Delicious Detox—Nourish Kitchen + Table

Photos by Lauren DeFilippo

The most fit and happy cooks will tell you their secret is simply to make healthy meals taste as good—or better—than their favorite indulgences. But for those of us who are intimidated by cooking at home, getting off to the right start can be a struggle. Cue Nourish Kitchen + Table in New York City’s West Village.

Weekender Entree Salad

Weekender Entree Salad

The shop grew out of nutritionist Marissa Lippert’s work with her clients; she saw the need for a healthy takeaway shop that provides the “comfort of a kitchen away from home.” Nourish has expanded that mission to include a few eat-in tables with views into an open kitchen, offering the friendly calm one hopes for (but too seldom finds) in the city’s many coffee shops.

On the subject of caffeine, Nourish offers top-notch Counter Culture coffee and Harney & Sons teas, but serious detoxers will appreciate Lippert’s custom line of juices and smoothies. Among them, a green juice for the vegetable juice-averse, spruced up with a bright splash of grapefruit, pineapple and the mild heat of jalapeno.

Detox Salad and Frittata

Detox Salad and Frittata

But the drinks are only a drop in Nourish’s nutritional bucket. From the savory side of the menu, we sampled a raw kale “detox salad”. With exotic flavors and diverse texture (sesame oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, almonds, pear and watermelon radish), this is far from your average health food. A second “weekender entree” salad—chock-full with crispy duck confit, dried cherries, sunflower seeds, sliced radish, tarragon, parsley, scallion and candied orange peel—offered similar complexity, growing more exciting with each bite.

Black Quinoa Salad, Roasted Chicken and Sunchokes

Black Quinoa Salad, Roasted Chicken and Sunchokes

In short, the deprivation most people associate with “detoxing” is the antithesis of Nourish Kitchen’s mission. The menu tends toward Middle Eastern flavors, similar to the style of celebrated Israel-born chef, Yotam Ottolenghi. Though the dishes change with the quality and seasonality of local produce (as well as Marissa’s creativity), each plate consistently includes bright and bold flavors. For example, the shop always offers a roasted chicken recipe (when we visited, lacquered with date syrup and spices). Its sticky, caramelized glaze paired perfectly with roasted sunchokes and a black quinoa salad with walnuts, sundried tomatoes, parsley and edamame. It was a sweet, earthy feast that both top chefs and personal trainers would enjoy.

The menu doesn’t stop at satisfying dinners. For brunch, a rotating cast of veggies fill a fluffy frittata—the ideal way to refuel after an intense morning workout (or a long night out). And for those with a sweet tooth, you can’t miss “Bebe’s coconut macaroons”, snowballs of shaved coconut with a crispy crust and moist, sticky interior (naked or dipped in dark chocolate).

Bebe’s Macaroons and Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

Bebe’s Macaroons and Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

Among the other sweets we sampled: “Persian” wedding cookies and a sweet potato bundt cake. Light and crumbly, the former are inspired by traditional mexican wedding cookies, with the middle eastern twist of pistachio and rosewater. The bundt was dense, moist, laced with chocolate shavings and topped with a subtle orange glaze. It was the kind of cake that literally melts in your mouth, but had a grounded sweetness that wouldn’t prompt a sugar spike.

If dessert doesn’t get your heart racing, the small, expertly curated shelves of aspirational kitchenware will easily seduce you. Stocked with exceptional everyday objects—from cookbooks, to design-driven dishware and even Lior Lev Sercarz’s celebrated spice blends—it’s the ideal place to pick up a special gift for friends.

nourish_6&7.jpg

In short, there’s a lot going on in Nourish’s small space, and the brand’s ambitions continue to grow. Lippert has already launched a catering division and has future plans for an online boutique. Yet no matter the number of moving parts, her end result is wholly coherent: diverse dishes that play extraordinarily well together and an eccentric, but clean design aesthetic.

Of all the shop’s assets, none surpass the rare experience of raving about plates that are as energizing as they are exceptional—digging in, not with guilt, but with good intentions. In that sense, Nourish Kitchen + Table couldn’t be more aptly named. For your eyes, mouth, mind, body—and soul—it is a deeply satisfying experience. So don’t just come for the takeout. Stay a while, and indulge in the rewards of your resolutions.

recipe: all-green smoothie

We've all heard about the celebrity following and myriad health benefits of "green juices". But even for those of us who like the flavor of "musty grass" (as one friend put it), paying upwards of $9-a-pop for the health fix seems absurd. Moreover, the DIY types will tell you that juicers are labor of love (emphasis on labor - they're obnoxious to clean), and thus often end up on the shelf.  If you've gone through all those steps and still want the green stuff, you've maybe considered the green smoothie option - typically linked with buying the infamous Vitamix (yup, that's where I'm at). But the frugal foodie  - and MacGyver - inside me wouldn't stand for it, so I set off down the green smoothie road with only a mediocre blender at my side. (This isn't the first time I've mis-used my blender for bizarre projects.) Well, the first batch ended up all over my kitchen - but! - it did work. After a few go-rounds, I worked out the kinks and quickly became addicted to the little suckers. I tested the satiation question last week (this isn't a cleanse, and I'm anti-starving oneself for any purpose), and after a busy workweek with only green smoothies for breakfast, I can honestly attest they are energy in a cup. Caffeine without the crash. (Basically, I'm a convert...I'm sipping one now.)

Energy in a Cup: All-Green Smoothie

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 3 romaine leaves
  • 5 kale leaves (de-stemmed)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1-2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • Lemon juice/lime juice/unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Pour water into your blender.
  2. Finely chop and add to blender (one vegetable at a time) celery, cucumber, romaine, kale, avocado.
  3. Scoop out ripe avocado, blend into mixture.
  4. Add minced/chopped ginger and herbs to mixture.
  5. When you are ready to serve, add acidity to taste: either a healthy squeeze of lemon/lime juice, or – for a probiotic boost – a splash of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
Notes/Tips
1. Blend the cucumbers and celery into the water first. This will create a good liquid base that will make it easier to blend in all the other, rougher veggies. (You can use a wooden spoon to pre-mix the rougher vegetables into pre-existing liquid in order to ease the process.) 2. Be easy on your blender, especially if you don't have a Vitamix. Use the ice-chop/pulse button to break things up before testing the higher settings. 3. Don't overfill your blender. If you get it more than 2/3 full (unless you are making a very water-y smoothie), you will definitely end up with green juice flying around. 4. Make your smoothies on the thick side for easy conservation. Add lemon/lime/apple cider vinegar and extra water just before eating, to make the texture more drinkable.

seen and heard: Anthony Bourdain really "doesn't give a fuck"...until he does.

Nearly two weeks later, my taste buds are still processing the New York Wine & Food Festival's Grand Tasting event, a rambunctious and nearly overwhelming tornado of food tasting and celebrity chef sightings. After methodically making the rounds to each of the up-and-coming restaurant's tables - stuffed to the gills and eager to take a break from the Tasting - I took a seat for the live chef demonstrations, watching cooking demonstrations by Alton Brown, Michael Symon and Morimoto - as well as an interview with Anthony Bourdain.

On such a gluttonous, indulgent occasion (the proceeds of which, ironically, go to support the Food Bank for NYC and Share Our Strength) I was hardly expecting the crowd - or the celebrity chefs - to be talking about health and nutrition.  Yet the topic seemed the leitmotif of the culinary demonstrations.  The crowd asked questions about salt, fats and chefs' personal health regimes.  Michael Symon, a notorious pork (and pork fat) aficionado, voiced his healthful aversion to processed food: "I don't eat anything from a box, bag or can...other than canned beans and tomatoes".  But the most outspoken, unexpected (and almost unintentional) health advocate was the self-professed, post-"bad boy" Anthony Bourdain.

If you like Anthony Bourdain, it's probably because you can count on him to be honest to a fault (and at the most inappropriate times).  He's has gotten quite a lot of flack these days, most notably for his comment regarding Paula Deen. And since his network has been taken over by Scripps Networks Interactive, he's found himself in a bit of a tough spot.    But at the NYCWFF, ironically, his "I don't give a fuck" attitude served to highlight something more meaningful than his media-inflicted "bad boy" persona.  Because when it comes to obesity and the new obsession with watching food TV...well, Tony does "give a fuck".

In the full mastery of the Bourdain style, Tony told us what we already know, but had perhaps not yet considered:

  • Diabetes and obesity are not funny; if it "takes 10 minutes for you to get out of your car" he doesn't think that's a laughing matter.
  • The obsession with Food TV is a relatively new thing.  And TV Chefs should be compared -not to professional chefs in restaurant kitchens - but to Julia Child.  She encouraged people to get smarter and better, not to feel complacent about themselves (or glorify excessive use of butter, deep frying, etc. in the middle of an obesity epidemic)
  • As a former restaurant chef, he feels strongly about certain things, like "how to cook a steak" and whether or not we should be able to "order a hamburger medium rare".  And he's disappointed by the decisions of those [TV Chefs] who say it's "OK to buy a pre-chopped onion".

And Bourdain's straight-talkin' rolled right on through other topics, like fatherhood, food writing and the relationship between food and culture.

  • His daughter is never going to see him doing jello shots out of the a stripper's belly button. "Daddy doesn't do that", it's just not going to happen.
  • If you're writing about food, there's only so many adjectives you can use before you are creatively exhausted.  And by eating in a lot of restaurants, your perspective on a "good meal" changes dramatically.  No great food writer was ever a snob.  What the NYTimes does, rotating people out after 2-3 years is smart, because once you lose your sense of "awe and wonder" you're past your food-writing prime.
  • On food in second and third-world countries: "Food is important, food tells a story...about what they are eating, but also what they are not eating".  It is amazing what people do "with nothing"; taking what little you have, paying attention, and putting in the time to make it delicious, "that is cooking."
  • He spends a lot of time in Middle America.  Rather than sneering down on people in our own country who we don't agree with, why not treat them with the same cultural interest that we give other countries?  "Empathy is a good thing...Understanding your enemy is a strategically wise thing to do".

Essentially, it all came down to one central message.  In the middle of a crowd of food worshipers (who had basically just engaged in a hedonistic food ritual), Bourdain was reminding us that food matters.  What we eat and why we eat it matters.  And not only does it matter, but it tells a story about who we are and the culture we live in.

I don't think I have to say the obvious: I have the utmost respect for Anthony Bourdain and the practical, cultural lens through which he views food.  I'm sure he'd reject the word "activism" or the term "raising awareness", because frankly, he "doesn't give a fuck" and he's just trying to ride out the crazy adventure of his fame for as long as he can.

But no matter where it came from, thank you Tony - for giving enough of a fuck, if only by accident...maybe.