Food Forever and Biodiversity

In September, we were invited to Food Forever’s event, hosted by Google, to experience and learn about their biodiversity campaign. According to their website, Food Forever is an initiative that rallies prominent individuals and organizations to raise awareness on the importance of biodiversity. This group includes leaders from governments, businesses, civil society and academia, and together, seek to communicate the urgency of conserving crop and livestock diversity, so by 2020, the idea of ending world hunger is not just a goal, but actual reality.

At the Food Forever event, chefs were challenged to create futuristic dishes featuring unusual plants. This selection, including ingredients like moringa and Bambara groundnut, are currently on the margins of the US culinary mainstream, meaning we are beginning to or will most likely be seeing them in our grocery stores soon! We wanted to share with you below some of our favorite dishes from the event, as well as new and delicious edible species we encountered.

  1. Chapulines Chochoyotes with Ulluco and Garlic Broth, Salsa Macha and Tomatillo by Chef Ray Garcia
    This flavorful soup was both bold and sophisticated. The surprise ingredient was chapulines, a species of grasshoppers mostly eaten in areas of Mexico. Many guests, including ourselves, were hesitant to try this dish, but the chapulines were successfully transformed into the form of little crispy chochoyotes (dumplings), immersed in a beautiful garlic and tomatillo broth.
  2. Jackfruit Frankie with Amaranth by Chef Floyd Cardoz
    This dish was a mini wrap stuffed with jackfruit, cabbage, cilantro, onion, and fragrant spices like ginger, cumin, clove, cinnamon, dried chili, paprika and tumeric. We loved the amaranth sauce it came with, which incorporated apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar. This ancient grain reminded us a lot of quinoa and gave the sauce thickness, as well as texture
  3. Mah-ze-dahr by Chef Umber Ahmad
    This cupcake has to be our favorite! Made from the wonderful and rich date this decadent treat featured hints of apple cider vinegar and cardamom, with a base of all purpose flour and kernza flour. A light whipped cream made from just heavy cream and granulated sugar was the perfect complement.

To learn more about Food Forever and the importance of biodiversity visit and follow them on instagram at foodforever2020 to keep up to date on their upcoming efforts.

Bar Pa Tea

Happy first week of spring and here’s a favorite from We8that to kick off the warm weather to come!

We found a place in Nolita that specializes in oolong tea flavored treats that we think we’ll be frequenting regularly during the upcoming months. Bar Pa Tea is a bubble tea place that strives to create more healthful alternatives to the beverage without compromising its original taste. This bubble tea shop offers a variety of tea flavors, but their true signatures include the oolong bubble tea and oolong soft serve. Like many tea places, you can customize the sugar levels. Just note that “not too sweet” is more like zero sweetness, so we recommend going up a notch. Although the bubble tea was very good, we had to give our biggest approval to the oolong soft serve. Sweetness of the base doesn’t overpower this cold treat. The flavor is elegantly floral, a little bit toasty with a hint of bitterness.

Growing up, oolong tea was a staple at our house, we always had a big bottle or two stocked in our fridge. For those unfamiliar with oolong, it’s a traditional Chinese tea with a wide range of flavors depending on the process of production: floral, grassy, sweet or toasty. And for those interested in the nutritional and health benefits, oolong is rich in antioxidants and also contains a variety of essential vitamins and minerals like calcium, copper, vitamin A, B, C, E, and K. Which all translates to benefits like decreasing inflammation in the body, lowers the risk of heart disease, and can aid metabolism.

Make sure to give some love to Bar Pa Tea over the spring and summer and stay tuned for more warm-weather eats!

Bar Pa Tea
85 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012

Ellary’s Greens

Update: Sadly Ellery’s Greens on Carmine has closed, but their second location on Randall’s Island is open, serving healthy to-go options – 1 Randall’s Island, New York, NY 10035

We’re back and we’re starting off the new year right with a healthy pick. There’s nothing wrong with a burger here and there, but it’s always nice to reset and recharge with food that’s good for your body. With more and more options popping up on the streets of New York these days, healthy’s reputation is changing from tasteless and boring to indulgent and wholesome. Case in point, Ellary’s Greens in New York’s Greenwich Village. Right on Carmine Street between Bleecker and Bedford, this organic restaurant offers a variety of healthy dishes and drinks that make use of locally sourced produce.

Founded by Leith Hill, Ellary’s Greens was named in memory of Hill’s grandmother and great-grandmother, and to keep their love of connection through food alive. Dishes on the menu offer nourishment you can trust and quality you can depend on. On our particular visit, we tried a few plates that would be perfect for the freezing temperatures that are hitting the East Coast right now. We ordered one of the restaurant’s favorite, Green Thai Tofu Curry (pictured, $16), Pan-Seared Salmon ($21), and Kale Mac & Cheese (pictured, $11). If you want something light but well-rounded, the salmon is a great choice. Along with the fish, the dish comes with sautéed swiss chard, cremini mushrooms, pine nuts, and pine vinaigrette. All in all, a delicious combination. But if you want something a bit more hearty and indulgent, the curry and mac & cheese are the way to go. We were pleasantly surprised by the deep green curry flavor and refreshing kick of ginger that accompanied every bite. The curry includes seasonal vegetables, ginger, and coconut milk, served with brown rice on the side. The mac and cheese, was light and the kale added a refreshing touch to the dish.

Make sure to also check out their fresh juices, smoothies, and kombucha for an extra immune booster this winter season.

Ellary’s Greens
1 Randall’s Island, New York, NY 10035


365日 (365 Days) is a high-end bakery located on the west side of Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan. Spearheaded by chef Sugitaki Shigetada, 365日 focuses on creating small-sized pastries, allowing the customer to enjoy not just one but a few – without getting full on one entree.

Featuring a beautiful wood-themed interior, this stylish bakery also carries a series of condiments like jam, nut butters, and syrups you can enjoy with their bread. We headed over just before the lunch crowd hit and selected 3 items. The first was a curry-stuffed bread which featured just the right ratio of paste and lightly fried dough, following a crostini topped with crispy kale covered in melted cheese. The star of the show (pictured) was a citrus custard filled bread, encrusted with crunchy white chocolate balls. If you’re a foodie looking to enjoy a variety of high-quality, unique Japanese-style pastries while still leaving room for more delicious eats around Tokyo, head over to 365日.

1-6-12 Tomigaya, Shibuya 151-0063, Tokyo Japan
365日 facebook page

Top 6 Lawson Snacks

If you’ve ever stopped at a convenient store in Japan, you’ll know that all stores stand true to their name—they are truly convenient. From stocking daily essentials like shampoo, stationery, pre-packaged meals and fresh produce, these small establishments also offer services like package drop-offs, a copy and print station, and you can even pay your taxes. It’s an essential component to everyday life, whether you’re a student, office worker or housewife, you’ll find yourself popping into one sooner or later. On our visit back home, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and grab some snacks we enjoyed over the years from one of our favorite convenient stores, Lawson.

CHOCOBALL (チョコボール)
Choco Balls are a classic chocolate snack that have been around since the 1960s. Flavors range from peanut covered chocolate to strawberry and caramel. Our favorite is the original peanut!

KINOKO NO YAMA (大人のきのこ山)
Also a childhood favorite, the original Mushroom Mountain features a crispy biscuit stem and a creamy milk chocolate cap. Recently, Meiji released a “grown up” version with dark chocolate caps. Both are equally delicious!

A perfect treat for those hot summer days, the Choco Monaka Jumbo is a large-sized ice cream that comes in the shape of a classic chocolate bar. Outside is a delightfully light and crispy layer, with an inside that features velvety vanilla ice cream and a single sheet of chocolate.

We love this snack called The Persimmon Seed for its salty peanuts, crispy rice treats and savory and also spicy qualities. The snack is packed into individual plastic sacks so you can bring them around with you on the go.

Rice balls are the quintessential snack. Nowadays the market has come out with more gourmet versions with fancy ingredients, but the classic triangle-shaped ones with crispy nori seaweed will always be our favorite. Salmon, kelp, and tuna mayo are some of our go-to flavors!

HOT CAKE SANDWICH (ホットケーキ: バター広がるホットケーキメープル&発酵バター入りホイップ)*
They might not look like much but when you take one bite of these fluffy pancake sandwiches, you’ll understand why they made it on our list! Slathered between two round hot cakes (pancakes) are salted butter and sweet syrup. We recommend heating yours up a few seconds in the microwave.
*Originally recommended by Keith Abrams from Kinfolk.

Naomi: The fried chicken baskets by the register also get an honorable mention. We used to eat them as an after school snack, they are surprisingly crispy.