Spring Natural & BòCàphê

I recently had a much-needed reunion with one of my college besties, Natalie! We had such a fun day in NYC exploring SoHo, shopping up a storm, and of course, eating!

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Natalie is a vegetarian, so I wanted to make sure that whatever restaurant we picked had lots of yummy veggie options! My mom is a pescetarian (eats fish but no other meat), and she lived in NYC for years, so I knew she’d know a place Natalie and I would love! My mom suggested Spring Natural Kitchen, and because I come from a long line of foodies, I knew she’d be right when she said that this place was amazing!

As Spring Natural mentions on their website, they’ve been creating their wonderful food since 1973, “when terms such as ‘farm to table,’ ‘locavore,’ ‘organic’, and ‘Paleo’ were virtually unheard of in relation to food and dining.” Since ‘73 they’ve moved from Spring Street to Columbus Ave and added their impossible-to-miss bright blue brick exterior.

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: springstreetnatural.com

This place is a stand-out from many other SoHo establishments however, not ~only~ for their pop of color but ~especially~ for their food!

Tangent– I’ve recently fallen in love with the use of ~this thing~ because not ~only~ is it a ~great~ way to ~emphasize~ things but it ~also~ looks like someone doing this thing:

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: giphy.com

K, back to food.

Fruit and veggie juices are always wonderful things! And sometimes they’re bright magenta and beautiful like this beet, apple, and carrot juice!

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Fresh-pressed juices like this one are so healthy and full of nutrients. Fruit and veggie juices are always kind of pricy, but it’s only because you’re getting so much out of those fruits and veggies in a little package. This juice was so fresh and naturally sweet.

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Although I forgot to take a picture, I feel that the bread on the table served before our food is worth a mention. There were two exceptional breads with olive oil to dip. I thought one of the breads was rosemary pumpkin? Maybe rosemary carrot? Whatever it was, it was lovely. And the other was a very texturally pleasing grainy whole wheat bread. Both had that wonderful quality that you can only get from homemade bread– somehow both fluffy and dense at the same time.

Natalie and I both ordered the Southeast Asian Watercress Salad!

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The spicy, peppery watercress was mixed with baby greens, and then brightened up by lots of fresh mint, aromatic Thai basil, and cilantro. Mixed into the salad were mango, avocado, grilled pineapple (yes, ~grilled~!), edamame, and spicy crushed peanuts. It was tossed with a tangy, light orange sesame dressing. And as if that wasn’t enough, I decided to add tofu because, why not? This salad was enormous, but if I had an endless bowl of it, I’d probably still be eating it today, because it was that yummy.

When we were ordering our food, one thing that caught our interest was the Roasted Vegetable Vegan Mac & Cheese, so we decided to share one!

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The pasta was coated in three “cheeses”.  The quotation marks are necessary because it’s not real cheese– it’s 100% vegan, dairy-free cheese! But it tastes almost like real cheese! They also used my favorite mac & cheese trick that my mom and I use all the time at home– panko bread crumbs! Yup, that’s the Japanese variation of breadcrumbs, typically used in a tempura coating. Panko is different from your run-of the-mill Italian style breadcrumbs because they’re much lighter, flakier, and crunchier, so they give the mac & cheese a slightly crispy topping! The mac & cheese was topped with a mound of perfectly roasted veggies– fennel, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, squash, and red peppers.

After lunch came the exploring SoHo and shopping up a storm part of our day! But you know what they say, “time flies when you’re having fun”, and soon our day was racing toward an end. But we were having so much fun that we didn’t want to leave! So we decided to stay in the city for dinner, too!

In the heart of SoHo, we found Bò Càphê, an adorable and very trendy Vietnamese restaurant! Look at how cute this place is. “Aesthetic goals,” I remarked to Natalie as I took this super artsy panorama of the restaurant:

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I loved how on the table, rather than just serving plain water, they put out a pretty glass bottle with water infused with pineapple and mint!

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The pineapple and mint flavors were subtle, but they really made regular old water into a treat to drink! Since coming to this restaurant I’ve tried this on my own a couple of times, and I love it! Making infused water is so easy, and you can use whatever fruits you like!

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I ordered the Shrimp Rice Noodle Salad, or Bò Bùn. Rice noodles and lots of crisp bean sprouts were topped with carrot, cucumber, scallions, tons of fresh cilantro and mint (apparently this was the theme today?), salted chopped peanuts, and some super flavorful spicy sweet shrimp. I could have been very happy just like that because the juicy shrimp had plenty of delicious sauce to go around, but there was even more delicious sweet and tangy sauce with a little bit of a spicy kick served on the side! It was also topped with a crispy-fried vegetable spring roll! This dish was light and fresh and so very wonderful. I love love loved this place, and can’t wait to come back!

And then we took this picture because we’re dweebs:

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LOL. But seriously, what a great day!

 

Enjoy! 🙂 Love, The Perky Foodie

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