A few years back some friends invited us out to dinner. One of them is a vegetarian, and so we thought their choice of a well-known barbecue restaurant a bit curious. Predictably, the non-meat eater struggled to find something on the menu, and the rest of us struggled not to dope slap both of them for their lack of forethought. The dinner was fine and fun, but all the discomfort could have been avoided if we had had Clean Plates N.Y.C.: A Guide to the Healthiest Tastiest Restaurants in Manhattan for Vegetarians and Carnivores (Jared Koch, 2009).
Clean Plates NYC author Jared Koch has had a longtime interest in health. In fact, he was pre-med in undergrad, and he deferred his admission to medical school indefinitely. He became a certified nutritionist instead, working with clients 1-to-1 on their eating habits and health goals. Being New Yorkers, Jared’s clients like to eat at restaurants several times a week but were concerned that their food choices would not be particularly healthy. So Jared started compiling a list for his clients of restaurants serving healthy, nutritious and delicious food. The list became a hugely popular among his clients. Clean Plates NYC, the guide and the brand, sprang from the idea of providing this valuable information to a broader audience.
Clean Plates includes a list of 75 restaurants in Manhattan that were evaluated using strict criteria:
– Types of cuisine (the book has a wide variety.)
– Lifestyle (Casual, Fast Food, Power- Lunch, and Fine Dining)
– Geography (the list includes restaurants throughout Manhattan)
– Healthfulness of Ingredients (many of the restaurants serve local and regional foods, as well as grass-fed meats)
There are eight different icons to identify the key characteristics of the 75 restaurants in Manhattan. So you can pretty much please any crowd combination. Meat eaters, vegetarians and raw food eaters on a budget? Liquiteria!? Omnivores but gluten-free? Slice! Dairy-free, gluten-free, and raw with naturally-sweetened desserts? Pure Food and Wine!
In selecting each of the restaurants featured in the book, Jared and his restaurant review associate, food critic Alex Van Buren, dedicated themselves to finding food that is good for you but that actually tastes great too. Many of the restaurants serve locally produced foods, as well as grass-fed beef and organic produce. I no longer have to search across vast swatches of the internet to find a place nearby for delicious food to suit vegetarians and omnivores alike.
The part I like best about this guidebook is that it makes it easy to eat healthy food without changing my New York lifestyle. I was happy to see that some of my favorite places are on the list, including Le Pain Quotidian and Pret a Manger on the casual side to Blue Hill and Gotham Bar and Grill on the formal and celebratory side.
To make things even better, when you buy the book you get a secret password that allows you to access a members-only section of www.cleanplatesnyc.com, with restaurant updates, discussion forums, and much more. Not only is this book a tidy treasure trove for people who value healthy food that tastes good, but it is also your ticket to meeting and sharing information with other like-minded people. To paraphrase Jared’s introduction, the term “clean plates” implies food that is pure, unprocessed, healthy, and good enough to tempt you to lick your plate clean.
You can purchase Clean Plates NYC online and in bookstores.
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