You know what I hate more than anything in the world? People who recline their seat on an airplane. They suck. They suck hardcore. I am SO close to stealing the pillow of the guy in front of me and punching him in the face. Sorry, flying makes me a bitter person. Anyway, before I left for LA, I met up with Jen and Victor for dinner at Bareburger, one of my favorite burger places in the city. They are so passionate about sourcing sustainably; even their decor is made out of reclaimed material. Most of their meat (except their bison and elk) comes from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. 

The cool thing about them is that they have something for almost every diet. I don't think there has been a single person that I have taken to Bareburger who doesn't like it. They have gluten-free options for someone like me, by offering a gluten-free tapioca bun or a lettuce wrap (I prefer to go with the lettuce wrap). They also have vegetarian and vegan options, by offering a dairy-free, nut-free veggie patty or a portabella mushroom burger. And best part, they are pretty affordable for organic fare. If you haven't checked them out already, I highly recommend it. They are awesome. 
 
 
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Today was my last day of work. It was totally bitter sweet. A part of me was excited for the new opportunity and move to Boston, but then a part of me was sad to leave a place where I had gotten so comfortable and made so many friends. It's especially sad because Megha, one of my really close friends from college has been working with me for the past two years. We used to be notorious for taking coffee breaks, roaming the halls, and going on vacations together. But it is time to move on, and keeping with the bitter sweet sentiments of the day, I thought I would make a blackberry cobbler - using the sweetness of the honey to balance out the bitterness of the blackberries.

This cobbler is such a crowd pleaser. I've made this before for a family party, and if I can please 20 Indians with a sugar-free/grain-free dessert, you know it's a winner. I also made one for Rachel (my roommate). She couldn't reheat it because our oven is totally jank, but apparently it still tasted heavenly even when served cold! 

For this cobbler, I got the ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket. The blackberries are from Phillips Farm, the egg was from Central Valley Farm, and the honey was from Andrew's Honey


 
 
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Eating local doesn't mean you are always stuck in the kitchen. There are plenty of restaurants around New York that source locally and are proud to say it. Northern Spy Food Co. (12th between Ave A and B) is one of them, and they are fantastic because their online menu links you directly to the farm that their ingredients are sourced from. I wish more restaurants would do this.

Not only are they transparent about where they get their ingredients, but also their food is fantastic! Simi and I went this weekend and had marinated beets, fried green tomatoes (after New Orleans, I can't get enough of these), tilefish, and pork. Funny enough, their pork is from Flying Pigs, one of my favorite farms at the Union Square Greenmarket. All of it was so delicious, and I was so full after dinner that I didn't have room for dessert (that rarely happens). 

 
 
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I wanted to make these during the week, but with all of my going away madness* and my brother leaving for his freshman year at UCLA**, I just didn't get a chance to be in the kitchen. Anyway, since I am going to LA on Tuesday***, I thought I would get rid of all of my local produce in the kitchen and cook these stuffed zucchinis to last me for lunch today and tomorrow. I got the pork from Violet Hill Farm at the Union Square Farmers Market. I have gotten chicken from them before, but I usually get my pork from Flying Pigs. I actually really liked the ground pork that I got from them this time, and I will probably put them into my rotation more.

The zucchini turned out excellent. The tanginess of the mustard combined with the sweetness of the zucchini made a wonderful and totally yummy combination. I don't think it lacked a sauce, but a sauce would have taken it up a notch.
 
*My coworkers and I may have taken #YOLO to a whole other level.
**I could not be anymore jealous. The kid lives the dream, all day everyday.
***Unfortunately, I am going to have to take a week off from the Locavore Challenge since I am going to be traveling, but when I come back I will have a week off of work (that hopefully won't be taken up with apartment hunting in Boston) to prepare lots of recipes with local ingredients!


 
 
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I am totally a summer girl. Even though my birthday is in October, I really should have been born in the summer. I love everything about it: the smell of garbage in the New York summer air, the hot stickiness of the furnace-like subway platform, and the crazy homeless people at Union Square Park. Ok so maybe those things suck, but you know what, I don't care. You know why - because with summer comes a laid back attitude, people watching, summer dresses, Central Park picnics, sunshine, weekend getaways, and best of all, summer fruit. NOTHING is better than summer fruit. Strawberries, watermelon, lychee, peaches, mango...need I go on. 

In honor of the end of summer, I thought I would make Almond Coconut Pancakes with Strawberry Butter. Even though they didn't come out very round because I realized after I made the batter that I didn't have a spatula, they were beyond delicious. Honestly, I wanted to whip up another batch right after I devoured the first. 

Serve this baby up with a side of pastured nitrate-free bacon, and you've got yourself a well rounded meal. Maybe not, but tevs, summer is over. I might as well indulge while I can.


 
 
As you know, I signed up for the NY 2012 Locavore Challenge. It is a month-long campaign to encourage consumers across New York to eat local foods. Over the 30 days of the challenge, they propose a different mini-challenge everyday. Today is Day 4 and today's challenge is to "share the challenge via social media." I decided to share it with you guys, and talk about 3 reasons why you should source locally.

1) Eating local foods means eating fresher foods. Since the food is not spending time in transit or being cold-stored, the food is fresher. Fresher food means better taste and more nutritional value. Next time you are at the farmer's market, ask the farmer how long ago his/her produce was picked. Most produce at a farmer's market is harvested 24 hrs before it is sold. This means that the produce is picked at the peak of it's ripeness. 

 
 
I wanted to have a very New York Weekend this Labor Day weekend, and everyone knows you can't have a New York Weekend without doing brunch. Ishita, my partner in crime and amazing food blogger, suggested Tom Colicchio's Riverpark for brunch. Riverpark is known for it's farm right next to the restaurant and views along the east river. This was perfect since I signed up for the 2012 Locavore Challenge. What could be more local than a restaurant that sources from a garden in it's own concrete backyard? We had an amazing watermelon dusted with merken to start that was picked from their farm. Unfortunately, they would not disclose the purveyor of their meat. I hate when restaurants do that. I just kind of want to be like, "why are you being so shady?"

 
 
Rumor has it, I am moving to Boston. Shocking, I know. This weekend my friends decided to take me to the basement of Penny Farthing to show me what my life in Boston is going to be like. They are mean, and I may or may not have had a mild panic attack. So to make it up to me, they took me to do one of the most New York things possible: fancy cocktails and pork buns at Booker and Dax, part of Momofuku Ssam. I  am a huge Momofuku/David Chang supporter. Chang is known for supporting small local farmers and using nose-to-tail dining at most of his restaurants.

This weekend has been filled with so much food and fullness, I just wanted something light and vegetarian for dinner. So I decided to make falafel, but instead of the garbanzo beans I used cauliflower (adapted from I Breathe...I'm Hungry).  The original recipe calls for frying, but since I wanted to avoid frying, I cooked them stove top and then finished in the oven.  It tasted surprisingly very similar to real falafel!

 
 
OK guys, amateur hour is over. This weekend we went over to Simi's new apartment to christen it. Simi (my bff, sommelier, and wiz in the kitchen) told me to pick out a recipe and get the ingredients to make dinner. I totally overestimated Simi's skills and just picked up some pork chops, some cheese, a bundle of strawberries, and a couple of tomatoes and showed up at her apartment. She was like, "um, where is the recipe and what am I supposed to do with this?" Total fail on my part, but her, being as awesome as she is, actually was able to whip up something totally phenomenal from my random assortment of ingredients. 

I got the pork chops from Arcadian Pastures at Eataly. Eataly is my go to when I haven't planned ahead. They have some great farms, and they will always tell you where their meat is coming from.

 
 
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You know how some days you are just jonesing for some Mexican food (if you say no, we are no longer friends). But Mexican food usually has a lot of beans, cheese, and rice - all of which are super yummy, but also super faileo. So I went over to Everyday Paleo, one of my favorite paleo blogs and found this fantastic mexican meatball recipe.

The balls came out a little dry. (Don't you dare 'that's what she said' that. That's just nast.) I think next time I will be a bit more heavy with the sauce when cooking them or add an egg, but it still tasted fantastic nonetheless.

I got the ground beef from Grazin' Angus Acres at the Union Square Farmers Market. Their cattle is grass-fed and finished, and they are Animal Welfare Approved.