Joe’s Ginger Review (Chinatown)

Joe’s Ginger

The other week we went to Chinatown in search of soup dumplings.

We ended up not at Joe’s Shanghai (1+ hour wait) but instead at the sister of Joe’s Shanghai: Joe’s Ginger. I believe they are run by the same people. We went here with Bobby’s parents so this must have been in mid-October. The soup dumplings were delicious by the way. Next time we go we are going to just order a whole bunch of dumplings.

OZU Macrobiotic Restaurant Review (New York)

I promised this a while ago, and here it finally is…

Ozu (Macrobiotic) Restaurant Review

Ozu is a small Japanese restaurant on the upper west side. I found it because my friend Mel works nearby and we wanted to find a place close to her work for our weekly lunch date (we have since moved to dinner dates; we just work too far apart for lunch to pan out as planned). Ozu is macrobiotic, but not really advertised as such. Traditional Japanese food is typically macrobiotic by default. Here is another inside view (small and cozy, but nice):

We went for lunch one day back in September and I got the lunch special – a macro plate with a side salad. Possibly the best macro plate I’ve had – a close tie with Good Health’s. This macro plate was: chickpeas, seaweed, carrots, yams, kabocha, and brown rice.

The salad was fabulous too, and came with a slightly tangy dressing.

Mel got a noodly pad thai dish…

A Second Trip to Ozu!

I didn’t grab a picture of the noodly dish at the time, but I brought Bobby and another friend back just a few days later and they both got the “Thai Noodles” on my recommendation. The dish had thick rice noodles stir fried in peanut sauce, with broccoli, string beans, carrots, kale, and collards topped with raw bean sprouts and walnuts. They added salmon as well.

I am pretty sure they were very satisfied. I got this vegetarian macrobiotic (and vegan actually) fried rice. I don’t know how I finished it all, but I did.

We also split the “Carrot Pancake” appetizer, which apparently I forgot to photograph. It was a pan-fried pancake of wheat flour, cabbage, carrots, kale, ginger, kabocha squash, coconut milk and carrot dressing. Served with soy dipping sauce. Reminded me a lot of my okonomiyaki (Japanese frittata thing) – I love my okonomiyaki recipe; must make it again soon.

Macrobiotic food is just about the only type of food I can always finish without feeling guilty and/or sick. Macrobiotic eating has really really helped me overcome any and all kinds of food phobias that I used to have; I would say that macrobiotics has actually been the major factor in helping me learn to eat intuitively. (Part of macriobiotics is remembering that it’s not about the food, and that to be macrobiotic you sometimes should not be macrobiotic… if that makes sense.)

Would anyone be interested in hearing more about macrobiotics?

I have touched on it before, and I did a macrobiotic experiment a while ago (macrobiotic wrap-up posts here – scroll to bottom of page), but I’m sure there is more to discuss. Do you have any specific questions about macrobiotics? Want any macrobiotic recipes? Leave comments and let me know!

P.S. I did do Meatless Monday yesterday and I also didn’t have any added sugar (as far as I know), both for Healthy Monday.

Sisterly Love – A Sweet Night

My sister came into town last night. She has off today, so we are headed up to Providence to visit Brown (she is a senior in high school). We’re taking the Peter Pan bus (just $29.95 RT from NYC to Providence). I miss Julia! She was my maid of honor. She is also a vegetarian (going on 10 years probably – she hasn’t eaten meat since she was about 7).

I still love looking at my wedding photos. (Tarantino Photo -> Featured Events -> Maggie & Robert. If you want the password to my gallery just email me.)

Last night when she arrived it was pouring rain. We decided to have a simple dinner at the Whole Foods hot/cold bar and we followed it up with The Lite Choice. Always a favorite. When we got home we enjoyed some digestive tea (from Coco!) sweetened with NuNaturals stevia (Julia loved it – she will probably be buying it herself).

We got girly and painted our nails. I got a new Essie color: silver. I almost always paint my nails a dark shimmery brown/red so this was a big change.

There were grapes.

And we watched an episode of Taboo, a show on National Geographic about weird things in different cultures (on Netflix streaming).

And then Julia conked out. She’s been working like crazy – the (amazingly smart) girl is taking 5 AP classes, she works at an organic farm, she volunteers, she’s in clubs, and she has a very busy social life.

Do you have siblings? What do you do together?

Recipe: Maggie’s Macro Plate

Last night I got dinner with Laura, one of my oldest friends (from middle school). She was in town with her boyfriend just for the day and we managed to get together to have dinner. So glad we got a chance to reconnect. We were going to go to Souen, but I decided last minute to take them to Good Health Cafe, which is closer and a little bit less scary for non-macrobiotic people. We talked and talked, and before we knew it it was time for them to grab a taxi to catch the train back to New Jersey.

One thing that Laura mentioned during dinner was the fact that my blog is not so much a recipe blog anymore! I hadn’t realized it, but yes, it’s true – I don’t really cook as elaborately now, but I do make things. So it is time for me to share a macrobiotic re-creation that I’ve been having for lunches recently. It’s called a macro plate, and it is vegan and macrobiotic. I get it all the time when we eat out at macrobiotic restaurants.

My Macro Plate Tips (skip down for recipe):

  • This is very easy to throw together – you do not have to make everything at once; you can prep each ingredient in advance and just toss them together when you need a quick meal.
  • Roasting the squash – you don’t necessarily have to roast it, but I do. You could also steam it. For roasting I like a certain seasoning (oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds – see below), but the way you roast (or steam, etc…) the squash is completely up to you.
  • Beans – sub in any kind of beans you like. I use canned beans because it’s quick, but you could make them from scratch as well.
  • Greens – again, you can use any kind of greens. I use pre-chopped ones from Trader Joe’s because it’s very easy that way.
  • Extras – other typical macro plate ingredients are: hijiki seaweed, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and steamed carrots or daikon. Add as desired!

Maggie’s Macro Plate

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1/3 cup dry brown rice
  • 3-4 cups raw chopped greens (collards, kale, spinach, etc…)
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 2 cups uncooked winter squash (acorn, butternut, kabocha, etc… – this is acorn)
  • for roasting squash: sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame seeds (all optional except the oil)
  • ~1/4 cup of my miso-tahini dressing (click for recipe) (about 2-3 times the amount the recipe makes – just double or triple as desired)

Method

  1. Roast the squash: I first mix it with a few glugs of sesame oil, then sprinkle some soy sauce and rice vinegar over it and mix again. Top with some sesame seeds and cook at 375 for 1 hour (or at 450 for about 40 minutes). You can roast or steam the squash with whatever oil/flavorings you desire.
  2. Cook the rice: I cook 1 cup of rice at a time in my rice cooker. It comes out perfectly fluffy. Then I just scoop out about a third of it for my meal.
  3. Steam the greens: if you are lazy like me you can sprinkle them with water and microwave for a minute or so.
  4. Prep the beans: rinse and reheat as desired (I actually like mine cold/room temp so I don’t reheat).
  5. Make the dressing. It is so simple and delicious!
  6. Prep the plate: brown rice, beans, greens, squash, and any other extras (see above for idea under “tips”). Serve with dressing. I like to mix it all up and eat it together.

So that is the “macro plate” that I’m always talking about. I haven’t experimented with different dressings, but I keep meaning to. This plate is supposedly a “perfectly balanced” meal – protein, carbs, and fat, all in the right proportions.

Now here are some other macro plates that I have enjoyed…

Souen’s macro plate (also called the “balanced plate” or the “planet platter”) – kabocha, broccoli, kale, carrots, seaweed, beans, brown rice, and sometimes daikon:

Good Health’s macro plate – steamed squash, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and kale; brown rice; black beans; hijiki seaweed; and tofu:

Ozu’s macro plate (review to come; kudos to reader Maria for guessing this!) – chickpeas, brown rice, carrots, yams, kabocha, and hijiki seaweed:

I love macro plates and macrobiotic meals 🙂

What is your favorite meal? Have you ever had a macro plate? Will you make this one?

How to Maintain Good Health (Cafe) Habits

Good health is important.

For me good health includes:

It also includes frequenting Good Health Cafe. Here are some of the things that we have gotten on recent treks to the ever popular restaurant. (Thank you so much Gaby for introducing it to me! And now I have taken Coco there too. Links: Gaby’s meetup; Coco’s visit.)

When Coco visited, we went for brunch (this was this past Saturday). I got an omelette (whole eggs please) with seasonal vegetables. The vegetables included kabocha squash (!) which made my day. There were also zucchini and carrots; I cannot remember anything else though. It came with a side salad and that amazing carrot-ginger dressing. I need to recreate it; Coco did so I will use her recipe. In addition to the dressing, I also used ketchup. (My ketchup recipe here.)

Note: Technically neither eggs nor tomatoes are macrobiotic, but for me being macrobiotic means being balanced. I do consider this a macrobiotic meal because it is dairy-free and organic and I ate it mindfully.

The weekend before last, Bobby and I also went there for brunch. We are creatures of habit; we like what we like and sometimes trying new places can be disappointing. I opted for the roasted vegetable salad (again, starring my favorite ingredient: kabocha squash) with grilled tofu and again that amazing carrot-ginger dressing. They brought the dressing on the side in a bowl and I ate so much of it. I think I actually had too much because my stomach did not feel so great after that. Eating 1/2 cup+ of an oil-based dressing will do that to you! Lesson learned. I think that I actually eat more dressing when I get it on the side, which sort of defeats the purpose. What are your thoughts on this?

Bobby got the vegetarian sausage link breakfast which came with a choice of scrambled tofu or scrambled eggs – he chose tofu. It also came with roasted potatoes, grilled mushrooms and onions, and a small salad.

And here is a closeup of a dinner side salad. I forget what night this was from but I know I haven’t posted it yet. I really like their appetizer salads; they are big enough, topped with delicious shredded carrots and cabbage, and come with the ubiquitous carrot-ginger dressing.

If I ever start cooking again I would love to cook like this.

When eating out ends up costing about the same as cooking in, I tend to eat out. In New York it can be expensive to cook for yourself, and there are so many healthy restaurant options here for me. And speaking of healthy options, I will give you a teaser about a new restaurant I tried during my birthday week that I will post about soon…

It’s Japanese, macrobiotic, and on the upper west side. Any guesses? I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the name.

Quick Yoga Update

Wednesday was the last day of my 30 Days of Yoga challenge. I noticed significant improvements in my practice, my body (arms), and in my life. Going forward I will not be doing yoga every day (and I did miss a few days during the challenge) but I will make sure to go to a few classes weekly.

What do you do to maintain good health?