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Comfort Stew

Union Square Farmer’s Market!

Oh my gosh, I could move in. At Union Square, one can find everything from organic kale to juicy strawberries to… purple basil?! If only I lived in New York and therefore had a use for the incredible array of fresh vegetables and fruits at the market.

After browsing, Jess and I got dinner at Souen.

Souen, a macrobiotic establishment, is one of my favorite restaurants in the city for its serene environment and nourishing, comforting food. However, it is important to go to the one at University Place. I’ve dined at their Soho location, and its ambiance just does not compare!


I ordered what I always order at Souen: the kuzu stew, which boasts broccoli, cauliflower, nappa cabbage, kale, snow peas, shiitake, and onion in a ginger-tamari broth.

This is not your average soup.

The kuzu is used as a thickener, so it basically tastes like you’re eating a huge bowl of veggies smothered in thick gravy!

souen bento

Feeling adventurous, Jessica went with the bento box.

She decided it would be a good detox from her Crumbs cupcake! The bento featured: brown rice, hijiki seaweed, steamed veggies, marinated burdock in miso paste, tofu okabe, and pickled radishes. It also came with miso soup. The bento definitely wasn’t something I’d order. That’s the fun thing about different people: we all have unique tastes. Both of us were thrilled with our choice of dinners.

I wish Souen would open in Texas.

But at least I have my own Homemade Kuzu Stew.


Later in the hotel, I broke into a new chocolate bar. Unfortunately it was awful! It tasted like I was eating flowers. In the bar’s defense, it was lavender-flavored. What did I expect?

I quickly switched to my favorite.

Published on July 20, 2011

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  1. Molly says

    I’ve always wanted to try lavender chocolate… hmm but flowers haven’t always been my favorite to eat (haha)… maybe I’ll skip it!

  2. Eric Jaffa says

    Whether a person should live in NYC involves how that person feels about crowds.

    It’s one thing to be pushed against other people on the subway during a one-week visit and not mind.

    But would you mind if for years you were pushed against other people twice-a-day in the subway?

  3. Albizia says

    I have eating lavender chocolate only once but it didn’t taste like flowers. Maybe the guys from Lindt do it better 🙂 . It was dark chocolate with lavender and blueberries. Amazing!

    I wonder if they put sugar in the NYC hijiki too. This thing has a big potential but the Japanese love for sugar ruins it.

  4. Kelly says

    I’ve been wanting to try the Antidote chocolate, disappointing to hear that you did not like the lavender flavor. My favorite raw chocolate (and chocolate of all time) is Fine & Raw Cacao & Coconut (at Organic Avenue in NYC). Check it out if you’re near one!

    Souen is a regular haunt for me – love the Macro plate!

  5. katie @KatieDid says

    I love that you travel with chocolate bars! My friend once bought the lavender kind as well but really liked it! I can’t imagine what it tastes like but not sure I want to know.

  6. The Teenage Taste says

    That stew does look fabulous. Plus the way you described it “veggies smothered in a thick gravy” makes me want it even more. I have a weakness for gravy! 😀
    Glad you’re having a fun time in New York, Katie!

  7. NaturalAsCanBe says

    Ohmigosh, a farmer’s market! I’m jealous. I have purple basil in my garden, though; it’s a lot milder than regular basil. I wish we had restaurants like that here–that would be amazing. There isn’t a single good restaurant in this town, not to mention a vegetarian or vegan one. I’m definitely going to have to try to replicate that delicious-looking stew. I also want to get a nice, decorative asian-style soup bowl like that, with one of those cool spoons. 🙂
    Continue to have an awesome New York trip! I’m loving reading about it! 😉

  8. Anonymous says

    Lavender Flavored Chocolate! Lavender flavored cookies maybe, but not chocolate. However the stew thingy looked delish! Mmmm…. 🙂

  9. Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFIles says

    That farmer’s market sounds HEAVENLY!! And so does your dinner. I just HAVE to visit NYC sometime.

  10. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga says

    I am the same way on flavored chocolate…no thanks. Original, pure, dark…that’s what I want!

    Again, LOVE the real life posts.

    The bento box…Too cute!

    And yes, ambiance TOTALLY counts for something in a restaurant. Actually, it counts for a lot. If it’s not right, the food never tastes as good 🙂

    • Sarahishealthy says

      Agreed! Chocolate purists unite. I knew I liked you, Averie :).

      (Dunno if I’ve ever commented on your blog, but I do read it!)

  11. Jen says

    I usually like floral-infused sweets! But the flower flavor should just be an essence, not the predominant flavor. I used to love these little violet candies when I was younger. Anyway, it’s always disappointing when a new chocolate bar is not up to par! I always get so excited when I try a brand for a first time. That’s called being a chocolate nerd. I know you can relate! Your stew looks amazing though. That cancels out the gross chocolate.

  12. Ragnhild says

    Love to get a sneak-peak into your life sweetie 🙂
    The stew looks fantastic! I love macrobiotic food, but I have never been to a restaurant! Not sure if we have any in Norway at all!

  13. Emilia says

    I hate when I go to cities and they have the *best* vegetarian stores and restaurants! I wish I could bring them with me 🙂
    Have fun in NY– I’m jealous! 🙂

  14. kaila @ healthy helper! says

    Both those entrees look awesome!!! I would have eaten either one… I really want to go to that restaurant NOW!

  15. Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! says

    yay for going to two of my favorite places, right in my neighborhood! I want to be back there so badly!

  16. Aine @ Something to Chew Over says

    I love bento boxes, it’s great to have a little bit of everything!

    I’m with you on the lavender – I adore the smell but I don’t want to eat it!

  17. Marianne says

    That stew looks delicious. I wonder if we have anything similar in Vancouver – it’s definitely the kind of city where a restaurant like that would do well, what with all our yoga west coast hippies 😉

  18. Lyza says

    Aw I add a few drops of lavender extract to my homemade chocolate all the time and I think it gives it such depth! Maybe they put in too much! I think I see visible lavender in there lol, which already seems a little excessive, but who knows 😛

  19. Teniesha @ Vegan on the Go-Go says

    I LOVE bento boxes–I wish I could find a Japanese restaurant here that made them with brown rice like the one in your photo! Looks like you’re having such a wonderful time–enjoy the rest of your adventures! 🙂

  20. Jessica says

    That’s so funny I ate at souen in Soho Wednesday afternoon! The ambiance is definately nothing special. I got an array of things like the macrobiotic sampler… how great is that squash? Never tasted such a delicious squash. Also loved the pickles. And the summer rolls and tofu scramble! My mom and I went wild trying everything!

  21. Victoria says

    I’m so excited, my dorm is right in union square this coming school year! I must try souen, that soup look soooo good.

  22. Natasha says

    I worked at the souen in the east village! It’s even better than the one in union square. They specialize in ramen but have other things too! You should try it next time. =)

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