NYC: hot dogs or raw gourmet? Horn of plenty or fries and a shake?

After my second trip to New York City this year, the verdict is this: in keeping with the diversity of that teeming city as immigrants poured in during the 19th and early 20th century, the city is all things.

Hot dog stands AND lush edible vegetables growing next to the street on 9th Ave. A horn of plenty in the Macy’s parade, and a giant Ronald McDonald and Pillsbury Dough Boy. A huge Hershey’s store on Times Square, AND Sarma Melngailis’ Pure Food and Wine restaurant.

(See them below. My friends Jamie and Jennie were afraid to try the oyster mushroom I am showing in the photo, so I enjoyed most of the 10 fabulous courses myself. Both of my friends suffer from horrific endocrine / hormone problems that cause them great pain as well as infertility. I am working on getting them to see the connection between those issues and diet/lifestyle. Both subsist primarily on junk food, so raw food dishes taste strange to them. Anyway, the food was wonderful, but DARN I didn’t get to meet Sarma.)

A few of my photos

–served and cleaned up at a downtown soup kitchen run by Baptists

–watched the Macy’s parade including Jessica Simpson, Kanye West, and Gladys Knight

–ran all over the city and Central Park on the subway and on foot, impressed in the photo below at the creative places I found KALE growing!

–hung out with some drag queens, firefighters, and Elmo (see photos for proof)

–saw some fabulous shows like Promises, Promises with Kristen Chenoweth, Sean Hayes, Molly Shannon

–found a sports bar to watch BYU lose by one point to the U of U

–and of course shopped till we dropped on Canal Street and Chinatown, and here at FAO Schwartz (or the candyland “FAO Schweetz” here!)

Somehow I missed snapping the parade photo of–I am not making this up–the cornucopia of plenty from the original Thanksgiving followed IMMEDIATELY by a giant fries-and-a-shake. I did, however, capture my Nemesis #1 and Nemesis #2 as they floated past us on the edge of Central Park.

On Thanksgiving I reflected on the abundance and the paucity of modern life. How we can tap the amazing things available to us like never before in history–or we can indulge in those things that are shiny on the outside but slowly drain away our life force.

20 thoughts on “NYC: hot dogs or raw gourmet? Horn of plenty or fries and a shake?

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  1. What a neat bunch of pictures. KelliSue, yes, ornamental kale is edible, but I find it less tasty than the kind that’s grown for eating.

  2. Thanks for the pics, Robyn, and I want to tell you how glad I am to see that you are following your own good judgement and doing your hair the way you like it best! It looks GREAT, and you look HAPPY! LOVE the green smoothies!

  3. Robyn, those photos are PRICELESS!

    It seems that the more aware I (we?) become about the importance of raw foods, the more ridiculous those symbols of McDonalds and the Pillsbury Dough Boy (perfect name… “Dough boy”) appear.

    By the way, re: KelliSue’s question: I have read that the leaves of ornamental Kale ARE edible. Robyn, could you verify?

    🙂 Kath

  4. I found this blurb about flowering Kale on a gardening website:

    Overview: Ornamental cabbage and kale are in the same species, Brassica oleracea, as edible cabbages and kale. They are the result of hybridizing and, although they are still edible, they aren’t as tasty and tender as their cousins. Although sometimes referred to as flowering cabbages, it’s the leaves that give the plants their color and interest as ornamentals.

    And, of course–In a public area like city streets) you don’t know who’s dog might have thought that was a great spot for RELIEF, if you know what I mean. 🙁 sorry, as a dog owner I think of those things right away….Ha ha

    I know you were not serious about eating it off the street , and I do love seeing it growing about town. Here in the NorthEast, there is not much that is “blooming’ this time of year when the weather is in the teens….6 degrees this am where I am near Albany, NY. 🙂

    Oh..I bet Robyn could figure out how to make the ornamental kale taste great!


    1. Mary Beth, LOL! Don’t y’all worry, I do not pick vegetables growing along a New York City road, for the reasons you have mentioned. But I am so delighted seeing a few New Yorkers’ VERY creative growing spaces off Park Avenue condo terraces, etc. You can grow a garden almost ANYWHERE.

  5. What great pictures Robyn, It looks like you had fun. Is decorative kale edible? I see it all over my city (Montreal, Quebec Canada) and I’ve always wondered about it.

  6. We were there too! We watched the parade from 36th street. Got there at 6:30 am and the kids slept on the street until the parade started (we have 4, a 9 year old, 7year old, 5 year old, and 9 month old). That was fun…! We had a blast! Not somewhere I want to live, but a fun vacation for us all! Love your site! Thanks for all the great recipes!

  7. I love reading your blog. It makes me feel young and happy again. I love green smoothies, but I have to let my body adjust before I can be a total green smoothie person. I’m old in my 75th year. I’ve never liked fruits and vegies my entire life, but my old taste buds love green smoothies. I think my life time of beef, chicken, milk, gravey, & potatoes has left me with a old sick body long before my time. I’m thinking when you get my age you will still be a goer and will still be having fun with your friends. It (because of my age) makes me feel bad that human beings haven’t been smart enough to figure out the magic of a blender and the totally different kind of giving our body joy that drinking a green smoothies do. Within in a 1/2 hour I feel better after drinking a green smoothie. My attitude, my joint pain — However the one thing I haven’t been able to lose is my craving for some of the flavors I have so long enjoyed. Example > Snitching a warm piece of roast beef right out of the pan when first pulled it out of the oven. Maybe someday those cravings will go away.

    Thank you for all that you teach! steverae

  8. I’ve been preparing foods out of Sarma’s two books for 3 months solid now! I would love to meet her one day and go to the restaurant! So jealous.

  9. I love the picture of the beautiful, oddly placed Kale…but my first thought…”I hope they keep their puppies and doggies away from it!” :o)

    I had to share.

    Thank you.

  10. Is there a good resource (book/website/whatever) for how to garden inside one’s apartment? We have no porch or anything. But I do have a 2×5 foot (approx) ledge just inside the living room window. That’s the only available space. Otherwise, it’s 2 people and 2 cats in a rediculously tiny apartment. Also, are you familiar with abdominal adhesions? I’ll try and avoid the gnarly details here, but between not having a colon and the massive amount of scarring (adhesions) from when it was removed, I have a great deal of difficulty with raw vegetables. (I was one those sick kids that the parents did what the doctor’s told them…including a horrendous surgery that I’ll suffer the effects of for the rest of my life, but they didn’t know any better.) Eating vegetables “straight up” raw (i.e. salads) can and has easily sent me to the emergency room because of intestinal blockages from the adhesions and the no longer existent colon causes vegetables in the form of smoothies to create HORRIBLE diarhea (sorry, TMI, I know). This horrendous combo has made it difficult for me to figure out how to go raw. I do the green smoothies anyway and just keep plenty of immodium on hand. But I wish I could eat vegetables without either cooking them to death or having to drink them. Tomatoes, avocados, and olives are delicacies to me because they’re soft enough to eat as-is. (That was dinner, in fact, with some hummus.) Anyway, just wondering if you’ve ever run across anyone else with this problem. If you have, I’d love any tips he or she could offer for someone with such a compromised digestive tract wanting to go completely raw.

  11. Ornamental kale is very TUFF and rather tasteless, I’d guess it also has less nutritional value than reg kale I got some from my neighbor’s garden and will never bother again.

    My latest SUGAR discovery, besides making me almost instantly TIRED, is that it causes a more wrinkled, tired face. Experiment and see for yourself! It’s because it’s a stress factor for the body.

    To LaRae above, don’t give up! Try wheat grass juice on empty stomach, or Robyn’s green veg powder with water, for quick and lasting energy boost. It’s a major antioxident and “cure-all”. ALSO, add exercise, even just an a.m. brisk walk/jog around the block, to revitalize energy and well-being. Get a mini-trampoline to add some fun to exercise.

    To Colleen, add at least 2 TB chia seed in some water to green smoothie at the start and as u finish cutting vegs etc., it will congeal and may modify the diahrrea. Love ya all! United in health pursuits. . .


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