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I don’t write restaurant reviews, for several reasons.

  1. I am not Pete Wells, Jonathan Gold, or Ruth Reichl, although I wish I could be.
  2. I don’t possess the skills or the patience required for such a task.
  3. My budget for eating out does not include eating at the same restaurant for as many times as necessary until I can determine how I truly feel about the meal.
  4. Disguises, while fun, would probably be exhausting after a while. It is, however, fun to imagine a photo of myself hanging up in a restaurant kitchen. You know, just to keep the staff terrified.

No, I don’t write reviews. But I will always, always tell you where I’ve had an exceptional meal and think you would, too. It would be a shame to keep that information to myself.

When I first moved to New York City at the end of October, I was focused on settling into my new home and adjusting to culinary school. Eating out and trying new things weren’t a priority for me, so when 2017 rolled around, I decided it was time for me to explore the city more and finally satiate my culinary curiosities.broccoli tamal, goat ricotta, arugula at cosme nyc

seared brussel sprouts, mole verde, pine nut, kale at cosme nyc

The meal that stands out the most in my recent memory was dinner at Cosmé, Enrique Olvera’s restaurant in the Flatiron district. A little background info: Cosmé earned three stars from Pete Wells in the New York Times, was number one in his roundup of Top New York Restaurants of 2015, and made it onto the World’s 50 Best Restaurants at #16. Perhaps most impressive is Daniela Soto-Innes, the Chef de Cuisine at Cosmé, who won the Rising Star Chef Award from the James Beard Foundation last year when she was only 25. Her mantra? “Go faster; never have a dirty towel or apron on you; and never say no.”

My friends and I managed to snag a reservation for Superbowl Sunday, and we gorged ourselves on food that was clean, contemporary, and different. The food is “ostensibly simple but profoundly complex,” and certainly distinguishes itself from what people typically think Mexican food is. Olvera’s food reminds me that there is more to Mexican cuisine than guacamole and burritos, and it is difficult- if not impossible- to know what ‘Mexican food’ is when, as Olvera says, “Mexico is so large and there are so many regions that not even Mexicans know it well.”

ayacote bean salad, market greens, charred cucumber vinaigrette at cosme nyc

My favourite dish on the menu: mole verde with seared brussel sprouts, pine nuts, and kale.

Enrique Olvera, on his food: “I say it’s a personal interpretation of Mexican food: some dishes are very traditional, some are more contemporary. The mole might be like a traditional recipe, but we try to do things that are authentic- things that we do ourselves, that nobody else does. It’s not how grandma used to do it. It’s not a deconstruction of what grandma did. It’s not molecular. It’s something that is very organic, very authentic. We try to be honest because we think that flavour is the most important thing in a dish… We like things that are interesting and fun to your palate. I think a restaurant should always be evolving. [It] should never be static.”

Food writer Tamar Adler on Cosme and Enrique Olvera: “What distinguishes Cosme from all- and from Rosa Mexicano and Dos Caminos in New York, or Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago, which lean toward fusion cuisine served by waiters obliged to make guacamole tableside- is Enrique’s culinary credibility. Enrique isn’t ‘inspired by’ Mexican food. It is his soil and his roots.”

tlayuda, black beans, chorizo, avocado, stracciatella, salsa borracha at cosme nyc


Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

ovenly's secretly vegan salted chocolate chip cookies, recipe from food52 // gratitude and greens // #vegan #vegetarian #plantbased #baking #dessert

I was halfway through a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies on Food52 when I realized that the dough had to be refrigerated overnight. The oven was pre-heated, the dry ingredients were measured, and the chocolate was chopped. I had what felt like an insatiable chocolate chip cookie craving and was unsure if I could bear the thought of waiting until the next morning to have them. I decided that, if these cookies were as “soft-bellied, chewy, caramelly-crisp-edged, rippled and ringed and puddled with melty chocolate” as the recipe described them to be, then it was worth the wait. I swallowed my disappointment with a spoonful of cookie dough and sighed as I placed the bowl in the fridge. I proceeded to whip up something else; for now, my sweet tooth would have to settle for banana bread.

ovenly's secretly vegan salted chocolate chip cookies, recipe from food52 // gratitude and greens // #vegan #vegetarian #plantbased #baking #dessert

When I woke up the next morning, my cookie craving hadn’t subsided. In fact, it seemed to have grown stronger, and I hurriedly scooped the dough onto a baking tray and topped each of the cookies with sea salt flakes before placing them into the oven. I crouched before the door and stared at the cookies, willing them to bake and spread. Before long, the smell of cookies wafted throughout my apartment. The cookies didn’t spread as much as I’d hoped for, but they were tender and the little touch of salt went a long way. My sister and I demolished the cookies in the span of a few days, and I was sad when I saw the empty container sitting on my kitchen counter.ovenly's secretly vegan salted chocolate chip cookies, recipe from food52 // gratitude and greens // #vegan #vegetarian #plantbased #baking #dessert

Get the recipe for Ovenly’s Secretly Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies on Food52 >>

In the meantime… highlights from this week in food and sustainability:

Your edible plant enthusiast,

<< three ingredient chocolate truffles

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This Week In Food and Sustainability: 3/6 – 3/13/2016

This Week In Food and Sustainability: 3/6 - 3/13/2016

Sorry it’s be a bit quiet. This week I was scrambling to finish up my food policy and public health class and whoa, after this course, there is so much I want to share with you. I also have to admit that I haven’t been feeling particularly inspired on the recipe front. With the busy-ness of the past week, I’ve been eating the same meals over and over again and they are unfortunately not very exciting.

This week in food and sustainability…

Toxic heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, chromium) have been detected in Portland’s soil. This is unfortunate for the many gardeners who reside in Portland as people have been advised against eating anything grown within a half-mile of the highest concentrations in the city.

In Mexico, a small co-op is “practicing agriculture in a way that fights climate change while simultaneously meeting human needs… if supported, implemented and developed on a global scale in conjunction with a massive reduction in fossil fuel emissions, these ‘carbon farming’ practices- a suite of crops and practices that sequester carbon while simultaneously meeting human needs– could play a critical role in preventing catastrophic climate change by removing carbon from the atmosphere and safely storing it in soils and perennial vegetation.”

Very interesting piece on millennials who love food but aren’t doing much to change the food system. “‘We need to mobilize that foodie momentum on more global issues– not just the personalization of food, but food in a larger context’… As a generation with an intense passion for food, a desire to change the status quo, this is our change to make significant change on a topic that we already love.”

The inefficiencies of food production continue to contribute to greenhouse gases, in particular methane from cattle and nitrous oxide from the fertilizers and waste incineration. How can we feed the world without threatening the health of the planet?

The answer: herbs! If you’ve never grown anything, herbs are easy to maintain, low cost, and are a flavourful addition to your meals.

Your edible plant enthusiast,

<< kiwi banana nice cream parfaits

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