I was in the mood for Korean food and needed to meet up with a friend downtown, so we decided to try Miga, a fairly newish Korean restaurant in Center City. We had to wait briefly for a table, and then were taken to a semi-private room off of a raucous main room. In another situation I might have felt exiled, but we had a lot of catching up to do and the private room was nice. We started with vegetable vegetable tempura, presented in a tall fried vegetable tower of a thicker-than-average cut. I especially love the zucchini tempura.

Before our main course arrived, the waiter brought this amazing selection of pickles. I’m still thinking about the hot pickled garlic scapes. mmmm.

I know I should get more creative, but I had a craving for Bim Bim Bop, and so that’s what I ordered, in a steaming bowl. The soft fried egg arrived on the side, with chili sauce, which I promptly dumped all over everything. I loved the mushrooms, and such pickles with each different bite.

Miga is not BYOB, and more expensive that some other Korean restaurants in the neighborhood with similar food quality. But if you’d like to be waited on and feel a little fancier, give it a try.

Miga on Urbanspoon


Catalyst Juice Cleanse – days 4 & 5

Day 4 was much easier that day 3. While I planned to drink the cashew milk after my workout, as John suggested, I had a very full day at work, and never made it to the gym. I was surrounded my cupcakes, sugared almonds, and cucumber sandwiches all day, but I wasn’t even tempted. Maybe it was the amazing 70 degree weather, but my energy was high all day.

Day 5 was a piece of cake. I wasn’t hungry at all, even though I was running around and grocery shopping all day. In fact, I was so not hungry that it was a struggle to finish all of my juices. My energy remained high, and I had even lost a few pounds. My friend Allison even mentioned that I had “juice cleanse skin.” Not bad! Catalyst’s customer services is great, the company is local, and juice is tasty. The downside, sadly, is all the plastic bottles in my recycling bin. Maybe they would let you supply reusable containers? It’s worth asking.

Catalyst Juice Cleanse – Day 3

I have to tell you folks, I hit a bit of a wall. After my noon body pump class, and into the afternoon, I was HUNGRY. But I made it. And when my fresh juice got dropped off in the evening, John (an owner of Catalyst) suggested that I have the cashew milk juice – which is the highest in protein – either before weight lifting or after my run. That made sense. But what to do when I don’t have my cashew juice to look forward to at night?

At night I dreamed about cheating. It started with a Girl Scout tagalog. Once I had eaten that, I picked up some pasta. Cheese and crackers? Why not. I had a few beers. A cigarette. Someone stop me! I woke up at 7 am, finished “The Bucolic Plague,” and fell back asleep. I rose at 8:30 am, and it took me a few minutes to realize that I had, in fact, not eaten anything that I ate in my dreams. Relief. On to another day!

Chunky Lentil Soup

I’ve mentioned before that I’m cooking my way through “Super Natural Cooking” by Heidi Swanson, but I realize that I’ve been a bit slow and forgetful about posting the results. I love this cookbook. The recipes are simple and always turn-out delicious, the photography is great, its paperback, and it emphasizes cooking from whole foods and grains.

Pictured above is the chunky lentil soup. When I first read the recipe above I though “what? no garlic? should I just put some garlic in?” because for me, savory recipes without garlic just don’t make sense. BUT I held off, used some chili powder I brought back from New Mexico last year, and added the stream of olive oil at serving that Heidi suggests. And let me tell you. Just look at that squash, with those gorgeous tomatoes canned last August, and the hearty, green lentils. It was amazing.

Catalyst Juice Cleanse – day 2

Day Two. For some reason, I’m not digging the green juice today. Is it the celery? Or just because it occurs twice in a day? I don’t know. But that spicy lemonaid picked me up and I was able to get in a short afternoon run outside – the first Woodlands Graveyard run of the season! Late afternoon left me hungry hungry, and all day I felt a little distracted and foggy. Strangely, the evening seemed like a piece of cake, and I ended up drinking juice #6 an hour later than scheduled, no problem. I’m either adjusting, or just so excited about the cashew milk juice that everything else in canceled out. One huge plus – I slept amazingly last night, and am hoping for another deep sleep tonight!

5-Day Catalyst Juice Cleanse

This very nice folks at Catalyst Juice, a local Philadelphia juice cleanse and juice/raw cleanse company, contacted me to see if I’d like to try and review one of their freshly-made juice cleanses for you. I’d admit that I’ve been eating a bit too much dairy, and white bread (and their super-spawn, pizza) lately, so I welcomed the opportunity to make a clean break with some of my depressive winter eating habits. Catalyst provides a 3, 4, or 5-day juice cleanse, made in Philadelphia. You can pick-up that juice at one of three Philadelphia-area locations, or have the juice delivered for an extra charge.

I started with a phone consultation with Jen, one of Catalyst’s owners, about cleanse expectations – a standard service for customers. While I didn’t eat vegan or raw in the week leading up to the cleanse as they suggest, I don’t eat meat and have a mostly healthy diet, so I hoped for an easy transition. I eagerly awaited my juices, which were delivered to my door at 6:30pm Monday evening. Just three days of juice arrived – the rest will be made fresh on the second juicing of the week and delivered Thursday.

The Catalyst system offers 6 juices a day, and all the water and herbal tea you can drink (goodbye, sweet coffee). They suggest that you have juice every two hours throughout the day. My schedule looks like this:

10 AM #1 Green Juice: cucumber, celery, apple, parsley, spinach, lime, lemon, ginger
12PM #2 Spicy Lemonaid: lemon, cayenne, agave
2PM #3 Carrot Ginger: carrot, apple, celery, lemon, lime
4PM #4 Beet Juice: beet, apple, lemon, lime
6PM #5 Green Juice: see above
8PM #6 Cashew Milk: cashew, agave, cinnamon, vanilla

So, how’s it going? Well. One of my biggest problems is that I work in which I am constantly surrounded by food, preparing food, buying food, planning menus, and ordering food. I walked into the office today to the smell of fresh brewed coffee, gorgeous tropical fruit platters, and fresh bagels, muffins and pastries. Ooof. I had my green juice, and passed.

Mid-morning was a little difficult for me, but the #2 had enough cayenne (and sweetness) to power me through my body pump class. Around 3pm I was really hungry again, but in not too long the #4 came through. By the time I made it home from evening acupuncture, I was ready for the dinner juice, but surprisingly not as hungry as I had been 45 minutes later.

Hungry / not-as-hungry seems to be a pattern. I recognize that I’m hungry, I wait awhile longer to have a juice, and then I’m not that hungry in the end, or its at least manageable. Certainly a change from the mindless graze and munch that I do most days. By the time I got into bed to watch an episode of Dexter, that number #6 juice – all sweet and fatty tasting like melted ice cream, was a real treat. Day one down. I’ll keep you updated.


Tucked down a little side street in the lower level of Old Quebec City, Toast! is attached to a boutique hotel, but happy to make you a reservation if you happen to be staying up the hill. Dimly lit with twinkling lights and a very attentive waitstaff, Toast! was set for a perfect romantic late dinner. Toast! has a multi-course pre fix menu, and I chose the slightly lighter 3-course dinner. Pictured above is the yellow beetroot and deep fried, melting mozzarella with hazelnut aoli, lemon juice emulsion, macadamia nut, oyster king mushroom, basil and micro tomato. Quite a mouthful, huh? As a first course, this appetizer was quite large, very rich, and a wonderful mix of textures and flavors. With so many components it was hard to create a “perfect bite,” but every bite was delicious. The mozzarella was not so much melted and softened, but I didn’t mind cutting pieces from crispy ball.

Rich and textural vegetarian food was a theme at Toast!, where the vegetarian choices (one per course) were consistently creative, beautiful, large, and flavorful. I had the home made vegetarian ravioli with marscapone, black garlic, pesto and hazelnut filling, butternut sauce, mushroom, “pied de mouton” (a tiny mushroom similar to a straw mushroom), chanterelle, argan oil and parmesan crisp. Can you tell by now that I kept the menu? Anyway, you can how beautiful it was, but it was also so rich, and so delicious, and a few bites in I was already full. But I kept eating.

Because who is going to resist a cheese course? Not me. Never me. “Le secret de Maurice,” a sheep milk cheese, firm on the outside and liquid creamy on the inside, served with warm fig and rye bread and home made grape preserves. Did I mention I could not eat another bite? I could not eat another bite. But I kept eating bites. And try as we might the two of us weren’t able to quite finish Maurice’s “secret,” but I promise you, we tried.

Toast ! on Urbanspoon