In Cooking Entertaining Food and Drink Good Eats Mens lifestyle Nuttin Ordinary Plant-Based Vegan Vegan Foods

How Cheese Got It's Groove Back: Nuttin Ordinary

I'm always asked if there's anything that I miss being vegan now.  At first, I missed a good piece of fish and my eggs scrambled hard with cheese in the morning but then I discovered the breakfast and brunch options that varied from the norm (not to mention the wonderment of avocados) and after that, the non-vegans cravings subsided.  I used to levitate towards the smell of bacon, but now I salivate over the the smell of garlic-roasted veggies.  Admittedly, eating vegan is made out to be a huge laborious undertaking especially when you read product labels and realize they put something from an animal in everything, but all in all there are many delicious substitutes that make you not miss the meat or dairy at all.  However, as with anything there are bad eggs in the bunch (no pun intended) and not all vegan food is healthy food, but after awhile and through moderation you get a better sense of the kind of vegan that meshes with your will.

Well I discovered Nuttin Ordinary recently and I must say that they are certainly not one of the bad eggs in the bunch.  Here I was thinking that my staple breakfast while in high school, a bagel with cream cheese, was to never be enjoyed by me again and then in comes this great product line.  Nuttin Ordinary is a line of 100% plant-based cashew cheeses that are just simply amazing.  Of all the nuts used to make vegan products I must say that I've found cashews to produce the creamiest end results. This is one of the reasons why Nuttin Ordinary is so delicious.  The creamy texture of these spreadable cheeses are so great for lathering onto a bagel, crudités-dipping and sandwich-topping.  The other reason that makes Nuttin Ordinary so flavorful is that it keeps the ingredients simple and to a minimum while having no gluten or preservatives.

That's something that sets it apart in the fast-growing vegan product world.  It's taken the simplicity of the ingredients and created something that is familiar to non-vegans and vegan alike without bizarre additives.  The results are the smooth and buttery consistency of their stellar Original flavor, the herbal loveliness of their Italian Herb flavor and the zesty fire kick of their Spicy flavor.  My post-vegan bagel has found a wonderful friend to fill the void.  

Nuttin Ordinary is now available at Fairway, Wholefoods, Wegman's and MOM's and for a list of other locations please check out the company site here

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In Fitness Health Mens Mens lifestyle Summer Fitness Ultima Replenisher Vegan Vegan Foods Wellness

Motivation Akin To Hydration: Ultima Replenisher

So with the official start of Summer only a little bit more than a month away and the unofficial start of Summer being almost a week ago, let me pose some questions to you.  How have you been working to A) maintain that beach body or B) turn that holiday dad body into that DILF body?  Well without knowing what your means to your chiseled, toned, bulked-up or tightened ends will be, I hope that your motivation has been strong and unyielding.  That's a big part of it though right?  Your motivation!  Lack of it can keep you in bed when you should be up and at the gym.  Lack of it can make you fall into the comparison trap and make you not think it's happening fast enough like it is for others.  Then lack of it can make you yo-yo like a mo-fo and not see contented results.  However, there's another aspect to consider.  

Ever on the expressway and run out of gas or ever printing out a 20 page document and run out of paper or ink on the 8th page?  Well sometimes we run out of steam which can literally render our motivation dismal.  There's something to be said about equipping oneself to start off on the most beneficial foot as possible.  That means, if your motivation is high then don't let over-exhaustion creep in and kill it.  This is exactly why it's important to stay well-hydrated during your fitness regimen.  However, since we can often sweat more water than we can drink during a workout it's important to stay clean hydrated without ingesting substances that could cause post-workout crashing.  This is exactly why an awesome product like Ultima Replenisher is a fitness must.  

Admittedly I am not a huge sports drink fan and reason being is the salt taste.  Ultima Replenisher is an electrolyte-rich powder that combats the excessive salt by being a healthy alternative to many fitness-centered drinks and methods that are loaded with sugar, salt, caffeine, preservatives and artificial ingredients.  Naturally sweetened with stevia leaf, Ultima Replenisher has nothing artificial and has very low sodium since the average person's diet consists of at least 2000mg of sodium.  The formula that makes this product so great is the presence of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and low doses of sodium and chloride including support minerals that create such an electrolyte-rich product that you're able to get clean healthy hydration essential for proper muscle performance and fitness-brain function.   

The end result is a powder that dissolves easily in water, tastes natural and not medicinal/synthetic and is packaged ready for a home workout in an assortment of conveniently-sized tubs or a gym workout in on-the-go travel packets that can slip conveniently into the tiny pocket of your running shorts or your gym bag.  Five vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, paleo/keto friendly flavors in lemon, cherry pomegranate, orange, grape/raisin and raspberry are available now to suit your palate.  For more information on the amazing Ultima Replenisher check out their website here. With such a great and useful product that offers zero carbs, zero, calories and zero sugar, as long as you keep up that motivation, you now have zero excuses.

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In Alcohol Review Dining Out Entertaining Mens lifestyle Wines and Spirits Winetasting

This Wine's Got An Interesting Story To Tell: 1000 Stories Wines

On a typical rainy Spring evening in New York, a lot can be found nestled in the little nooks and crannies of the city streets.  Delightful little eateries with locally-sourced specials, goodnight kisses had under the awnings of Old-World high-rises and the little peeks of west and eastside sky-line pushing their way through the dusky fog. 

It was on such an evening in classic New York fashion that I found myself tucked behind a beautifully arranged table for sixteen at the wonderfully hidden Fine & Rare at 9 East 37th St.  Usually the restaurant can be found offering up cool live jazz-infused acoustics to go with your pappardelle Bolognese and burrata heirloom tomato salad.  However, on this night I was ushered to the back of the restaurant to that grand table and intimately introduced to a wonderful collaboration of wine and spirit for the palette in the form of 1000 Stories Wines.  

1000 Stories is a line of exquisite and well-executed wines that distinguish themselves from the lot as they are aged in bourbon barrels.  The fineness of the grape meets the distilled beauty of the bourbon in 1000 Stories and creates broad flavor profiles that pull from the diversity of the loveliness of zinfandel and Bordeaux grapes and merges them with the lingering and definitive essences of oaky, sweet and herbal bourbon.  On that evening, winemaker and co-founder of 1000 Stories, Bob Blue gave a verbal soft-sell of how the brand came to be and then walked us though an exclusive tasting of the brand’s renowned line-up together with one of its latest, The Prospector’s Poof.

We started the pre-dinner tasting with a 2016 Zinfandel Batch 42, a peppery full rounded fruity wine then moved onto 2016 Zinfandel Batch 52, a wine sourced from grapes all over the Californian Redwood and Sanel Valleys that carried a welcomed depth that grapes from this Mendocino Region are recognized for. Then onto 2016 Zinfandel Batch 54 which was smoother yet carried a delightfully weighted depth while being soft and satisfying on the palette.  The 2017 Gold Rush Red was strong and full-bodied with its mélange of intense and bold grapes from the California Hills.  Finishing off the bunch was the 2017 The Prospectors Proof Cabernet Sauvignon another bold wine with the spiced pop of vanilla and fragrant herbs from the bourbon barrels.  With each wine it was important to note the presence of the grape characteristics and the presence of the bourbon attributes working together.  With the lesser-bodied wines, the sharp higher tannin zinfandels in their various aged stages allowed hints if the bourbon notes to carry through more while the Gold Rush and Prospector’s Proof carried weights that created a harmonious intermingling of full flavor.  Altogether, it was an evening of wine lessons that, when combined with the guests’ wine understandings, left us all with our favorites and a greater appreciation for brands like 1000 Stories that has found a way to make a wonderful staple even better.

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In Fitness Food and Drink Good Eats Health Mens Mens lifestyle Plant Fusion Plant-Based Protein Powders Summer Body Summer Fitness Vegan Vegan Foods Wellness

Plant-Based Redemption For The Willing And The Waiting: Plant Fusion

You blinked didn't you?  I think so.  You blinked during the winter, opened your eyes from that nanosecond and it's already a month into Spring.  Where does the time go?  Before you know it we will be bombarded with 'Back To School' ads and 'End Of Summer' deals.  It was just a short while ago, wasn't it, that you proclaimed aspirations of reclaiming that fit bod that went away for a time due to the cozy comforting culinary delights of Winter.  Now here it is almost halfway to Summer and about a month away from the unofficial start of Summer and what do you have?  A questionable waistline and regrets.  Don't get frantic, get started!

I, for one, am always looking for ways to live my best life by examining what I would like to do versus what I am doing all pushed up against always assessing how I think about doing things.  With my two year vegan anniversary a little over a week away, I have discovered the powerful coercive physiological aspect of food and how I don't have to subscribe to how things were always done.  I inform myself then think for myself based on what I've learned.  Over the past two years I've learned that I don't need whey and dairy in my protein powders to get the protein I need.  This is why I was glad to be introduced to Plant Fusion at a recent Editor's Showcase here in NYC.

Plant Fusion is a line of plant-based proteins that has a complete vegan assortment within their selection of shakes and powders.  Through sourcing garden-fresh ingredients from non-GMO produce and ensuring high quality standards for exceptional flavors, Plant Fusion speaks to those seeking plant-based protein choices that speak to individualized needs.  For example, they offer their 1:1 Fats & Protein powder that uses good fats and takes then from oil to powder form then blends it  with a high-alkaline plant-based protein.  You feel fuller longer and gain energy without sugar.  This is also the case with their Complete Lean protein powder whose prebiotic fibers and probiotics aid in digestive health, sustaining energy and supports healthy blood sugar levels.  Their Fermented Superfood Protein powder supports those seeking enhanced immunity, gut health and energy.  Meanwhile, their Collagen Builder is the first plant based shake that supports new collagen building, hydrates skin and joints with plant-based ceramides and protects existing collagen. 

So based on what you are seeking, all of Plant Fusion's proteins are candidates for pre and post workout shakes.  Along with Complete Lean, finishing out their 'Complete' line is Complete Meal, a perfectly balanced meal replacement that also builds and repairs muscle and Complete Protein, (my favorite) whose 21g of protein feeds the muscles, digests easily and is dairy, soy and gluten free.  What's even better is that Plant Fusion is free from the dry chalkiness that many plant-based protein powders can have.  It blends up smoothly and tastes natural and not overly processed with the unnatural sweetness.  Check out my post-workout smoothie recipe, that I swear by, below for a great pre or post workout smoothie suggestion then head on over to and learn more about their complete line of plant-based power.  You've just been briefed and what to ingest so now all you have to do is meet it halfway with the motivation and the movement.  

Post-Workout Plant Pump

1/4 cup      Ice
3                Frozen strawberries
10-15         Frozen blueberries
1-2             1" to 1 1/2" X 1/4" to 1/2" in diameter fresh turmeric root  
2                Pinches of ground black pepper
1/4 cup      Fresh cut pineapple
1/4 cup      Fresh cut papaya (with seeds)
1 scoop      Plant Fusion Complete Protein powder
1 tsp          Fresh cut ginger root
1                Fresh Banana
1 tbsp        Black Chia seeds
2 tbsp        Oatmeal
1 tsp          Almond Butter
1/2 cup      Almond Milk
Juice from a 1/2 of a fresh cut lime

Note:  You can also use a 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder if you can't find the root.

Put frozen ingredients in first and into a 24 ounce blender cup and follow order as laid out above.  Blend until smooth and enjoy.  

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In Mens Mens Accessories Mens Clothing Mens Fashion Mens footwear Mens lifestyle mens shoes New York Fashion Week NYFW Top Owens

An Eye For The Craft And The Sole Of A Craftsman: The Top Owens U.S. Launch

It would appear that the moment we were all waiting to happen, since the suits got uncomfortably slim and the sportswear proportions got bizarrely exaggerated, has happened.  Menswear has taken that vain cue from the pages of womenswear and we now live in a world where in the boardroom there may not be just grey and blue suits, but louder colors, florals and prints.  There may not even be a suit in the boardroom.  Hell, there may not even be a boardroom!  Someone may materialize to the conference call in French terry sweats from the privacy of his living room or phone-in while on set in tattered denim, bicep-hugging leather and exorbitantly-priced trainers.  Now while I applaud the shift from predictable to excitable, what has always reigned true is the incarnate beauty of those guys who own their looks as opposed to those who borrow and repurpose someone else's look.  You know, those who see the beauty of the design, be it in the form of a simple enzyme-washed tee or a laser-cut distressed leather moto jacket, and then put their little creative and innate 'stink' on it.

Well in this world of nattily tailored Prince of Wales checks worn with white low-tops and defensive lineman sizing on horse jockey body frames, let's not forget the beauty of the hard-bottom shoe.    What's more, let's also not forget to make them our own!  Similar to how we can place puffed-up oversized sneakers with nods to the 90s with abbreviated trim suitings as well as swaddling hoodies with ankle-puddling jeans, we can surely find a renewed creative space for the historically more traditionally beloved mens shoes with an ardent fervor.  Enter Top Owens.  Launched in 2015, Top Owens is the mens luxury footwear brainchild brand of Owen Jiang, a 20-year footwear industry veteran who's footwear passion was fueled by influences from Italian craftsmanship.  What emerged from Jiang's tenure is a footwear collection that upholds to the highest standards of mens luxury footwear by finding a trifecta balance between craftsmanship, style and fit.  Currently Top Owens has seven flagship stores with six in China and one in Sydney, Australia.  The design studio is based in Milan, Italy where Jiang can stay close to the techniques, artisans and materials that initially inspired him.  

In February of this year, I had the pleasure to be introduced to the Top Owens experience at the brand's exclusive U.S. launch during New York Fashion Week which also showcased its new collaboration with Mykel C. Smith, the creative one-man collective who has an attuned knack for molding and translating clothing, cosmetic, and now footwear, brands.  From the result of Jiang's tireless drive & vision and Smith's seasoned experience in creating energy for brands through promotion and style, Top Owens is now positioning itself to become a rising global footwear powerhouse.  The Collection showcased in February highlighted beautifully tooled, tanned and burnished leathers & suedes on chisel & mock apron-toed  silhouettes in classic & remixed long-wing brogue, double monk, loafer, half-boot and loafer styles.  It was a fitting introduction that gave guests an introductory taste of the skillset and commitment of Jiang together with the electric vibe and influence of Smith.  

What stuck out and impressed me about Top Owens was its poise as a well-executed collection of mens footwear that has a cross-sectional appeal to men seeking classics, those seeking styles more fashion-driven and those seeking a clever combination of both.  Such a welcomed respite in the land of oversized soles where sometimes you want to remind yourself of the tactile joy of slipping your foot into a leather-lined insole to experience details that are tooled rather than inflated and ones that feature a hand-sewn rather than an air-bubbled sole.  For more information on Top Owens and where to purchase the footwear, please visit their website here and keep up with how the brand is growing on their instagram here.

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