JuiceWell is not just another juice bar in NYC. Recently open in the heart of Soho, this hidden gem within an office building, may be a easy to miss but it would be a shame if you did. Manya has created a bubble of freshness within her little retail space where she sells, well, juices (with an Ayurvedic twist which I love), smoothies, nut milks, flavored coconut waters, vegan food, all made in her New Jersey facility with local ingredients carefully picked by local farmers she partners with. She also hires local employees with the aim for JuiceWell to be fully part of the community.
Manya has many successes under her belt: former Editor in the documentary industry, Birth Doula, Yoga Instructor, Trained Natural Chef, Certified Holistic Nutrition Counselor but her dream, as a little girl, was to run a health food store. Well, she might just be living it up, as she's expanding her juice shop into a wellness destination where you can find inspiring books, 100% natural and organic skincare, superfoods, raw chocolate and more goodies that will "help you feel better and think higher" to quote her.
We got a glimpse of Spring over the weekend but it is definitely still Winter and your skin might start showing signs of unusual dryness because of the cold... Fear not, I have what you need: a visit between Karen's hands and her natural sensitivity to feel people and their skin will get you relaxed-beyond-measures and red-carpet-ready within an hour or so.
For facials, Karen uses 2 brands she picked wisely based on their ingredients and ethic. As a 100% natural beauty aficionada, Karen used Ilike on me, her organic skin care brand, made in Hungary for over 50 years. Each product is full of fruits and/or herbal ingredients rich in vitamins that will nourish and beautify your skin from the inside out. My skin indulged in a nettle exfoliating wash, a spinach and horestail exfoliator, a seven herb mask AND a rich carrot mask, talk about a treat!
So if you feel that your skin could take a sweet break from the cold, you know where to go...
Walking around the East Village looking for a stamp shop to brand my first beauty truffles for sale (yay), I finally came across Liquiteria. One of the very first juice destination in the city, since 1996, that had been on my list of juicy spots to try for a while but had not crossed my path yet. I immediately loved the vacation feel when you walk in with the blue mosaic tiles, the wooden counter, the aloe vera sitting on it... It almost felt as if I walked into a beach cabana to get a fresh coconut (not a bad thing on a cold NYC winter day). No coconut here but an nice selection of cold-pressed juices that, Corinne, the assistant general manager there, very kindly offered me to sample ~ BLISS ~ They were all delicious with my preference going to the Killer XX with a double dose of ginger and the Grasshoper, green and fruity at the same time. I also loved that they include (and sell separately) their very own mixes of boosters for your immune system, digestion, relaxation or whatever else you may need to give your juice that extra "je ne sais quoi"....
Say you were in NYC and the winter started to feel a little too cold, too snowy, too long... and you caught yourself dreaming about a burger to lift you up and/or keep you warm. Well, Bareburger would be the place to go.
The concept is simple: offering the best burgers to the meat and non-meat eaters, the gluten-free, the paleo, the nut-allergic, the vegan, you name it, they have an option for you and some pretty unusual ones too (if, for some odd reasons to me, you were to crave an ostrich burger, they have it). Celine and I decided to go the veggie way and tried the portobello and the black bean burger, wrapped in iceberg lettuce - not the most elegant to eat but damn good! Oh and all their ingredients is carefully selected to be all-natural (no chemicals or colorant of some sort) and organic (no pesticides). They even promote healthy eating programs in NYC public schools, I like!
Two posts in 1 day?!? Why not, it is LOVE day after all! So after what to eat to make you and your lover feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, how about a little Love Potion from Tata Harper to keep the magic going? Another inspiring brand I look up to when it comes to 100% natural skincare made with love and, most importantly in that industry, integrity.
I had heard so much good things about Tata Harper recently, I decided to treat myself for V-day with their Winter Moisturizing Essential pouch so I could try as many products as I could in one shot! And yes, they are as good as I was told. I am absolutely in love with their Refreshing Cleanser that I use along the lines of the oil cleansing method (another blog post coming soon) that makes my skin feeling so soft and fresh.The smell of their Replenishing Nutrient Complex is to die for if you like essential oils and their Be Fierce lipbalm will leave your lips nourished and pouty ~ what's not to LOVE about all that? Mantra of the day: Love yourself and the skin you're in!
PEACE FOOD CAFE: With a name as such, peacefood cafe's food can only taste and be good for you! To quote them, peacefood cafe serves delicious, innovative and healthy vegan cuisine prepared with mindfulness, gratitude and the intention to nurture spirit and body. Hmmm hmmm hmmm.... As a strong believer of one of the principles of Ayurveda, that the energy and love one puts into making food is key to be of the highest good to your mind, body and soul, I can only resonate with that mission statement. Their uptown location has a nice homey feel to it while the downtown one is more contemporary looking, pick and choose based on your mood of the day! And as you can see from the happy look of my dear friend Amber, whom I'll blog about in the very near future to tell you more about her Soul Sister Collective, peacefood cafe makes you warm and fuzzy from the inside out!
ROCKIN'RAW: What better way to spend a snowy night in NYC than enjoying warm and comforting raw food. Yes, raw food can we warm as is still considered "raw" when the ingredients are dehydrated or cooked in the oven below 116 degrees F.
I don't which method was used to make the dishes we tried but I know one thing, it was one of the tastiest raw food I've had. The lasagna - layers of zucchini, mushrooms, marinara sauce and sunflower cheese - were just seasoned to perfection and the burrito and its flax tortilla chips was comforting and left you feel satisfied (and not borderline sick) with their reasonable size... Just enough room left to try what Rockin'Raw is famous for: D*E*S*S*E*R*T. And boy, was it worth it! Peruvian Coffee Mousse Pie & Lucuma Cheesecake, needless to say: it was decadent... Don't take my words for granted, but apparently, I wasn't the only one enjoying myself...
THE JUICE PRESS: Since I got back to NYC, I started seeing a lot of Juice shops around, and more specifically The Juice Press ones. No wonder, they currently have 14 in town plus 4 more coming soon. I knew it would take no time until I stumbled upon one in my new UWS neighborhood. Sure enough, here it was on 82nd and Columbus Av... It was no time for breakfast, lunch or dinner yet when I walked it, but isn't it always Juice time? I was feeling a little indulgent that day and went for their Miracle Mylk that I had heard great things about: hemp and sesame seeds, cucumber juice, chlorophyll, raw agave nectar, raw coconut sugar, sea salt. Oh my, who knew green juice could taste like ice cream!?! Oh and they had me try their Cheer Up Kale Chips: kale and granola sweetened with pineapple and coconut sugar. Weird combination you say? I say BestOfBothHealthAndGourmandWorld! Juice on!
ORGANIC AVENUE: After ever-so-slightly indulging over the Holidays, I could feel my body and mind craving a break, a reset to start the new year fresh! Being back in NYC, I decided to give a try to a 5-day-day-juice-cleanse with Organic Avenue. They have locations all over the city which makes it super convenient to pick up fresh juices every morning (though you could get them delivered to your door too). I picked mine up from the 74th and Lex location and Hilary, the manager there, was such a sweetheart and so knowledgeable about all the benefits of the ingredients going into each juice!
OA also has a nice selection of natural cosmetics, superfoods, salads, kale chips and all you can shop from but most importantly they have delicious juices!!! I'm on day 4 so I tried quite a few by now... My favorites: Jalapina, Royal Red Juice, Coconut Mylk and I can't wait to taste their Matcha Chia Glo!!! Oh and their Dragon's Breath booster shot is just that, fiiiyyyyaaaa goodness!
SUN IN BLOOM: Visiting a friend in Brooklyn one day, I was looking for a little something to bring when I stumbled upon Sun In Bloom. The typical NYC atmosphere of the red bricks, the warm earthy tones of the wooden tables along with the very contemporary metal look of the chairs pushed me to walk in. Juices, raw, vegan dishes & desserts in the fridge for you to pick up and go or an amazing menu full of "Food for Happy Thoughts", I was sold! My friend got the best vegan cupcakes in town that day and I walked into one of my favorite places in NYC. Need I say more after looking at the Bella Divine Salad and Raw Chocolate Vanilla Mousse below? Oh and @ChefAimee is a doll and her staff super friendly (see Jeremy's smile below), what more to ask? I can already hear some of you say "What about the non-brooklynites?" Fear not friends, Aimee is opening a take-out spot in Tribeca this february! Stay put!
GROUND SUPPORT CAFE: Another spot I walked into by chance on a rainy Saturday afternoon a few years ago, looking for a place to warm up and dry out! Their coffee is strong, yum, always pretty and they do serve it with almond milk upon request! They have a nice snack menu, non-vegan but nonetheless delicious for what I've tried aka. crumbly cinnamon cookie below! Oh and I had a few magical random encounters there with lovely @tarastiles and @miketaylor (in his hat below), whom have been so friendly from the first one on! Great Soho spot to recharge post-shopping!
HAMPTON CHUTNEY CO.: For the Indian food lovers out there, if you're craving dosas and uttapam, Hampton Chutney is the place to be! Quick bite kinda place, perfect for a post-yoga class snack (equally close to Strala Yoga and Virayoga) in Soho. The filling of these large South Indian crispy sourdough crepes has been adapted to the Westerners pallet but the home-made chutneys are still very much Indian inspired: curry, cilantro, mango, peanut, tomato, you name it, they have it!
JENNIFER'S WAY: My friend @RebeccaLeffler, whom I met at Virayoga realizing post-downward dog that I had been reading her articles on the great mindbodygreen.com blog for months, is the one who introduced me to this Lower East Side gluten free bakery. This tiny little shop on 10th street, next to Live Live (see the New York ~ Beauty section) and Qintessence vegan restaurant, is possibly the cutest bakery you'll walk into. I didn't get the chance to meet Jennifer in person but Anna, behind the counter below, was there to explain that everything here is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy and refined sugar free to avoid most allergens and most digestive disruptive culprits. Most importantly everything on the menu is delicious! I tried a few of their chocolate chip, jam dots, oatmeal and raisin cookies and they were to die for! If you've had bad experience with gluten free pastries, give a try to Jennifer's way, it's so worth it!
JIVAMUKTEA: Funny enough I've never taken a Jivamukti Yoga Class but I've spent a lot of time at their cafe. It's a great place to work on your computer, good wifi, quiet atmosphere, comfortable banquettes and delicious organic & vegan food. From fresh juices to smoothies, masala chai with almond milk, protein rich salads, yogi quick & light bites and a nice selection of desserts that changes daily. Oh and it's litterally on Union Square, couldn't me more central and convenient!
LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN: This Belgian chain is more notorious for their flaky croissants, their delicious pastries and rich chocolate spreads but they have more and more health food choices as colorful to yours eyes, tasty to your buds! They have seasonal suggestions and the ones I tried while in the middle of a typical NYC snow storm were just hearty and warming enough, to my mind, body and soul: Kale Ceasar Salad, Hemp Blondie and Turmeric Chai, say what???
ONE LUCKY DUCK: One Lucky Duck is another little gem in this glorious city I adore so much! Small juice bar / raw vegan organic take away / superfood shop, One Lucky Duck is the little sister of Pure Food and Wine, one of the first upscale vegan restaurant in NYC (where I haven't had the chance to dine yet, being on a traveler's budget but I will, soon enough!) So yes, whether you need to restock on hemp seeds or spirulina, crave a hearty shake or a decadent raw cacao treat, you'll be in the right place! And that's whether you're on the East or the West side as they have locations on both sides of the island! Sweet!
THE BUTCHER'S DAUGHTER: I know, you're probably wondering what a butcher is doing on such a blog... You'll understand in a minute: "At the Butcher's Daughter, we treat fruits and vegetables as a butcher would meat: we chop, fillet and carve fresh produce into healthy vegetarian dishes and press them into pretty juices." Smart huh? I'll be honest, I haven't tried there food yet but I tried one of their juices and it was out-of-this-world-delicious and by far the most original I've ever had: Watermelon, Fennel, Honeydew, Cactus Pear, Lime, Agave, Lavender flower, bliss...
ELLARY'S GREENS: Another great find from miss @RebeccaLeffler for both the veggie and the meat eaters! This restaurant came up with the simple yet brilliant idea of serving natural and organic foods only, yet attach to no other label than that! Just good healthy food that will satisfy grown up and kids! Isn't my God Daughter a cutie? Love her to pieces!
Pssst, if you're feeling under the weather, they have ginger shots, eeewwwwweeeee!
QUINTESSENCE: Who knew there would be such goodness going on on E 10th street, quiet little street on the Lower East Side... Right next to Jennifer's Way mentioned above and Live Live in the Beauty section, you'll find a mom and pop kinda place, ready to serve you Life Food, aka. fruits, veggies and grains, never heated above 118°F to preserve all enzymes, vitamins and minerals intact. Not the most hip-and-happening place to be but a warm and cozy spot where you'll be welcomed with a shot of wheat grass and will leave satisfied from your veggie sushi or anything else you may choose!
PROVENCE SANTE: I recently came across a natural - mostly organic - professional skincare brand that I've been playing around with in my bathroom in the last few days.... As most of you know, I only use 100% natural, ayurvedic or homemade products in my beauty rituals but, I'll admit, I'm always game to try something new. I had heard good things about Provence Sante, so I decided to gibe it a try - I did and my skin, who is the only fair judge, was happily surprised.
I loved their BambooPeachFacialScrub. The fruity smell was very subtle yet enjoyable and the particles were small enough to be gentle yet strong to do their job and leave my skin nice and smooth.
I also liked their BorageAlmondCoconutAntiAgeingMask (yes, you gotta start early...) and I cannot wait to apply on a sticky NYC summer night, as it had a pleasant cooling effect.
Their MangoCacaoCarrotTintedCream left a nice glow on my winter cheeks, which was quite appreciated too.
Next on my list will be their OrganicEyeAndLipContour and I'd also love to try their different oils! What would you try?
stardustbeauty.com Pictures: courtesy of Provence Sante
HAIRMATES: Yes, It's been 3 years already since I last lived in NYC and I still managed to get my hair cut by Mika @HairMates whenever I visited during those 3 years... That's how good she is and how much I like this no-frill Japanese hair salon around Astor Place. Mika is not the kind of hair-dresser who's afraid to touch you, neither the artist-wannabe acting all deep and s##t... She just knows what she's doing, she feels you and your hair, she almost gets in some kind of meditation (or that might just be me, that's how much I love getting my hair done)... Long story short, if you want to give your greenjuicedhealthyvibrant mane a shape, HairMates is the place to go and Mika the person to ask for!
LIVE LIVE AND ORGANIC: Have your ever heard of Ali Baba's cave? Well I might have just found my own cave... Right in the heart of the East Village, Live Live (pronounced "leave-lyve") has as many references similar to your neighborhood health food store (natural skincare, superfood, raw chocolate bars, supplements, snacks...) except that everything is super nicely merchandised, clean, colorful, flowered, vibrant... just a beautiful little store with a stunning artsy window! They distribute various brands but also have their own and are really well know for their Be Yummy Skin Food, an edible face cream made with honey, propolis, bee pollen, royal jelly and other 100% natural goodies that will nourish your skin like nobody's business! I tried it and my dry skin for the last few frigid days was gone in no time! Very unique finds such as liquid crystal deodorant, E3 Live soaps, Pure Synergy superfood blend, Chaga anti-aging tincture make Live Live my favorite lifestyle store in NYC!
PRATIMA SPA: I can't express how much I love Pratima Spa. My universe opened up to the world of Ayurveda when I stumbled upon Pratima website many years ago, thanks to a series of synchronistic searches. I have been hooked ever since...
If YOU are looking for the best massages (Cynthia is amazing) and facials in town (Mina will make you glow like noone), look no further, Pratima is THE place to go. The experience will start from the hallway where you'll smell the warming scents of essential oils and opening that door will take you to a whole other dimension, pure bubble of bliss and TLC. You'll also be able to get 100% natural ayurvedic skincare products for the magic to continue in the comfort of your own home.
Trust me, your mind, body and soul (and skin!) will thank you for stepping in...
www.pratimaskincare.com Pictures: courtesy of pratimaskincare.com