Eating Right, Made Easy: Skinny Buddha offers chef-designed, nutrition-packed meals to grab and go

skinny buddha

Elyce Jacobson and Shaka Taffawa

Finding a place to eat that is completely vegan, organic and gluten-free in Westchester is an unexpected delight. And that’s exactly what Skinny Buddha is—times two.

Elyce Jacobson and Shaka Taffawa, co-owners of Skinny Buddha Organic Café in Scarsdale and Skinny Buddha Organic Kitchen in Mount Kisco, say they created the business to give more people access to flavorful, nourishing food made from the best ingredients. Both locations offer a broad variety of fresh, healthy items, from smoothies and açaí bowls to hot and cold beverages, soups, salads, wraps, entrees and baked goods.

“Our most popular items are our açaí bowls, our hummus wrap and our kale salad,” Jacobson says. “Right now, though, our vegan chili and soup of the day have been a hit, due to the colder weather.”

While many restaurants are shaving calories off their menu items, Skinny Buddha is about creating delicious meals that pack a nutritional punch. Jacobson, a vegan and certified holistic health counselor trained in Ayurvedic nutrition, graduated from Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School and received further training at the Natural Gourmet Cooking School.

Taffawa is a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist.

With Skinny Buddha, Jacobson and Taffawa have made it easy to eat well. Both locations are cozy, with limited seating, so they specialize in quick service, whether through made-to-order, pre-ordered or prepackaged meals.

“Customers can pop in and order off the menu, grab pre-packaged items from our fridges or choose from a large selection of baked goods,” Jacobson says. “They also have the option of pre-ordering on our app. They can place their orders days in advance or for pick up within a 10-to-30-minute window.”

The made-to-order menu includes items like smoothies, açaí bowls, burgers, avocado toast and bagels with vegan cream cheese. Soups of the day are also available.

Customers with specific health goals rely on Skinny Buddha’s soup cleanse and custom-prepared meals, as well as its smoothie-based Skinny Fast Plan.

“Our soup cleanse is Ayurvedic by design,” Jacobson says. “It offers six 16-ounce mason jars of soup per day. All of them are vegetable based. Some are puréed and creamy in texture, while some have chunks of vegetables to satisfy the chew factor.”

baked

Assorted organic, vegan, gluten-free
baked goods at Skinny Buddha

Skinny Buddha will prepare one to three custom meals a day for clients, working within a specific calorie range and making sure the meals are macro and micro nutrient balanced. With the Skinny Fast Plan, customers can choose two smoothies per day from the five signature smoothies on the menu, and they also get a snack. “They provide their own dinner or pick something up from us,” Jacobson says.

Skinny Buddha also produces vegan, organic meals for corporate events and business meetings and caters “smoothie bars” for private parties.

Whatever the food, the guarantee is that it’s nutritious and all natural.

“We work with a few different organic produce purveyors,” Jacobson says. “If we can’t get it organic, we won’t buy it.”

Right now there are just two Skinny Buddha locations, although that might change if popular demand has any sway.

“Our customers are always asking us to open locations where they live,” Taffawa says. “We’ve probably been asked to open up in a hundred different towns.”

Skinny Buddha Organic Café 6 Depot Plaza, Scarsdale, NY Monday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; 914.472.9646 MySkinnyBuddha.com

Skinny Buddha Organic Kitchen 159 Lexington Ave., Mount Kisco, NY Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; 914.358.1666; MySkinnyBuddha.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Farm to Table Fundraising Dinner and Wine Tasting in Scarsdale at Greenburgh Nature Center

Farm to Table dinner at GNC

Farm to Table dinner at GNC

The Greenburgh Nature Center (GNC) hosts its second annual Farm to Table dinner and wine tasting fundraiser on Sunday, June 22, 2014, from 4 to 7 p.m. Guests will enjoy locally grown, seasonal fare from area restaurants, bakeries and wineries in GNC’s lovely and elegant natural setting.

The evening begins with appetizers and a glass of award winning local wine from the Hudson Valley region. Guests can stroll around the grounds and learn about the animals, exhibits and educational programs from GNC naturalists and interns. Afterwards, everyone gathers around long tables to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by several local restaurants and bakeries.

Participants walk around to the different stations, each featuring a different restaurant offering menu items that include ingredients harvested or sourced fresh from local area farms.

Local wines provide a special accompaniment, and guests can speak with the various local chefs and wine makers who contribute to the evening’s meal. In an effort to reinforce GNC’s mission and sustainability message, everyone is asked to bring their own dinnerware, glasses and silverware. There will be an opportunity to rinse everything off before packing up to go home.

Dinner will be served outdoors, under a tent if necessary, at tables set up on the Great Lawn. Guests are encouraged to dress comfortably and casually, wear practical shoes, and bring a light sweater or jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, if desired. The cost per person is $100 for members, $150 for non-members. Children ages 12 or older can attend at the per person rate. As seating is limited, early online sign-ups are encouraged by visiting GreenburghNatureCenter.org and clicking on Farm to Table.

GNC is a 33-acre woodland preserve with trails, a pond, gardens, a playground, and outdoor animal exhibits, including a birds of prey aviary. Its mission is to offer inspiring, hands-on environmental education experiences, foster an appreciation of nature and promote sustainable practices.

 For more information, call 914.723.3470 or visit GreenburghNatureCenter.org.