Last Saturday my boyfriend Steve and I decided to venture to New York City and (finally) try out one of the many healthy restaurants we’ve been putting on our “Places To Eat At” list. It was a rainy day, so we tried to establish a game plan before we left so that we wouldn’t be wandering around the city in the rain once we got there. We picked a few places that were relatively close to one another and then made our way (via the bus) to the city. Once we arrived at the Port Authority bus station, we made our way to Hell’s Kitchen. I’d had a session with my trainer, Adam, earlier that day and didn’t really eat much, so after driving an hour to Steve’s place (he lives in New Jersey), waiting about 30 minutes for the bus to come, and then the 30-35 minute bus ride, I was definitely starting to experience some hunger pains. As we made our way toward Hell’s Kitchen we decided to narrow down our options since we were both entering “hangry” mode. We were between Fuel Grill & Juice Bar and Hummus Kitchen, which were just a few blocks away from each other on 9th Ave. We reached Fuel Grill & Juice Bar first, and since we were both pretty hungry at that point and the place wasn’t packed, we decided to just eat there. And boy am I glad we did! The place is small, but they have a big menu of healthy options, offering everything from breakfast sandwiches and smoothies to salads and wraps to low-carb pizzas and “energy plates”. There’s also a decent amount of table and booth seating for eat-in diners, though we noticed many people were coming in to pick up their orders, and the delivery guy was in and out quite a bit.
Anyway, back to the important stuff: the food. After looking over the menu, I was between the Fuel Lean Plate and the Salmon and Chicken Combo Plate from the “Energy Plates” section, which were $12.50 and $14.95 respectively. But don’t let the low prices fool you! I decided to go with the Salmon and Chicken Combo Plate because I was afraid that the Fuel Plate, being only $12.50, would not be enough food to tame my hunger, as well as help me meet my macros for the day. We placed our order, and about 15 minutes later, it was ready:
Steve went with the Super Protein Plate and also ordered a side of their spicy air-fried fries (which, of course, I sampled).
Steve’s entree consisted of grilled chicken, Bison, tomatoes, green peppers, and onions in a hot and spicy sauce. He kindly let me sample his, and it was very good. The sauce, I later learned, was a mixture of hot sauce and tahini–something we can and will recreate at home.
I was completely shocked when I saw the amount of chicken and salmon in my meal. I mean look at it! And there was more underneath, along with brown rice, more broccoli, onions, and tomatoes. Everything was lightly dressed with a low-fat barbecue sauce. I’m not going to lie, I was a little weary about ordering the salmon, especially since the place has more of a fast-food environment. But I am happy to say that the salmon, along with everything else, was fresh, juicy, and delicious. I ate as much as I could and offered some of my chicken to Steve because I just could not eat everything. (Note to self: stick with one protein option next time!). This place is big on quantity and quality, which is a combination you rarely get at restaurants and at this price. We were both impressed and overly satisfied with Fuel Grill & Juice Bar and plan to return again. They have so many other options I’d love to try, especially the low-carb pizza and Chicken Balsamic Sandwich.
With our stomachs now comfortably full, we did what any other person who was watching their weight and trying to eat healthy would do–we went to get ice cream! (I hope you like sarcasm.) Over the past few months Steve and I have accumulated a long list of places and food to try in New York City. We don’t make it to the city as often as we’d like, so when we go, we try to cross a few things off our list, hence the ice cream. (At least, that’s the excuse I’m going to use for the moment.)
I honestly had no desire to eat anything more, I was so stuffed from my meal at Fuel Grill & Juice Bar. Luckily, we had a few blocks to walk (and some time to digest our food) before we arrived at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, inside Gotham West Market. While ice cream is one of my favorite treats, I was not prepared for the “splendid” experience that was about to happen to me. There were about eight flavors to choose from, including Dark Chocolate, Backyard Mint, Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean, Salty Caramel, Milk Chocolate Bombay, and Sweet Corn & Black Raspberries, to name a few. They offer three main ordering sizes: Small, which is two flavors (a half scoop of each); Trio, which is three flavors; and Study, which is four flavors. I went with the small and ordered the Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean and their limited edition flavor Pineapple Upside Down Cake Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt. When I say this was THE BEST ICE CREAM I’ve ever had, I am not lying! The flavors were so intense and amazingly good. The vanilla reminded me of the little ice cream cups my parents would buy for my birthday parties when I was little. The ones that came with either fudge or strawberry sauce and you ate them with a wooden spoon–I hope you know what I’m talking about. The vanilla was sweet and had a slight vanilla bean flavor, but it wasn’t too strong. It’s truly the best vanilla ice cream I’ve had. And then there’s the Pineapple Upside Down Cake Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt. WOW! I am so happy I went with this flavor. I’m a big fan of flavor and texture when it comes to ice cream, and this certainly delivered! Between the pieces of carmalized pineapple, crumbly and moist cake, and sweet maraschino cherries, I was in ice cream heaven! (Just thinking about it has me drooling a bit.)
Steve went with the Salty Caramel and another limited edition flavor, Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam.
We both probably looked like two drug addicts. We stood at a table, taking spoonfuls of all the flavors–they were all so good. In addition to the ice cream, what I also liked about Jeni’s was the serving size. It was just enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. You get a half scoop of each flavor, and because the flavors are so rich and intense, that’s really all you need. The price is a little high (a small is $6), but it’s totally worth it. I’m no ice cream connoisseur (though I have eaten a lot of ice cream in my lifetime), but I would suggest giving Jeni’s a try if you’re ever in the city. I’m telling you, you will be delighted!
Tell me: What are some of your favorite healthy places to eat in New York City?