A New Perspective

I love restaurants.  Unfortunately, my college-sized wallet does not.  Also, I’m not very good at budgeting when it comes to food.  I love trying new products, and often impulse-buy new-to-me health food items.  This doesn’t leave me much room for spending on restaurants and coffee shops and such.

At home we go out to eat a lot.  But I can’t spend that kind of money on myself here.  Every once in a while, though, I indulge.

Tonight was one of those nights, and I did not regret it.  The other day, my dad sent me a link this article.  The article highlights Souen, an asian (mostly vegan) macrobiotic chain of restaurants in Manhattan.  I have eaten there many times before, but I forgot about the place until now!  I used the opportunity to get together with a friend of mine who I don’t see often, and dragged him to Souen with me.

I wish I had taken a picture of the place itself, it’s really cool looking.  But it was really cold and wet and rainy, so I just wanted my warm food.

After taking a rather long time to decide what to eat, we finally got to it.  We started with the special appetizer – brussels sprouts in peanut sauce.

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This was the perfect, light appetizer.  The sprouts were very fresh and not overcooked or undercooked, and the sauce was not too overpowering like peanut sauces so often are.  Served hot, with a few toasted walnuts.

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kale, spinach, wakame, black beans, kabocha, broccoli, carrot and brown rice, with a choice of dressings - I got tahini dill

For dinner, I ordered the macro plate.  [[click here to read more about macrobiotics from Souen’s site]] I literally squealed when I saw the ratio of greens to other stuff on this plate.  One thing that now bothers me about restaurants is when the menu says the dish has all different veggies, then you get one bite of each.  If I order veggies, I want my veggies! But Souen does really well in this department.  Also, there was a piece of kabocha. Instant win.

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beautiful, colorful bowl of yum!

My friend chose the chef’s special ramen.  He keeps kosher, so he has never had ramen before as it’s usually cooked in fish stock or has pork or shellfish.  At a macrobiotic restaurant? All veggies.  I had a small taste, and the spice was amazing.

I was too full from my giant dinner plate, but my friend wanted to try one of the desserts.

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He went with the green tea mousse (dairy, egg, and soy-free).  The flavor was there, it tasted like they used real matcha powder.  But the texture was definitely not very mousse-like.  It seemed like it was made from agar-agar, and was kind of slimy.

You win some, you lose some – overall it was an excellent meal.

Yes, I’m getting to the meaning behind this post’s title.  Ever since I started getting more into nutrition and super foods, I have a completely new perspective when it comes to dining at restaurants.  I’m unsatisfied with a meal with ingredients that do not taste fresh.  I’m unsatisfied with a meal that doesn’t have enough green.  I’m unsatisfied with a meal that doesn’t have enough protein.  These are not to be taken as disordered thoughts – I have always loved my vegetables.  This is just to say that I have found the best way for me to curb cravings, avoid overeating, and feeling sick or bloated after meals.  Eat a balance.  After eating this way for a while now, I am often unsatisfied by a meal that does not have a good balance.

This meal filled me up, but was light and balanced.  It just physically feels good to eat clean.

Have you ever tried macrobiotic food? Are you a fan?

What is your ideal restaurant meal?

What foods give you energy and that awesome ‘clean-ness’ feel in?


Dates and Brunches

Yes, dates as in the fruit – my life is not all that exciting! It’s friday again! So of course, I have some new finds for you.

I think the biggest, truest discovery this week was covered in yesterday’s post on intuitive eating.  To tell the truth, I was really hesitant to post it, thinking that I would get some nasty replays – but the blog world has been there for me once again.  Thanks, all! Commenters, bloggers, and readers alike 🙂

A good restaurant brunch is really good.

This morning I went to breakfast/brunch at a Chicago chain called Orange with a Peel.  They call themselves a ‘contemporary’ brunch restaurant, and have some really cool things on the menu, like chai latte french toast or jelly doughnut pancakes!  I went with the tried-and-true choice.

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orange flavored coffee, with a bit of soy milk. this stuff was so.good.

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house made granola with almonds, pepitas, raisins, dried cherries, sesame seeds, hemp seed and honey. with really good toasted oats and soy milk.

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I asked them to add blueberries... unfortunately they were frozen, not fresh 😦

I apologize for the sub-par photos, I was using my phone’s camera.

Make it yourself all natural sweetener.

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sweet & simple date paste sweetener

made only with medjool dates, soaked and processed!  I’ve used it to sweeten my coffee and my oats so far, and it’s great!  Very light, and doesn’t change the flavor too much.  And super cheap, too!

Savory Oats. Why didn’t I do this sooner?

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with some mixed greens, a homemade tomato and red pepper sauce, tempeh and nooch

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all mixed up and ready to eat!

These made a full meal, but were light and so delicious!

Now it’s off to bed before Zumba (!!) tomorrow morning.

Do you like restaurant brunch?

Have you ever made your own sweetener or used date paste? Thoughts?

Savory oats – yes or no?