A Word from New Zealand

March 15, 2010 § 4 Comments

Sincere apologies for not updating on my trip to Kiwiland… but quite frankly, i just couldn’t bring myself to spend too much time online in this incredible place.  Once I’m back in the States (very early on Monday morning) I’ll get crackin on a full update of my amazing visit to this nearly fully sustainable country.  

In the meantime… here’s a quick recap. While in NZ, I…

Drove  on the wrong side of the road, and the wrong side of the car. And didn’t die. 

Stayed with a couple who both, separately, received medals from the Queen of England for saving vast parts of NZ wildlife from the governments’ efforts to destroy it. 

Ate butterfish, pulled from the ocean an hour earlier, with the man who speared it (yes, SPEARED it).

Learned how to clean and prepare fresh abalone.

Hugged an avocado tree out of shear joy at being near one. 

Ate no less than 15lbs of fresh-from-the-tree Omega Plums. 

Whitewater rafted over a waterfall.

Attended a traditional Maori hangi (feast), for which they slow roasted meat and vegetables in the ground all day. 

Watched the world’s first sunrise on my 26th birthday.

Drove along The Forgotten Highway for 5 hours, and quickly realized why we were the only ones driving it. 

Devoured New Zealand lamb, venison, mussels, fish, beef and stone fruit like it was going out of style. 

Got my first tattoo. 

Drank incredible pinot noir at cult vineyard Mt. Difficulty in Central Otago… and then decided to go bungy jumping immediately after. 

Bungy jumped off a bridge in Central Otago.

Ate the freshest, cleanest, most ethical and delicious food of my life without even trying. 

*I promise a full recap with pictures once I have better access… thanks everyone for putting up with my 2 week blog break! Im back on with a vengeance, starting Monday 🙂

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Mid-Winter Blues (Time to Escape!)

February 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

So… listen, I love meat and potatoes as much the next red blooded American. But I am so getting pretty bored with my food lately.  I had an EcoFriendly Foods pork blade steak and sweet potatoes for dinner, and as tasty as it was… my tastebuds are going to go on strike soon if they don’t get something fresh and juicy.  This is right about the time it happens every year, late February- the dead middle of winter.  No, I haven’t quite gotten sick of kale yet (especially since we’ve put my favorite Crispy Kale on the new Market menu at Sweetgreen Logan), but I am wanting something new soon. 

So, being the clever girl I am and knowing this would happen, I planned a trip months ago to ease my projected mid-winter blues. Somewhere it’s warm… with beaches… and has a fantastic growing climate… somewhere it’s summer in February… somewhere like… New Zealand!!

Yes friends, on Thursday I’ll be leaving for New Zealand for 2 and half weeks. While it’s not a great time to be leaving Sweetgreen, I planned the trip months ago while I was still at DCCK (and had loads of vacation time built up).  With all the changes that have been happening in my life lately though (new job, recently single…), I really need this vacation.  This is going to be very, very good for me.

I have absolutely no plans once I get there. I literally have a plane ticket and a passport and that’s about it. I’m just going to get a car (probably should reserve that soon?) and drive around looking for food… and farms… and vineyards.  New Zealand is pretty much the most sustainable country in the world (probably by virtue of necessity- they are 2000 miles from the nearest land mass, making them the most remote country on earth).  I cannot wait!!

Yes, eating local and in season is important, and delicious, and the right way to live.  But that doesn’t mean that for 1 month out of the year you won’t get bored. You will. So just prepare yourself- freeze summer tomatoes, strawberries, peaches… and plan a vacation in February.  With 2 weeks in New Zealand summer ahead of me, DC spring seems closer than ever.

Sustainable in the OTHER City (New York, that is)

January 18, 2010 § 6 Comments

I feel like it’s been ages since I put a real post up… my apologies, it’s been an insane week. 

I did, however, have a fantastic weekend in New York City with 2 of my best girlfriends, Tara and Laura.  We have known each other since we were about 10 years old, and we live all spread out across the East Coast, so it’s very rare that we are all in the same room anymore.  Trying to explain my fairly recent devotion to eating all local foods was a bit daunting at first, but as only the best of friends can do, they immediately accepted it and we all went foraging for food I could eat.

Lucky for us, we only had to go about 14 steps out Tara’s front door and into the Union Square Greenmarket.  I proceeded to buy waaay too much food to take home, thus making my train trip rather cumbersome. But it was totally worth it, because among the many delightful things I bought, one is far more exciting than the rest.   

POPCORN!!!  I am holding in my hand a 2lb bag of local popcorn kernels, and I’m just not sure I could be any more excited.  I love popcorn far more than the average person, and not having it for the past 2 weeks has been torture (ok I’m being slightly overdramatic but you get the point).

I was convinced I’d be able to find it in Virginia with all the corn they grow there, but apparently not.  I had to go all the way to New York City to find some freaking sustainable popcorn.  But it was worth it. Oh yeah and I got to see my best friends. And get POPCORN!

Other fun purchases were maple yogurt (good, but runnier than I like it. I’m sticking with Blue Ridge Dairy.), kefir, cow’s milk mozzarella cheese, real maple syrup, whole wheat flour, and fresh whole wheat fettucine and tri-color penne pastas. 

After a strenuous morning shopping, we headed to Union Square Cafe for lunch- a place I’ve been dying to go for years.  They change their menu very frequently (I think daily) based on what is available in season locally.  I had a gorgeous bibb and red leaf lettuce salad and a small portion of Berkshire pork lasagna (I clearly feel the need to tell you it was the SMALL portion, lest you think I am a pig myself. Feel free to judge me. It was delicious.)

We were feeling very “Housewives of New York City” with our wine lunch at USC… and then realized we were showing our Florida roots when we took off our coats to reveal a veritable sorbet selection of cardigans.  I swear we are not that lame in real life.

Oh wait, yes we are. (see below: Laura and I crocheting at 10:30pm on Saturday night in NYC. Super lame.  But so happy. The drunken dress up dance party followed. )

 

 

As far as food (and everything else) goes, it was a pretty stellar weekend. 

Friday night Dinner at Tribeca Grill– had Long Island Grilled Duck and localish oysters

Saturday morning- Union Square Market

Saturday Lunch at Union Square Cafe– bibb and red leaf salad, Berkshire pork lasagna

Saturday dinner- poking around house eating market food

Saturday drinks- Jack Daniels (TN isn’t THAT far) and Boylan’s Root Beer (made in New Jersey with cane sugar! I found one lurking in the back of their fridge, really lucked out on that one.)

Sunday brunch at Craftbar- delicious Eggs Benedict with local farm eggs and bacon.  And a Bloody Maria (made with tequila. I’m sorry. I can’t give it up.)

I learned a good lesson this weekend- eating local food while you are staying at other people’s houses is really hard. But I think I did an OK job.  I brought some of my own food, hit up the local farmers market, and chose restaurants that buy from local farmers.  Sometimes it’s not all or nothing, you just do the best you can.

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