The Week in Review: New York, Sandy and Lots of Food

[Random Broadway photo.Β  Can you spy the person in the crowd wearing a squirrel costume?]

So, where the heck have I been this past week? It feels like a long time since I last posted on this blog. In reality, it’s only been since last Thursday’s Wellness Weekend. Even though Wellness Weekend does occur each week–and I do LOVE all your incredible, healthy, sugar-free recipes, so please keep ’em coming–I’ve been itching to post a new recipe of my own for a while, but, as sometimes happens, life intervened.

In a nutshell, here’s what’s been going on:

  • Birthday (mine)
  • Visit to New York (aka, birthday extended!)
  • Cold/flu bug (also mine; aka, why do I tend to get sick on vacation?)
  • Bed. Tea. Deep Immune. Tea. Nasal irrigation. Bed. Tea. Tea.
  • Cookbook! Tester recipes, baking, baking, baking. (Tea, bed, tea). Baking. (aka huge excitement!)

It all started with that darned birthday. . . .The HH and I decided to skip over to one of my fave places on the planet, New York City, for a quick junket and meetups with friends.Β  As it turned out, our two days there preceded Hurricane Sandy by one day–we literally flew out of the city the night before they began preparations, a weird coincidence that left us feeling lucky and, at the same time, devastated for those we left behind.

And, like so many of you, I’ve been riveted to the TV, twitter, etc. following the aftermath of the hurricane and feeling heartsick for the poor people who’ve been ravaged by it, thinking about the city and environs since we left. And while I’ve heard from friends and family (and thankfully, they’re all safe), there are still so many others left without power or supplies who need help.Β  If you’d like to help, here’s one list of ways to support the New York area and New Jersey, and a more general list here. Angela from Oh She Glows has created a Disaster Fundraiser (and an amazing giveaway at the same time) through which you can donate. I’m sure there are many others, too–please add any other ways to help that you know of in the comments!

So it feels a bit odd to be recapping a trip to New York when it’s currently so different from the place we saw last week, but I will cherish these memories all the more now.

As you might expect, most of our adventures involved. . . food! Mealtimes were spectacular, both because The HH totally indulged me and ate every meal (save for one, which was his choice) at one or another of the incredible vegan haunts in the city, but also because we met up with so many friends, online or otherwise, while there.

Unfortunately, my highly portable point-and-shoot camera is not great at taking photos in semi-darkness. . . so most of the shots came out sort of like this:

Do you feel dizzy yet?Β  No, it’s not you. But that is kind of how I felt once the flu bug hit (bed, tea, tea, bed). Oh, and that’s a blurry image of the amazing Ruby Red juice I had on our last morning: brunch at Cafe Blossom.

In other words, please forgive the photos here . . . I really do need an iPhone for those instagram ones, don’t I? πŸ˜‰

Our first dinner was a return visit to Candle 79 (we loved it so much last time, we just had to go back there again), where I savored the Pomegranate-Chipotle Grilled Tempeh while the HH went for the Baby Arugula Salad (after scarfing down a huge bowl of meaty pasta for lunch).Β  Dinner was followed by Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf on Broadway (for which we scored half price tickets–yeah!). We were joined by my friend Babe, who also just happened to be in New York for business! The play, what was likely one of the most spectacular productions of it ever mounted, kept us entranced for the full three hours.Β  If you’ve seen the movie or read the play, you know that this is not a light entertainment, and I could only marvel at the energy required by the actors to remain so focused for the duration.

[My Green Spice juice; the HH’s Strawberry Blonde shake.]

Friday was a food-and-fun-filled day of meetups!Β  We started at One Lucky Duck, where I finally met my colleague Andrea Nakayama, the genius behind Replenish PDX and with whom I’ve taught the Sweet Victory detox, in person.Β  It was like meeting an old friend as we sampled some of the famous raw goodness at One Lucky Duck (that’s my kale juice on the left; The HH’s shake on the right).

After wandering a bit in the East Village, we strolled over to Caravan of Dreams to meet up with JL and her hubby for a farewell lunch before they move across the country to Colorado.Β  JL writes the fabulous blog, JL Goes Vegan, as well as the blog Stop Chasing Skinny. As she tells it on her blog, “I am proof that you are never too old to change!” JL ran a marathon, became a triathlete, and transitioned to a vegan diet. . . all in her 40s. Now she practices as a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and lives as a fabulous role model for all women who want to achieve their dreams.Β  Go, JL! It was so great to see her and Dave again, and gab over great food!

[JL and me in the cavernous Caravan of Dreams.Β  Did we plan our matching all-black T-shirts and sweaters? Our mirror-image pixie cuts with bangs swept in opposite directions? Our same-shape glasses?Β  Ah, we’ll never tell.]

Dinner took place at one of my dream destinations: Pure Food and Wine.Β  I’ve read so many great reviews of this place, and after my friend Gena recommended it as a favorite, I knew there was no other choice for the evening.Β  And what an evening it was! I met with one of my favorite bloggers with whom I’ve had an online friendship since I bought her first cookbook, My Sweet Vegan, back in 2008–the incomparable and amazingly talented Hannah from Bittersweet! Hannah was just as lovely in person as she is on her blog, and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up–in person.

We were joined later by Tess, The Blender Girl, and her partner for a raucous, rollicking evening. If you don’t know Tess yet, you should–head over to her blog asap! It’s filled with amazing, mostly quick-and-easy recipes that can be made in a blender, food processor, or mixer. And she hosts some pretty awesome giveaways, too! I met Tess for the first time last April at the Nourished conference, and immediately felt as if I’d known her for years. Not only is Tess one of the most hardworking bloggers I know, she’s also one of the most generous–and fun! It’s impossible not to spend an evening filled with laughter when you’re with Tess.

[Dr. Cow Cheese Plate.]

And the food!Β  We began by sharing the Plate of Assorted Cultured Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheeses and Rosemary Crisps. Oh. My. Goodness. Having never tasted fermented raw nut cheese before, I couldn’t have imagined the buttery soft yet firm and even slightly gritty texture of the cheddar–just like dairy cheese. Next up, I ordered Alfredo Noodles made with raw salsify (yep, I even learned something new at Pure Food!).Β  Finally, the meal was capped off with what may very well be the most decadent chocolate-mint sundae I’ve ever tasted. Behold:

[No, it didn’t really glow with a thousand tiny diamonds, as appears in the this flash-enhanced photo.Β  But I did have a bit of an afterglow when I ate it.]

After staying up too late despite that nasty flu bug, the HH and I ended the trip with a brunch at Cafe Blossom, where I indulged in raw nachos and an incomparable Farinata Puttanesca (chickpea crepe with caramelized onions, capers, olives–hold the mushrooms).

[Raw nachos and guacamole]

It all ended far too quickly, but as chance would have it, just in time: we flew out of the city literally hours before the city shut down. As I write this, many in the region are still without power or full utilities.Β  It’s bizarre to me that many of the places we visited were flooded a couple of days later.

And what about the week since our return? Well, once I finally kicked that nasty flu bug, I got to the kitchen and testing recipes for the cookbook! Here’s a glimpse of what my testers have been cooking up (everything gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan!):

Zucchini-Pineapple Mini-Loaves

Grain-free Biscuits

Macadamia-Sesame Cookies

Sunshine Breakfast Loaf

Dalmatian Cheesecake Brownies

High Protein Waffles

. . . and much more! To get a peek at all of the testers’ own photos of what they’ve been baking, check out the cookbook Pinterest board.

Now that I’ve whetted your appetite. . . it’s time for a new recipe. I promise to bring one along later in the week.Β  πŸ™‚


Ricki xo

Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to Diet, Dessert and Dogs via email. (β€œWe love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”)

Last Year at this Time: Buckwheat Breakfast Bake with Heart-Healthy Almond Butter (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)

Two Years Ago: Sweet or Savory Sweet Potato Spread (gluten free; ACD all stages)

Three Years Ago: Roasted Red Pepper and Apple Dip (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond )

Four Years Ago: Roasted Garlic and Pumpkinseed PestoΒ  (gluten free; ACD all stages)

Five Years Ago: Baked Oats (gluten free; ACD maintenance)

Β© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. I’m so glad you managed to squeeze in your NYC trip before the weather turned (it would be nice if the weather hadn’t turned at all, but at least you missed it). It looks like you found some great places whilst there, and the recipes you’ve been making since look incredible!

  2. Yay for a great birthday, thank goodness you got to enjoy some time in NYC and make it home out of harms way. So excited for your cookbook, I’ve been following the pinterest board eagerly! Glad you’re feeling better too.

  3. sounds like a great trip – that cheese platter looks amazing and all the food sounds great – glad you had a good birthday trip while you could – it would have been terrible if you had gone a little later and had both sandy and your flu in NY πŸ™‚ And your baking looks great too

  4. I was so happy to see you again! We now owe you a trip to Canada – and you two must visit us in Colorado!

    I’m absolutely loving the looks of your cookbook recipes, Ricki. Drool-worthy!

    • Oh, yes, PLEASE do come visit!! I think you’d love Toronto in the summer. . . so much to do, and usually gorgeous weather (sunny and 80s-90s). And thanks re: the cookbook pix! πŸ˜€

  5. It was an absolute delight to finally meet you, and much overdue! I’m so happy we could chat in person, but of course, it just wasn’t enough time. I wish I could have stayed about a hundred times longer, of course. There will just have to be a repeat visit, and soon!

    • Hannah, you, too!! I’m so glad we finally managed it after all this time. Though, yes, I do wish we had had more time to gab! Well, it looks like I’ve been bitten by the New York bug, so I am sure there will be more visits in the future! πŸ™‚ xo

  6. Ricki, I just LOVE you. It was SO wonderful to see you. What a FANTASTIC night with Hannah at Pure Food and Wine! Can’t wait for our next catch up. I am SO excited about your new cookbook and all of the other incredible things you have going on. You just inspire me. Love xx

  7. Oh no! I hope you feel better!! What an amazing and fun trip!

  8. I don’t know what I envy more, the wonderful bloggers you got to sit down with in person or the food. Sounds fantastic, thanks for sharing. My friend in Portland has done Andrea’s cleanse and I have shared a version of her Nakayummies on my blog. She sounds amazing!

    • Both were pretty stellar, I’d say (but I’d still pick the company over the food any day!). And how cool that your friend has done one of Andrea’s cleanses–she is one of my health role models, and an amazing person! And I’ve eaten those Nakayummies many times, myself. . . loved this orange-goji version I created, too. πŸ™‚

  9. I was kind of wondering where you were, and now that I know, I’m a little envious! What a great NY trip, and how amazing to have left just in time to miss Sandy. I have NYC friends who still have no heat or water. Such a disaster. I even heard from friends in Cleveland who had no power for a week! It’s been such a long time since we’ve been to NY, and will probably be a long time before we get there again.

    The cookbook recipes look so good β€” the macadamia cookies are especially fetching. How I wish I were a tester!

    • With all the traveling you do, I can’t believe you’d be envious of my wee visit! But it was a great couple of days. Hope you get back soon! πŸ™‚ And thanks for the positive feedback re: the cookbook stuff. Those macadamia cookies were a huge hit with the testers, too!

  10. What a lovely post! Happy happy belated Birthday wishes to you, so glad you are home safely. Hope you’re feeling better ASAP. I sure did enjoy all that you shared here, thank you so much.

  11. That looks like an amazing trip. I think NYC is the best city in the world…and also an amazing mecca of healthy/veg/vegan food.

    All your recipes look and sound AMAZING!!

  12. Oh Ricki! Are there even words for this deliciousness? As amazing as the New York trip looked to be, hand over heart it is your creations that make my heart leap.

    Happy, happy birthday, my darling soon-to-be-hugged friend.

  13. Yeah for the Happy Birthday – I had one too! Glad to know that you are over any flu bugs and feeling well again.

  14. Your trip looks just wonderful, Ricki! So jealous you got to see Tess and Hannah and JL. Happy happy birthday, and may the year ahead be full of resounding cookbook success and joy πŸ™‚

  15. Hi Ricki- I am really interested in the recipes for the pictures you posted above. When do you think the cookbook will be ready and is it anti candida grain and sugar free? Please let me know. Thanks!

    • Thank you so much, Ozlem! The recipes are all vegan (ie, egg and dairy free), gluten free and refined sugar free. There are some grain-free recipes, but not the majority. Most recipes are also free of corn; many are free of soy or nuts. It’s scheduled to be published in October, 2013 (which will arrive a lot faster than I think–I think!!). πŸ˜€

  16. Your trip looks amazing Ricki. I looove Pure Food and Wine. I’ve had both the cheese plate and that mint ice cream sundae (a few times lol). Yummm! Will add a few of those places to my “to do” list for next time I travel to NYC. The food for your next book looks incredible!

    • Heather, thanks so much! Yes, PF & W was quite the adventure–I loved it. I could eat that sundae every day. . . then again, probably not a great idea. πŸ˜‰ And I hope you had a fabulous visit with Hannah–how lucky are YOU?! πŸ˜€

  17. Happy birthday, dear! And of course I can’t wait for your cookbook.

  18. Ah Ricki- not fast enough πŸ™ But we shall wait.

  19. Sorry to hear you’ve been unwell, but it doesn’t look like you let it stop you from having a fabulous time in NY. I’ve made a note of all the places you ate there. The food looks (and sounds) absolutely amazing! NY is top of my wish list of places to visit. I’ll make it there one day!

  20. cute pic of you and JL! so jealous of the Pure Food eats! love that place.

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