Plant Based Meetup Dinner on May 18

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Jeanne Schumacher

Plant Based–Westchester, a pod group for the grassroots movement inspired by the movie Plant Pure Nation, is having a Meetup dinner on May 18, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Eda’s Garden, located at 1871 Commerce Drive in Yorktown Heights. Jeanne Schumacher founded the group three years ago, to inspire people to change their health destiny by adopting a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle and reducing the toxins in their life. “We’ve done potlucks, movies, cooking demos and lectures on plant-based living,” she says. “I’m passionate about making a difference in the lives of others by teaching them practical ways to improve their health.”

Chef John from Eda’s Garden will prepare a salt-, sugar- and oil-free meal for the evening: a falafel slider, a veggie slider, a jackfruit slider and a drop cookie for $12. However, people can order whatever they want, Schumacher says. “The falafel is so good, the banana crepe is beyond amazing, and everything is organic.” Participants should bring a plant-based dessert to share (visit StarchQueens.net for recipe ideas).

Banana crepe at Eda's“After dinner, Chef John will do a cooking demo on how to make a slider,” Schumacher says. “After the cooking event, we will talk and share recipes and positive health changes that we’ve seen. It is a wonderful get-together.”

For more info, email JeanneSchumacher@gmail.com. Space is limited. To reserve a spot, call the restaurant at 914.352.6280.

 

 

 

 

Healthy MedMex Restaurant Opens in Scarsdale

tacos

Shrimp Tacos at PopoJito

A new, 30-seat restaurant in Scarscale is offering gluten-free, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with a Mexican sensibility. PopoJito, located at 47 Christie Place across from the Scarsdale train station, is the latest culinary venture of Chef Constantine Kalandranis. He also owns 8 North Broadway in Nyack and 273 Kitchen in Harrison. Like those other restaurants, PopoJito offers creative, fresh fare featuring locally-sourced proteins, seasonal vegetables and classic flavor elements like smooth tahini and bright citrus.

Healthy with a Twist
What makes PopoJito different is its Mexican-inspired dish structuring, using freshly made corn-based tacos and tortillas to encase an array of grilled, cured or roasted proteins, along with chunks of lemony vegetable salads.

Every dish on the menu is designed to be both delicious and healthy. There are no gluten-based products used in the restaurant, and the menu is paleo-friendly. They are also fully organic, incorporating locally sourced ingredients that contain no GMOs, antibiotics, refined sugar or trans fats.

The food at PopoJito’s can be enjoyed either on the go or in the good-vibes-only restaurant. For visitors who choose to dine in, the space has a casual, welcoming atmosphere that invites them to relax and linger over their food. For those diners, PopoJito’s offers a tequila bar along with wine and beer.

Melding Meals
The name PopoJito merges the Greek word for “wow” (popo) and the Spanish word for “beautiful” (jito).

“It’s delicious and practical to meld elements of Mediterranean classics with Mexican sensibility to create super-tasty, healthy and portable dishes like grilled octopus with lemony tomato and cucumber drizzled with tahini and wrapped in a freshly made warm tortilla,” Kalandranis says. “Our customers in Westchester want great-tasting food that is straightforward, satisfying and easy. We’ve designed PopoJito’s essence around convenient and sophisticated food that is commuter-friendly.”

Kalandranis trained at the Culinary Institute of America, where he learned about cooking techniques, service and professionalism. Before opening his own restaurants in Westchester, he worked at esteemed dining establishments including Gotham Bar & Grill, Brasserie Perrier, Veritas, L’impero, The Tasting Room and Anthos, which received a Michelin Star. He also cooked for President Barack Obama at the White House.

After falling in love with the Hudson Valley during college, Kalandranis returned to the area to open 8 North Broadway. In 2015, he opened 273 Kitchen as well as 251 Lex in Mount Kisco.

PopoJito is open Monday through Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Contact the restaurant at 914.713.8946. For more info or to see a menu, visit PopoJito.com.

 

 

Something for Everyone: “Clean” Food Becomes Comfort Food at Eda’s Garden

chefs

When Adil Mustafaraj opened Eda’s Garden, a new café-style restaurant in Yorktown, he refused to limit himself to a certain type of menu. He and his wife had found inspiration from many restaurants they’d visited over the years—vegan, farm-to-table, kid-friendly, organic, diet-specific—and he wanted to borrow from all of them to deliver comfort food in a casual setting.

He knew he’d found the person to bring his vision to life when Jonathan Gonzales answered his ad for executive chef. It was a Sunday afternoon, and Gonzales came in and quickly mixed up five salad dressings and then a full three-course meal for Mustafaraj and some friends.

Mustafaraj was impressed with Gonzales’s skills in the kitchen, and Gonzales was excited by Mustafaraj’s vision. The menu ideas started flowing.

They decided to make most items plant-based, so that customers who are vegan or can’t eat animal proteins can enjoy them. Any animal products used would be of the highest quality possible, such as free-range organic chicken, wild sockeye salmon, local eggs and organic whole milk.

“We want to make everyone feels welcome and taken care of,” Gonzales says.

Hence a broad variety of food and drinks, from homemade soups made fresh daily (veggie chili, “cream” of potato made with coconut milk, broccoli “cheddar” made with cashew, several bean soups); to organic smoothies (the Green Monster is made of kale, mango, dates, spirulina and almond milk); to fresh organic juices (like the Road Runner, which is pineapple, spinach, kale, pear and cayenne pepper); to hot teas (chamomile, earl grey, green, chai, hibiscus) and cold tea blends (chai master, berry burst, lean green).

Then there’s Eda’s Garden’s very own footlong: the XL Falafel Wrap. “That’s a big seller,” Mustafaraj says. “It’s homemade, gluten-free, baked chickpea falafel pieces in a 100 percent lentil wrap, with hummus.”

In keeping with its inclusive mission, the restaurant is also developing a kids’ menu. So far it has four items: Mac ’N’ Cheese, Little Dippers, Kids’ Parfait and Mediterranean Snack Pack. It even has Taco Tuesday (three tacos for $12).

While Gonzales is constantly introducing new menu items, he’s also paying particular attention to diet-specific needs, keeping everything gluten-free and keeping oil to a minimum.

“You can love what you eat and still have it be healthy,” he says. Mustafaraj nods. “Our food is delicious because we love what we do—and cook with love and care.” Food is available for eat-in or takeout, and catering and delivery are available with a minimum $30 order.

Eda’s Garden, located at 1871 Commerce St., Yorktown Heights, NY, is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more info, call the restaurant at 914.352.6280 or visit EdasGarden.com or Facebook.com/EdasGarden.

 

Sweet Grass Grill and Tomatillo Restaurant, Terrific Local Food Dining in Southern Westchester

Chef Iain Falconer at the Sweet Grass Grill

Chef Iain Falconer at the Sweet Grass Grill

Sweet Grass Grill

24 Main St. Tarrytown, NY 10591

914.631.0000; SweetGrassGrill.com

Hours: Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. – ‘til, Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – ‘til, and  brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tomatillo Restaurant

13 Cedar St. Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522  

914.478.2300; Mexchester.com

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (most nights); kitchen stays open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday

Sweet Grass Grill and Tomatillo Restaurant are located in the heart of Southern Westchester and both are owned and operated by David Starkey. I stumbled upon Sweet Grass Grill one summer afternoon when I was searching for a great farm-to-table lunch option. Chefs Ian Falconer (Sweet Grass Grill) and Starkey (Tomatillo) are both dedicated to healthy, locally sourced foods and Starkey’s commitment is to ensure that his food is not only delicious, but also socially responsible. Many of the ingredients used at both restaurants come from nearby farms, such as Stone Barn in Pocantico Hills and Ryder Farm in Brewster. My favorite dish at Sweet Grass Grill is the free-range chicken, which is covered in an array of savory toppings according to the season.

Sweet Grass Grill offers American-infused traditional comfort dishes with a healthy twist, while Tomatillo offers Mexican favorites with the same health consciousness (e.g., brown versus white rice). The menu items change seasonally according to the local foods used to create them. Sweet Grass Grill also offers Meatless Mondays, giving vegetarians a prix-fixe menu option. Their children’s menu items come with vegetables to provide a balanced meal and promote healthy habits. Many of the wines served are also local. One of their most popular Chardonnays comes from Red Tail Ridge Winery in the Finger Lakes region.

Whether he’s buying garlic from California, shrimp from the Gulf Coast or pumpkin from the farm next door, Starkey seeks to make sure that his business boosts the American economy while staying on top of food trends. His restaurants are a great option for those seeking to enjoy a healthy, local and sustainable meal that is both delicious and reasonably priced.

Natasha Bernardez is the Executive Chef of Clean Plate Culinary Inc. Her team specializes in healthy food culinary services, including personal chef and other customized offerings. To book their services visit CleanPlateCulinary.com or call 347.644.8306 for a consultation.