NYC Current Favorites

NYC Current Favorites

New York City has so many amazing food destinations and every time I go, I always plan the trip around the food! Yeah, just being the foodie that I am 🙂

SO here are the destinations that I’ve recently visited and recommend!

1.) Bibble and Sip


You’ve probably seen pictures on Instagram of creamy matcha lattes and giant oozing cream puffs. This place is definitely definitely worth the hype.


I had a matcha cream puff, earl grey cream puff, and a bite of the brûlée egg tart. They cream puffs were so good that we had to take one home, along with a black sesame croissant. The matcha cream puff was my favorite! The cream had just the right amount of matcha flavor and it wasn’t too sweet. The outside puff part was crispy and match-y. And then there’s the price. At $3.50 a cream puff, the cost is insanely cheap, especially for a super popular NYC cafe. This is the place that I recommend everyone take a trip to! It’s right in between Time Square and Columbus Square, so it is very conveniently located if you want to visit all the major touristy areas.


Next time I come, I’m definitely ordering a Lavender Latte. I hear it’s amazing as well!

2.) Hangawi


Hangawi is a Korean restaurant that serves only vegetarian food, and I had been eyeing this restaurant for a while because of its outstanding reviews on Yelp and Zagat. So for my birthday recently, I finally got to try the food here with my friends and it was so yummy 🙂 And while the food is not completely authentic Korean, it still tastes super good. Even my friends completely adverse to vegetarian food enjoyed the dishes.


I had a tofu stone bowl rice with sesame leaves, which was savory and delicious. I loved the flavorful tofu scramble, over the hot bed of rice.

3.) Beyond Sushi

   This sushi joint serves vegan and vegetarian sushi, and I tried the spicy mango roll and the mighty mushroom roll. The mushroom was by far my favorite, and it could be just because of my obsession with mushrooms, but mushrooms in sushi?! Mmm it was delicious! I love meaty vegetables 🙂

4.) By Chloe

You’ve probably also heard of this vegetarian/vegan restaurant that serves amazing meatless burgers. (You probably notice by now that I love going to vegetarian/vegan eateries)

This place is great. And really aesthetically pleasing-I went to the one near Flatiron.

First of all, the fridge is IDEAL. There’s chia puddings, fruit, plenty of kombucha, juice, and other goodies.

Then the actual food. I ordered a classic burger and it was so savory and tasted so much more satisfying than a regular veggie burger! The patty- a TEMPEH-LENTIL-CHIA-WALNUT PATTY- tasted so much like meat it was amazing 😍definitely looking forward to going again soon!!

Yes that’s the same picture from our Instagram 🙂

Now that I’ve shared my current NYC favorites, what are your’s? Recommendations in the comments will be much appreciated 🙂

Love,

Serena

Lettuce Wraps and Leftovers

Lettuce Wraps and Leftovers

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Now that I’m finally on summer break, I have been cooking every meal for my family. So, I’ve been able to experiment with a lot of different recipes and ways to use leftovers. It’s safe to say that my parents can’t live without meat, so I’ve been challenging them to be more adventurous with their veggies. Last night, I made this lettuce wrap “bar” complete with Romaine hearts, chickpeas, carrots, red bell pepper, and oyster mushrooms. Also, (not shown here), I used a tiny bit of tartar sauce to amp up the flavors. To appease my parents, I did sear some salmon that I seasoned with only salt and pepper. It turned out perfect, no need to season it any more. Also in the picture was soup that my dad made in bulk on the weekend, some leftover turkey, and leftover brown rice.

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Green tea ice cream mochi. So good!!

Since my mom and I went on a Trader Joe’s run earlier that day, we purchased a lot of frozen desserts, and of course, I had to have some of them after dinner!

 

We did have some leftovers after the dinner-salmon, bell peppers, carrots, and chickpeas. I simply incorporated these ingredients into my meals the next day.

 

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My breakfast omelet had bell peppers and carrots. Then, for lunch, I made a salad with a green medley (arugula, spinach, kale, romaine) with yellow bell pepper, the leftover chickpeas, and the leftover salmon. I also drizzled some Miso-Ginger Dressing (also leftover from a while ago :))

What are your favorite lettuce wrap ingredients? Lmk in the comments 🙂

With Love,

Serena

Summer Food Go-To’s

Summer Food Go-To’s

As school ends and summer break rolls in, I’ve started thinking about all the recipes I’ll bring back from last summer, and new ones that I’m excited to try.

First, I am definitely making my quinoa bowl. Last summer after my half day math camp, I would come home and make this lunch everyday. The bowl consists of quinoa with spinach, cherry tomatoes, avocado, minced garlic, and pine nuts in olive oil.

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This bowl is very filling, healthy, and bright. Perfect for a long day at camp!

Next, I will be making nice cream! I made a post about it a while back 🙂

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This isn’t my pic, but it’s so pretty!

I definitely want to make some bliss balls for an energizing snack.

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Of course, lots of FRUIT! I also love putting lemon and orange slices in my water.

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I stole this from insta 🙂

I’m also super looking forward to grilling some mangoes! This may sound weird, but mangoes develop an amazing sweetness when there are some lovely grill marks.

What are you excited to make this summer?

With Love,

Serena

Healthiness Compilation

Healthiness Compilation

I will bombard you with a bunch of healthy things because I (for once) took pictures of a lot of the things I ate! Eye-candy!

First, this beet juice that I made! It was so refreshing and delicious, and it only took a few ingredients : beets, carrots, apples, pears, ginger, water.

Next, an on-the-go breakfast that I had recently when I was running late to classes 🙂

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Chobani greek yogurt (banana+oats) and Chia seed pudding with raspberries and agave

This breakfast was healthy, satisfying, and filling, which is exactly what I needed before a long day at school!

I also had numerous bowls of healthy goodness.

First up, my go-to bowl that I made everyday for lunch last summer:

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Quinoa with cherry tomatoes, spinach, half an avocado, and pine nuts mixed with minced garlic and olive oil.

And then this one:

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I ate this for dinner and it was inspired by all the vegan Youtubers that I have been watching lately. It had potatoes, broccoli, tofu, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes.

I hope you enjoyed those healthy pics! What is your favorite bowl combo?

With Love,

Serena

Healthy Eating “Detox”

Healthy Eating “Detox”

Do detoxes really work?

Yesterday, my family and I celebrated Mother’s Day at a pancake house for breakfast, at a fair where we drank a lot of bubble tea, and then in Philly for a midnight snack-eating congee and crepes. Today, we’ll be eating at a Chinese restaurant for dinner.

In between these heavy comfort foods, I tried to “detox”- or reverse the adverse affects of the pancakes, etc. with healthy foods. For lunch, I had a spinach salad with couscous and avocados, then for dinner we had tofu, salmon, and asparagus. Today, I had veggie scrambled eggs, raw vegan bliss balls, a pomegranate, a load of pineapple, a lot of water, and a lovely beet smoothie before dinner.

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This isn’t my picture, but the result looked the same 🙂 I blended water with a beet, a carrot, a pear, an apple, and a small knob of ginger and ran the smoothie through a sieve to result in a juice!

Eating all of these healthy foods and drinks made me wonder if this “detox” was working, or if it was just a way to make me feel better about my diet…However, I did notice that I was feeling a lot drowsier after eating the pancakes and bubble tea. The healthy foods gave me a lot more energy.

So, do “detoxes” (eating unhealthy and then trying to balance it with extremely healthy) work? I can say that the healthy made me feel a lot better-mentally and physically. What do you think?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the hardworking mothers out there!

Love,

Serena

Dark Chocolate Almond Bliss Balls

Dark Chocolate Almond Bliss Balls

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Dark Chocolate Almond Bliss Balls. Oh, how they are blissful!

I bought a big pack of dates and a box of raw almonds a while back, thinking that I would make bliss balls because they were the trendy raw vegan snack. Just yesterday, I finally made them and I am so thankful I did.

My recipe is adapted from Food by Camilla‘s Choco, Almond & Coconut Bliss Ball recipe.

Ingredients

3/4 cup raw, unsalted almonds

1/2 cup oats

8 medjool dates

1 tbsp raw cacao powder

3 tbsp water (if necessary)

2 tbsp dark chocolate or raw cacao nibs (optional for coating)

Method

Blend almonds, oats, and cacao powder in a food processor until smooth.

Add the dates one by one.

Transfer mixture into a bowl and add as much water necessary to form a sticky consistency.

Roll the mixture into ball shapes.

Optionally place dark chocolate/cacao nibs into a food processor and blitz until small, but still chunky. Roll the bliss balls into the chocolate pieces.

Refrigerate for twenty minutes or (if you’re like me) enjoy right away!

I stored my bliss balls in a tupperware container in the fridge. They can last a couple days, and  make a healthy, satisfying, and sweet snack for any occasion.

What is your favorite raw vegan recipe? Comment below!

Love,

Serena

NYC Day Trip: MOMA and more

NYC Day Trip: MOMA and more

 

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The view from MOMA

Traveling to New York City is one of my favorite things to do because of the city’s amazing food, cute shops, and famous museums. This past Saturday, I went on a day trip, starting at Juicy Cube, a juice bar also selling smoothies and bubble tea.

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I had a Thai Iced Bubble Tea which I shared with my friend. It was very refreshing and delicious! I would definitely recommend visiting Juicy Cube because of their quick service and amazing variety of drinks. Next time, I definitely want to try the young coconut blends because they use the meat and water of a fresh coconut.

 

Next, I went to the Museum of Modern Art. My favorite exhibit was called A Japanese Constellation, which showcased Japanese architects’ designs and buildings.

I also saw numerous well known paintings such as the work of Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo.

Finally, I walked to the Midtown Momofuku Milk Bar. I was absolutely elated to finally try the desserts at the Milk Bar because I have heard so much about this bakery!

I ended up ordering a cereal milk soft serve and a pack of three birthday cake “truffles”. The cereal milk soft serve tasted very similar to a mainly Asian drink called Ovaltine that I had in Hong Kong. It satisfied my sweet tooth and it was refreshing, but I don’t quite understand the popularity of cereal milk…I probably would not order this again. However, the birthday cake truffles tasted exactly like a Funfetti cake, without all the cringe-worthy ingredients! Overall, I think the trip to the Milk Bar was an exciting experience (complete with a 30 minute wait), and if you haven’t been there, definitely go!

I had a wonderful time with my friends in NYC. Where should I visit next time I head to New York?

Love,

Serena

Goguma Green Smoothie

Goguma Green Smoothie

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To be honest, I actually was never really in the smoothie hype. I can blame it partly to my grandma. Whenever I stay at my grandparents house when I visit them during the summer, my grandmother makes a “health” smoothie daily without fail. I appreciate that she takes the time to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the rest of my family to makes these smoothies, but boy, do they taste more like medicine than a drink. My grandma blends in all the superfoods she hears on the TV that the finished product doesn’t taste much of anything but a mix of bitter, sweet, sour, and salty.

 

Anyway, after meeting Serena who always talks about her smoothie breakfasts, I was intrigued as to whether this green smoothie hype was actually real. So, over spring break, I decided to at least try making a green smoothie once. Surprisingly, I grew to love it so much that I made and drank a smoothie every single day!

 

Now, this isn’t any ordinary green smoothie. Yeah, we have the berries, the banana, the avocado, and the greens (I used either kale or spinach – whichever one was already washed), BUT, I added in another ingredient called goguma.

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Baked Goguma

Goguma is a Korean sweet potato that is widely known in Korea to be the “magic” food. It has a lot of nutritional benefits, filling but at the same time, calorically low that many celebrities swear on “Goguma diets.” I never thought to put goguma as one of the ingredients, let alone make a green smoothie, but my mom suggested it. I was bit skeptical but I decided to give it a shot, and let me tell you, it’s sooooo delicious! The goguma allows the smoothie to have a thicker consistency and taste sweeter.

 

While I soon ran out of some ingredients later during break, I always had my goguma (being a Korean, you always have frozen gogumas at your disposal 🙂 ) and this made my smoothies a success. So my smoothies varied from day-to-day in color, consistency and in purpose, but they all were so tasty. The colors would range from purple or green depending on what ingredient I put most, the consistency depended on how much goguma or avocado I put in as well as water, and purpose ranged from acai bowl to just a simple post-workout snack.

 

Here are the ingredients:

  • Avocado (duh)
  • Baked Goguma
  • Berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
  • Kale/spinach
  • Mango
  • Banana
  • Water

 

Optional for toppings:

  • Chia seeds
  • Coconut flakes
  • Nuts
  • More berries/fruits from above list

 

These are some pictures during the process. My family’s blender was ancient (we probably never thought to buy a new one after being horrified by my grandma’s smoothies, haha) so we decided to use a food processor and it worked just fine!

 

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Lots and lots of kale!

 

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Before being blended!
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Green now, but after blackberries, purple!

Here are some of the after pictures:

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Straight from the blender – isn’t it fascinating how the smoothie changes from green to purple just from the blackberries?

 

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Another day’s smoothie: beginnings of an “Acai” Bowl

 

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All done!

I can say from this spring break experience that I have officially jumped on the green smoothie bandwagon!

 

Have you made your own smoothies before? What other smoothies should I try?

xoxo,

Stephanie

What I Ate for Breakfast Friday

What I Ate for Breakfast Friday

Breakfast can get boring sometimes. I mean, it’s pretty much the same food everyday: scrambled eggs with mushrooms and spinach, vanilla yogurt with granola and banana and almond milk. I even have this breakfast on the weekends. And yes, maybe it’s my fault for not experimenting more. I used to make chia seed puddings and pancakes, smoothie bowls, etc. But now that I am in high school, let’s just say time seems to shrink everyday.

Since I’m on spring break right now, I decided to bring back the Blogilates egg and banana pancake (circa 2012).

If you’ve never heard of this pancake I linked it above. Basically, I blended two eggs and one banana in my NutriBullet and cooked it on a pan. That’s it.

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The result was quite delicious. Originally, I thought the portion size was too small, but it actually ended up being just enough to fill me up. Also, these pancakes are best made tiny, so it took me forever to cook them on a pan. So, a griddle would work a lot better. Overall, they were delicious with strawberries!

I also tried this Coconut Milk:

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It was very tasty. Somewhat less creamy than what I am used to in almond milk, but very good and addicting 🙂

What is your favorite non-dairy milk?

Love,

Serena

10 Health Foods I’m Currently Obsessed with…

10 Health Foods I’m Currently Obsessed with…

Today marks the halfway point of Serena’s and my two-week spring break. Being back at home definitely has its benefits, especially in the food realm. While I try my best to stay healthy by being creative in the school dining hall and bringing my own healthy snacks from home (i.e.: mom’s homemade granola bars and baggies of nuts), there’s only so much I can do.

 

The highlight of being back home for break is going grocery shopping with my mom. I seriously grin from ear to ear when pushing the cart down the aisles of Costco and Whole Foods. What’s new about this break than winter or Thanksgiving break is that I’ve found some health foods (some new, some old-favorites, but 10 to be exact) which I’m totally obsessed over now. So obsessed that it’s pretty much the only reason I don’t want break to end.

 

Here are the 10 food items I am currently obsessed about (in no particular order):

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1. Coconut Flakes | Okay, so I used to hate coconut. When I was young, from ages 3 to 7, I lived in the Philippines, which is coconut heaven. I remember when we went to restaurants, the servers would bring coconuts that fell right outside the restaurant with a straw stuck into it. My parents drank the coconut water, but despite being the kid who usually eats all things, coconut water was just off-limits to me.

I started drinking coconut water during winter break of last year because I heard of its benefits especially to hydration. I was skeptical on trying it, but once I took one sip of it, I was sold. I loved it so much that I wondered why hated it when I was young; I regretted not drinking the fresh coconut water when I had the chance. Anyways, when I came home for spring break, coconut water was first on my grocery list. However, while in Trader Joe’s the other day, I found coconut flakes and decided to try it in my yogurt. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.

 

 

2. Kombucha | You probably heard of Kombucha before because it’s been all the range recently in the media. All the fashion guru’s whether on YouTube or on blogs have been touting about drinking Kombucha. I first heard about it from Chriselle Lim, a famous YouTuber who said she drank a bottle of Kombucha every single day. However, I heard about Kombucha at the end of the winter break, and because it isn’t stocked in most grocery stores except Whole Foods, I didn’t get a chance to try it.

Nevertheless, when I came home for spring break, I got two bottles of Kombucha at Whole Foods. It doesn’t taste weird at all, but I guess it depends on the flavors as well. I got Trilogy and Gingerberry. It taste like cider but a bit more acidic. As it was just my luck, when I went to Costco the next day, I saw a box of 6 Kombucha and of course, I put it in the cart. The flavor is Gingerade, which I like too. To be honest, I can’t taste the difference between the flavors.

For those who don’t know what Kombucha is, to put it simply, it’s a drink with probiotics in it which helps cleans your gut.

 

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3. Larabar | Now while I love my mom’s homemade granola bar, they can get a bit bland so I was looking for some bars that had natural ingredients and sweet as well. And I found it in Larabars! The main ingredient of all Larabars are dates, which make the bar sweet. I’ve had so far Carrot Cake, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Cashew Cookie. I love Carrot Cake the best, but all three and all the Larabars have few ingredients, and all the ingredients are recognizable. Like Carrot Cake’s ingredients are: Carrots, dates, almonds, walnuts, raisins, pineapple and coconut.

The one downside about Larabars are that they are pricey. At Whole Foods they are $1.39 per bar and Trader Joe’s it’s $1.29 per bar. Would highly appreciate if anybody has some places they know that I can buy Larabar at a cheaper price!

I also am lost as to which flavors are good. I’ve gotten Cherry Pie, Apple Pie, and Peanut Butter Cookie to try in the future. Any flavor recommendations?

 

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This comes in a pack of 32, but it’s almost gone…shows how good they are

4. Aussie Bites | These were another discovery from YouTube, but from Becca Kay, a registered dietitian. While I was already happy from finding the 6-pack Kombucha, when I saw these Aussie Bites at Costco, can you imagine how happy I was?

These Aussie Bites have really simple ingredients, that I’ve seen a lot of blogs showing recipes for homemade Aussie Bites (as well as for Larabars). The main ingredients are: Rolled oats, dried apricots, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, honey, coconut, quinoa, chia seeds. The rest of the ingredients are also very clean and organic. They are seriously so good. They’re very sweet and are pretty much like muffins.

 

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5.Chia Seeds | My mom always bought chia seeds, so we’ve always had them in the house, but I wouldn’t really use them in any of my foods. However, after seeing someone on YouTube (yet again, YouTube is great for health inspiration) sprinkle chia seeds on top their avocado toast, I decided to try it. And ever since I tried it, I’ve been eating my avocado toast with chia seeds. They don’t change the taste of the avocado toast, but just adds a crunchier texture and a bunch of health benefits!

 

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6.Blueberries | I’ve tried blueberries before. But I think right now is blueberry season. They’re HUGE and they taste so so good. I’ve been eating them with every meal. It’s kind of obsessive, but it’s that good. It doesn’t hurt that they are antioxidants as well.

 

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7.(Fuji) Apple | Again, like the blueberries, I’ve had apples before, but I never get to eat Fuji Apples while at school. So my sweet mom bought a whole box of organic Fuji Apples and they are delicious. I’ve been eating them every morning without fail.

 

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8. Grapefruit | Like the blueberries and the apple, I’ve had grapefruit before, but I never get to eat them at school. Kind of seems like #6, 7, and 8 are all items I used to have at a regularly basis before boarding school but now never get to eat while at boarding school. I used to hate grapefruit thinking that it was too bitter, but now I love it. My mom loves it so much that she drinks the leftover grapefruit juice from the container; I’m not that obsessed with it. 🙂

 

9.Boba tea | This was something I really wanted to try. I’ve heard it from my friends and how it’s so good. So when my friends and I went to a Korean bakery shop that had it, I immediately rushed to the counter to order one.

The differentiating factor of Boba tea is that it has tapioca shells at the bottom. These tapioca shells are boiled which makes the chewy, jelly texture. They are seriously such a treat when you are slurping away and find one to chew on.

I am definitely having at least one more Boba tea before I leave for school. I had the Red Bean Boba tea and loved it. Any other flavor recommendations?

 

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10. Avocado | I mean what kind of post about obsessions would it be without avocado? My mom picked out the best avocados this break. They are so buttery and seriously melt in your mouth. Sometimes, avocados become so ripe that the end taste is bitter. However, the avocados I’ve had recently aren’t bitter  at all and are in the prettiest green. Ugh, I can’t even describe.

 

So those have been my latest 10 obsessions. What are yours?

xoxo,

Stephanie