Tag Archives: 10-day juice cleanse

Hoagies & Pickles & Amish…Oh My: Tummy Full-adelphia

2 Apr

This weekend my friend and I drove up to visit another dear friend in Philly. I hadn’t been to the City of Brotherly Love in ages, and had heard about all of the gastronomical delights that lurked just a couple of hours north. I did the math on Friday, and I hadn’t eaten anything processed, refined, (and aside from a sushi dinner), nothing that I hadn’t created with my own two hands in over 35 days! I knew that it was time to really give my taste buds a workout and Philly was the perfect place to re-acquaint those little suckers with meat and dairy and sugar.

After discovering the French bakery, Paul, on day 3 of my juice cleanse, I had been dreaming of their macarons. I picked up a couple of the almond-meringue-ganache treasures for the road trip. They were incredible. Not only were they the perfect texture: chewy and crispy, moist and creamy, but I was able to enjoy the flavors in a completely new way. Just as my body has been reset after my juice cleanse and vegan diet, my TASTE BUDS were working at maximum power. This was the theme of my entire weekend in Philly.

Of course we ate hoagies (incredible), and Amish hot, fresh-baked cinnamon rolls (my friend said they tasted like Barefoot Contessa had just pulled something out of the oven for us), and amazing pickles, but NOTHING compares to the meal we had at Barbuzzo. This Mediterranean, farm-to-table, small plates restaurant was the perfect place to eat my first meat and dairy.

We started off with a cured meat board, with a great spicy mustard, cornichons, and olive tapenade with sliced baguette. As my first meat, I chewed very slowly, and enjoyed every morsel of the salty, spiced, salami and seranno.

Next, we had the Sheeps Milk Ricotta. Oh my God. This cheese was like nothing I had ever experienced. It had a slightly sheepy flavor (which I love) and was as creamy as sour cream. It was drizzled with a sweet red-wine reduction and some very fragrant EVOO, and served with slices of incredible thick, grilled bread.

Next we had the roasted beet and goat cheese salad. Now, I know that every restaurant puts a beet and goat cheese salad on their menu — it’s definitely the rage — and usually it’s quite good but nothing very new and different. Not at Barbuzzo. The roasted beet and goat cheese salad was served over a bed of kale chiffonade tossed in a pistachio pesto with a sherry vinaigrette. What really set this dish over the edge for me was the inclusion of the sweet and citrusy ruby red grapefruit segments. (I obviously bought ingredients at Whole Foods yesterday for my attempt to replicate this wonder.) The cool creamy bites of cheese mixed with the robust greens drizzled with that sweet and nutty vinaigrette coupled with the tangy, juicy grapefruit — sheer bliss.

After this triple punch of KNOCKOUT flavors, we tried the Tufoli Calabrese (Tufoli is a type of pasta noodle — similar to Rigatoni), which had a slow-cooked smoky pork ragu, with buffala mozzarella, brocollini, and some breadcrumbs on top. I thought this dish was good, but not as mind-blowing as our first few dishes.

After the pasta (you can see that we really went to town on the menu ordering everything — but I promise the plates were small 🙂 ), we had the Uovo pizza. I swear birds started chirping when I bit into this pizza. Aside from the crust being perfectly amazing, it was topped with a garlicy light creamy white sauce, brussel sprout leaves, guanciale (pork cheek that tastes like non-smoked bacon), mozzarella, and drum roll…a truffled farm-fresh egg. If you haven’t had a fresh egg (that is still orange in color before it turns yellow with age), this was the PERFECT way to have it.

Perfectly satisfied with our incredible meal, we decided to try dessert. As a person who doesn’t love sweets and was grappling with what I thought would be an evening of gastric distress, I had read so much about the Budino dessert and I knew we had try it. We decided to order the apple and raisin bread pudding and the caramel Budino. The bread pudding was great, had nice big chunks of multicolored bread and was creamy and topped with apple cider gelato. I have to rush through that dessert because when I dipped my spoon into the Budino and tasted it, I swear bells starting chiming. I can’t really explain to you why PUDDING was in my friend’s top 3 desserts of all time, but it was in mine too.

The pudding came out in a mason jar and didn’t look like much. Tasting is believing. It was light and creamy, but still somewhat dense and had an almost satin-like texture, with the most insane caramel flavor. It wasn’t overly sweet but had a good bit of salt running through which really brought out the caramel notes. The pudding was layered on top of dark chocolate cookie crumbs that tasted like Oreos, and on top was a whipped creme fraiche that felt like whipped cream but tasted like sour cream so the combination was sweet heaven. Perfection in a jelly jar.

After our dinner the next evening, we contemplated returning to Barbuzzo just to get the Budino again for dessert. But we didn’t. With Michelin-starred restaurants in Napa and Italy, as well as amazing restaurants in France, N.Y.C., and New Orleans under my foodie belt, I still would consider this meal to be in my top-5 dining experiences ever. 

The next evening we tried one of Philly top chef, Iron Chef extraordinaire, Jose Garces’ restaurants. It was good…but after the bar that Barbuzzo set, I don’t even think Thomas Keller could have surpassed it. Well, yeah he probably could have. We ended our trip with an incredible brunch at a cute little place called Sabrina’s  (where I had scrambled eggs with a cornmeal-green onion-sour cream biscuit) and had the perfect ricotta cannoli from Isgro Pasticceria to carry home to D.C.

This weekend, I discovered another benefit of juice-cleansing to add to my growing list: the cleanse awakened my palate. I was able to discover food and flavors in a completely different way. The manner in which I could identify subtle nuanced flavors might rival a Top Chef discerning palate quick-fire challenge. All in all, I definitely cannot wait to return to this city of culinary wonder and keep my taste buds working at optimum power.

xoxo,
the happenstance gourmande

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Meal planning for the (very distant) future…(day 3 of the cleanse)

12 Mar

So today is the first day back at work and other than my green juice sitting next to me, everything is completely normal. Luckily the morning was pretty busy, so the time flew by before I was able to think about my hunger (or lack thereof). I made a super sweet apple, pear, and green grape juice for breakfast this morning, and a nice zesty green for lunch with celery, spinach, cucumber, lemon, apple, pear, and ginger. Since it’s such a gorgeous day out (temperatures reaching the upper 60’s and lots of sunshine), my friend and I decided to go on a walk during lunch. Walking on streets that I normally never set foot on led me to discover some tasty treasures lurking in my office’s backyard.

The first place we passed was Freshii. It looks like a wrap/salad/rice bowl bar that could be a vast improvement over my normal love/hate relationship with Pret and Chopt. Next, we saw a lobster shack and….A WHOLE RESTAURANT DEDICATED TO MEATBALLS. Of course it would be the brainchild of one of my favorite DC chefs, Michel Richard. With lentil and lamb meatballs in a morel mushroom sauce, this will DEFINITELY be a place to revisit.  

As we finished our walk, last but by no means least, we passed a Parisian bakery called Paul. We walked inside, which would certainly seem to be pure torture, and spotted perfectly pastel macarons, deliciously flaky pain au chocolat, and tartines and quiches galore.

Why would I subject myself to this culinary waterboarding? Well, surprisingly with the aromas of macarons and meatballs wafting in the near distance, my hunger pains are at bay and it wasn’t torture at all. While I can think fondly about the amazing gastronomical delights that await in a couple of weeks, I am not craving them. I am not sad nor jealous nor covetous of my coworker’s french fries. I am perfectly content with my jug of green. For my third day into the fast, I can’t think of anything I’d rather be!

xoxo,
the happenstance gourmande

I’m a mean green fighting machine…(day 2 of the cleanse)

11 Mar

I woke up this morning super early, although with the time change I guess it was more like regular wake-up time. I was surprisingly not starved. I didn’t feel like I had gone a whole 24 hours without eating. I barely felt like I’d gone 8 hours without eating. I made my morning hot water with lemon, relaxed with my new Vanity Fair subscription, chatted on the phone, and then made a fruit juice with green grapes, strawberries, and apples. After an $80 Giant grocery store run (I don’t think I can afford to do the cleanse AND shop at my normal Whole Foods–not to mention the willpower of dodging delightful aromas wafting from the hot bar) where I picked up additional supplies to hopefully last me for the week, I had tons of energy when I got back home. I put a load of laundry in and even felt an adderall-esque urge to clean out my fridge.

As lunchtime approached, I knew that it was finally time to try the Mean Green juice. In an effort to avoid the debacle of yesterday’s sludge, I decided to follow Joe Cross’ recipe to a tee. Here’s the recipe:

6 Kale Leaves
1 Cucumber
4 Celery Stalks
2 Green Apples
1/2 Lemon
1 piece of ginger

Surprisingly, it is PRETTY GOOD. I am not sure that I will call it enjoyable, but I’ve definitely had no problem drinking a tall glass of the stuff. I would describe the flavor as mildly sweet and slightly carbonated. Somehow the mixture of celery, lemon, and ginger is giving it a fizzy flavor. I don’t know if fizzy can actually be used to describe a flavor BUT I swear it tastes fizzy. It is not actually fizzy. That would be weird.

I feel great today. I don’t feel amazing like I have had some sort of life-altering moment and I look pretty much the same, but I don’t feel worse than normal which I think equates to great when subtracting the usual three squares a day. As for the detox, let’s just say that I know that the wheels are in motion. My stomach has made me acutely aware.

Tomorrow will be my first day of working while juicing and I’ve heard that day 3 is the worst day. I am a little nervous (I already know of 2 pressing projects for tomorrow morning, blah) but I think as long as I feel like I do today, I will be a-ok.

Wish me luck!

xoxo,
the happenstance gourmande

Let’s get this party started (everybody juice now)…day 1 of the cleanse

11 Mar

Last night, I went to the grocery store to stock up on ingredients, including carrots, kale, fennel, romaine lettuce, apples, pears, spinach, cabbage, ginger, and lemons. With my last supper in my belly (baby spinach, tomatoes, and avocado, followed by a banana and handful of almonds) I went to bed and said sayonara to eating for the next 10 days. I woke up this morning bright and early, completely prepared for my first day of juicing.

After finishing a nice cup of hot water with lemon, I was ready to begin. With a little trepidation about jumping feet first into green juices, I decided to take it relatively easy this morning and make a fruit juice with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and a gala and granny smith apple. It was DELICIOUS. I am a huge apple lover, so to be able to drink this was amazing.

                                           

I went out to Target at 9:30 a.m. which I have to say is a completely different world than the one I normally experience at 2 p.m. I found some perfect Rubbermaid one-pint jugs. reusable ice packs, and a cute pink insulated lunch sack for carrying my juice to work. This morning, I had a fairly normal energy level and did not feel super hungry.

For my mid-morning snack, I decided to try something a little bolder. A little greener. I made a fennel, cucumber, and pear juice.       

The juice was actually pretty delicious! The only problem was that toward the end of  my glass, I began to be very aware of the fennel and it overpowered my palate. I had trouble finishing and am not sure if I will be including fennel again.

After taking a nap, it was obviously now time to try a juice of the REAL GREEN variety, a mean green if you will. Fruit juice number one was excellent. Moderately green juice number two was fine. I think you know what’s coming next…Super green juice number three was…interesting. I started off by putting some kale into my juicer. The smell that came out of that beautiful handful was so off-putting that I could barely put a drop of the emerald-colored juice on my tongue. After an internal sad trombone, I scrambled through the fridge for any and everything else. I used some baby spinach, a quarter wedge of green cabbage, 2 carrots, a head of romaine lettuce, a granny smith apple, half lemon, and thumb-sized portion of ginger root to create this sea sludge pictured to the right.

It’s not that it tasted terrible. It didn’t actually. It tasted like a thick and slightly grainy gingered apple cider, with a big spoonful of dirt mixed in. Oddly enough, I just watched TLC’s My Strange Addiction where a woman loves to eat the really moist, earthy dirt. I am pretty positive she would have loved this juice.

The strangest part of this day is how hungry I am NOT. I had to force myself to “eat” my afternoon snack of coconut water and am now prepping myself to make a dinner juice. I think that I made extra-large juices during the day — 20 oz. instead of the 14-16 oz. — so perhaps that is why I am not desperately craving anything now. I am sure my appetite will not remain this way throughout the next 9 days, but I can only hope that the fact that I feel no different than a normal day on this first day of the cleanse is because my vegan pre-cleanse did something to help with the “detox symptoms” I have read about.

Here’s a little treat to leave you with (that I had to desperately RUN AWAY from at Target) and here’s to hoping for more delicious green juices in the future.

xoxo,
the happenstance gourmande

Setting Goals and Dreaming of the Future…

9 Mar

As I think about my long (10-day) journey ahead, I am planning for the future. Besides thinking about how good I will hopefully feel, pounds I will hopefully shed, how great my skin will hopefully look, etc., I am thinking HOW WILL I GET THROUGH THE NEXT TEN DAYS? This is my last day of being able to eat and what am I toasting out my chewing skills with? The usual fruit salad and veggies. Except today, I’m hoping to keep it raw. If I didn’t love produce so much, I’d be screaming.

Last week I picked up a great deal for Nusta Spa from Bloomspot. I have been dying for a spa day and what better way to use this deal than as a reward for a job well done, right? In addition, I’ve had my eye on a super cute watch (pictured to the left), so why not add that to the pot of gold at the end of this beet, kale, carrot, and apple colored rainbow?

This evening, after a trip to the grocery store, not only will I be doing a test-run of the juicer but I’ll also be doing a little testing of my body. In an effort to really monitor my progression, I am going to take detailed measurements (eeeeeek) and keep tabs daily to see how things shrink up. I’m happy to report that after almost a whole week of eating vegan (and eating avocado and peanut butter with wild abandon) I have lost 6 lbs. on the nose! I feel incredibly less bloated, less hungry, and have eliminated my crackbury mini egg-cravings. I just hope I can keep the cravings in check when there’s no broccoli to munch!

As for the measurements I’ll be taking, here they are from exercise.about.com:

  • Bust: Measure around the chest right at the nipple line, but don’t pull the tape too tight.
  • Chest: Measure just under your bust
  • Waist: Measure a half-inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist
  • Hips: Place tape measure around the biggest part of your hips
  • Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh
  • Calves: Measure around the largest part of each calf
  • Upper arm: Measure around the largest part of each arm above the elbow
  • Forearm: Measure around the largest part of the arm below the elbow.

 Wish me luck tomorrow! I am definitely going to need it…

xoxo,
the happenstance gourmande