• city guides
  • Chicago Vegan Eats

    Believe it or not, before I read the book that changed my life and led me to a plant-based diet, I scoffed at the idea of going to a vegan restaurant. I so clearly remember, back when I lived in Chicago, the night my friend suggested we check out The Chicago Diner, a famous Chicago vegan restaurant. My response was, “No way. WTF would I order at a vegan restaurant?!” Pretty crazy how much things can change! I recently got back from a quick trip to Chicago and, with a whole new mindset, got to try out some of the delicious vegan-friendly juice bars and restaurants popping up around the city. Today I’m highlighting some of my Chicago favorites here on the blog.Native FoodsWho doesn’t love nachos? Especially when they’re loaded with so much deliciousness like the ones above. My sister introduced me to Native Foods Cafe and we both thoroughly enjoyed everything we ate. The nachos were delicious and came with cashew cheese instead of dairy cheese. The chipotle sauce was also delicious and I loved that the nachos were loaded with so many toppings. Next time I visit Native Foods Cafe I will definitely be ordering the nachos again.Native FoodsNative Foods Cafe also serves vegan “chicken” that will really blow your mind. It tastes exactly like chicken but it’s completely made out of plants like soy, wheat, peas and seasoning. Vegan meats don’t make up a big part of my diet, but when you’re in the mood for them this is a great place to go. Pictured above is my sister’s favorite, the twister wrap. It comes with fresh baby greens, cucumber salsa, avocado, crispy (or grilled or buffalo) “chicken” with a creamy ranch dressing. Native Foods is also great if you’ve never had vegan food before because you’ll be able to order things that are familiar to you – just vegan!Harvest Juicery

    One morning I stopped by Harvest Juicery near the Fulton District. It’s a super cute, clean, bright space that offers juices, nut milks, smoothies and some plant-based eats too. Their juice combos are really unique and healthy. Some of those unique juice flavors include fennel juice with orange, lemon and mint and melon juice made with cantaloupe, honeydew, lime, cilantro and lemongrass. They also offer pitaya bowls too!Left Coast AcaiLeft Coast Food & Juice is one of my new favorite lunch spots in Chicago. It’s a California-inspired restaurant that offers clean healthy eats in another super cute spot. The acai bowl pictured above was fantastic. It had everything I want in a smoothie bowl.IMG_0795The hermosa avocado toast at Left Coast was also fabulous. It comes with toasted semolina bread, smashed avocado, mojo rojo, basil and red onion. Definitely order it if you find yourself at Left Coast! You can see our whole Left Coast spread below. YUM!Left Coast

    blue spirulina

    I fell in love with this blue magik drink from Real Good Juice Co located in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. Not only does it taste amazing and look beautiful with those all natural blue hues, but it’s so good for you too! This drink gets its color from blue spirulina, which is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. It contains over 65 good-for-you vitamins, minerals and nutrients including B vitamins, bio-available iron, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A, calcium, antioxidants and omega-3s, to name just a few. It helps with everything from detoxing our bodies of heavy metals to treating allergies and lowering cholesterol. Who knew such a pretty drink could pack such a healthy punch?!
    Bad Day Donuts

    Chicago is also now home to Bad Day Donuts, a 100% vegan donut shop. I first heard of Bad Day Donuts when my sister went to the Chicago Vegan Food & Drink Festival where she said the lines for the donuts were a hundred people deep throughout the whole event! She didn’t get to try them that day so I knew we would have to check them out while I was in town. The dough of these donuts was absolute perfection. You would never ever know that they were any different from “regular” donuts. Bad Day Donuts doesn’t have a brick and mortar location yet, so you can order donuts by the dozen or find them at street fairs, festivals, pop-up shops and farmers markets around Chicago.

    And there you have it! Some of my favorite vegan eats from my recent trip to Chicago. Comment below with your favorite Chi City veg-friendly places for next time!



  • city guides
  • 6 Plant-Based Foods at Hudson Eats

    Plant-Based Foods at Hudson EatsBrookfield Place is a little (actually big!) hidden gem in New York City. I love it for the beautiful decor, the gorgeous waterfront setting right on the Hudson River and the delicious food served at its upscale food court, Hudson Eats. Each of the chef-driven gourmet eateries in Hudson Eats are fast-casual outposts of their well-known and well-liked NYC restaurant counterparts. In the summer it’s the most beautiful place to sit and eat on the water and in the winter it’s a winter wonderland with an ice skating rink right outside. I’ve been hitting up Hudson Eats since the very first week they opened and I am happy to say that there are tons of plant-based options throughout the food court. So, today I’m sharing six of my very favorite plant-based foods at Hudson Eats.


    1. Spicy Veggie Dumplings | Northern Tiger

    The veggie dumplings at Northern Tiger change seasonally and each season they taste even better than the last (if that’s even possible!). The spicy sauce is so loaded with flavor, without being too spicy. These are some of the best dumplings this city has to offer.


    2. Bagel With Herb Tofu Spread | Black Seed Bagel

    Black Seed’s tofu cream cheese spread tastes exactly like regular cream cheese. I get my bagel with the tofu spread and lots of veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, sprouts and avocado. I am also a fan of their almond butter and jam. The bagels are on the smaller side so it’s the perfect excuse to get two bagels and try both the herb tofu bagel sandwich and the almond butter and jam sandwich.


    3. Mexicali Vegan Salad | Chop’t

    This salad comes with romaine, spinach, black beans, hearts of palm, grape tomatoes, tortilla chips, avocado, jalapeños and Mexican Goddess dressing. Salads at Chop’t are finely chopped (hence the name) and that is why it might not look like much from the photo, but trust me, it tastes so good!

    Northern Tiger

    4. Shaobing 5 Spice Marinated Tofu Wrap | Northern Tiger

    This wrap has been featured on the blog before because it’s that good. It is made with homemade flakey flatbread, fresh veggie slaw, deliciously marinated tofu and some incredible sauce that pulls it all together and makes it one of my favorite wraps in the city.

    Dig Inn

    5. Seasonal Veggie Plate | Dig Inn

    Dig Inn is a seasonal market that features “farm to counter” food. When making up your veggie plate you get to choose grains or greens, an entrée and vegetable side dishes that all come together to make a well-balanced, filling, scrumptious meal. Some of my favorites being served at Dig Inn right now are the grilled organic tofu with ginger, kale and curried squash, roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and the sunchoke and endive salad. I also love that in addition to the veggie plate they offer half an avocado with olive oil and/or salt on top.


    6. Vegan Red Velvet Cupcake | Sprinkles Cupcakes

    A super indulgent and delicious treat. If you’ve never had a vegan desert before, this will blow your mind!


    And believe it or not, from the often vegan soups at Olive’s to the Cambodian style sandwiches at Num Pang, there are many more plant-based/vegan options at Hudson Eats just waiting for us to try them out!




  • food
  • New York’s Best Kept Secret (‘Til Now)

    Gansevoort MarketI have found a little gem on a small cobblestone street in the heart of the Meatpacking District in NYC. Gansevoort Market is a part indoor, part open air food hall and it is my new favorite spot in New York City. Every detail from the food to the design to the neighborhood was clearly taken into account when creating Gansevoort Market. And despite being located in the Meatpacking District, this market has a plethora of plant-based food options that are healthy and incredibly delicious. And one of the great things about this space is that it’s still a little secret. It has a steady flow of customers but it is still new enough that people haven’t caught on. And while I love being able to grab a seat at the tiny food counters inside, I couldn’t keep this secret any longer, you all need to know about this place! It’s urban heaven on the west side, if you ask me.

    Gansevoort MarketThe photo above is of the flower shop in the market called Flower Girl N.Y.C. How beautiful? As you’ll see from my pictures the design aesthetic at the market is just as beautiful as the food is delicious. And a cool fact, in 1884 this site was the location of the first open-air produce market in the region, then known as the Gansevoort “Farmers” Market.

    GansevoortThe vegan arepa above comes from Palenque, which makes amazing homemade Colombian food. They have two vegan arepa options and I’ve tried the vegan chorizo arepa and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s got a kick so if you’re not into spicy, try the veggie arepa instead.

    Gansevoort MarketFeel Food is another one of my favorite stands at the market. They have amazing make-your-own-meal-bowls. You get to choose the grains (or greens), a spread, sides and dressing. They are incredibly delicious. And those seasoned, cooked carrots above were the best damn carrots I’ve ever had.

    Gansevoort MarketHow lovely is the dining area with the glass ceiling, winding tree branches and exposed brick walls? And how cute is the taco van in the back? I haven’t gotten to try it out but I saw on the menu that they have a plant-based mushroom and corn taco. From what I’ve seen people seem to love the taco truck. There’s also an actual market in the center called Heermance Farm that sells produce, snacks and other goods. It’s like a little grocery store. They have many vegan options and as they say, they sell “kick ass vegetables.”

    Gansevoort MarketAnd one of my most favorite vendors at the market is Bangkok Bar. The tofu bun is so full of flavor it’s beyond delicious. And yes that is a coconut you are seeing behind that bun. Bangkok Bar sells fresh young Thai coconuts, shipped overnight from Thailand. They come with a straw to drink the freshest, most delicious coconut water you have ever tasted, PLUS they give you a spoon to scoop out the meat and eat it straight from the coconut. You’ve got to work for it but OMG it’s SO good. I never knew I loved coconut meat so much until I had these. It’s natural, pure, decadent, creamy and subtly sweet. They also have a rama tofu dish that I haven’t gotten to try yet but my friend Ali said it was fantastic and she cannot wait to eat it again.

    Gansevoort MarketDoesn’t that look like a scene from the beach, not the middle of the busy big apple?! As my friend Lauren (and we are real food lovers so we get emotional over great dining experiences) said about eating these coconuts: “This is the best thing I’ve ever done in New York. Ever.”

    Gansevoort MarketThe whole market has a rustic industrial feel and each vendor has its own unique space and look. And many of the vendors actually have little bars at their stands for customers to sit and enjoy their food.

    Gansevoort MarketAs you can see I looooooove those coconuts and love this place. And I know I’m not the only one because every time I am there I hear people walk in and say, “Oh my gosh! What is this place? It’s the cutest place ever!” There’s honestly something whimsical about it that you just have to experience in person to fully understand. It won’t stay a secret for long so if you live in the city or you’ll be visiting soon, absolutely check this amazing little place out!! I cannot rave about Gansevoort Market enough. (Well, maybe I could rave even more if it were all vegan…but hey, all the planty options are a fantastic start. 😉 )



  • favorites
  • Wellness Cruise Vacation: Holistic Holiday At Sea

    Maybe you’re interested in learning more about wellness and nutrition but the thought of truly educating yourself on these topics and learning to cook this new way just doesn’t seem feasible against the background of your already busy day-to-day life…

    Well imagine this: What if for seven days and nights you had gourmet chefs to prepare all your plant-based food for you and at your fingertips you had access to endless learning opportunities led by top doctors and experts in the fields of wellness, holistic health and nutrition…all while aboard a luxury cruise ship that sails through the beautiful Caribbean and Mexico??

    Holistic Holiday at Sea

    This amazing experience isn’t a dream I’ve dreamt up. It’s an actual reality that you can partake in. It is the annual wellness cruise vacation known as the Holistic Holiday at Sea and National Geographic Traveler has named it “one of the 100 best worldwide vacations to enrich your life.”

    Holistic Holiday at Sea

    This luxury vacation, centered around promoting wellness, is run by leaders in the wellness community. You get to experience the normal pleasures of a cruise vacation, like swimming, snorkeling, dancing and socializing, in addition to features that are unique to this specific cruise like lectures, workshops, cooking classes, yoga, meditation, pilates, qi gong, other fitness classes, and private consultations with some of the most renowned doctors, healers and wellness coaches out there. And, the food on the ship, which is all natural and 100% vegan, is supposed to be absolutely phenomenal.

    Holistic Holiday at Sea

    Speakers on the cruise include Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Michael Greger & Dr. Neal Barnard, plus many more. These doctors are doing amazing work to make this world a better place. They all changed their views on medicine after realizing there were better ways to treat and prevent disease. These doctors put morals before money and are devoted to preventing and curing disease instead of merely treating the symptoms of disease.

    As Dr. Esselstyn has been quoted saying, the changing moment in his career was when he realized: “No matter how many patients for whom I was doing breast surgery, I wasn’t doing one single thing for the next unsuspecting victim.” And so he, just like all the doctors listed above, set out to change that. These men are truly heroes and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about wellness directly from them.  (See full list of presenters here).

    bhante b collor

    This wellness cruise vacation can be an amazing, fulfilling, life-changing experience and I am thrilled to be able to share this information about this wonderful opportunity with each of you.

    And by the way, if you work in the health field you can even get continuing education credits (CEUs) for taking this cruise. Yes, you read that correctly, you can get credit toward your job for going on this cruise.

    Holistic Holiday at Sea

    The 12th annual Holistic Holiday at Sea sets sail March 14th, 2015 on the brand new MSC Divina cruise ship. The boat is supposed to be absolutely beautiful, elegant and it is one of the most environmentally-friendly cruise ships out there.

    It’s truly a vacation for your mind, body and spirit. To learn more or to register for this exciting opportunity to transform your life, visit holisticholidayatsea.com.

    Holistic Holiday at Sea

    xo Tedi

     [All photos courtesy of Holistic Holiday at Sea]