Hu Kitchen Gets It!


HiKitchen-Sign

Hu Kitchen

I’ve already done a few different posts on Hu Kitchen, so any of you regular readers should be well-familiar with the name. These guys are excellent, and truly understand what “Food” is: it’s not just some caloric intake to stop our stomachs from grumbling, it’s carefully selected items of quality, which our bodies will use to fuel our lives! If we want a top-quality life, then by golly we need to have top quality food!!

My wife and I recently went back to Hu Kitchen, one of our favorites. In fact, we go often enough that I don’t report to you readers each time we drop by. Well, sometimes I’ll send a twitter update, but that’s about it. But when they do something extraordinary, I feel it is my responsibility to share. And what Hu Kitchen did this last time we visited them was something that really resonates with me, and is well in line with a few of my recent posts (notably: UPC’s rant about eggs). See the picture above where Hu Kitchen points out, on a chalk board outside the restaurant, one of the ways that the beef industry is trying to bamboozle consumers in to thinking grain and soy fed beef fit in to the consumers’ “healthy” food categories. I have mentioned the same thing about chickens: since they’re birds, and all birds need to eat live protein sources (does “The early bird gets the worm” ring any bells?) then an all-vegetarian fed chicken is not a healthy animal!

So, since Hu Kitchen gets it, and I really like them, I am sharing their excellent work with you all. When you’re in the Union Square area of NYC, definitely make some time to stop by Hu Kitchen for their wonderful food, excellent deserts, their ambiance, and most of all, to support a restaurant that really gets it!

HuKitchen-RoastChicken

And back to the food:

I ordered their rotisserie chicken (yes, it’s a pastured bird; thank you Hu Kitchen!!). There are a few different meal options at Hu Kitchen. There is a meal-menu, where the rotisserie chicken is always available, as well as another meat. After selecting the protein source, there are several really excellent sides to choose from. I chose the cauliflower and the grilled Brussels Sprouts. The meal, as usual, was excellent!

One of the most exciting things about Hu Kitchen is that you don’t have to worry about their food being Paleo or not. Nearly everything there is Paleo, they never cook with soy, and when there are grains in their food (they’re still a business, they need to attract non-Paleo customers until we grow our ranks more…) they have them clearly labeled. There’s never any confusion, and I’ve never walked away with that curious stomach feeling, letting me know that something in my meal was not Paleo. So feast there with confidence that your food will be to your standards!

What’s For Dinner? Orange Beef and Ripe Plantains


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UPC’s Orange Beef

It’s time for me to change my workouts. I’ve been doing low-rep, high weight workouts at the gym when I’ve been able to go, and I am LOVING the results I’ve been getting. My body looks excellent! I am getting muscle definition that is exactly what I’m looking for! But with the 1-mile race drawing ever closer, I’ve decided to change up my strength training to match my goals. I am going to do lighter weights (not a lot lighter) and much higher reps. Hopefully this will increase the density of my muscles, and help them to manage the energy requirements of sustained sprinting. Which is what a mile is, optimally. I’ll do 12-15 reps, still to failure. I’ll try to do them at a higher speed too, to mimic the kind of output that a mile race would require. We will see how my body likes that, and don’t be surprised if in 3-4 weeks, I decide that I want to change up again. I really liked what I was doing before, and hopefully I will like this too!

Orange Beef; What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb Grass-Fed Ground Beef (will also work well with beef strips)
  • 4 ripe Clementines, sectioned and sliced
  • 4 ripe Clementine peels, diced
  • 1 cup Mixed Mushrooms, chopped (any mushroom, or a mix; Organic please!)
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • Spices: Salt, Pepper, Turmeric (all optional)

Serves: 2
Cook and Prep Time: 35 minutes

1. Add the beef to a large pan and spread the mushrooms out around the beef.

2. Heavily cover the ground beef with the orange peels and slices; put the remaining slices and peels in with the mushrooms.

3. Cook on medium-low heat, covered.

4. Stir thoroughly after 10 minutes of cook time, and again after 20 minutes of cook time. Keep the pan covered.

5. Make sure your sides are prepared. (See here for Baked Ripe Plantains; takes 60 minutes, so needs to be started well ahead of time!)

6.  5 minutes before meal time turn up the heat to medium and start to stir the beef and mushrooms regularly; every minute or so. Leave the pan uncovered.

Serve and enjoy!

Restaurant Review: Nook, NYC


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UPC’s Restaurant Review: Nook, NYC

Nook used to be one of my favorite places to go eat before switching to Paleo. As can be expected, my dietary needs have changed my review criteria for restaurants, and as a result, I’ve been less inclined to head to my old haunts. Of course Nook was one of them. But here it is, making it’s debut Paleo review (to my knowledge)!

Location and Presentation:

Nook is a difficult restaurant to find. It has no website, it is a small location with a small storefront in a strangely difficult location. Even knowing where I am going, I often miss the door to the restaurant the first time I pass it. Not to mention the fact that, in Hell’s Kitchen NYC, the streets are almost always bustling.
The restaurant itself is quite nice inside. The entire 7 feet of street-front space is a window and full-window door. There is a tasteful curtain on the window to give it some decorative value, as well as a bit of insulation from the intense summer heat. The indoors is quaint, with a total capacity of perhaps 20 people in a party, or 6 tables for individual seating. It’s the perfect place to take a special person for a nice dinner out, or when your parents are in town.

NookSalad

Menu:

Nook is definitely not geared for Paleo eaters, and so it was a little challenging to read the menu as a Paleo diner. It has almost entirely grain-based meals. They were delightful, back in the day, but since that’s not my fare any longer, I am forced to use my creativity, charm, and potential tip to get off-menu meals served to me and my wife. The wait staff at Nook are always pleasant and willing to work with their guests, so it’s a little easier here than at most places. There’s so few customers that the one waiter is guaranteed to have a few extra moments to contemplate your allergies. And yes, all grains and beans are allergies! If you don’t use that special word, it often your preferences won’t be respected!

NookTunaTartarTuna Tartar: My wife and I ordered the Tuna Tartar as an appetizer. The menu version of the Tuna Tartar had soy in it, as well as on it. We asked if this was a pre-made item, or if the Chef would be able to prepare it for us using olive oil rather than soy. It was a success, and it was delicious!!

Grilled Pear Salad: Grilled pear is becoming a thing. I’ve seen it in more than a few of the restaurants that I’ve been to. It’s not that I’m complaining, I love the trend of using fruit, rather than sugared salad dressings, to sweeten a salad and make it more appetizing to the non-Paleo crowd! The result for me, and you other Paleo eaters, is something that almost tastes like a desert! It’s sweet, succulent, and the flavor of the pear combined with the balsamic vinegar is excellent!

Filet Mignon: I ordered the Filet Mignon. It was cooked to perfection, and delicious! I could have survived just fine without the mashed potatoes, but the asparagus spears were quite nice. They were lightly sauteed in butter and garnished with chives. The tenderness and flavor of the beef was just right!

NookSteak

Pricing and other items:

Nook is a “BYOB” restaurant, which I like a lot. A liquor license in NYC can cost more than the entire start-up costs of the restaurant combined. And often the high price of the better-quality restaurants has to do with the price of buying a liquor license, along with the other prices of real estate, etc. Nook is not burdened with that issue, so the prices for the food is quite reasonable, and all the more reason to frequent the establishment. You get the best of both worlds: You get to choose the wine you want to drink, not pay the exorbitant restaurant-liquor charges, and still have a great meal for a decent price!

Notes for Nook dining as a Paleo diner:

  1. As with ALL restaurants, be very careful with your menu items. Ask the waiter what’s in your food, and explain your food allergies. Don’t be afraid to ask that the chef change your meal – the Nook chef will, and you’ll love the result! Your dining experience will be infinitely better if you enjoy your food during and after your meal!
  2. Nook is a BYOB restaurant, so bring a bottle of your favorite wine. And enjoy the fact that it’s not going to be 4x the price of the liquor store!
  3. Finding the restaurant is a little challenging, but do not despair. It’s there, hidden in between other more brightly colored doors. If you miss it, just go looking for it again.

What’s For Dinner? Bacon Avocado Burger on Caramelized Onions


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UPC’s Bacon Avocado Burger on a bed of Caramelized Onions

I had a great weekend! Saturday was one of the most lazy days I have ever had. My wife and I woke up well after the sun came up – and closer to noon than dawn. We don’t get to sleep in that late, between errands, traffic, social engagements, and the occasional trip out of town, we are rarely in a position where we can sleep much later than a typical work day. And on occasion, we actually get up earlier than week days!
On Sunday, we headed back to Connecticut to spend time with our friends up there – that’s three weekends in a row now! When we arrived, we engaged in some perfectly-Paleo activities: eating, and playing in the water! My wife and I purchased some inflatable kayaks last summer. They have turned out to be every bit as good a purchase as a good bicycle! We can throw them in the trunk of our Civic coupe (yes, they both fit), take a drive somewhere, and have them both set up and be out on the water in 20 minutes! And best of all: they still fit, without any issues, in our closet at home!

Bacon Avocado Burger; What you’ll need:

  • 4 1/4lb Grass-Fed Burger patties (if you have the inclination to make them yourself, add some spices, olive oil, garlic and onions to the beef before patting out the patties!)
  • 8 slices Bacon (no nitrites/nitrates, low sugar, quality meats!)
  • 1 large ripe Avocado
  • 2 large Yellow Onions, chopped (or, for some color variance, use a yellow and a red onion)
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 1 Beefsteak Tomato

Serves: 2
Cook and Prep Time: 25 minutes

1. Chop up 4 of the slices of bacon in to small bits, and start cooking it in a pan on high.

2. Once the chopped bacon is starting to sizzle, add the onions to the pan, stir thoroughly, and turn the heat down to medium-low, covered.

3. Put the remaining 4 slices of bacon in the oven on a baking sheet and turn the oven up to 450.

4. In a second pan (you may need a third pan as well) add the burger patties and cook on medium, covered.

5. Stir the bacon and onion mix every 1-2 minutes.

6. After about 10 minutes of cook time, flip the burgers and the bacon in the oven. Leave the lid off the burger pan.

7. Prepare the avocado, tomato, and the plates. I put the caramelized onion down first, then the avocado on top of that. Alternately, it might be nice to put the lettuce down first, then the avocado, and drizzle the caramelized onion over the burger once you serve it.

8. After another 10 minutes of cook time, for a total of about 20 minutes of cook time, everything should be ready for serving.
20 minutes at medium heat, will cook the burgers to a medium-well; with very little pink left. If you like your burgers more rare than that, cut down the cook times by 2-4 minutes per side, as it suits your tastes.

Questions:

  • Workout and Diet: I’ve stopped doing my Workout and Diet posts. Does anyone wish I continued?
  • I did a full 4-week segment of Workout and Diet – would anyone like me to do a recap of the workout, the diet, and perhaps build it in to a 4-week Paleo Plan? Maybe a diet/workout guide to help people reach their goals?
  • Would you like to see a “Beginner” version, with cooking tips? Maybe an “Expert” version, with workout plans and form tips?
  • I realize that all of the above would entail quite a bit of work for me, but if you readers want to see it, I would be willing to undertake the efforts. Let me know what you think!

Paleo Treats


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I don’t eat a lot of sugar. In fact, I don’t eat a lot of anything that contains sugar. I probably eat less sugar-containing food, in total, in a week than the average American eats in a day. The truth is that, at the end of the day, I simply don’t need any sugar. I get along just fine without it. I wake up fine, I work out explosively, I enjoy my food and drink the way nature intended it to taste, and I don’t have any trouble falling asleep. The few times that I choose to have a sugar-laden treat, I choose carefully, and I make sure that I choose those treats based on how much joy they will bring to me. And Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Company really fits the bill!

Their treats are made from real fruit blended with water and a bit of organic sugar. A quick look at their nutrition facts confirms that they’re filling their treats with mostly fresh delicious fruit, and not very much sugar. On a hot day, their treats are a godsend, and the perfect pick-me-up from the heat. And there has been some SERIOUS heat in the NYC area recently!

They do a 4-flavor rotational menu, where the 4 flavors that they are serving on any given day are not necessarily the same 4 flavors as the day before. Over the past two years I have personally tried their pear, banana, mango, raspberry, strawberry, pineapple and tangerine fruit flavors, as well as their chocolate. The picture above is Tangerine and Pineapple, an amazing combination with the fresh raspberries on top!

So, if you’re hanging around 14th street of NYC and it’s a hot day like today, make some time for a mid-afternoon treat at Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Company!

Umm… This is not an advertisement. I guess when I sing the praises of something I’ve enjoyed as much as Chloe’s, I should point out that I am doing as I have always done on this blog: share my experiences. So far (although, I would be delighted if someone changed this!!) no one has ever offered me any kind of payment for my blog posts, including a free meal. I paid full price for the frozen fruit in my picture, and would again!

Questions:

  • What kinds of treats do you indulge in?
  • Do you indulge often? And if not often, do you have a regular indulgence? Like, every Friday night you do ice cream and a movie (no, I do not)?
  • When you indulge, what are your favorite treats?

What’s For Lunch? Pulled Pork and Avocado Salad


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UPC’s Pulled Pork

I really enjoy pulled pork. I like the beef and chicken versions of the dish too: Shredded Beef, and Jerk Chicken (as well as all of the other names for those dishes). It’s flavorful, easy to eat, and easy to re-use as a portion of another dish! Not that I often have much in the way of left overs… But when I do, a pulled pork is just about as easy to use as cold-cuts. Actually, I think it’s easier!

UPC’s Pulled Pork; What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb Pork Roast (or more if you want left-overs)
  • 1 Pear, finely chopped (I think bosc is best for this recipe; but any variety should do the trick!)
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Raw Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Ground Black Pepper, at least 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon Sea Salt

Serves: 2
Prep and Cook Time: at least 6 hours

1. First thing in the morning, put the roast and ingredients in a Crock Pot or slow-cooker.

2. Cook on low heat for the morning, at least 6 hours.

3. About 30 minutes before meal time, check for tenderness. The Roast should be fully cooked, and very tender.

4. About 10 minutes before meal-time, prepare the side salad.

5. About 5 minutes before meal-time, take the pork out of the slow-cooker and pull it apart using tongs and a large serving fork.

And enjoy!!

Questions:

  • Do you do a pulled-pork (or chicken or beef) often?
  • How do you like to spice yours? What spices and added vegetables/fruits do you like to use?
  • Do you make enough for left-overs? How do you use your left-overs?

What’s For Lunch? Smoked Keilbasa Stir Fry


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The heat is seriously on here in NYC. It beat down on the streets yesterday, bringing the temperature near 100 degrees. And it looks like it will be a repeat performance for today. The upside to that: it’s great training weather at peak-heat for Triathlon and other race enthusiasts. The downside: I am not a triathlete, and I really don’t like training in this kind of heat. So I’ve been wallowing on my couch, exhausted just from surviving the tremendous heat. It was one thing to be in this kind of heat in Cartagena, while on vacation wearing shorts. It’s another thing entirely when I am attempting to survive the walk to work in a suit and tie. I can’t even think about the level of heat outside without losing my cool – and I mean that literally!

Fortunately, I still have food to turn to!

Smoked Keilbasa Stir Fry; What you’ll need:

  • 1lb Smoked Keilbasa, sliced (I’ve discussed sticking to high-quality meats before)
  • 1 medium Zucchini or Yellow Squash, sliced (these work better if they’re young)
  • 2 medium Carrots, sliced
  • 6-8 medium Crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • Spices: Turmeric, Salt, Pepper (and others, if you like)

Serves: 2
Cook and Prep Time:

1. Start the Keilbasa first on medium high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes without any oil, but stir regularly.

2. Add the zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms after about 2-3 minutes of cooking. Keep the heat on medium-high, and cook for another 7-8 minutes before spicing.

3. Spice your food, and keep stirring! Serve after 12-15 minutes of total cook time.

Questions:

  • Do you do Stir Fry?
  • Which vegetables are your favorites?
  • Which meats are your favorites?
  • Do you like Stir Fry as a side, or as a main dish?