my favorite healthy restaurants

Mulberry & Vine's streamlined space

Happy Friday, my dear friends. This weekend is my DC bridal shower, so expect a full report next week as to how Mommas Kat and Bonnie throw down Capitol-style. I do hope that my girls Sash' and Mali' can make it.

This weekend also marks the last time I will be eating sugar, white flour, and alcohol without feeling crippling guilt. Well, at least for the next two months. Post-wedding, the guilt will probably lessen to just a dull roar; you know, the standard crying in the Marc Jacobs dressing room for 45 minutes after eating a tub of banana pudding from Magnolia.


Anyway, in order to start off my last-weekend-of-hedonism weekend properly, today's lunch involved a chocolate milkshake with marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs. It also involved my sister, a is a guilt-free treat who unfortunately does not make nearly enough appearances here on the East coast. Sunday's epic feast will have a post all its own, but special early shout out to Shelby for making it all possible. Hint: there is macaroni and cheese involved.

Come Monday, however, we are getting down to business, ladies and gents. No desserts, no alcohol, essentially no happiness until July 13th. Or so I thought! There are two restaurants that have opened up in the past few months that bring reprieve to my carb-free pain. They may not help with my booze or sweets moratorium, but both of them do offer really tasty and low-calories alternatives to some of my favorite foods. They are respectively located near my apartment and my office, so three cheers for lower Manhattan.

My favorite "desserts" from Hu Kitchen

Hu Kitchen

Hu opened a few months ago and can be loosely qualified as a Paleo-restaurant. I am not one for fad diets and I initially rolled my eyes at the concept, but the food is really good. And look, whether I enjoy  it or not, I am trying to cut back on my carbs and grain-free tortillas made from chickpeas are actually scrumptious. I stop in here for breakfast to get smoothies, aforementioned wraps with eggs, and these addictive little bowls of cashew cream with granola and fruit. For dinner, they make a mean grain-free turkey meatloaf, cauliflower puree and kale salads that even Mike approves of. Sidenote: I couldn't get him to set foot in this place based on concept alone, but now I see him sneaking home bowls of Hu's turkey chili and sweet potato puree all the time. Hah!

Mulberry's beet salad with pomegranate seeds is one of my favorites.

Mulberry and Vine

Mulberry and Vine might as well be the official restaurant of Niche, at this point. Although it only opened a few weeks ago, most of us are going at least two to three times a week to nosh on their Moroccan-spiced meatballs, turkey bolognese made with grain-free pasta (!), and loads of ancient grain salads. I've never seen so much freekah, farro and quinoa in one place and I love it so. I realize this might make me sound like a total asshole and you know what? I don't care. I get giddy about finding freekeh the way some people do about artisanal beer. Also, the restaurant uses lots of spices in place of added fats like butter, which means you never feel gross or sluggish even after a big lunch.

What's great about both these spots is that I enjoy eating the food as much as I would at a "normal" restaurant. Granted, you pay a bit of a premium for the organic produce and products they use, but I think it's money well spent.

Anyone know any other spots along these lines? I'd love to hear about them!

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