Lunching at The Little Beet, Manhattan

So the daily lunch out might not be the best idea in terms of saving money, especially when you live in New York City, buuuuut once in awhile is a-okay.  Especially if those jaunts are to a funky little vegan and vegetarian friendly joint called The Little Beet.  I had agreed to meet up with a friend for lunch one of these days and since she has some different dietary restrictions, The Little Beet was the spot to go.  I don’t really consider myself vegetarian or vegan but do end up eating along those trends every now and then.  Plus I’m on the hunt to check out all the spots in NYC.  Slowly but surely I’ll make my way around.

The Little Beet
135 W 50th St (btwn 6th/7th)
M-F: 7am-9pm
Sat/Sun: 12pm-7pm

IMG_3854^^ When one eats with other bloggers, they have no problem taking endless amounts of pictures. Caught red-handed 😉  I did love the rustic-chic ambiance they had going on – vines on the walls, wooden tables, and iron chairs.  For a hot second, I forgot that I was in the concrete jungle.

IMG_3849^^ A nice little selection of juices if you choose to drink your meal or accompany the delectable fare.  If my phone actually did the juices justice, you would see all the colors of the rainbow.  So pretty so pretty.

IMG_3855^^ You have two options to order.  One is “to-go” which can be done online or on the mobile app and the other option is obviously in-store.  (The man above is probably thinking, “what weirdo is taking pictures of a restaurant like this?” #diditfortheblog)

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All the options are pretty clear and listed on menus as you wait in line.  The set-up of options reminded me of L.A.’s Lemonade, but with a lot fewer choices.

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IMG_3858 ^^ I was not creative or experimental at all and went for my favorite trio >> salmon w/ kale and some sort of sweet potato.  This time the sweet potato came in the form of a root vegetable mash, which was not as sweet or salty as I had anticipated, but was a nice combo for the kale and salmon.  They played nicely together.

Annnnnnd I couldn’t seem to leave without purchasing a cookie.  I had been trying a no sugar thing that lasted all of three days.  The entire meal had cost me close to $17 or so dollars (thank you New York and thank you fresh foods), so that’s obviously not feasible on the daily but let me leave you with this – it was “national cookie day”.  I’m a sucker for holidays.  So there.

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“Today me will live in the moment, unless it’s unpleasent in which case me will eat a cookie” – Cookie Monster

Lunch at Little Flower Candy Co.

Well my friends, I completely forgot to share this adorable cafe with you when I was home for the holidays.  So, while I may not be in California, there is always room for a good restaurant review.  Not to mention some sunshiney pictures as we east coasters go through the first few snow storms of the season.

 (source)

Little Flower Candy Co
1422 West Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91105

~ Cafe ~ Menu ~ About ~ Shop ~

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Little Flower Candy Co is a small little cafe and candy kitchen tucked on the side of the 134 freeway.  Filled with fresh food and delightful cups of coffee, it’s a perfect place to grab any meal of the day, catch up with friends, or soak up the Southern California sun.

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Of course it’s also known for it’s adorable and oh so sweet candy.  Just think, how perfect would these be for hostess gifts to table settings?  Or maybe a treat for yourself.

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White Bean & Prosciutto Salad
$11.50 arugula, baked prosciutto, white beans, avocado, parmesan, lemon thyme vinaigrette.

IMG_6353 Quiche + Salad ($8.50)

IMG_6354Salmon Bowl
$15.00 brown rice, shredded carrots & daikon radish, cucumber relish, micro greens, and ponzu dressing

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“All you need is love…and caramels”

Marvelous Manhattan – September Edition

While my family is suffering back in California with temperatures over 100F, we’ve been lucky with some cooler temperatures.  Even Sunday morning brought some fall-like weather, catching us off-guard with a chill in the air.  Sure, the weather did warm up in the afternoon, but it was nice to catch a glimpse of what’s to come in the next few months.

Not too much has been on the books the past few weeks, some brunching, hiking, dodgeball, and oh yeah that thing called work that helps me pay the bills.  But since work isn’t the most exciting thing to discuss here, let’s move onto some of my favorites of late.

IMG_6034Brunching or lunching at the Waldorf Astoria.  Here we have THE Waldorf Salad (fresh apples, caramelized walnuts, grapes, celeriac) for $16.  Quite delicious for the experience.

The Waldorf Astoria
301 Park Ave, New York, NY 10022

IMG_6060 Finding your new scent for 30% off.  Yes please!  I had spotted this time after time at Anthropologie but never had the courage to drop $68 on a perfume that may or may not work.  Well, with a such a discount, it was time to make a purchase.

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 What do you know, there’s now a Birchbox store in SOHO!  This is your stop for all those beautiful body, hair, and nail products.  I swear, it’s like the grown-up version of a candy store with rows and rows of goodies.

Birchbox
433 W Broadway – New York, NY 10012
(W Broadway + Prince St.)

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I’ve been lucky enough to receive a few Birchboxes and there are a few products I absolutely adore.  There’s one sunscreen that you put on underneath or instead of foundation and it is possibly the smoothest feeling lotion I have ever encountered. The entire store is a goldmine of beauty products, perfumes, and much much more.  But don’t take my word for it…check it out!

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Shopping and walking around town will help you work up an appetite.  Inevitably that means searching for something on Yelp because I still don’t know my way about restaurants in SOHO.  Well, finding this spot off of Yelp was an absolute win.

Burger & Barrel
25 West Houston, New York, NY 10012
*Highly recommend the Bash Burger (award winning)

As many note, “Notable burgers, upscale pub eats & wine on tap in a high-energy setting with a trendy crowd”  So, with this delicious looking picture, I leave you for the day.

For more things marvelous and wonderful, continue on here 🙂

Take Back Lunch and “Dig Inn”

Lunchtime has become a forgotten time.  Not too long ago it was the best part of the day.  Heck, I even used it as an answer for my Tournament of Roses Parade Court interview.  If I really wanted the position, I should have used some answer like “my peer counseling class”.  But, I guess I didn’t think that through and honestly, the best part of my days were lunch because I could hang out with my friends. Needless to say they did not ask me back.

All through elementary school, junior high, and high school were had at least 30 mandatory minutes where we were supposed to eat, catch, up and play without the stress of homework or studies.  Often times people (cough cough this teacher’s pet.  That’s right, I admit it) would use the break to cram for a test or finish up homework, but most of the time, it was a welcome escape from the stress of school.

Through experience, I’ve realized the lunch hour has disappeared from the workforce. People no longer socialize but rather grab takeout or a quick salad and hustle back up to their desks where they stare at computer screens.  Sure, I’ve been guilty of this, especially during March Madness when I felt overwhelmed by reporting and clients demanding this and that.

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What I came to realize is that I was actually less productive because I had skipped out on time away from the computer screen, skipped out on much needed social interaction, and skipped out on the ability to breath and take a break.  We can’t always be moving like the energizer bunny (although I try really hard to).  I also end up wondering what I ate for lunch since sitting in front of my computer distracts me from the food itself.

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So in a moment of spontaneity I left the confines of the office and ventured into the humid air of New York. Even if I didn’t get the chance to sit down and eat outside, a brisk walk would do the body and mind good and I was on a hunt for some quality chow.

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Enter Dig Inn, a higher end healthy salad bar that reminded me of something I would find in Santa Monica, California.

~ Their Mission ~

We believe everyone deserves to eat well, even on a budget. So we’re democratizing the farm-to-table movement by offering ridiculously good food at a reasonable price.

That means sourcing local, seasonal ingredients – not just because they are ‘local’ – but because fresh, healthy ingredients taste best. That means you’ll find grills, flames, and all the other good stuff people use to cook real food behind our counters. If there’s a steak on your salad, we’re grilling it ourselves, on the spot.

We’re here to change the way people eat, and things are off to a great start.

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 “Apple Green” – Apple, cucumber, spinach, kale, romaine, parsley

Here we are with a lovely green beverage.  Honestly I was a little taken aback at the price, but then put it in perspective as this is NYC.  Also, with that much produce, $8.50 made more sense.

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I guess you could say it’s a fresh take on the Subway station.  As you enter the store, you are presented with a large blackboard menu listing the day’s options.  Since it is a hotspot during the workweek, I suggest selecting your meal quickly.  Maybe bring a friend and as they stand in line, you can survey your options.

IMG_4945_FotorI ended up selecting a salmon salad over spinach, kale + apple salad, and smashed sweet potatoes.  All for about $7.35, leaving me full, focused, and ready for the rest of the day.

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 The only downside to venturing into the streets of New York is that I’m usually on my own.  It’s tough to gather up my coworkers when all of our schedules differ.  But for now, I’ll balance our cafeteria lunches with my quick jaunts outside the confines of work to stretch my legs and expand my horizon in the big city.

Dig Inn
Locations ~ Food ~ Juice 

El Diablito Taqueria

Looking for some solid Mexican food without the wait?  How about something to satisfy those post-run or post-bar munchies?  Boy do I have the place for you.  And yes, it’s time friends to graduate from the days of Taco Bell and into the real world.

The discovery occurred a couple weeks ago when I went to support a college friend of mine in her beginning improv performance.  She had taken a 8-session course at the well-known Upright Citizens Brigade and so kindly invited me to attend the final performance.  After the show, I met up with her and the rest of the group and we all went out to celebrate.

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After a round or so of beers, we realized it was time for some lunch.  It was almost 2:30pm, yet no one (besides myself) had eaten all day.  As any wise individual knows, drinking on an empty stomach is a no-no.  So we set out in search of food and found ourselves at  El Diablito Taqueria.

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While this appears to be the one and only menu (less choices = better cooking, right?) They are more than happy to customize your order.  I loved how vibrant the colors were on the interior of the restaurant, how unassuming it would be from a simple glance from outside.

IMG_5093Some people either continuing their buzz or drinking the Mexican brews simply to feel thematic with their meal.  From what I could see the only beverages offered were that of Mexican beer or Jarritos, the flavorful Mexican sodas.

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My friend Michelle’s torta – a sandwich filled with guacamole, beans, cheese, lettuce, and your choice of filling

I practically grew up eating Cal-Tex-Mex 4 or 5 nights a week, so my view of Mexican food is a bit distorted.  However, I guess you could say I am also pretty picky about my Mexican food coming from California.

When I go out to eat, I look for something that I can’t necessarily make at home, something that overflows with flavor, and something that will leave a lasting impression.

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This divine creation certainly hit all three of those categories.  The Huarache was something I had never encountered and thus obviously something to order.  It was a corn flat bread (thicker and spongier than a corn tortilla) and topped with black bean puree, chopped lettuce, crema fresca and your choice of filling.

For a little under $9, I left quite content and honestly ready for a nap in the spring sun.

El Diablito Taqueria
60 E 3rd St, New York, NY 10003
Menu ~ Order ~ About

Day in the Life

IMG_3331Yes, I’ve picked up some of the best fashion tips by living in New York City.  This is one of my very best looks when I’m trekking through the subways on my way to work.  Attractive, no?IMG_3323Breakfast the most important meal of the day and pretty much always eaten in front of my computer.  I’ve been on a yogurt kick and even keep a bag of granola in my desk to top it all off.

Work, work, work.  Meetings, excel, phone call, powerpoint, screenshots, tracking reports, phone call, AIM (throoooowback), meetings, etc.  I’d actually much rather be busy than bored.  The thrill of accomplishing your work and checking off lists.

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Recently there hasn’t been much time for the hour lunch in the cafeteria so I’ve stuck to grabbing a quick salad and hopping back to my desk for more work. With March Madness around the corner and Nascar races picking up, my schedule has been packed.

Lunch – Risotto, cauliflower, tempeh, carrots, and brussels sprouts – so much more fun than packing my own bland salad.  It’s the little things that get me through the day and I swear it tasted much better than it looked.  Salads and hot bars get a bad rep because they aren’t as photogenic as sandwiches.

I may have said this before but I used to make fun of the people who were so stressed they weren’t hungry or forgot to eat.  Well, I know what it feels like and realized the times I eat more are actually when I’m bored or trying to avoid a task. IMG_3325As of late I leave the office between 6:15 and 7, heading south to my gym for an hour or so and then walk home for dinner around 9.  I’ve realized that this probably isn’t the best idea seeing that I eat lunch at 12:30 and I’m starving by the time I get home.  Luckily I don’t run into anyone on the walk home because by this point I hit the “hangry” stage.  Slight exaggeration but all is good and well once I’ve eaten 🙂

Dinner – This cheeseburger was uhMAZING with grilled onions, melted cheddar and paired with carrots, tomatoes, green beans, and a hippo pretzel.  Yep, I made a pretzel in the shape of my spirit animal.

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Dessert – I’ve been in a hot chocolate phase, using a generic Nestle brand in my cup of skim milk.  Perfect for ending the night on my new couch.

With that my friends, I leave you with the most clear and concise WIAW post yet.  

“Excellence is not an act but a habit. The things you do the most are the things you will do the best.”
– Marva Collins