I just got back from two great weeks in the US. LA and New York. The health capitals of the world.New York, however, amongst other things is also the pizza capital of the world (sorry Rome). So I lived the healthy life. And the glutinous. Which is exactly how you should do New York.
Before I discuss the health landscape, let me hypocritically give you my favourite places for pizza:
- Lombardi's Pizza. 32 Spring Street, Manhattan. 100 year old pizzeria. Complete tourist trap but I used to live 100m from there for two years and my tastebuds have never been happier. Anyone in the hospitality game will marvel at how they turn tables too.
- Champion Pizza. 17 Cleveland Place, Manhattan. Best slice you'll find and it's in Soho; shop then pizza then shop.
- Joe and Pat's. Staten Island. My fiance's (Lindsay, a local New Yorker) all time favourite. If you head over to Shaolin for a day head here and then Ralph's Ices.
- Patsy's. Lindsay's favourite spot in the city. Did I mention Lindsay is an Italian American? The girl knows pizza.
- Joe's Pizza. Simple slice in the village.
Completely overrated and not worth the time:
- Grimaldi's. Brooklyn or Manhattan.
Ok, now back to the Detox.
What's Happening & Healthy In New York?
Juice Press, Juice Generation and Liquiteria inspired us to open Green Press. They're global pioneers in juice. But big business has taken over. They've lost their personality and the staff don't live the lifestyle like the original owner managers. You don't get the expertise and sincerity that you used to. I put the much loved The Butcher's Daughter in the same category too, even though it's only a couple of years old.
However, Juice Press is still the pick of the bunch. For the branding as much as the juices. Pick up a couple organic bottles and some snacks for the plane.
I was lucky enough to have a Westville right by our Chelsea apartment. It feels like a local organic cafe so it's surprising to find out they have multiple locations and operate from breakfast to dinner. Their 'poached eggs over kale salad' was one of the best meals I had in the States. A Susan Sarandon spotting on another occasion cemented their reputation.
Sweetgreen has been on our radar for several years. They started in DC but are now everywhere. Almost 50 stores in eight states. They are the ultimate salad bar. It's a Chipotle like experience where your huge salad bowl is touched by a production line but the end result is a delicious, and monstrous, salad. The amount of people that go through their locations each day is breathtaking. I'm sure the experience is the same in LA too.
By Chloe or @bychefchloe is a new vegan concept going bananas in New York. The chef, Chloe Coscarelli, is T.V and cookbook famous. Her restaurants are too, with big time lines every day. The vegan menu has variety, is open all day and is great value for money.
We hear good things about Gingersnap's Organic but they were closed the evening we tried to visit.
And What About LA?
We only spent two nights there on this jaunt but Lindsay used to live in Manhattan Beach so she knows her way around. If I could live anywhere in the world, it's Manhattan Beach:
Our favourite LA juice spot is Juice Served Here. Get the tasting flight so you can sample eight juices. And buy one of their raw soups / gazpacho. Second favourite is the Block Rockin Beets.
Just spend a day in Venice and get ready to dust two grand on shopping and eating six times. Catch an Uber to Abbot Kinney. Go up and down the famous strip caffeinated by an iced coffee from Intelligentsia or Blue Bottle. Then find Cafe Gratitude for lunch (Moon Juice is across the street). Visit Juice Served Here and the Venice Wholefoods on your way out. Strange that I'm recommending a supermarket but you'll spot a celeb and you'll see how much better the health food products are in LA.
Any New Inspirational Trends?
Strangely. I haven't come back bursting at the seems with ideas. Normally these New York and LA trips give me so many ideas for my business and my diet. But this trip didn't have that impact. All I picked up on was that health is still booming. I saw more people go into a Sweetgreen after an exercise class than I've seen head into any restaurant, ever. It was a reminder that:
a) New Yorker's don't have kitchens
b) They prioritise their health
I saw the matcha inspired cafe, I've previously seen the bone broth trend. But I didn't notice any new venues, new superfoods or new interpretations. Kale is still king. And everyone loves avocado.
Truth be told, I was there to eat. And boutique spin classes aren't my jam. However, I did touch base with my exercise junkie friends. One couple I know spend US$3000 per month between them on working out. Even heroin addicts are shaking their head. $1500 each. Per month. In US dollars.
Their work out choices, and the choices of the city, haven't changed. SoulCycle. Crossfit. Barry's Bootcamp. And ClassPass. They told me about all these concepts in their infancy and still find themselves attending the same packed out classes. Yoga, hot yoga and pilates are motoring as well.
Did I miss anything? You got a favourite in New York or LA we should know about?
image credit: Architectural Digest