Food You HAVE to Try: Vol. 1

watercress1

There’s a unique kind of elation when you’ve discovered a new favorite recipe or restaurant. In the past few weeks, I’ve made several such discoveries, including a sublime and simple soup and two low-key, chic and affordable NYC eateries.

Here are my current foodie recommendations:

One of my favorite food-related discoveries? The watercress soup from the Hemsley + Hemsley cookbook.
One of my favorite food-related discoveries? The watercress soup from the Hemsley + Hemsley cookbook.

1. Dairy Free Watercress Soup

This watercress soup came from Hemsley + Hemsley’s cookbook. The recipe is so easy, I’ve already made it three times. It tastes incredibly decadent and rich but doesn’t have a DROP of cream — or any dairy. (The creamy sauce is actually made from a puree of Brazil nuts (or cashews) and warm water.)

The soup is an aromatic and rustic blend of cress, celeriac (or you can use turnip, which I used) and veggie stock. I topped it with a tangle of tasty pea shoots.

Souen's interior was light and airy.
Souen’s interior was light and airy.

2. Lunch at Souen

This mini-chain has several locations scattered across NYC. I recently visited the Soho outpost for a solo power lunch. (Side note: There is no bigger luxury than eating a sit-down restaurant lunch alone — I highly recommend it, but don’t spend the time scrolling through your phone.)

I ordered the kale salad from the specials board.
At Souen in Soho, I ordered the kale salad from the specials board.

Souen is known for healthy, macrobiotic dishes. (Needless to say, Gwyneth Paltrow is a huge fan.) I ordered the $10 kale salad straight off the special board, and it was transcendent. (I’m not a regular salad eater, so you can take this as gospel.) The salad came with avocado and tofu “ricotta” crumbles.

Abracadabra in Williamsburg is charming and intimate.
Abracadabra in Williamsburg is charming and intimate.

3. Dinner at Abracadabra in Williamsburg

This cozy little nook is right off the Williamsburg bridge on Bedford and South 4th. First, lets talk about the insanely Pinterest-worthy decor. I’m a sucker of bohemian interiors with a splash of souk, and this place was filled with special details, from the mis-matched mugs to the Moroccan teapots. There’s also a bookshelf stuffed with cookbooks to read AND a tree that’s hanging with hand-written “wishes” left by patrons.

At Abracadabra, I had the tikka chicken burrito on lavash.
At Abracadabra, I had the tikka chicken burrito on lavash.

The food itself was fresh and sparky, thanks to a menu boasting many organic and seasonal ingredients. I chose the delectable chicken tikka “burrito,” which was a Turkish version of the Mexican mainstay. The nutty rice and snappily seasoned chicken was perfection. During my dinner (again, solo), I lingered for quite a while and felt perfectly at home.

Have you tried any of these yet? Let me know your other NYC favorites in the comments!