Restaurant Review: FreeFoods NYC – Midtown

I headed off for another lunchtime meal in Midtown yesterday.  This time at FreeFoods NYC which I’ve walked by several times and have always been intrigued by the awesome looking juices people walk out of there with.

FreeFoods NYC  – Per their website

“Specializing in Contemporary Organic Cuisine – flavorful, nutritious , and creative foods designed especially for a busy lifestyle”

What it SHOULD say is “flavorful, nutritious, and creative foods designed especially for those with a lot of money“.

You see this…

That little slice of pizza will cost you $6.50.

Yes, it’s healthier than the $1 slices Ray’s (or whoever) is selling right across the street.  But, it definitely explains why this spot was close to empty during the lunch hours in Midtown.  And it explains why my salad and juice (to go) cost me over $20.

I absolutely understand that organic, healthily prepared food is worth more.  But, it’s hard to justify spending $20 a day on lunch.  This place is for a splurge, only.

My lunch was fine.  I went with the macrobiotic cobb salad.  (ate it too fast to get a picture) and a delightful juice.

The 7 Green (kale, spinach, parsley, cucumber, pear, apple & lime).  Well, mine was only a “5 Green” since they were out of pears and substituted my lime for lemon.  But, it still tasted fresh, delicious and healthy.  3 of my favorite things.

I think you can tell.  FreeFoods NYC was fine.  I was just a little put off by the prices.  Not customary for the neighborhood and not worth it, in my opinion.

  • Food – * * * *
  • Service – * * *
  • (The juicer was broken & it took about 15 mins for someone to fix it.  And they didn’t seem to care too much)   
  • Ambiance – * * * *
  •  (Cool, clean & beautiful)      
  • Price Value – *
  • Overall – Underwhelmed

And, nothing to do with FreeFoods NYC but, this was my view as I walked home last night.

This weekend, and anytime I look at the Manhattan skyline, my thoughts are with the victims, families and brave first responders who lost their lives 10 years ago on 9/11.  God Bless.

Delaware Water Gap – Just an hour outside of NYC

I’ve been living in the NYC/NJ area for about 6 months now (wow, has it been that long?).  I still feel really new and am just getting familiar with the area.  One of the best discoveries so far is learning how quickly you can get to pure nature outside of the city.

Just under an hour  you’re in the mountains and on the Appalachian trail.

A few weekends ago Iain and I, and our friends Chris and Kim drove out to hike the Sunfish Pond route.

About 5 miles roundtrip and pretty steep in some places.  But, that glacial pond is worth it!

Kim & puppies took a swim.

Me & Chris taking a break

Sunflowers!It was still pretty hot when we were there.  I can’t wait to go back in the fall, with the crisp air and leaves turning.  I’m also looking for places to go Apple Picking in the area.  Any suggestions?

Staying healthy and safe during a hurricane – what to buy

I’m no stranger to hurricanes, since I grew up in South Carolina and lived in Florida for 4 years.  They are, pretty much, a Hallmark of late Summer / Fall.   But I definitely didn’t expect to be preparing for one in the NYC / NJ area.  No way.  I think Irene has caught us all by surprise.  And I’m mad because Hurricane Irene thwarted an Annual Girls weekend in Florida this weekend!! Not because she’s barreling down on Florida, because she’s barreling to NYC.  I still can’t get over that!

Nonetheless, we now know in the NYC area that a hurricane is on the way, scheduled to impact our area early Sunday, and we need to start to prepare.   Hurricane prepardness is no joke.  Plan for the worst, hope for the best.  This post assumes that electricity will go out, water will not be available and you’ll be home-bound for 1-3 days.  But, fingers crossed that this will be the worst anyone will suffer.

Stock up on non-perishables AND fill your freezer.  When power goes out, you want your freezer to be chock full of frozen goods so that it takes longer to thaw out.  So YES, this is your excuse to go to the store and PILE up on ice cream.

The hubby and I went shopping last night for some basic supplies (along with the rest of New Jersey). The goal was to stock up on healthy eating items.  Here’s what was on our list:

  • Water (obviously)
  • Bananas (fruit that will be ok at room temp)
  • Bread (tons to stuff in the freezer)
  • Crackers
  • Ice cream!  (We got several So Delicious pints)
  • Lara bars
  • Canned soups (ensure you have a manual can opener)
  • Canned rice
  • Canned beans
  • Almond milk (great because it won’t spoil at room temperature)
  • Candles & batteries (obviously)
  • Apples  (fruit that will be ok at room temp)
  • Pita Chips
  • Garbanzo beans ( I plan on making a big batch of hummus early Saturday)
  • Carrots
  • Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate
  • Board games & Playing cards!

And I most definitely plan on making “Hurricanes” Saturday night.  (come on over !) 

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 limes
  • 1 orange
  • Passion Fruit Syrup
  • Dark Rum
  • Maraschino Cherries

I’ll post the full recipe tomorrow as I make it.  Assuming we’ll have wi-fi!

One last thing.  Precautions to take at home:

  • Bring in patio furniture and outdoor plants
  • Remove A/C units from windows.  (don’t want these flying out!)
  • Fill up bathtub and pots with water for extra provisions.

Stay safe, people!!  And “Constant Vigilance”!  (my two favorite words from the Harry Potter series, appropriate in ANY situation, CV).

Restaurant Review: Maoz – Times Square

Blink and you’ll miss this little tiny storefront on the corner of 40th Street & 7th Avenue.  And you’d be missing a fast, delicious, CHEAP, vegetarian treat.


I stopped in here for lunch yesterday and it was tasty, as always.  There are only a few items on their menu (falafel sandwich, falafel salad, fries, drinks) but what they do, they do well.  Plus, the shop is so tiny, they wouldn’t be able to fit any other options in here.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1 – Order your meal at the counter.  (I always get the Falafel sandwich “Maoz” on whole wheat at $5.95, eggplant and hummus is extra $$) then step about 2 feet to the right and wait.

Step 2 – Maoz employee calls out the number on your receipt and and hands you your sandwich.

Step 3 – The salad bar is yours all yours.  Corn salad, Beet Salad, Tabouli, Chickpea Salad, Pickled Eggplant, Cabbage and on and on… stuff as much as you can into your sandwich.   Sidenote: I once saw a girl in Maoz get a salad and use both the salad container and LID to pile food on.  She must have had enough food for 2 days!  Not bad for less than $6!

Step 4 – Hand your sandwich over to the Maoz employee at the end of the line and they’ll wrap it up for you to take on your way.

Step 5 – Eat and try not to get it all over your clothes.  This is a tough task for me.

My masterpiece: (lots of Cabbage and Cilantro Sauce)

Maria’s Masterpiece:

The falafel is as good as I’ve ever tasted.  Hot, crunchy and the pita bread is soft and fresh with a lot of room for stuffing with their great salad bar options.   My dining companion was a little resistant to the “rabbit food” I was forcing her to eat for lunch.  But, she even enjoyed it and remarked that she’ll be going back there again.  And  I know I’ll be back pretty much every Wednesday.  (Wednesday is when I have my long runs.  So, I deserve a fried treat for lunch, don’t you think?)

If you’re not in the NYC – Times Square area, they have tons of other restaurants in the NYC area and around the world. Maoz Locations

Saturday at the Farmers Market – Union Square Greenmarket

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday in New York City is wander through the farmers market / Greenmarket at Union Square.  I recommend doing this after a filling NYC brunch so that you don’t buy everything in sight.

Here are some photos from this week’s trip after running Summer Streets.   I didn’t take many photos because my arms were filled with Farmers Market treats  (I just ran 9 miles! I was hungry!!) and I couldn’t manage the camera. Maybe next time I’ll go and just take pictures without shopping.

Who am I kidding, that will never happen…

Enjoy the pics!

I can’t wait for these trees to start coloring for fall.

Scored this pot of basil for $2.00!  

So many carrots!  I had never heard of ‘White Carrots’ & ‘Rainbow Carrots’ before.

Peter Piper Picked a pack of Purple Peppers?

Garlic Heads.

Fresh Pasta.

Beets.  So fresh and beautiful! I couldn’t resist buying these and will attempt to pickle them this week.

Local Pride.


Running right smack down the middle of Park Avenue – Summer Streets

Something fabulous happened in NYC yesterday.

Three Saturdays a year, Park Avenue (and parts of Lafayette and 4th Ave) is closed to cars from Brooklyn Bridge to E 72nd Street and open to runners, walkers, cyclist, rollerbladers, stroller pushers.  Amazing!

I had 9 miles to do, as part of my marathon training, and thought I’d give it a try.  I’m very glad that I did.  How wonderful to run straight through the heart of the city, without pausing every block, looking both ways, waiting for cars.  Instead, Summer Streets lets you just run on through, soaking up the sights that are missed on a normal day, rushing from one place to another.

Of course not all streets were completely closed. This wasn’t a marathon.  The NYPD and fantastic volunteers were stationed at cross-streets about every 5-8 blocks stopping cars and directing traffic.

There were also fitness-stops set up along the route.  Here’s a Crunch Gym  / Women’s Health class:

And, my favorite stop, The Whole Foods Picnic area….

I’ll tell you this….. People LOVE free stuff.  The crowds weren’t bad but, people were excited to see what they could get for free, for sure.

I, too, like to get stuff for free…

That classic lemonade was a tasty treat right in the middle of a 9 mile run!

So, I didn’t make great time on the run.  But, I had a great time!!  Too bad I only heard about Summer Streets on the last week.  But, I’ll be back next August.   Well done, NYC.