I have been a pretty stubborn person since I was born.
When I was two years old, I walked in the Texas heat while wearing a hot pink winter coat, refusing to take it off even when my parents begged me to. When I was six years old, I choreographed a dance for me and some gal pals (can you imagine six year olds practicing dance moves during morning recess?) and did not let anybody change the routine. Now, I don’t order meat at steakhouses that support concentrated animal feeding operations.
Some things never change.
Being stubborn has its upsides though. As a stubborn individual, I have also developed a picky side. My pickiness manifests itself in the places I spend time.
After exhausting my parents bank accounts, I have finally developed a library of go-to locations, suitable for both the accepting and picky!
I cannot describe how amazing these places are. My social life, for one, would be void without them. All fit the lifestyle objectives this blog promotes, while offering a really comfortable atmosphere for those who like positive environments.
Everything is organized by place, since this library has been developed over the course of many travel periods. I hope you guys check them out- you won’t be disappointed!
- Crabtree’s Kittle House
This is definitely the best place to eat in Westchester. Everything is sustainably sourced from regional NY farms (which they list on the menu). They have a really awesome Sunday Brunch, perfect for post-church family time or weekend relaxation. The staff are so friendly, the grounds are beautiful, and every time I go I am impressed with something new. If you can have refined sugar, then taste their desserts. The homemade ice cream is to die for!
- The River Market
The River Market is another completely sustainable Westchester eatery that I really like. It is on the Hudson River, so the scenery is quite nice. My favorite menu item is the Huevos Rancheros, and there is a little market with freshly baked goods. The River Market is really cute and quaint, but at night it can get quite busy and bustling. I would definitely recommend it as a weekday lunch affair.
- Red Hat on the River
Red Hat, for short, is another sustainable restaurant on the Hudson. The menu is a lot more “american” than the River Market, but I personally prefer the flavors. There is also a patio RIGHT ON THE HUDSON, which makes the views a little nicer. They are also keen on personalizing food, although the menu is somewhat limited already.
- The Iron Tomato
I don’t know if the Iron Tomato counts as a restaurant, but it doesn’t matter because the food is so good! When I say food, I mean salad bar. I don’t go to the Iron Tomato for anything else. The salad bar is extensive, and they have really fresh and interesting ingredients like marinated mushrooms and three different types of mozzarella. There is a little patio outside, although it is on a main street that gets loud. The packaging also is not environmentally friendly… I mean, there is no styrofoam, but the plastic containers are not the best. I would recommend grabbing a salad to go and then driving to a Westchester Nature Reserve to enjoy.
- Skinny Buddha Cafe (the one in Scarsdale, not Mt. Kisco)
Do not be alarmed: the name is not representative of this place AT ALL. I’ll admit, I cringed the first time I heard the name “Skinny Buddha.” But after getting my first smoothie on a September Friday, I was hooked! The staff are super friendly and nice, and are willing to make literally anything for you. The Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie is my favorite beverage ever, the café itself is so cute and comfortable, they play some great Bob Marley tunes, and it is easy to just be yourself and enjoy the friendly environment. There is a really nice yoga studio called Here & Now just down the road, and Skinny Buddha is the perfect place to go after a Flow class.
- Little Thai Kitchen
My love for Little Thai Kitchen was the birthchild of 7-hour long study sessions for my history class. Two of my best friends were already pretty obsessed with LTK, so when they decided to order it during an American Revolution study group I just kind of went along. The rest is history (no pun intended). Every few months (our tests were frequent) we would get together, study our brains out, and order LTK as a reward. The vegetable pad thai and vegetable massaman curry are my favorite items on the menu, but several recommend drunken noodles and cashew beef (although I would stay away from meat products as this place does not take caution when sourcing meat). The restaurant is quite small, so I would recommend delivery or eating in during lunchtime.
- Copper Kettle Café
I have only been to Copper Kettle a few times, but every time I go I leave very satisfied. The place itself seems small, but is quite airy and cosy when you go in. The waitstaff are really kind and helpful, and the food is both sustainably sourced and comforting. I would recommend going in the summer, when the sun shines through the big glass windows. My favorite dish is the Grain & Avocado salad, which despite its size is pretty filling.
- Moderne Barn
Another great, post-church eatery! Skip the sweeter brunch options though and go for the sandwiches or seasonal specials.
- Stillmeadow Gourmet
If you’re like me and suffer from QBA- quinoa bowl addiction- then this is the place for you! Situated in the center of Bronxville Village, Stillmeadow Gourmet is the perfect place to go after you have picked up some fresh bread from a local bakery and pack a picnic. There are several parks near Bronxville village, and quinoa bowls are a necessary dish. First of all, these bowls are massive. The people at Stillmeadow are very generous with their quinoa, which they make in several large batches every day. They always feature new toppings, like roasted root vegetables, fresh tomatos, and delicious chickpea concoctions. It is honestly so delicious, and a really great way to fuel up if you know that your day is going to be especially long.
- Mrs. Green’s Natural Market
Yes, yes, I know this is a grocery store. But grocery stores have food, don’t they? Although Mrs. Green’s is very expensive, if you stick to your essentials you won’t have to break the bank. I vote their freshly ground almond butter #1 in Westchester (unless you make your own) and they are the only place I know that sells MacroBars (unless you order in bulk on amazon). They also have a smoothie bar and food case, although I haven’t tried everything on the menu.
- Sushi Castle
Recently, I have not been enjoying sushi like I did as a preteen (oh brother). But Sushi Castle is great because it caters to the very different tastes of my brother, Tim, and me. They offer this “all you can eat buffet” – which really isn’t a buffet since they make everything to order. The buffet appeals especially to Tim, who eats like no other. At the same time, however, Sushi Castle actually has really yummy vegetable rolls, mango avocado rolls, and oshinko rolls. And they offer brown rice! The staff is so nice, despite the bare decor and location (Eastchester, which happens to be in Westchester…) and the sushi always tastes really fresh. If you’re a sushi person and are traveling with a group of disjointed tastes, this is the place for you.
New York City:
New York is one of those places where you expect really good food, but your expectations usually aren’t met. Once, a few friends and I went to the Whitney (a modern art museum in Soho) for some history assignment. We went to this critically-acclaimed asian-fusion restaurant after, and all three of us were astonished at the poor quality and somewhat freaky menu!
Luckily, a few places remain where you can get really amazing food! Most of these restaurants were introduced to me by Lizzie- health food connaisseur and my best friend.
- Dig Inn
Dig Inn is a place where carnivore, omnivore, and herbivore unite in delicious and sustainable goodness. They have several locations around the city, although the Amsterdam Avenue one is my preferred Dig Inn spot. The food is always fresh and the menu changes frequently, which keeps things interested. They are also super generous with portions, and generally really affordable. I would recommend going for lunch, as their food has staying power and will keep you full and energized!
- Hummus Place
If you’re recovering from severe Hummus addiction, this place is not for you. What’s in a name you ask? At Hummus Place, the name is everything. This is a full-on hummus appreciation joint, with some banaganoush and quinoa tabouleh to accentuate the hummus flavors. They offer whole wheat pita, which is nice, and the menu caters to both quantity and quality seekers. Stay away from the lentil soup though, which is just three lentils in dirty water.
- Juice Generation
Juice Generation is the reliable cold-pressed juicery that you can find all around Manhattan. Their green juices are delicious, and because they offer both fresh and bottled, you can stock up for your green juice needs throughout the day. My favorite flavor is The Professional.
I honestly would have never eaten here had my friend not had her 16th birthday at Jane. Situated in Soho, Jane caters to the trendier population of Manhattan. A word of warning: anything that says ‘salad’ on the menu should be avoided. In fact, you should only go to Jane for one reason: the Brussels Sprouts. I don’t care if you have hated Brussels Sprouts since you were a kid, or you don’t want to trek to Soho, or you had a nightmare about small cabbage. Get these sprouts!!! I ordered some as a side, and then quickly ordered a few more and sat there, munching on these green cabbage dreams. They will change your life.
- Hu Kitchen
Okay- this is the real pièce de resistance of NYC. If you only have one meal in New York, use it here. This place is the pinnacle of urban sustainability, and offers breakfast, lunch, sweets, beverages, you name it, Hu’s got it! The people are so kind (my friend and I were kind of in love with the staff when we went on the coldest day of the year) and let you taste anything you want before you commit. It’s like all the bliss of dating, without the fear of a breakup! The chocolate bars are also so delicious, although there is coconut sugar, and depending on your thoughts of refined sugar the chocolate may not suit your dietary needs. But they have plenty of other non-sugar options that are super delicious and super energizing. Seriously, go here, fall in love, and then tell more people to come.
- Erin McKenna’s Bakery
I have never been in the shop, but Lizzie (bless her heart) always has one of their cakes at her trendy birthday parties. The cakes are so delicious and thick and rich. I would recommend a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting. If you want more, order an entire cake and take it home (these are so healthy that your doctor will thank you!).
Since my lab is in London, I have to get used to eating out. The food, unlike in New York, is pretty exceptional though. There is something for everyone, and Londoners certainly know a good green juice!
- Wild Food Café
Wild Food Café is a completely raw little restaurant serving some seriously good and fresh food. The entire vibe is very free and accepting, and the windows are always open to let in some London sunshine. If you aren’t really into raw food then grab the main elsewhere in Covent Garden and come back for dessert. The cakes are absolutely delicious, and if I had my way, every single person in London would have cake from here at least once a week.
Wokit, rock it, polka dot it. Or whatever. Wokit is so delicious, customizable, and energizing that I’m surprised its concept hasn’t been replicated elsewhere. The experience is as such: you arrive at Borough Market, a busy, overcrowded, and somewhat anxiety-inducing food cornucopia and you’re hungy. You try and find Wokit but can’t, and then suddenly a kind person at an olive stand guides you to the heavenly scent of stir-fried veggies. The gorgeous people who take your order shove any vegetable you want into HUGE bowls, where you can add rice/noodles and “shots” of meat (that are actually served in metal shot glasses). You then get to add some delicious sauces (yes they have sugar free version) and they stir-fry that all with an egg. I guess this description was just a really long way for me to tell you to go here!! It may be difficult, arduous, and bring out your inner hangry giant, but you still need to experience this deliciousness! One note, however: if you have a bit of a sodium intolerance then stay away from the miso-coriander sauce.
Tanya’s is another yummy raw food eatery in the heart of Chelsea. The patio is really cute, and the seed falafel with tahini tastes really new and interesting. Stay away from the caesar salad, though, and save your dessert for a JuiceBaby raw caramel slice or cake at Wild Food Café.
This is the best juice you will ever have. I know I have made some pretty bold statements over the course of this page, and I’m sorry for that, but this is the case where I stand firmly by my beliefs. I repeat: this is the best juice you will ever have. The Green Glow is my favorite, but the Nut Butter Fudge smoothie, caramel slices, and shots are also pretty life-changing. The people are also really friendly and warm. Get juice here now!!
- The Mae Deli
I think Deliciously Ella has impacted every food blogger’s life. Her restaurant, the Mae Deli, will soon impact every londoner’s understanding of amazing food. The avocado salad and red pepper/walnut hummus are spectacular, and the raw peanut butter slice left me on cloud nine. Even my mom, who really isn’t into the health food scene, loves this place with all her heart. Downstairs is so cozy and calming. Ella has really put every warm touch into the place, and it is probably my favorite eatery in London!
Go here for breakfast. Welcoming all vegans, carnivores, buttervores, whatever-you-want-atarians: get your breakfast at Gail’s! And don’t skimp either, get an almond milk chai latte as well. The porridge and granola are packed with deliciously warm spices, and the fruit compote is everything you want from jam but have never gotten. They have several locations, where they make everything in house! The people are really nice, the bread is super yeasty and delicious, and unlike most boulangeries, Gail’s won’t leave you lethargic or remorseful.
- Soho Whole Foods
The people here are actually the nicest staff I have ever encountered at a grocery store. Skip the beauty of Kensington Whole Foods and come here, get some freshly ground peanut butter and Rude Health granola. Or just come and be enamored by the epitome of healthy grocery shopping.
This nut store right outside of Picadilly Circus has such a wide variety of nuts, chocolate, and coffee. Go for the nuts though. The marcona almonds and raw cashews are especially delicious.
- Thai Square
If you get Thai Food in London, go to Thai Square. They have several locations, but I like the South Kensington one best. Arrive early (around 6 if you’re going for dinner) to get a seat. The curries are flavorful, but the vegetarian section at the end of the menu has something for everyone. My two regrets are that they do not offer brown rice and the desserts are less than desirable.
- Wild Jordan
The food here is so fresh and delicious, and all of the seats are over a view of Roman Ruins from 2000+ years ago. Eating here is somewhat of an incredible experience, as it is the only 100% sustainable place in Amman. The basil lemonade is fantastic.
- Brunch at the Grand Hyatt
If you want to impress your family, take them for brunch here. The desserts are especially delicious.
Swiss food is best when you cook at home for friends and family. The country actually cares about its food, and recently rejected an agriculture deal that would bring in industrial fertilizers. If you have to go out though, here are a few delicious options.
- Café Grancy (Lausanne)
Café Grancy is international, posh, and sustainable. Basically, its the type of food you would expect at Swiss eateries but never actually receive. Order the beef tartare. The beef in Switzerland is so delicious (there is no such thing as a concentrated animal feeding operation) and it is especially delicious raw. They serve the tartare with a balsamic reduction that seals the deal.
- Leonard’s (Gstaad)
Leonard’s is the restaurant of the beautiful Bellevue Hôtel Gstaad. The food is so fresh (I think they grow almost everything outside the hotel during the summer) and the service is perfect. The chef (he is michelin starred, mind you) comes out to greet the patrons, and in the mean-time serves up some delicately delectable food. The breakfast is also amazing, fit with a bircher muesli bar and freshly baked breads.
- Restaurant Le Chalet (Château-d’Oex)
The fondue here is so delicious and adorable. It is a bit touristy (for the few tourists who visit Château-d’Oex) but the food is so good and hearty. They make their cheese onsite, and serve fresh cream with the coffee. It is the perfect post-ski or pre-hike food, and since this part of the mountain gets frigid in the summer, the fondue can be enjoyed year-round.
- La Croix Verte (Nyon)
This is the place to go and meet your swiss friends. The pizza is good, but the ambience is better. Skip dessert and go to the place describe below.
- Gelateria Venezia (Nyon)
This gelato will change your life. If you can eat sugar (although the swiss only use cane sugar, no corn crap, and I’m pretty sure the sugar is organic) then get a waffle cone with a scoop of dark chocolate and after-eight. Bring napkins and eat au bord du Lac Léman as you watch a Swiss sunset.
- Chez Paulo (Gland)
Gland is a really adorable town 20 minutes away from Lausanne. Although it is mostly residential, Chez Paulo offers some delicious Spaghetti Bolognese that everyone will like. The waitstaff are very nice, but don’t be alarmed if they refuse to speak english.
- Au Coeur des Saveurs (Gland)
Again, I know Gland is very residential, but the pain au chocolats and chocolat-chauds at this boulangerie are my favorite. The pastries are made with love, and the milk is so fresh and delicious. Come in the morning, when the pastries are fresh.
- Pack a picnic! A salami sandwich made with swiss meat and dijon pickles is always delicious. My favorite spots to enjoy are en haut des Pleïades, au bord du Lac Leman, and en haut du St. Cergue.
- Andersen Bakery
The pastries here are so fluffy and delicious. In Denmark, everything is grown really well: Scandinavia understands the importance of sustainability! I wouldn’t worry too much about their use of butter or dairy since the cows are treated very well. Get some hot chocolate or a froosh (a danish fruit smoothie) on the side.
This restaurant opened my eyes to the beauty of vegetables. The cool waiter (who uncannily resembled Tyler Hubbard from Florida Georgia Line) gave me these beautifully whipped mushroom and carrot creations and perfectly wilted spinach. The meat is also super tender. It may be difficult, but leave some space for dessert. The sampler is so delicious!
- Riz Raz
The burgers at Riz Raz are quite good- they replace ice berg lettuce for arugula, which is a nice touch. However, the main goodness is the salad bar. My mom is obsessed with their quinoa. It isn’t a must, but it is a reliable.
- Paludan Bogcafé
This is the library café that college students dream about. When I was younger and wanted to study Environmental Science at the University of Copenhagen (before I learned that Danish was a language requirement) I imagined myself prancing around Denmark, stopping here for brunch while reading a science journal. That dream has since died, but the memory of delicious food and good books remains. Come for brunch and order the sampler with a strawberry smoothie on the side.
- Osterberg Ice Cream
So the danish put unsweetened whipped cream and jelly on top of ice cream. Genius? I think so. This ice cream shop is in Nyhavn, the prettiest part of Copenhagen right on the water. The feeling is reminiscent of Amsterdam (except without all the animal-inspired condoms and mysterious hallucinogen shops) and the waffle cones are made fresh daily.
Really yummy whole foods served in a greenhouse-like building. The waitstaff is cool, and the warm drinks make your throat coo with gratitude.
- El Faro Spanish Restaurant & Tapas Bar
The mussels here are delicious. We tried every single flavor. Come hungry: you won’t regret how much you eat.
- The Store
They have an eatery but the pastries are the main deliciousness.
- Jackman, ME
If you really want to spoil yourself, take your church on a retreat to Moose River Outpost. Waking up to a sunrise over Heald Pond shows that there really is a beautiful, mighty God.
- Gstaad, Switzerland
Save yourself the pain and go in the summer when the pretentious anglophones leave. It is a great hiking destination, and you can get a mean bircher muesli almost anywhere.
- Zermatt, Switzerland
This is the place to go on Christmas! Parasail from the mountains to see both the Matterhorn and the cute village.
- Leysin, Switzerland
There is something so pleasant about Leysin. Whether you’re skiing or hiking or just having a picnic, it is so quiet and modest yet has beautiful views.
- Château-d’Oex, Switzerland
If you can’t commit to a full-on mountain vacation, spend a d’Oex here (d’Oeux is pronounced day, but without a dragged out “y” sound)… Okay bad pun. But seriously, the Golden Pass train ride is beautiful, and the town is so quaint. Rent a bike and hit the trails: some of the best mountain biking can be found here.
- Wadi Rum, Jordan
The prettiest sunrise in the world is in the middle of the dessert. There is something about the way the early-morning sun hits the red rock that makes me swell with emotion. Bedouins, whose lifestyles are awesome and should be replicated for sustainable policy, have lived in Arabian desserts for years without requiring the technology or industry that we need. And they make some mean chicken (which they cook underneath dessert sand). If you’re feeling adventurous, come out with a group of friends.
Okay, I understand that it is difficult to be picky with books and that books are not locations. But you’d be surprised how many books are on my half-finished list! Also, books take us to new places so does that sort of count as a location? Maybe?
These reads make the gears of my mind turn, and I love the thought they inspire! After spending endless hours on a computer screen, I love a good read that forces us to eliminate the fast responses of technology.
- The Bible 🙂
- Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air by David MacKay
- Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
- Biomimicry by Janine M. Benyus
- Tomorrow’s Table by Pamela Ronald and Raoul Adamchak
- The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
I mean… I’m pretty sure this is on everyone’s favorite book list
- The Politics of Food by Joel Solkoff
- 1984 by George Orwell
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
- As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
- Deliciously Ella’s cookbooks
If you have made it to the end of this page, congratulations! Somehow it wound up being >4000 words… I really hope you check out these places. Of all the places I have visited, these are the ones that have stuck in my memory.