Workout Review: FHITting Room NYC

Want a high intensity workout that won't totally kill ya? Fhitting Room is the place to go! In my opinion, this workout is a step down from Tonehouse but still super intense in a totally different way. It is more self directed (and everyone is doing things at their own pace) so if you want to slow down or ease up on yourself, you can.

Here's my recap of the FHITing Room experience:

The space: [I've visited the Flatiron location] Big, bright lobby. Friendly front desk staff who will point out studio ammenities if its your first time. Room is more like a group fitness studio you would find at a gym - mirrors on one wall, other walls are home to the various equipment. Bright lights, clean. This location has another, smaller studio downstairs, as well as multiple bathrooms and showers (complete with lush bath products)

The workout: Warm up - jumping jacks, lunges, etc. Some with weights, some without.

Next up is circuit work. The class is split up into groups that rotate through different exercises. Rowing + skier machines are used, as well as TRX resistance bands, boxes (for lunging and jumping. Fun!), and a Fhitting Room signature: kettlebells!

Fhix: The final portion of the workout is a 'FHIX' - a series of exercises that you complete at your own pace (you are given a number of reps to complete). This may be more burpees, lunges, squats, ab work, kettlebells, or whatever! But it definitely pushes your heart rate up and ends the class on a strong note.

The last few minutes of the class are left for stretching and cool down.

The instructors: Two coaches in every class so you will get personalized attention. Like Tonehouse these instructors are TOP notch. They are more accommodating here and will come give you assurance or easier variations of movements if they see you are struggling.

Overall: I love this workout because it challenges me, but doesn't scare me. It's hard, but not I-think-I'm-going-to-throw-up hard. And I know that as I come back again and again, I will get stronger, and I'll be able to take it up each time by selecting heavier weights or pushing myself to do more reps, go faster.

Workout Review: Tonehouse NYC

Without a doubt Tonehouse is the hardest workout I've ever done. You may ask yourself multiple times throughout the workout if you will make it (you will) if you will throw up (you might). You will leave with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, and perhaps a new friend or two.

Here's my recap of the Tonehouse experience:

The space: Dark, red lights, minimalist. Simple desk for check-in at front, but basically the workout space is the whole space. There is a bathroom and water fountain, but no locker rooms or showers.

The workout: Think high school sports conditioning. Before we officially began, there was a pump-up huddle (which explains why this workout reminds me of team sports!). Then, the warm up: sprints, ladder drills, agility work. Some say that this is hardest part of class - I don't necessarily agree. Yes, it gets your blood pumping, but in my opinion not the hardest part.

After the warm up, we had a quick break for water, then back to it! We started with more sprints, relay type work, and what in my opinion is the hardest exercise in the class: the gallop. Even the strongest, fittest of the group struggle with this - it's just that intense. Quick tip: think very, very hard about what you choose to consume the morning (or evening) before this workout. There's a good chance it may resurface.

From there, we moved into work with the TRX bands - lunges, planks, ab work and more.

The final portion of class was a circle agility drill of sorts - we all circled up and then did whatever the coach called out: planks, squats, burpees, side shuffles, etc. At this point my body was so exhausted and it took all my focus to keep my body moving as each exercise was called out.

We ended with a few minutes of stretching plus one final group huddle. Despite how worn out everyone was, we were elated to be done, and proud of what we had accomplished. The "team" spirit is a big part of the workout, which is cultivated by the intensity of the class, but also by the awesome coaches.

The instructors: These coaches are incredible. They will not let you off the hook even if you are struggling, but instead will push you (in the most supportive way possible) to finish.

Overall: I will go back. Maybe not every week, but every so often when I need a kick ass workout that leaves me feeling challenged, accomplished, and sore!

JOYA Restaurant Review

Ever since our epic backpacking adventure to Thailand last year, Ariel and I are always on the look out for great Thai food.  Shortly after moving to Brooklyn, we found a local spot which quickly became our go-to.  However, this past weekend we decided to venture a little further and check out JOYA in Cobble Hill, and boy am I glad we did.  Delicious, cheap, and full of veggie options, JOYA is definitely our new favorite Thai spot.  We've already been back and I expect there will be many a takeout order in the near future.

To start, we've ordered the Papaya Salad and Summer Rolls (with tofu instead of shrimp).  Both were good, but nothing too spectacular.

Mountain of papaya salad

For main dishes, our hands down favorite has been the Spicy Noodles (vegetarian version).  Wide noodles loaded pan-fried with vegetables, this dish perfectly balances both spicy and sweet, something I personally love about good Thai food. Just thinking about it makes me hungry...

Spicy Noodle mess

We have also tried both the green and red curries.  Both were good, but the red curry definitely had better flavor.  I appreciated that both curry dishes had tons of different veggies that were perfectly cooked - not raw, but also not overdone.  Also, JOYA does offer brown rice... you just have to ask for it!

Blurry green curry

We haven't tried the Mango Sticky rice, but that will change soon. =)

As far as the atmosphere, JOYA is a happening spot.  It's been crowded each time we have gone, the bar filled with folks enjoying a cocktail while waiting for a table.  I will note that the inside is pretty loud - the crowd plus the music may be overpowering for some.  For those who prefer a quieter vibe, try to get a seat out back.  While it may be a little harder to see your food (if its dark, as it was both times I visited as you can see from my pictures above), it will be much easier to enjoy conversation with your dining mates.

I will note:  JOYA, like many NYC establishments, is CASH ONLY.  Sigh.  While it won't keep me from coming back, it is a little disappointing that so many places in NYC still don't accept plastic.

Do you like Thai food?  If so, do you stick with one tried-and-true restaurant or are you always checking out new places?

The Butcher's Daughter - Restaurant Review

This past weekend, Ariel and I had our first date (okay, first dinner together) in a long time (I have been traveling, he has been working crazy hours).  We decided to check out The Butcher's Daughter for dinner in Nolita.

The Butcher's Daughter is a cute little eatery on the corner of Kenmare and Elizabeth.  There are tables outside, as well as a family-style table and counter seats inside.  It was raining out, so we opted to sit at the big table inside.

Funny face + mint water

The menu is mostly vegan, with just a few dishes that include eggs.  We decided to start with the charcuterie plate  which included the following served with crostini: mushroom walnut pate, white bean and fennel sausage, and cashew ricotta with fig mostarda.  Ariel loved the pate, while my favorite was the sausage which reminded me so much of pepperoni.

Appetizer - "charcuterie" plate

For our entrees, I got watermelon ricotta salad - more of the cashew ricotta and juicy watermelon served over a bed of baby spinach.  It was decent sized and very tasty.  Ariel got the Pulled Pork BBQ sandwich - shredded, BBQ sauce soaked portobello mushrooms served on a brioche bun with potato wedges and cole slaw.  While mushrooms stand in for meat on so many dishes, I had never seen shredded mushrooms as "pulled" meat, and I thought this was super creative.  I definitely plan on trying to recreate this at home.  

We didn't get dessert because all they had left were muffins.  I suppose will just have to go back again when they are well stocked with vegan ice cream and chocolate mousse.

Watermelon + ricotta salad

Portobello "Pulled Pork BBQ"

My only complaint with the meal was that  the potato wedges were really greasy.  I was really craving potatoes and was super dissapointed how they came out (good thing we didn't really like them because there were only like 4 in total!).  I will also say that, like many organic/sustainable/vegan places, the meal was not cheap.  It was not crazy expensive, and I'm willing to pay for the quality of food, but just wanted to throw that out there.  Overall, I really enjoyed the creativity of the menu as well as the atmosphere so I'm sure I will be back for lunch or dinner again.

Smorgasburg at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Spring is here and that means that the Sunday Smorgasburg has moved outside  to Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Since this is a 10 minute walk from my apartment, I am stoked, to say the least.  I have been every weekend since it opened, with the exception of the two weekends I was out of town, and I expect this will continue throughout the summer and fall.  Local food + insane people watching + sunshine = can't get much better.  Okay maybe if we added yoga and green juice in there... Hmmm... Seems like a business opportunity...

Anyways, here's my current top picks from the 'Burg:

-ISH Premium Horseradish - Super fresh horseradish paired with sweet and tangy ingredients like beets, citrus, ginger, and garlic.  Most people forget about horseradish as a condiment, but ISH is bound to change this.  I'm personally addicted to the beet flavor, but they are all delicious.  No idea what to do with premium horseradish? The folks at ISH got that covered: with each purchase they include a recipe guide with tons of suggestions for each flavor.

-Chickpea and Olive - Vegan sliders and sandwiches made from wholesome ingredients and a super cute logo, not much not to love about Chickpea and Olive.  I tried their Phatty Beet Slider last year when I visited NYC and fell in love so it's no wonder it's one of my top picks. And the eggplant "bacon" oh my goodness. 

-Alchemy Creamery- Vegan ice cream, holler!  Not only ice cream, but push pops and ice cream sandwiches, in crazy awesome flavors like salted peanut butter and chocolate blackberry.  And free toppings.  Bring on summer!

-Bunna Cafe- Yummy vegan Ethiopian food.  They recently opened a full restaurant in Bushwick which I'm dying to visit. 

-Barry's Tempeh- The best tempeh I've ever had. For realz.  I don't know what it is, but this stuff is so superior to any other tempeh I've tried.  I bought some at the most recent Vegan Shop Up, and I'm excited to see if I can make it taste as magical as Barry does.

I'll update this list as the summer goes on and I find more favorite vendors (which I'm sure I will).  For anyone who lives in New York, have you ever been to Smorgasburg? If so, who are your favorite vendors and products?