Vegan Cooking Class at Good Choice Kitchen

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Chef Sara Boan will be at Good Choice Kitchen, in Ossining, as guest teacher for the kitchen’s next vegan cooking class, which will take place 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on June 12. Boan is a professionally trained chef who works at Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS), in Saugerties, a haven for rescued farm animals and an advocacy organization for vegan living.

“We are ecstatic that Sara and the CAS are open to the idea of bringing a cooking class to us,” says Chef Laurie Gershgorn, owner of Good Choice Kitchen. “Sara’s cooking classes are very well received and attended at the sanctuary, so we hope many people will take this opportunity to join her here in Westchester.”

Under Boan’s guidance, the class will make Buffalo Cauliflower with Quick and Creamy Dressing; Greek Watermelon Salad; Zesty Lime-Pineapple Slaw; Compassionate Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce; and Blackberry Fig Crisp. All the recipes are featured in the sanctuary’s new cookbook, Compassionate Cuisine: 125 Plant-Based Recipes from Our Vegan Kitchen. There will be cookbooks available for purchase at the conclusion of class, with all proceeds supporting the sanctuary’s programming.

The vegan cooking classes at Good Choice Kitchen—which are typically scheduled on a Wednesday evening—are open to anyone age 13 and older. Preregistration is required.

Cost: $75 per class. Sign up ahead of time online, by phone or in person. Location: Good Choice Kitchen, 147 Main St., Ossining, NY. For more info, call 914.930.1591, email info@goodchoicekitchen.com or visit GoodChoiceKitchen.com.

 

 

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.”

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hudson Valley Vegfest Returns for Second Year

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Strolling the food aisle at HV Vegfest

The second annual Hudson Valley Vegfest will take place November 3 and 4, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, in the 42,000-square-foot events space at Gold’s Fitness Center in Poughkeepsie. Sponsored by the Institute for Animal Happiness, this festival celebrates the benefits of vegan living and explores the issues that drive the vegan movement, from food justice to human health concerns to protecting animals and the environment.

Last year’s Vegfest drew 2,500 attendees, and organizers say the response is an indication of growing interest in veganism and plant-based options, as more people in the Hudson Valley become aware of the beneficial aspects of making these choices.

This year’s festival will feature more than 80 vendors—both local and from around the country—representing a wide array of products and services, including various vegan foods, chefs, authors and innovators, and businesses and nonprofit organizations devoted to change. The lineup of speakers and presentations includes voices from across the spectrum of inclusive and compassion-based activism, such as Alyssa Miller (Deafinitely Vegan); Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment (Vegan Mos); Omowale Adewale (founder of Black Vegfest and GAMENYC); Carmen Ng and Evelyn Li (Ocka Treats); Robert Grillo (author and founder of Free From Harm); Scott David (Compassion Over Killing); Gretchen Primack (activist and poet); Heather Stadler (Official Fat Vegan); and Dr. Milton Mills (featured in the Netflix film What the Health).

And once again this year, Hudson Valley Vegfest will produce zero waste thanks to its partnership with local service Zero to Go. Only six bags of trash from last year’s festival went to the landfill; everything else was composted or recycled.

Among the festival sponsors are WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Radio Woodstock 100.1 WDST, MadeGood, Zero to Go, and Vegan and Animal Professionals Insurance.

Cost: $10 per ticket or $15 for a two-day pass. Children 10 and under free. Veterans $5 (cash at door only). Location: 258 Titusville Rd., Poughkeepsie, NY. For more info, visit HVVegfest.org or InstituteForAnimalHappiness.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.

 

Hayfields Market Is “A New Take on an Old Store”

hayfields-customersHayfields Market, which opened last year in North Salem, is “a new take on an old store,” says co-owner Renea Dayton. It serves breakfast and lunch every day and sells provisions and other goodies, and its menu is a blend of traditional (classic sandwiches and fresh-baked goods) and and modern (world-class Illy coffee and espresso). Or as Dayton puts it, “We have free Wi-Fi, free dog treats and free carrots for your horse.”

The owners, who live locally, get their inspiration from the many hayfields all around town, Dayton says, and their goal is to keep prices reasonable and quality high. Hayfields serves hyper-local products from several bakers and farmers in the North Salem area, as well as local foods from a partnership with Hudson Valley Harvest. It offers a variety of gluten-free and some vegan options. “The gluten-free cheese roll has become a highlight for any sandwich on the menu,” Dayton says.

Although Hayfields is typically known for its summer business, the store will be open all winter long. In preparation for the holidays, the market is taking orders for fresh, locally raised turkeys. It also stocks a variety of seasonal candles and coffee table books for holiday gifts. Show them this news brief for a complimentary coffee or espresso.

Hayfields Market is located at the corner of Bloomer Road and Route 121, at 1 Bloomer Rd., North Salem. For more info, visit HayfieldsMarket.com or call 914.669.8275

Reverie Caffe Opens at 21 Front Street in Putnam County, NY

reviereThe story behind Reverie Caffe, Patterson, NY’s, newest breakfast and lunch spot, is a familiar one—something about necessity being the mother of invention. Or as owners Megan and Francesca Denaut explain it, “We’d been waiting for a place to enjoy great conversation, good food, coffee and espresso, but sadly that didn’t exist in Patterson. So we decided to make it ourselves.”

The sisters set out to create “a place with a life-giving atmosphere in which to enjoy creative eating and authentic espresso.” The restaurant they opened in October is so much more.

Although Reverie Caffe offers a unique menu of salads, paninis and soups, patrons are also encouraged to orchestrate their own meals, Francesca says. “Any item can be tailored around your personal dietary desires, whether they be vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free. Almost everything is made in-house, so every single ingredient is known. Thanks to our world-traveled, Ritz-Carlton-trained chef, Robert Timan, we’re able to offer health-conscious snacks and meals at a great price.”

Even with that worldly influence, Reverie Caffe likes to keep it local, using coffee beans from Bear Mountain Coffee Roasters in nearby Mahopac, and herbal teas from Harney and Sons in Millerton. “Teaming up with them allows us to bring our customers a great product while supporting other businesses right in our own neighborhood,” Megan says. “Small towns thrive on local businesses, and being able to work together helps everyone.”

Reverie Caffe, 21 Front Street, Patterson, NY, also offers takeout by phone or text (845.818.0044). For more info, visit ReverieCaffe.com or Facebook.com/ReverieCaffe.

SOUP’S HOT at Local Neighborhood Eateries

Pumpkin soup on served tableby Rinku Bhattacharya

Cold, snowy days bring with them the joys of celebrating home and hearth, indulging in warm and satisfying meals, and taking time to pause over a steaming bowl of soup. When done right, a good bowl of soup will warm the body and give you the much-needed nourishment to keep you healthy through the winter. In perusing local offerings, we found enough diverse and delicious soups to keep us nourished and happy. Neighborhood eateries are right up there when it comes to providing you a good bowl of soup, and often they are the next best thing to making the soup yourself.

Here is a short list of some of our favorite soup spots.

Bread Alone: Located in Rhinebeck, this European-style café offers more than just bread. It also brings to your table a good selection of breakfast offerings, salads and comforting soups that are perfectly complemented by their assorted breads (my personal favorite being the whole-wheat sourdough). The bakery is usually a common fixture in area farmers’ markets and is committed to working with locally procured ingredients.

45 E. Market St., Rhinebeck, NY; 845.876.3108

 

Ladle of Love: Located in Mount Kisco, this farm-to-table food shop has its roots in the simple, nourishing soups that proprietress Leslie Lampert initially made for two friends who were battling breast cancer, and later for Millwood, NY, firefighters working at Ground Zero after 9/11. Her menu offers a diverse selection of handcrafted soups and stews, ranging from her signature chicken and dumplings to hearty vegetarian offerings such as the Tuscan tomato, as well as salads and paninis for the “grab and go” customer. Café of Love, an award-winning farm-to-table bistro, is located above the food shop, while the newly launched Love On The Run delivers Ladle’s food to customers all over Westchester County. In keeping with its original mission, Ladle of Love continues to support local charities and community efforts each month.

11B South Moger Ave., Mount Kisco, NY; 914.242.9661

Skinny Buddha: Also located in Mount Kisco, the Skinny Buddha offers a fresh, clean approach to food and cooking, with healthy daily menus that offer organic soups that are usually vegan and gluten-free. The rest of their menu consists of salads that have optional add-ons for meat or sustainable seafood, such as their tantric tuna salad. The emphasis here is on a wholesome approach to eating and a natural lifestyle, with a mission to help people change the way they eat.

159 Lexington Ave., Mount Kisco, NY; 914.666.9646

 

Jolo’s Kitchen: Our fourth find for good and hearty soup is in New Rochelle. This family-owned business dishes up comforting vegan food straight from the heart. Whether you are in the mood for the hot soup of the day or want to try your luck at the raw cashew and vegetable bowl, this place is the spot for a delicious, plant-based bite. Their menu encompasses small plates, soups and entrées, all prepared with fresh and sustainable ingredients.

412 North Ave., New Rochelle, NY; 914.355.2527