What I Ate Wednesday: Astoria & New York

making a smoothie WIAW

Welcome to yet another WIAW hosted by the awesome blog Peas and Crayons!

Breakfast: here is my smoothie in the blender pre-blending. I thought the vibrant orange and green looked pretty cool, so I took this before picture.

green smoothie WIAW

This smoothie consisted of (all organic except the cantaloupe):

  • Wheat grass powder
  • Matcha green tea powder
  • Maple syrup
  • Celery
  • Cantaloupe (frozen)
  • Lemon juice
  • Water

best vegan sandwich ever

Lunch: sadly, I had to eat at my desk, but at least I brought an awesome sandwich from home! I think this is one of my favorite vegan creations, and I ate it three days in a row last week. The whole-wheat bread sandwich is loaded up with:

  • Avocado hummus
  • Vegenaise
  • Homemade tahini pesto (I mixed olive oil and basil with tahini and lemon juice in my new food processor; amazing!)
  • Pickled beets
  • Capers
  • Lentil sprouts
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Arugula sprouts

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The Counter, New York

The Counter NYC

I’ve written about the chain restaurant The Counter before, but that was the Hawaii version. Since I’m a sucker for saving money / deals / free things, when I found out you could get a free order of french fries by signing up to be on “The List,” their membership / rewards program, we decided to sign up and eat some fries. The plate was massive and the fries were really good. I like them thin like this. Despite the greasy goodness, The Counter can actually be a really good, reliable option for a healthy lunch or dinner. This is because their menu is create-your-own, so you can go as caloric and heavy, or light and healthy as you like.

The Counter NYC

For example, I ordered a grilled chicken “burger” on an English muffin with alfalfa sprouts, spinach, aioli and some sort of sauce (chutney?) on the side. You can also get the burgers on top of salads if you’re gluten-free, or on a gluten-free bun. It’s not the healthiest meal I’ve ever eaten but compared to a Shake Shack burger or its equivalent (which is amazingly delicious, I’m not denying that), this is a great option. And since the combinations are limitless, you can go to The Counter every so often and never get bored with it. If you’re going to eat at a chain, The Counter is one of your best options.

The Counter Times Square

Open: Every day 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Address: 1451 Broadway, New York, NY 10036 Phone:(212) 997-6801

The Counter on Urbanspoon

What I Ate Wednesday: New York

Apples with almond butter and raisins

Last Friday I ate breakfast at work (see my to-do list in the background?). I had one organic apple with almond butter (that came with chia seeds!) and raisins. It was delicious.

All About Food NYC salad

Although I almost always pack my lunch, on this day I hadn’t had the time, so I picked up a salad from nearby All About Food. My chopped salad of romaine lettuce included alfalfa sprouts, edamame, beets, broccoli and balsamic vinaigrette.

Dirty salt & vinegar chips

I also treated myself to a bag of addicting “Dirty” salt and vinegar potato chips.

Plan Tea black tea

At this point, I needed a caffeine boost to get me through the rest of the afternoon and evening; I had plans to go out with friends later. I had iced black tea with mint and “a drop of honey.” It was good but not as good as warm mint tea with sugar.

For dinner, a few friends from work and I went to nearby Papillon for a glass of wine (I had pino grigio). We also split the charcuterie plate: pâté de Campagne, saucissons, bresaola, prosciutto di Parma, mustard, cornichons and grilled country bread (I skipped the bread since I’m trying to give my digestive system a break from gluten). It was quite the spread and we all enjoyed it. I sadly have no pictures because my phone died right as we arrived! Later that night I had a couple more drinks with other friends, also not pictured. Alcohol calories add up way too quickly, don’t you think? What do you like to drink?

Total Estimated Calories: 1,800

What did you eat today?

Beyond Sushi, New York

Beyond Sushi Special Rolls

My whole life, I haven’t liked seafood. While I love salty food, there is something about the actual fishiness of seafood that just makes me gag. This dislike caused me to miss out on one of the cutest foods out there: sushi. I’ve always wanted to like sushi. It is visually appealing, and popping it into your mouth piece by piece always seemed fun. When I first moved to Hawaii, I even went through a phase where I secretly tried to eat sushi at home (stuff that my mom and sister brought home for their own take-out lunches or dinners) but that usually just ended up in me gagging or even throwing up. I just couldn’t do it; until I found Beyond Sushi.

Beyond Sushi Interior

A super small restaurant and take-out counter, the East Village location seats only about 18 at most. They have recently opened another location in Chelsea, which I haven’t yet visited. The brick walls are lined with large images of the sushi you can order, which I love. It’s a unique way to display the menu and whet the appetite of the diners, and it also proves that the colorful sushi is actually beautiful art.

Beyond Sushi Lemonade

My first time to Beyond Sushi, I began with a basil cucumber lemonade, which was as refreshing as it sounds. I could probably drink this every day, since it wasn’t too sweet.

Beyond Sushi Black Rice Rolls

Kiyo and I each ordered an 8-piece roll. You can order your sushi with the standard seaweed wrapper or with a soy wrapper, which is what I got. I like seaweed in small doses, but I find it too fishy and slimy in large quantities. Kiyo had the “Spicy Mang,” which is black rice with avocado, mango, cucumber and spicy veggies, served with toasted cayenne sauce.

Beyond Sushi Avocado Rolls

My roll was the “Sweet Tree,” made with six grain rice, avocado, sweet potato and alfalfa sprouts, served with toasted cayenne sauce. This sushi was so delicious! I love avocado and sweet potato together; it sounds like it’d be too soft, but it’s not (another example of this odd pairing is the sandwich I had at Nectar last summer). The rice is nutty, the sauce is just slightly spicy and the alfalfa sprouts add just a hint of freshness. Maybe it’s partially due to the fact that I’ve always wanted to like sushi, but I was immediately obsessed with this roll.

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Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps, Astoria

Egg Salad Lettuce Wrap

One of the simplest meals I make at home is egg salad, which Kiyo abhors (he hates eggs in general and mayo makes him squeamish) but I love. My theory is that my love of egg salad and potato salad stems from my mom’s side of the family; my grandma makes the most delicious Russian potato salad that includes celery and eggs. When I was just in Minneapolis visiting her for Russian Easter, I kept sneaking bites of the potato salad from the fridge- it was supposed to be for Sunday dinner but I just couldn’t wait, it’s so yummy!

Egg Salad Lettuce Wrap Bite

Of course egg salad sandwiches are delicious, but I dont’ tend to buy bread. I like to make little bibb lettuce wraps and fill them with sprouts and the egg salad (this also works well with chicken salad). Usually I mix up the hard-boiled eggs with some mayo and spices – garlic salt or celery salt, onion powder, mustard powder, etc. It’s super simple, fast and gluten-free as well!

Afternoon update: After my dad read this post he sent me this text message… so cute!

“Egg salad’s from my side; specifically Grandma Tallie! When I was a small boy in the early 1960’s, she used to take me to Bloomingdale’s to an upper floor where they had a fancy lunch counter… And we’d share an egg salad sandwich! I got hooked.”