side trip to a burger joint called Elevation Burger. We had heard good things about this restaurant and decided to make the drive to a nearby city to check it out.

Before going into Elevation Burger, the boys spied some interesting characters walking down the busy street. pants on the ground
It was a serious “pants on the ground” situation.


Once we regained our composure we ventured into Elevation Burger for lunch. It turns out we were somewhat color coordinated.

Elevation Burger supposedly gets its name from the aspiration to “elevate” the burger to a higher level. When it comes to ingredient quality that certainly is the case. After hearing that Elevation Burger serves organic beef from grass-fed cows I knew we had to visit. The importance of organic, free-range, grass-fed beef is one of the first things I learned when I adopted the paleo diet.

Elevation Burger Serves Better Beef

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