National Farmer’s Market Week

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This week is National Farmers Market Week! Support the little guys by going to a farmer’s market this week!

LOVE going to farmers markets. I think my adoration for farmers markets stems from the time I lived in Paris. While there are increasingly more and more supermarché in France, the French are blessed to have a thriving artisan food community. The French can shop for breads at the boulangerie, cheeses at afromagerie, meats from a boucherie, and of course produce from les petits marchés. Food shopping may take more time the “French way,” but then again maybe it should! When I lived in Paris I went food shopping nearly every day. I would pick up a few fresh veggies to throw into whatever dish I was making and of course my daily baguette. Let me tell you, shopping small lead to eating REALLY well.

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My favorite market in the world: the Marché aux Fleurs in Nice, France

The closest I can get to replicating the French food shopping experience in the U.S. is at farmers markets. It’s not quite the same because I can’t simply swing by these places every day on my way home from work or school. Organizations like the Food Trust do their best, but the reality is that most neighborhoods in Philly only has access to the markets once a week. That’s a shame because it’s reallyhard not to eat well from food purchased at a farmer’s market. (Unless of course you just go for the homemade Amish sweets!) Talking to the person who harvested or created the products you are buying and later eating brings a sense of reality to the food you put on your plate. The reality of the matter is that if a person made it or harvested it, it can’t be too bad! When’s the last time you talked to someone who made a CheezIt? Yea… exactly.

Philly folk have access farmers markets from both Farm to City and the Food Trust. Of course, I can’t leave out all the incredible small vendors at Reading Terminal Market. You can usually spot me at the farmer’s market at the fountain on Passyunk, but going to the market at Headhouse Square on Sundays is such a treat! Outside of Philly? Find your nearest market at LocalHarvest.

This guide to which produce is in season is a god send and I couldn’t help but to share it here! Shopping seasonally saves TONS of money and you get the obvious benefit of eating produce when it’s at its prime! I love this time of year for all the fresh Jersey corn, blueberries, and tomatoes! Print it, post it on your fridge, and reap the savings!

farmersmarketguide

 

– B

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Bon Weekend

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Bar prep got REAL this week. The amount of hours I’m dedicating daily has seemingly gone through the roof now that we are on state specific topics. T-32. Aside from studying, I finally made it over to the new vegan bar in the Gayborhood, Charlie was a sinner. (yes, the name includes punctuation). I was really impressed, although not surprised, by how Nicole Marquis (owner of HipCityVeg) upped her game from vegan “fast food.” The vegan ricotta spread was one of the most delicious iterations of tofu I’ve ever had (read: not like tofu at all!).

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The BF and I both got the mango lassi mocktails which were more like a mango lassi cocktail than the smoothie like texture of a normal lassi. Delicious nonetheless and I can’t wait to try the non-alcoholic version! The rest of the cocktail list looked incredible. As I was reading through the menu, I found myself saying “Ooh! This looks good!” to just about every drink. I’m so glad the vegan scene in Philly is ever expanding!

Here’s a bit of what else on my radar this weekend:

+   Save 20% during the summer sale at BaubleBar! I’m obsessed with the brand new BAUBLEBAR x STRIPES & SEQUINS collaboration which is included in the sale. I may or may not have already purchased the Crystal Mason Ring. The Mason ring is such a stunner (and only $28)! Most of the collaboration can be seen in the top image!

+   Speaking of sales, I don’t know what’s going on at Piperlime nearly the entire site including tons vegan leather apparel is on sale. Happy shopping!

+   Behold: the complete Philly guide to outdoor movies this summer. I’m all about seeing one of my favorite movies, Ratatouille, on August 9!

+   There is a new free yoga class being offered in Bella Vista (8th and Fitzwater). It will be held on Monday nights at 6 pm. Just bring your own mat!

+   J.Lo is creating a new line of vegan supplements, according to Philly.com, following her 22-day vegan cleanse. I’m really curious to see what this line is going to look like! Vitamins? Protein Powder? I’m hoping lots of B-12!

+   Cue the tissues. These pictures of humans saving animals are beyond heartwarming. I love my puppy to the moon and back and feel that all animals are deserving of that compassion. These images struck a chord with me because it was posted by a friend who frequently posts her fantastic meal-filled dishes and reminded me of the disconnect I had with food.

-B

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Vegan Morimoto

Yesterday the BF and I celebrated our 1 year date-aversary (which is actually today) at Morimoto. For our first date we went to a little Israeli joint for falafels and shawarma. He joked that he didn’t want to do anything too crazy (read: expensive) until he knew he wanted to “invest.” Judging by the $$$$ rating on Yelp for Morimoto, I think he’s ready to invest. HA!

10426661_10152450500352867_8632157653139039244_nMorimoto is one of those places I’ve been meaning to go to FOREVER. Tons of friends have told me it’s fantastic but I found my groove with places like Buddakan and Sampan. However, after last night’s dinner, Morimoto will definitely be added to the pan-Asian rotation. To start, we both had the lychee cocktail… divine AND lethal. I could each vodka-soaked lychee all day. It’s like the adult version of vodka-soaked gummy candy…. right?

To start, I had two vegetarian rolls: shiitake mushroom roll and the seasonal veggie roll. They were great but nothing outstanding to set it apart from other veggie rolls I’ve had. Luckily, the price was pretty reasonable for the rolls: $6 and $5 respectively. The waiter was also kind enough to bring out vegetarian soy sauce without asking, stating that their house soy sauce was not vegetarian. The spicy veggie tempura roll sounded appealing but alas… not vegan. Does vegan tempura exist? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? The highlight among the starters was the shrimp tempura my BF ordered. He stated that it was the best shrimp he’s ever had… and let me tell you the boy loves his shrimp. The shrimp came in a huge portion (easily could have been an entrée if served over rice) and melted in his mouth like butter.

For my entrée I had the Ishi Yaki Bop, which reminded me a lot of Bibimbap. It was served in a hot stone bowl with lots of tofu, nori, veggies and rice. This was an off-menu vegan interpretation of a meat entrée and at $16 it was incredibly satisfying. A server prepared it table-side by searing the tofu on the bowl and mixing the veggies around in the sweet and salty sauce. I love how crunchy some of the rice gets when cooking in a hot stone bowl! I was a little nervous that the absence of egg would make the dish dry and bland but it was flavorful and very enjoyable. My boyfriend was visibly jealous of my dish (he ordered some rolls as his entrée). However at $42 for the kobe beef version, I suggested we just hit up the new bibimbap place on South Street, appropriately named BAP.

sorry for the crazy lighting!

sorry for the crazy lighting!

For dessert, the restaurant comp’ed us a bowl of their micro-batch ice cream. To me, this was really the only hiccup in the otherwise impeccable service. I was clearly ordering vegan dishes (even had a convo with the server about it) and there was a sorbet dessert available. I even fawned over it when he mentioned it to us with the daily dessert specials. I wish they provided that instead! Oh well, it was free so I can’t really complain.

Overall, would I come back? Definitely! They cater well to dietary restrictions and allergies (this was one of the first questions our server asked us.) I’d definitely get the Ishi Yaki Bop again but would probably save the sushi for my regular sushi joints.

-B

 

Wissahickon Morning

I am acutely aware of certain Philadelphia activities that I shamefully have never done. This includes: going to a Marc Vetri restaurant (sorry, Pizzeria Vetri doesn’t count in my book), hanging out on Race Street Pier, running down Kelly Drive, exploring Eastern State Penitentiary, and hiking in the Wissahickon… among others. Pretty shameful for someone who has lived in Philly for 7 years. Well, I’m proud to say that one of those items got a little mental check mark next to it this weekend: The Wissahickon.

As we drove up Lincoln Drive towards Chestnut Hill, I was already kicking myself for not going. Where did all these trees come from? Are you sure this is still “Philly?” Le sigh. Even the houses were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The stone work was gorgeous and many homes looks straight out of Europe.

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Once we found our way to a trail entrance, we set off into the park. I was immediately taken back by its beauty, cleanliness, and water! Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces, but anything with water is 100x more beautiful to me. It got me thinking to the last time I went hiking which was over 3 years ago at Ein Gedi in Israel with my cousins! Too long! Even though I’m a city girl, I have a pretty substantial soft spot for being out in nature. When I was a kid, if you couldn’t find me, chances are I was up in a tree. I really need to spend more time with trees and less time with concrete.

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Our group’s initial destination was Devil’s Pool, a deep pool with perfect rocks to jump from. It seems like the perfect oasis to escape the summer heat in the city. (Just bring bug spray!) Aside the jumping rock, was a Shakespeare poem in the side of the rocks. Sorry for the bad angle, I was afraid of getting too close to the edge!

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Waterfall into Devil’s Pool

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Some perspective of the height from the jumping rock

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Atop the Jumping Rock (Left: Vanessa, Center: Me, Right: Adrienne) Photo Cred: Kevin

We continued from Devil’s Pool deeper into the trails. We followed along a stream and jumped from rock to rock to cross it. We eventually stumbled upon a huge downed tree that went across the stream. Our first instinct: Kodak moment! Background: I’ve known Adrienne since 6th grade and Vanessa since 7th. We go wayyy back and have the ridiculous photo shoots to prove it. Taking pictures is our forte. Behold:

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Ok… this one is just me being a spaz. Confession: I’m afraid of heights and insisted on crawling across the tree rather than just walking down it.

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Still can’t believe this place is in city limits

We walked all the way back to the car, then realized we kinda wanted to hike some more. So we picked a new path and set off. This trail was much more narrow, wet, rocky, and uphill than the first trail. It was much more difficult for us, but definitely not for any of the many dogs we came across. They flew up and down the trails with remarkable ease. I can’t say Beau will be joining anytime soon though ;). Eventually, we came across a huge dam that made the most calming rushing water noise and created some white water conditions. We sat down on some rocks along the water for a few minutes and just listened to the water rush by.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 9.33.58 AMWe continued past the dam and saw some kayakers outfitted with helmets. I thought “OH MY GOD, THEY ARE GOING OVER THE DAM.” Which lo and behold they did and I got on camera! They made it look so easy but I probably would be screaming 500 feet out. Ha!

Wissahickon Kayakers

Until next time Wissahickon. I promise it won’t be another 7 years until we meet again!

-B

 

MilkCrate Philly

Back on Earth Day, I talked about “10 Simple Ways to Go Green.” #2 on that list was “Shop Local.” A new Philly app, MilkCrate, will make that a million times easier! MilkCrate accumulates stores, restaurants, you name it… that are local and sustainable. I love supporting small, local businesses but most of all small business that have great values! Check out this short video from the creators themselves:

Pretty cool, huh? I day say I think this may be the new “green” Yelp. I really love how the sustainability features are designated in the app so you know just what this business is doing. The general label “green” doesn’t have much weight these days. The app itself is pretty attractive looking too! Yup, I judge apps by their “cover”… so sue me.

mcI can’t wait for this bad boy to launch and become a part of my regular app rotation!

-B