THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE‘s March 2015 Virtual Book Tour Celebrates Registered Dietitians and National Nutrition Month

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“Overall, nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population does not meet daily vegetable intake recommendations.”
—Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Great new book for a healthy 2015:  THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE.”
—Ellie Krieger, RDN, long-time TV show host, bestselling author and columnist

“[THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE is] a great book…Fantastic information.”
—Brigid Titgemeier, MS, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) at the Cleveland Clinic

On the heels of yesterday’s release of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report (and not a moment too soon!), we’re in the midst of planning THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE‘s next cross-country Virtual Book Tour (VBT), which was inspired by National Nutrition Month (March 2015) and National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day (March 11, 2015).

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Left to right: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Jill Nussinow, Elizabeth Jarrard, Dianna Sinni, Amanda Archibald, and Deanna Segrave-Daly

Many of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE‘s greatest champions have turned out to be food-loving RDs and RDNs* — who love how the book celebrates the unity of healthfulness AND deliciousness, instead of one over the other.  So we thought we’d turn around and give the love right back to them by visiting some of their websites and blogs during the weeks leading up to and during the month of March.

You’re about to meet some distinguished and fascinating nutritionists — and we look forward to helping you get to know this impressive group in the weeks ahead.  While they range from omnivores to vegans in terms of their own diets, we expect that in a country where 90% of us don’t eat enough vegetables they’ll be in 100% agreement that more of us shouldand that it can be delicious!

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Left to right: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Maribeth Evezich, Jackie Topol, Jessie Erwin, Michelle Dudash, and Kim Klee

You can follow the Virtual Book Tour’s calendar-in-progress (in the green box, below) as it continues to take shape throughout the coming month.

*BTW, an RD is a Registered Dietitian — and an RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.  Both terms are used interchangeably these days, as each professional prefers.  Note:  While all dietitians are nutritionists, not all nutritionists are RDs or RDNs!

THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE
Registered Dietitians and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists
Virtual Book Tour

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Calendar

Saturday, February 21st (Denver, CO):  Elizabeth Jarrard, RD‘s DontWhiteSugarCoatIt.com (whose initial longer review of the book appears here)

Thursday, February 26th (Kansas City, MO):  Dianna Sinni, RD‘s ChardInCharge.com

Friday, February 27th (Philadelphia, PA):  Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD‘s TeaspoonComm.com

Saturday, February 28th (Buffalo, NY):  Kim Klee, RD‘s JumpJiveAndKale.com

Monday, March 2nd (Santa Rosa, CA):  Jill Nussinow, RD‘s TheVeggieQueen.com

Wednesday, March 4th (Bradbury, CA):  Sharon Palmer, RD‘s SharonPalmer.com

Thursday, March 5th (Portland, OR):  Jessie Erwin, RD‘s TheHappinessInHealth.com

Friday, March 6th (New York, NY):  Lourdes Castro, RD‘s Lourdes-Castro.com

Monday March 9th (Del Mar, CA):  EA Stewart, RD‘s EAStewart.com

Tuesday, March 10th (Boulder, CO):  Amanda Archibald, RD‘s FieldToPlate.com

Wednesday, March 11th (New York, NY):  Maribeth Evezich, RD‘s WholeFoodsExplorer.com

Monday, March 16th (New York, NY):  Jackie Topol, RD‘s JackieTopol.com

Wednesday, March 18th (Scottsdale, AZ):  Michelle Dudash, RDN‘s MichelleDudash.com

Friday, March 20th (Succasunna, NJ):  Julie Harrington, RD‘s RDeliciousKitchen.com

Monday, March 23rd (Shorewood, WI):  Christina Bauer, RD‘s Xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Wednesday, March 25th (Alexandria, VA):  Hope Warshaw, RD‘s HopeWarshaw.com

[Schedule in progress]

On Presidents’ Day, We Share A Letter From The White House Thanking Us for THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE

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“Five years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move!, a nationwide initiative to set children on a path to a healthy future. And over the past five years, we have seen incredible commitments from parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders, and kids themselves to improve the health of our nation’s children.”
–From Let’s Move‘s website

In honor of Presidents’ Day, we wanted to share the thank-you letter we received for the copy of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE we’d shared with The White House.

As First Lady Michelle Obama wrote to us, “As you know, improving the health of our Nation’s families is one of my top priorities as First Lady.  By encouraging our children to get active and eat fresh, nutritious food, I am confident that we can build a brighter, healthier future for our next generation.”

We want to help professional chefs and home cooks alike make sure that the fresh, nutritious food they feed to families is also deliciously flavorful — which is where THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE comes in.  As suggested on the book’s last page (below, left), nutritional experts all underscore that “healthful eating consistently emphasizes the same foods:  vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains” (all of which are featured in great detail in the 576-page VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE).

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The bad news is that the United States is in the midst of a health crisis — one we unfortunately ate our way into via the “Standard American Diet” (SAD) dominated by processed foods and animal-based proteins.  Seven of the top ten causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity — with the health risk behaviors causing them including poor nutrition.

The good news that we can also eat our way out of this crisis — by shifting to a whole-foods, plant-based diet.  And the great news, which THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE celebrates, is that this can be more delicious than you ever dreamed possible!

And while a 2012 survey indicated that over half of Americans (52%) believed it was easier to figure out their income taxes than to figure out what they should and shouldn’t eat to be healthier, all our research over the past several years backs up author Michael Pollan‘s seven simple words of advice:  “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”

Imagine your dinner plate divided into quarters, and try to make sure your average meal features one-quarter vegetables, one-quarter fruits, one-quarter legumes, and one-quarter whole grains — accented by nuts and seeds.  It’s as simple as that — you don’t need to count calories, grams of protein, or anything else to have a well-balanced diet.

We lost three parents and a step-parent between 2000-2009 — all to cancer.  This week, another beloved family member suffered a stroke.  We don’t want to be preachy, but we do want to share  information about the kind of whole-foods, plant-based cooking and eating that has helped us both feel younger and more energetic than we ever dreamed possible. And we all owe it to the next generation to set a better example of what healthy eating looks like and tastes like.

As First Lady Michelle Obama — who becomes the first person ever to appear on the cover of Cooking Light magazine with its March 2015 issue (above, right), which reports on the five-year anniversary of the FLOTUS’s health initiative — would put it, “Let’s MOVE!”

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Let’s Move: America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids, which was founded five years ago by First Lady Michelle Obama, can be found at www.letsmove.gov.

Our Valentine’s Day Dinner at Manhattan’s Kajitsu Is a Celebration of Winter

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Chef Atsushi Nakahigashi behind the counter at Kajitsu on Valentine’s Day 2015

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To complement Kajitsu’s meticulously prepared dishes (left), well-paired beverages ranged from sparkling wine cocktails (center) to hot kumquat juice (right)

Setsubun:  A day before the beginning of Spring in Japan.  ‘Setsubun’ literally means ‘seasonal division,’ and it is celebrated yearly on Feb. 3 as part of the Spring Festival.  In its association with the Lunar New Year, Spring Setsubun can be and was previously thought of as a sort of New Year’s Eve.  That’s why it was accompanied by a special ritual to cleanse all the evil of the former year, and drive away disease-bringing evil spirits for the year to come.  This special ritual is called mamemaki (literally ‘bean throwing’).”
–From the menu at Kajitsu (February 14, 2015)

One of the reasons Kajitsu is among the restaurants we love visiting most often — aside from the talent and charm of its entire staff (including Chef Atsushi Nakahigashi, whom we will miss upon his departure at the end of this month — although we’ll hope to follow him wherever he ends up), and the excellence of its cuisine — is because it is a different restaurant every time we visit.

With its passionate commitment to celebrating the seasons, you’ll find different ingredients and dishes on offer every month.  Last night’s mid-February visit was a celebration of winter.

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Our texturally rich first dish “Oni: Celebrating the Beginning of Spring” was made from black bean tofu, lily bulb, black daikon, crunchy cacao nibs, and leek powder — with the white tofu reminiscent of piles of snow.

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The “Plum Blossom Soup” — a broth holding a whole umeboshi plum (which came with an accompanying warning about its pit), a golden beet, and a soft, chewy rice cake — came covered, with instructions to unwrap, unveiling its aroma.

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Kajitsu’s “Seasonal Assortment” featured soy beans (symbolizing good luck), shiitake, carrot, arrowroot, turnip, kumquat, broccoli rabe, ume-fu, daikon, scallion, nameko, and ponzu sauce, served on long leaves said to symbolize cleansing bad luck.

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The Oshinogi dish featured eggplant, Kintoki carrot, turnip, spinach; spongy, chewy rikyu-fu, and ginger jelly.

When Kajitsu describes a dish as “White Miso Hot Pot,” it means HOT pot (as you’ll see in our 15-second video above)!  This one was served with lotus root, Japanese taro potato, konnyaku, mizuna greens, Brussels sprouts, scallions, and yuzu.

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Eho-Maki:  It is customary in the Kansai area to eat uncut sushi rolls called eho-maki, a good fortune roll, in silence on Setsubun while facing the year’s lucky compass direction, determined by the zodiac symbol of that year.  This custom started in Osaka, but in recent years eho-maki can be purchased at stores in the Kanto area and it is getting more recognized as a part of the Setsuban tradition.  For this year, Eho (good fortune dirction) is West South West.”
–From the menu at Kajitsu (February 14, 2015)

Kajitsu’s “Fortune” Sushi Roll was served with a cup of rich miso soup, accented by chopped chives.

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Kajitsu’s “Special Dessert” was a small plate of four tiny desserts featuring azuki beans, chocolate-fu, hoji pudding, and fresh mango.

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Candy from Kyoto Kagizen-Yoshifusa (left) accompanied whisked-to-order matcha (right, from Kajitsu’s renowned downstairs neighbor Ippodo Tea Co.), prepared and served by Chef Atsushi Nakahigashi with a reverent bow to each guest — as profound a moment as we’ve ever experienced at a restaurant.

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Valentine’s Day Special Dinner
February 14, 2015

Oni
“Celebrating the Beginning of Spring”
Black bean tofu, lily bulb, black daikon, cacao nibs, leek powder

Plum Blossom Soup
Plum, golden beets, rice cake

Seasonal Assortment
Soy beans, shiitake, carrot, arrowhead, turnip, kumquat, broccoli rabe, Ume-fu, daikon, scallion, nameko, ponzu sauce

Oshinogi
Eggplant, Kintoki carrot, turnip, spinach, rikyu-fu, ginger jelly

White Miso Hot Pot
Lotus roots, Japanese taro potato, konnyaku, mizuna green, Brussels sprouts, scallion, yuzu

“Fortune” Sushi Roll

Special Dessert
Azuki bean, chocolate-fu, hoji pudding, seasonal fruits

Matcha with Candy by Kyoto Kagizen-Yoshifusa

Gift:  Kajitsu Chocolate Fu

Kajitsu is located at 125 East 39th Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues, in New York City.  212.228.4873.  kajitsunyc.com

Thanking THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE‘s Vegan Blog Tour Hosts

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THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE…is life-changing.  If you love to cook and create unique recipes, this book will greatly expand your resource of creativity in the kitchen….This is the most used book in my entire house.
Katie Henry, ProduceOnParade.com

“Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have won every prestigious cookbook award in the world for [THE FLAVOR BIBLE], and their vegetarian follow-up is just as brilliant….  Honestly, I don’t know how I ever cooked without this, and I highly recommend this book to ANY and EVERY cook…This book will make you a better cook, and will certainly give you the tools to make bolder choices in the kitchen sitting on the shoulders of chefs that have experimented before you….It’s just genius.
Tess Masters, TheBlenderGirl.com

We loved celebrating “Veganuary,” which ended up being extended into “Veganruary” due to popular demand — and one of the best parts about it, aside from discovering the joys of a virtually-entirely dairy-free month (there was a bit of a slip-up on 1/31, so we’ve kept going to make up for it), was being able to virtually “meet” the hosts of so many wonderful vegan food blogs that hosted stops on THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE‘s Virtual Book Tour.

From Durham, North Carolina (January 6th) to Wasilla, Alaska (February 6th), we connected with bloggers who each had their own touching stories of how they became vegan.  Each also had their own unique way of celebrating veganism on their website.  While we’ve only met one of them in person (vegan dessert queen Fran Costigan), we feel like we got to know virtually all of them through their words and posts, and are happy to thank each of them yet again:

THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE
“Veganuary 2015″*
Vegan Blog Tour

Tuesday, January 6th (Durham, NC):  Kathy Hester’s Healthy Slow Cooking

Wednesday, January 7th (West Orange, NJ):  Dianne Wenz‘s Chic Vegan

Thursday, January 8th (Manhattan, NY):  Fran Costigan

Friday, January 9th (Woodstock, VA):  Robin Robertson

Monday, January 12th (Bronx, NY):  Carlo and Carmella Giardina’s The Food Duo

Tuesday, January 13th (Ashtabula, OH):  Tamasin NoyesVegan Appetite

Wednesday, January 14th (Jamaica Plain, MA):  Amanda McGuire’s Pickles N Honey

Thursday, January 15th (Long Beach, CA):  Joni Marie Newman’s Just the Food

Friday, January 16th (San Diego, CA):  Zsu Dever’s Zsu’s Vegan Pantry

Monday, January 19th (Brooklyn, NY):  Sarah Hohn’s Homemade Levity

Tuesday, January 20th (Los Alamitos, CA):  Jackie Sobon’s Vegan Yack Attack

Wednesday, January 21st (Kirkland, WA):  Sarah De la Cruz’s Fried Dandelions

Thursday, January 22nd (Redondo Beach, CA):  Erin Wysocarski’s Olives for Dinner

Friday, January 23rd (Portland, OR):  Sarah McMinn’s My Darling Vegan

Monday, January 26th (San Diego, CA):  Part I:  Melissa Martin’s Vegenista.com

Tuesday, January 27th (Beaverton, OR):  Julie Hasson

Wednesday, January 28th (Germantown, MD):  Angela McKee’s Canned Time

Thursday, January 29th (New Britain, PA):  Lydia Grossov’s From A to Vegan

Friday, January 30th (Toluca Lake, CA):  Tess MastersHealthy Blender Recipes

Monday, February 2nd (West Orange, NJ):  Dianne Wenz’s Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen

Tuesday, February 3rd (San Diego, CA):  Part II:  Melissa Martin’s Vegenista.com

Friday, February 6th (Wasilla, AK):  Kathleen Henry’s Produce on Parade

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Isa Comes Alive! Scenes From Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s National City Winery Tour Dateline: New York City

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THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE is that beautiful best friend who knows absolutely everything.  From nutrition to food history to flavor pairing, this book will answer all your questions about a plant-based diet.  But what’s even more important is that it does so deliciously and joyfully.”
Isa Chandra Moskowitz

We’ve been admirers of Isa Chandra Moskowitz‘s taste in culinary literature (as she once mentioned that THE FLAVOR BIBLE was one of her two favorite cookbooks) not to mention her own impressive cookbooks (which include the vegan classics Isa Does It, Veganomicon, and Vegan with a Vengeanceand a bit of trivia:  We wrote the very first Amazon review for Isa’s most recent book, a five-star rave).  While we’ve been connected via email, phone, and social media ever since being introduced by our then-mutual-editor Michael Sand, we hadn’t actually met in person before Monday night.

Thankfully, Isa is traveling the country for a series of sold-out stops in New York, Nashville, Chicago, and Napa at City Winery.  We weren’t quite sure what to expect of the evening, which was billed as “Isa Live: A Vegan Life In Four Courses” – A live cooking tour featuring vegan culinary star Isa Moskowitz.”  What we got was part stand-up comedy / performance art and part cooking demo, interspersed with a vegan dinner with wine pairings — all 100% fun, and 100% Isa.

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Sample Isa-isms:

 “Cashews are like little cows.”
(referring to the transformation of soaked cashews into a heavy cream-like cashew cream)

“Want something to be vegan?  Just add Bragg’s.  It even makes meat vegan.  Just kidding.”

“Square plates ruin your Instagrams.”

A sample Isa cooking tip:

 “I love coconut oil — and refined is good, because
it gives it a very neutral, buttery flavor.”

Some of Isa’s favorite NYC restaurants
(with thanks to the audience member who asked!):

MOB, Candle 79, Lan Cafe, and House of Vegetarian

We always lower our expectations for the food at guest-chef events, as it’s hard to manage forces beyond one’s control in an unfamiliar kitchen.  But we were very pleasantly surprised by all four of Isa’s courses — the best vegan Caesar salad we’ve ever tasted, a vegan tamale (minus the coconut sour cream, as there was an ingredient shortage and Isa wisely opted to use it in the frosting for the cupcakes), a perfect-for-a-cold-icy-night creamy chickpea stew with an awesome dumpling (in a fun play on the idea of chicken and dumplings), and (despite the fact that we shot and tasted it from a to-go container in the back of our taxi home) the best vegan chocolate cupcake we’ve ever tasted.

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Karen Page, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and Terry Hope Romero at City Winery

Since its opening in 2014, Isa’s vegan restaurant Modern Love in Omaha — right in the shadow of Omaha Steaks, figuratively if not literally — has been our Holy Grail, the new restaurant we most look forward to visiting when the timing is right.  We reminded Isa of this on Monday night, when we had the pleasure of hanging out with her and her friend and former coauthor Terry Hope Romero (author of 2014’s Salad Samurai, one of our very favorite veg cookbooks of the year, whom we had the pleasure of meeting several years ago as fellow guests on Judith Regan‘s annual Thanksgiving radio show) briefly.

“We’ll do an event at Modern Love in the spring around THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE!” Isa enthused.  “You can come out for that!”   Isa, you had us at your Caesar salad.

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City Winery Presents
VEGAN DINNER WITH CULINARY STAR ISA CHANDRA MOSKOWITZ

Menu

Caesar Salad with Brussels Sprouts
seared brussels sprouts, grilled tofu,
tahini caper dressing, toasted pine nuts
2012 Christophe Thorigny Vouvray Sec, Loire Valley, France

Tamale
lentil chorizo, mole rojo, guacamole,
coconut sour cream
2009 Tinto Traditional Bodegas Monje, Canary Island, Spain

Chickpeas & Dumplings
creamy chickpea stew
2012 Ridge Vineyards, Lytton Springs, Sonoma County, California

Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes
2009 Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port, Portugal

Cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz‘s website is theppk.com.

Restaurateur Isa Chandra Moskowitz‘s Modern Love is at modernloveomaha.com.

Culinary performance artist Isa Chandra Moskowitz‘s now sold-out tour takes her through New York City (Feb. 1-2), Nashville (Feb. 4), Chicago (Feb. 6), and Napa (Feb. 8) — details at citywinery.com.

Chef Amanda Cohen Opens One of NYC’s Most-Anticipated Restaurants of the Year

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In her pre-teen years, Karen wanted a guitar more than anything else in the world.  Doubtless to make sure it was more than just a passing fancy, Santa left her what she remembers as an inexpensive plastic-bodied guitar with wire strings in need of constant tuning.  But damned if she didn’t teach herself to play on that guitar, and by one of the following Decembers she found a real wood-bodied nylon-stringed guitar under the Christmas tree, allowing her to take on a weekly gig of playing guitar and singing at Mass (lasting from junior high through part of her freshman year at college — we kid you not).

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Like Karen’s guitar-playing, Amanda Cohen‘s original Dirt Candy had the humblest of beginnings.  The 18-seat restaurant opened in 2008 on a shoestring — but damned if that unlikely setting wasn’t where the chef showed the world her cooking chops and put herself on the map by earning a two-star review from The New York Times as only the second vegetarian restaurant in history (after Candle 79) to do so.

The beautiful, contemporary, new-and-expanded 60-seat Dirt Candy — which unlocked its doors today at 86 Allen Street in Manhattan — has already been heralded as one of the most-anticipated restaurant openings of 2015.  And, based on a friends-and-family preview dinner we attended there this past Saturday night, it is so for good reason.

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Upper left and lower right corners: The spacious open kitchen; Upper right corner: Dirt Candy’s colorful monkey bread are multi-colored golf ball-sized rolls served with garlic butter; Lower left corner: Korean Fried Broccoli with Garlic Sesame Sauce; Center: Grady Hendrix and Chef Amanda Cohen

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As its over-sized and over-the-top with fun graphics menu (which we place on a shortlist that also includes Lydia Shire‘s opening menu at Boston’s BIBA as one of our favorite menus of all time) suggests, this is food created with a sense of playfulness, to be eaten joyfully.  Yet these dishes are designed with  a well-honed palate and executed with perfectionistic precision.  We loved the Mushroom appetizer (above) of Portobello Mousse with Roasted Asian Pears, Cherries, and Truffle Toast, from which we created stacked bite-sized “sandwiches” of each element provided.

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Perhaps our favorite dish of the night were the Brussels Sprout Tacos, (above, typically) accompanied by Smoked Avocado, Pickled Red Onion, Salsa Verde, Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Tortilla Strips, Jalapenos, and Crema — although in our case, we ordered the dish vegan, without the crema, so especially appreciated the fresh limes that accompanied the dish.

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As fans at the original (“Little”) Dirt Candy of the cauliflower and waffles dish (their play on the concept of chicken-n-waffles), we were not surprised to find ourselves smiling throughout the Carrot dish (above, Upper Left Corner) of Pulled, Pickled, and Jerked Carrots with Peanut Mole Sauce on Carrot Waffles.

We admired the flavor and execution of the vegetable-flavored sorbets much more than the idea of them.  Ditto the Onion Chocolate Tart with Ice Cream.  As has been the case ever since our first visit to (Little) Dirt Candy, the dessert descriptions never allow our imaginations to fathom their deliciousness.

Shortly after it started accepting reservations this morning, Dirt Candy posted on Twitter that the restaurant is already booked through February 20th.  The restaurant is, however, accepting walk-ins.

For those of you dreaming of landing a table here, we suggest giving it a shot very early or very late in the evening for your best chances — and/or gladly accepting a seat at the counter lining the open kitchen.  Amanda Cohen is one of America’s most creative and talented rising star chefs who is poised to achieve her potential on her new, grander stage, so what better place to have a front-row view of all the action?

Amanda Cohen‘s restaurant Dirt Candy is located at 86 Allen Street (between Grand and Broome) in Manhattan.  212.228.7732.  Website:  dirtcandynyc.com

The restaurant has already started to receive what we’re confident is just the tip of the iceberg of media attention, including The Daily Meal, Eater, Gothamist, Grub Street, New York Daily News, The New York Times, Time Out, and Zagat.

Rip Esselstyn’s Engine 2 Extra Hosts Karen Page for a Live Chat On January 27 about THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE

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“The primary reason it’s hard to give up animals is because most of us have grown up eating animal products and don’t have the first inkling of how to eat anything else.”
Rip Esselstyn, in a New York Times op-ed (April 17, 2012)

The snow didn’t interfere with Karen’s cross-country live chat last night on Engine 2 Extra, which turned out to be a blast — thanks to a lively and inquisitive group of Engine 2 devotees.

Missed it?  You’re likely to have another chance soon — as the reception to the chat about THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE was so enthusiastic that there’s already talk of making it an ongoing series.

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While we’ve been celebrating “Veganuary” this month (foregoing meat, dairy, and eggs in our diets), the readers of world-class-triathlete-turned-firefighter Rip Esselstyn‘s New York Times bestselling Engine 2 Diet take things a step further:  Not only do they not consume meat, dairy, and eggs, but nor do they eat oil or nuts, and only very minimal — if any — salt or sweeteners.

Extreme?  As Rip’s dad — the renowned heart surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (who was among those credited with helping President Bill Clinton with his heart health and significant weight loss via a plant-based diet) — has been known to say, “Some people think the plant-based, whole-foods diet is extreme.  Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and a vein taken from their leg and sewn onto their coronary artery.  Some people would call that extreme.”

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Dr. Esselstyn is also the author of the 2007 bestseller Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, in which he gives his famous “NO OIL!” advice, and also observes, “Collectively, the media; the meat, oil, and dairy industries; most prominent chefs and cookbook authors; and our own government are not presenting accurate advice about the healthiest way to eat.”

Karen set out to change that with THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, which cites Dr. Esselstyn’s and his Forks Over Knives co-star and esteemed colleague Dr. T. Colin Campbell‘s advice about the healthiest way to eat alongside that of the government’s recommendations in the book’s Introduction.

THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE also spotlights the work and advice of Caldwell and Rip Esselstyn in Chapter 1 on the history of vegetarianism and veganism, while the rest of the book puts healthfulness on a par with deliciousness.

Before last night’s chat, one of its two co-hosts had sent Karen a touching email about THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, writing,  “In the years that I have been with Engine 2 as a coach, I can tell you that what folks find the hardest is getting comfortable with ingredients — herbs and spices and learning to flavor food that is not processed.  Your book is a must-have for people stepping into the kitchen with a new whole food mission.”

After all, the number-one cause of death in the United States is nutritionally-controllable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  A whole-foods, plant-based diet correlates with a lower risk of all three.

America has sadly eaten its way into our current health crisis through the Standard American Diet (SAD) consisting predominantly of processed foods and animal protein.  We think it falls on the shoulders of all of us who call ourselves food professionals to continue to help America eat its way out — by moving away from placing meat in the center of the plate (as is already happening, with per-capita meat consumption declining every year since 2007) and moving toward embracing a whole-foods, plant-based diet that is as healthful as it is delicious.

As THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE illustrates, it is possible!

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A whole food, plant-based diet is the healthiest way for everyone to eat. Why? Because plants provide you with all the protein you need — and plant proteins do not cannibalize our bones, promote cancer, or increase inflammation like animal proteins do. You can also get all the iron, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals that animal addicts claim you can get only from eating meat. Additionally, you get complex carbohydrates for sustained energy; healthy fats that don’t clog up your pipes; fiber to keep you as regular as a Swiss commuter train; water for hydration; and antioxidants and phytochemicals to zap free radicals. It’s also the best way to lose weight, because if you’re eating plant-based whole foods, you’re eating nutrient-dense foods that make you healthy without taking in extra calories.”
Rip Esselstyn, in a New York Times op-ed (April 17, 2012)

Rip Esselstyn‘s Engine 2 Diet can be found at engine2diet.com.

To participate in Engine 2’s next online chat about THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, join at engine2extra.com.

To attend one of Engine 2’s excellent live in-person Retreats (like the Plantstock retreat we participated in on the Esselstyns’ family farm in August 2014), check out the upcoming schedule at engine2retreats.com.