It’s the last day of the month, which means…confession time!
I’m currently sitting in a hotel room in Napa, nursing an espresso and my belly from last night’s prosciutto gluttony. For the next two days, I’m going to be working with some amazing Italian imports at the Culinary Institute of America, and if last night was any indication, drinking a lot of wine. It’s just me and one other blogger (Paula from Bellalimento!), and the rest of the group is made up of chefs from big national restaurants and food service companies.
At dinner last night, I was particularly pleased to sit next to the man responsible for Delta’s food service. That poor poor man. He got to enjoy his prosciutto-wrapped filet while I gave him an earful of unsolicited constructive criticism about the state of their airline’s gluten-free meals. It was actually a fascinating conversation. And made me much more sympathetic to all the variables that go into feeding half a million people a day at 20,000 feet. It also made me depressed that I may never get to sit next to a Kardashian in transatlantic first class and enjoy the plated seared salmon with yuzu.
I’ll have to save the rest of prosciutto-fest for next month’s confessions. But luckily I have many more (slightly healthier) things to report back on from my California adventures.
As I mentioned last month, this trip was mainly a result of my stubbornness.
Since Charlie and I didn’t manage to make the big move West and, instead, just moved even further East, I decided to take a month to experience 70 degree sunshine, 7 days a week. The idea began as a veiled threat, but then turned into something I felt like I needed to do in order to not be resentful about the DUMBO decision. I just didn’t realize at the time how happy the new apartment would make me. It was a small change, but one that definitely breathed new life into my days. And so I ended up feeling a little silly packing up my bags for a month of California nomadry, just as I was beginning to call our new loft home.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest (phew), I will say that my time out here has been super productive in some ways, and really unproductive in others. I’ve gotten to hang out with amazing women in the wellness world, thanks to ExpoWest (more on that below) and a great Well+Good event on natural beauty. But I’ve also had to hole up indoors thanks to the book edits that landed on my doorstep right before I left.
If you’re one of my LA friends reading this, I’m sorry we haven’t hung out!! If it makes you feel better, I also haven’t done yoga or walked on the beach once. It’s disgraceful!
My favorite spots so far (I’ve gone to each of them twice): poke bowls at Sweetfin, the new grain bowls at Backyard Bowls, nori wrap sushi burritos and Kye’s, and no LA trip would be complete without several stops at Sugarfish. The cocktails at Gracia Madres were thebomb.com. Also, I finally tried Gjelina and it was everything everyone has said it would be: unbelievably delicious, and obnoxiously cool. But the cauliflower was well worth the feeling of being judged.
A few more things before I leave you…
I experienced the madness and magic of ExpoWest for the very first time. And being a total newbie I did not budget my appetite accordingly. Instead, I basically binged on golden milk and gluten-free mac and cheese for 6 hours straight. It was like being a kid in a refined sugar-free candy store! So many organic snacks, so little time. I had to hit up a probiotic booth every four bites just to survive it.
For those of you who don’t know, this is the biggest trade show in the country for natural products—not just food! There were sustainable condoms, housewares, and every supplement under the sun. In fact, one highlight was a fascinating talk by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog on the need for dietary supplements, something that I’ve had mixed feelings about since starting The Wellness Project. She presented some very interesting data though on the sheer impossibility of most Americans getting their proper daily values with our current diets. And her call to action was relatively tame and simple: take a multivitamin. Choose one for your age and your gender, and leave it at that. One and done.
One pill I was excited to pick up was Gaia herb’s new multi-herbal for women! I have yet to break open the bottle, but it’s an amazing company and I think the concept of supporting your system with a daily dose of tonic herbs (meaning safe for everyone) is very interesting.
Other favorites: kimchi tonics! This brand hasn’t launched yet outside of California, but when they do I will be the first person to line up for a shot. I have a sour palette, so there was nothing more delicious than sipping on briny lemongrass.
When I got into gut health month of the wellness project, I started buying kvass, the brine from pickled beets. Instead of taking a pill or OD-ing on kraut at every meal, I just took a sip from the kvass jar everyday. I’m excited to get my hands on the spicy kimchi version as a quick way to get a HUGE boost of good critters.
If you follow me on Snapchat (and if you don’t, I’m plapine), you may have already met my new kitchen assistant, Baron the Beagle.
Baron is Charlie’s 11-year-old pal whom he acquired sophomore year of college. The fact that he still exists is on-going proof that Charlie was a much more responsible, compassionate, mature 19-year-old than I.
While Charlie squatted at my studio apartment in Chelsea, Baron took up residence with his friend in slightly more animal-appropriate digs down the block. But now we are all living together like one big happy family!
Baron is what you would call a “food driven” animal, just like his step-mama. So don’t be surprised if you see his little head peeking out from behind a pan of paella from time to time.
I know that the interwebs are already in a tizzy over all the spring greens hitting the market. But in the spirit of KonMarie, I thought it would be fun to dedicate the month of April on the site to doing a little dehoarding. When I moved, I was truly shocked at all the food I’d accumulated in my pantry over the years. And it made me feel incredibly wasteful.
So this month, I’m recommitting to actually cooking my way through some of the magic already lurking in my kitchen cabinets. And to help you with even more inspo to do the same, I recruited some of my favorite friends on the internet to share recipes using their pantry favorites.
Stay tuned for the #SpringPantryPurge next week, April 6th! And for the virtual pantry rager that will continue on my site all month long. Get excited.
That’s all that March holds for now. I was going to try to find a way to fool you tomorrow. But as you know, I like to save that mental energy for torturing my loved ones.