21 hours in New York City

Last week, I headed down to NYC for what was supposed to be a Thursday shoot. Yes, New England was scheduled to be hit with a snow storm but I didn’t think it would affect my plans. En route, I was notified that my return train was cancelled before the first snowflake even dropped. After 30 minutes on hold with Amtrak, I was able to reschedule my return later train oddly enough.

I stayed with my friend Kristy who made dinner reservations at a spot she knew I’d love, Candle Cafe, an organic vegan restaurant in the upper west side. We started by splitting the grilled kale salad, made with green beans, lentils, turnips, spelt berries, avocado, red onion and a chive vinaigrette. I was a creative combination of flavors that left me excited for the rest of my meal.

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For my meal, I opted outside my comfort zone for the Ginger Grilled BBQ Tempeh with sweet potato puree, sautéed shallots, string beans and Brussels sprouts with a fennel salad on top. It came garnished with pomegranate arils on top.

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I do not like tempeh when I cook it, but Candle Cafe served it perfectly. It was sweet but not so much that I needed dessert. I left feeling satisfied, and not overly stuffed or gross. I can’t wait to return and get a few of the other items on the menu. The desserts also looked/sounded amazing but since I was in town for a shoot, we passed but did have a glass of wine. Kristy ordered the Indian Curry Veggie Cake and loved her meal as well.

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Despite the forecast, I signed up for a 7 am spin class at SoulCycle on 77th Street with Julie D. The snow was coming down and there were already a few inches on the ground when I entered the studio. The class was not sold out but packed despite many offices already announcing their closure for the day. Julie started us out of the saddle for the first two songs. I’m used to sitting for a song or two, but 3rd position for over 6 minutes was a change of pace. The music was loud, motivating and had me pushing my limits. Her choreography was signature SoulCycle with pushups and booty taps, all stuff I love. The arm series was challenging as always. It was a fun class and left my booty exhausted. My right calf was also sore for the next 2 days after!

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The bikes at SoulCycle are also noticeably different than other studios I’ve gone to in Boston. I slipped into class right as it began so I wasn’t able to adjust my seat as much as I would have liked but the handle bars are rather flat making 3rd position a little more challenging in the booty area for me. Shoes came with my class and were not extra.

After class, I popped into the Equinox for a smoothie and to grab lunch. The cafe was operated by Creative Juice.

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I ordered the Green Detox smoothie since I was coming off a one day Ripe Stuff cleanse from Tuesday. It was made with kale, ginger, apple, banana, almond milk and E3 Live – which I honestly do not know much about. For 183 calories (according to the menu), it was satisfying. I did have a bowl of oatmeal 90 minutes later. I picked up the seasonal salad for later. I did not buy a juice but was tempted. They looked good.

While I was getting ready to go to my shoot, I got the bad news that the snow forced the studio to shut down for the day at 11 am. I immediately called Amtrak to see if I could get out of the city and back to Boston. Within an hour, I was at Penn Station with a ticket on the last Acela out of NYC for the day.

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The roads to the train station were awful! I couldn’t believe how badly they needed to be plowed. I guess with so many roads to cover, it’s pretty hard to keep them clear. I was glad I already had a yummy salad for lunch on the train and was able to make it back to Boston by 3:30pm. It was a short trip but the SoulCyle and Candle Cafe visits kinda were worth it for me. Now, I get to return later next month.

While SoulCycle is opening up a studio in Chestnut Hill in March and many other cycling studios opening in Boston proper over the past year, Boston still lacks yummy delicious vegan or even vegetarian cuisine. I’m not a vegetarian but I like a plant based diet. The juice craze has slowly arrived but still no restaurants! Life Alive is in Cambridge and yes it’s amazing, it’s not Boston and they are not a sit down restaurant. The never-ending line at SweetGreen for lunch should be an indication that Back Bay or South End needs a restaurant like Candle Cafe, Cafe Gratitude, or True Foods Kitchen. Who will do it for me????

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