Early Fall here in New York City is nice but it's nothing like mid to late October when the leaves really turn and the colors make you remember just how vivid and stunning it truly gets in the big apple, and even more so upstate. Before I make the temporary move to Boston, my friend Julian, once again, opened up his uncle's Catskill cabin for a few days so we could escape the city and trip around upstate. Here are some of my new favorite spots around town plus a super simple-to-make homemade almond milk recipe and the myriad of health packed spins you can play on it.
1. HOMEMADE (HORCHATA style) ALMOND MILK
There are a ton of reasons why making your own almond milk trumps the store bought stuff which is really just water, sugar and a ton of additives like carrageenan, sunflower lechithin, and calcium carbonate and about 2% almonds. This summer after reading 'Clean' by Dr Alejandro Junger, I got inspired to start making my own and I discovered just how sweet and creamy this naturally nutrient dense milk can be. I started adding it in my kale smoothies and would warm and froth it up with turmeric and honey for a late night tonic. It's so unbelievably good and easy to make. Try it yourself and literally soak your nuts! I like to blend my nuts up with a few dates, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stay tuned for the recipe on HOLISTIC HABITS!
2. THE SMILE NYC
This is one of my all-time favorite dinner spots in New York. Early this past weekend, I landed at LGA and took a cab straight here. If you find yourself downtown in the late hours and you're hungry for a cozy slice of home-cooked goodness that might resemble something out of Jamie Oliver's garden, look no further than The Smile on Bond St. Step down into the cozy hobbit underground circa 1830's and have a seat in the back and TUCK IN. Order a Pimms cup and the trio of dips (mashed carrot, almond, and yellow split pea). We split a few things but my favorite was the roasted arctic char with tender golden beets and pea tendrils.
3. THE REAL PUMPKIN SPICED LATTED AT byCHLOE
If Starbucks is good for one thing it's inspiring a place like byCHLOE, the new kosher vegan hotspot downtown, to recreate their pumpkin latte with, god forbid, real pumpkin and steamed almond milk. Now I'd never fancy myself a sweet drink kind of guy but my friend Julian has been swearing by this hot piece of heaven in a cup so we stopped in. It's made with homemade almond milk pureed with roasted pumpkin, those warm spices we love, and a few shots of espresso and topped with a melty vegan marshmallow. Spike it with rum and it'd the perfect tailgating treat. Look for the line of NYU students spilling out the all white corner store. Oh, and the food's great too! Come and get it while it's hot! After I made my almond milk, Julian challenged me to re-create it at home and I won't be bashful-I think mine's better! Recipe to come...
4. MCMC BEARD OIL BY Dude No. 1
Recently I've been on the lookout for a good woodsy cologne. I noticed Julian had a bottle of this MCMC at home and even though it's beard oil, which neither he nor I have a beard, he puts a dab on and it adds a nice pleasing woodsy scent and, because it's a roll on, it sticks better than cologne and you don't have to use a whole lot. I bought my own and I'm a big fan.
5. NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHTS SWEATS
My brother Patrick knew I was into the old timey throwback artists that have come along lately; cats like Leon Bridges and J.D McPherson, reinventing and putting fresh new spins on old jukebox sounds. He told me about this guy Nathaniel Rateliff who's actually been making music for years with other artists and bands with limited success but only until recently did people start taking notice. Here's S.O.B. in the style of an old Hank Williams tune.