All Posts By Alia Akkam

The Chef’s Take: Broccoli Stalk Salad

by in Dining Out, August 1, 2015

Compared with much-in-demand kale, broccoli, that other verdant vegetable, has long suffered a far less glamorous fate. When diners do spear their forks into the nutrient-rich green, however, typically it’s the springy crown they crave, not the squat stem. Jeanne Cheng, chef and proprietor of Kye’s in Santa Monica, knows her passion for broccoli stalks rather than florets is unusual, but she became hooked as a kid, when her Chinese mother pickled them. “She’d marinate the stems overnight and they would get crispy,” Cheng recalls. “It’s funny, because I stir-fried them for my son when he was very young, and he would cry when it was time to take the plate away. He loves the stalks just as much as I do.” Read more

The Chef’s Take: Quinoa Pancakes at Cafe Clover

by in Dining Out, July 28, 2015

Brunch, epitomized by slabs of custardy French toast and chorizo-strewn omelets, is hardly the healthiest of meals. Yet this Bloody Mary-buoyed ritual mustn’t always be a lavish one.  Consider the health-conscious Cafe Clover, in New York’s West Village, where weekends revolve around market-vegetable scrambles and hemp seed-and-wheat-berry biscuits. Even fluffy, carb-laden pancakes get a good-for-you revamp under the imaginative spell of Executive Chef David Standridge, who transforms the morning staple with the addition of quinoa and serves it with barrel-aged maple syrup. Read more

The Chef’s Take: Ivy Stark’s Salmon a la Plancha

by in Dining Out, July 5, 2015

When dining out at Dos Caminos, the upbeat Mexican restaurant with outposts in New York, Atlantic City and Fort Lauderdale, chances are the table is graced with warm tortilla chips, chorizo fundido and asada tacos. The feast, however, need not be a gluttonous one. Consider executive chef and marathon runner Ivy Stark’s Salmon a la Plancha, one of the restaurant’s dishes that was featured as a lighter option in honor of National Nutrition Month in March but is now a permanent menu staple. The salmon is accompanied by lemon-herb quinoa and oven-roasted tomato-black olive salsa spiked with pickled jalapenos.

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The Chef’s Take: Sweet Potato Tacos at A.W.O.L.

by in Dining Out, June 1, 2015

Typically, the sight of sweet potatoes on the dinner table leaves us dreaming of lavish Thanksgiving Day feasts. But at A.W.O.L. (that stands for All Walks of Life) Eatery, a funky restaurant celebrating farm-fresh ingredients in New York’s Williamsburg neighborhood, spicy sweet potato tacos — sans the company of cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes — may make an appearance on the daily-changing menu amid even the sultriest of temperatures. Read more

The Chef’s Take: Slow-Cooked Salmon with Green Romesco from Morimoto

by in Dining Out, April 27, 2015

While many diners make a reservation at Morimoto New York solely for Masaharu Morimoto’s exquisite sushi, it would behoove them to also spring for one of his warm Western-inspired creations. At this minimalist Japanese restaurant in the Meatpacking District — one of several in Iron Chef Morimoto’s expansive culinary empire — a slab of king salmon accompanied by splashes of piquant green romesco sauce, charred lily bulbs, green almonds and shiso is a light and vibrant reflection of the season. “This dish is not found in a typical Japanese restaurant because it doesn’t use any soy sauce. The green romesco has a spicy kick, which pairs nicely with the tender, slow-cooked salmon,” Morimoto explains. Read more

Put Some Love in Your Kid’s Lunchbox with These Healthy Snacks

by in Grocery Shopping, January 22, 2015


The brown-bag lunch of yore, complete with turkey on whole wheat and an obligatory apple, has thankfully gotten a more sophisticated facelift. Today’s kids are no longer rewarded for eating soggy sandwiches (those are fast becoming obsolete in a world of lunchboxes stuffed with free-range chicken salads and tabbouleh) with a sugar-high-inducing chocolate chip cookie. Instead, they can be fueled by wholesome, good-for-you snacks. Here are five tasty alternatives.

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Simple Recipes for Joy: Chatting with Jivamukti’s Sharon Gannon

by in Cookbooks, January 12, 2015


In 1984, Sharon Gannon — along with David Life — founded Jivamukti Yoga. This soulful, pioneering method, which helped spawn yoga’s ascension in the Western world, encompasses more than vigorous Vinyasa movements: It also fosters compassion. In her new book, Simple Recipes for Joy: More Than 200 Delicious Vegan Recipes (Avery Books), Gannon delineates this ethos by putting the spotlight on organic dishes from her popular New York cafe, Jivamuktea. Additionally, she sheds light on the oft-deemed-mysterious components of veganism, and offers up menu ideas. Here, she discusses why meat-and-dairy-free living translates to easily discovered happiness.

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Room Service Makeover: The Healthy Hotel Revolution

by in Dining Out, Food News, Trends, December 8, 2014


Oh, what to do when, at 11:30 p.m., in both a famished and weary state, you return to your hotel and discover that ordering a black bean burger via room service will take 45 minutes? One glance at the won’t-save-you-either minibar reveals nothing more redeemable than a $10 container of Pringles. A vending machine, of course, would instantly sate those late-night cravings. But do you really want your impromptu dinner to be comprised of a decidedly bad-for-you bag of chocolate chip cookies?

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A Healthy APPetite: 7 New Apps for Healthy Eating

by in Food News, November 12, 2014

Mobile Phone
Instant smartphone gratification leads to updating Facebook statuses, sliding through potential Tinder dates and curating Pandora playlists. Entertainment options aside, your iPhone or Android can also be a solid resource for eating better. In fact, a Gallup study says 19% of adult participants regularly use at least one mobile application that supports healthy living, while about 50% of those who use smartphones have at least one such app. The study says calorie-counting tools, health recipes and food/exercise diaries are the most commonly used apps. You can get in on it too. Learn how many calories are in a slice of multigrain bread via Fooducate, skip the cross-country Big Mac for a nearby brown rice bowl discovered on Food Tripping and find out where to gorge on sustainable sushi from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. Embracing a healthy — and delicious — lifestyle has never been easier, especially with the help of these seven new empowering apps.

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Chatting with Amy Chaplin: At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen

by in Cookbooks, October 23, 2014

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen
Ever since her childhood in rural Australia, Amy Chaplin’s diet has revolved around whole foods. After 20 years of cooking around the globe, the New York-based private chef, teacher, recipe developer and writer — her work appears on this very blog every week — is sharing this nurturing lifestyle in her first book, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well (Roost Books). Through more than 150 recipes — and a slew of striking minimalist photos—for soulful vegetarian and vegan dishes like cherry coconut granola with extra virgin olive oil, millet cauliflower mash and roasted acorn and Delicata squash salad strewn with wheat berries and bitter greens, the former chef of the celebrated East Village vegan restaurant, Angelica Kitchen, illuminates the simplicity and creativity of eating healthy. Read more