Clean Enough on the road
The inaugural addition.
I seek out the cleanest food while on the road and this trip was no exception. Life in its truest expression is inclusive, with the absolute most divine participation in life’s pleasures including The River Café, Berlin, Paris, San Sebastian, Madrid and Pays Bordeaux, travel gives an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in what the environment offers.
Strategy: Clean Enough
The structure of not skipping meals with two small snacks (as needed) a day is a perfect control while on the road, even with more frequent treats. Instinctually I want to skip breakfast when I am out of routine, however that feels like a punishment for late night San Sebastian gelato. Instead, I prepared a light and clean breakfast that was just enough to get my body going for the day. The key was to keep to my routine as much as was available while not being concerned with long term effects to other memorable moments. That is what post-holiday back to routine ambitions are for.
On this trip it was a combination of work and play, with work being condensed into a 2-day sprint in London finishing with a beautiful meal at The River Café, an institution on the Thames offering ingredient-forward Italian cuisine in a bright and open setting.
White City House proved to be a splendid stay. Soho House’s newest London place to hang your hat. I love staying where I feel taken care of, especially while working. With early mornings and very late returns, knowing that someone was looking out for me was everything and more. What’s even better? Being able to make plenty of hot water and lemon in my room with the bar citrus. I’ll pass on the G&T and fire up the kettle with a squeeze of fresh citrus.
While working with our Equinox Food and Beverage partner, Munch Fit, I was able to start my days with my comforting collagen concoction that is a balance of beauty enhancing proteins, clean carbohydrates and a touch of healthy fats. Lunch gave me an opportunity to try a new menu item, the Munch Fit Poke bowl. A perfect Clean Enough lunch where you can decide how much rice (just sub a portion for leafy greens as you need), lean protein, avocado, vegetables and a light yet pungent vinaigrette. Be sure to check out my recipe for Poke here.
When taking meetings lunch can either work for or against you. I like to book lunch meetings in fresh environments, as to not derail my day. I had a beautiful lunch with my friend Yasmine, founder of The Good Life Eatery at Meraki, a chic Greek restaurant in Fitzrovia London. Fresh greek salad, roasted aubergine and a touch of lamb for iron and protein both inspired and satiated.
Another trick I love during work or pleasure trips is to layer nights in into the equation. By cooking for colleagues from Equinox and Munch Fit, I was able to not only share my creative gifts, and was also able to make a healthy vibrant meal as I would at home. Clean Enough on the road. I cooked a Blue Zone evening of turmeric bitter greens, fennel and cucumber salad, fresh whole branzino and spinach rice that will be found in Clean Enough (the book!). Let’s not forget treats, with fresh stone fruit, strawberries, vanilla custard and honey butter from Clean Enough.
The River Café was something to write home about. Pungent spicy olive oil on everything fresh, and cooked with a loving hand. Roasted peppers, fresh tomatoes and basil tossed with gnocci, turbot with fresh herbs, and green beans. Oh, and the desserts. This is where I let it live, with freshly spun pistachio gelato affogato, my favorite dessert in its effortless simplicity. Almond torte with strawberries, chocolate seduction and their classic lemon tart that they are known for rounded out this treat nicely. All were spectacular, moreish, lick the plate clean delicious.
A very short trip to Berlin proved to be a splendid taste-of day. Pret-a-manger is a dependable place on the run for a small pot of oats, a great way to start a clean day and a perfect vehicle to mix in collagen and top with a few antioxidant rich blueberries, in Europe I often rely on Pret in train stations and airports to keep me in line. Typical German food is not what makes me feel best (sorry currywurst), however you can always count on Germans to have some sort of greens and potatoes on their menu. A few scrambled eggs, potatoes and a fresh asparagus salad was just what I needed when catching up with a friend. Being on the road and skipping carbs completely when hungry is never a good move for me, and to that I say embrace the dependability of potatoes boiled or roasted simply.
We went to Katz Orange, the Berliner’s must-go meal. Situated in a beautiful courtyard, you feel as though you are being invited into someone’s home. The food is fresh and fuss free, my favorite way to enjoy lively ingredients with a chef’s simplistic and special touch. Local greens, mashed peas and salmon were all shared on the cozy second floor banquet filled with pillows.
After many 4 am wake-ups in multiple time zones, I was tired and on my way to a short respite in the south of France. Rather than flying I opted to take the Eurostar to Paris for lunch and a museum before hopping the rails again headed to the southwest of France, past Biarritz to an understated sophisticated beach town called St. Jean de Luz. My favorite way to beach vacation. This reminded me of my trip last summer to Mount Argentario in the southwest of Italy. A seaside place where families have been summering for decades, putzing around for the casual ice cream, game of tennis and home cooked meal al fresco.
Arriving in Paris just in time for lunch, I made my way to The Marais to check out Wild and the Moon. My healthy eatery radar was on high and this cozy café did not disappoint! I took a while trying to figure out what to order. The retail fridges were packed with bottled juice blends, smoothies, nut milks and salads. What to choose?! I thought a hydrating and detoxifying blend of cucumber and dandelion was just what the juice doctor ordered. They had a great smoothie/bowl menu, but as I can get a smoothie bowl any day of the week I opted to try their dahl. A soothing and clean blend of lentils and fresh vegetables, topped with a few cashews and herbs. This was a perfectly portioned plant-based lunch that fueled me for the rest of the day. A stop at the Maison Europeenne La Photographie was soul filling. While one of the exhibits showed the ability to manipulate architecture through photography the other was a bit more disturbing, showcasing the angst of human kind. Stocking up on beautiful postcards is always a boost for me, I obliged and placed them carefully in between my Clean Enough draft pages for safekeeping.
The train through Bordeaux to Pays Basque is beautiful. A few naps later I was in St Jean de Luz just in time for dinner. The meals were simple and effortless, never without a fresh baguette, cheese and a sweet. I am so happy that I tasted the local goat cheese, basque ham (not to be mistaken for Spanish ham!!) and bread at the table. Some of my highlights were the tomato tartare, lamb and vegetable tart, countless fresh salads, caponata, green beans and garlic and a tart full of fruits de mer.
St Jean de Luz is nestled seaside next to the Pyrenees, where we had two tremendous hikes. Up La Rhune and down on an antique wooden train, straight to a hot shower and a trip to San Sebastian in Spain. Tapas are late and wandering and I obliged. I loved the Spanish potato and egg frittata along with the plethora of typical cured hams, fresh goat cheeses and you guessed it, more bread and rich red wine. While gelato is Italian, and not Spanish, it is not something I resist on holiday. Creamy pistachio and coconut with matcha sorbet was an awesome trio. Always enjoy it on a cone to give yourself the full effect of summer.
Mornings stayed on my Clean Enough track with hot water with lemon and a very light smoothie bowl breakfast. Zucchini, pear and avocado is my new favorite combination that is a cinch to whip up and always welcomes a heavy dusting of cinnamon to top. Our second hike brought us a shorter distance and to an open mountain top restaurant. The fresh tomato and white asparagus salad was divine, served simply with onions and vinegar. Lamb, chicken and potatoes were had as was a hearty afternoon nap.
I made a beautiful torte for my friends and their family that hosted me during my French stay. The toasted cheese torte, name to be shared at a later date, and not to be mistaken for a Cheesecake, from Clean Enough wowed the table and even had me going back for a second sliver. Topped with a clever and simple passion fruit cream caramel and fresh strawberries, this torte will now forever be associated with long family dinners by the sea.
Due to flight cancellations, my final night brought me through Madrid for a short stay. A gently seared tuna burger was a great idea to take home with me as well the final hurrah of a coconut popsicle packed with coconut rape.
I ended my journey hydrating in my trusty airport lounges and arriving home to grocery shop for my #CleanEnoughathome week ahead. Getting back to basics is an essential component to my or anyone’s balance.
What’s on the menu? My batch of clean Caponata, light grains, fresh veggies and protein for the week. To keep it easy I am making this week uniform and straightforward, relying on the bounty of colors in my caponata for a variety of nutrients, rather than a diversity of dishes. My purple snack fruits to boost inspiration and a simple strawberry banana oat shake to get the day started on the right foot.
Cleanenoughontheroad brought me to London, Berlin, Paris, Pays Basque, San Sebastian and Madrid. The trip was memorable and delicious. Until next time. Tell me, where are you off to next to practice CleanEnoughontheroad?