Seed Weekend 2013. Part One: Kathy and Gena Reunite Over Dinner!


Hello all! I’m just finishing up a long and fun weekend at The Seed here in New York. I’m so glad to have caught up with friends and spend some quality time at home tonight with my mom. I’ll have a recap of the event itself for you in a day or two, but tonight I wanted to recap dinner on Friday night with my friend and co-presenter at The Seed, Kathy Patalsky.

Kathy and I met a few years ago at a Dole salad summit, and we have been close friends ever since. At one point, we were both even in DC!


I’m always amazed by Kathy’s tremendous generosity of spirit. With her Veggie Power Girl Series, she draws attention to the work of other bloggers. She’s constantly rounding up wonderful plant-based recipes for her work on Babble–which is also wonderful activism for veganism. She brings vegan food lovers together on Finding Vegan, a food photography site in the vein of Tastespotting or Foodgawker. In other words, when she’s not managing her own wildly successful career as a blogger and photographer, she’s devoting her time to celebrating  and sharing the work of others. I myself have received so much professional support from Kathy since we met–not to mention friendship.

Kathy and I presented a demo this weekend on vegan smoothies. I’m glad I was there to weigh in, but it was Kathy who brought most of the creative power to our duo. And rightly so; Kathy’s first book, 365 Vegan Smoothies, is coming out this summer. It’ll present one nutritious and delicious smoothie for each day of the year, accompanied by gorgeous photos. It’s going to be epic, and it’s available for pre-order now. If you’re a smoothie lover, I highly recommend checking it out, and I’ll be sharing more about the book soon!

Kathy and I haven’t hung out in a long time, so we celebrated Kathy’s touchdown in NYC with dinner at Pure. Imma steal some of Kathy’s photos here, because she’s the professional photographer in this friendship! It was a lovely night to be outside in the garden.


My beautiful dinner date!


And me, happy to see her.


We began with some greens: a kale salad for Kathy and the pumpkin seed and herb salad, which is greens, herbs, and pumpkin seed parm, for me.


Kathy also got a “master cleanse” tini!


Digging into mountains of green:



We were generously also given two samples of the restaurant’s “pinot noir” tarts, which have an amazing fig glaze.


For our meals, Kathy chose the tamales, while I tried something new: the salsify noodles with cashew cream, capers, and some pine nuts. First time trying salsify, and it was delicious! Light yet satisfying.


Kathy had been traveling all day and was excited to dig into the tamales.


It was, as usual, a beautiful and delicious meal. I wanted to point out that a reader recently commented upon my showcasing restaurants like Pure as a wasteful indulgence, and out of keeping with my writing about a student budget. I’m always glad for honest feedback, because it incites more consciousness. I do eat out when I come home, often at upscale places. It’s not a regular habit in my everyday life in D.C., where I eat out very rarely (usually at SweetGreen when I do), and in two and a half years as a post-bacc I packed nearly every single lunch, breakfast, and snack I ate. I go to school with both undergrads and post-baccs, and the latter all have loans, as I do. We all eat out at nice restaurants every now and then, often on trips or weekends away. Some of us will pick up the odd freelance job or increase part time work to cover special indulgences, fine dining and otherwise.

In the next week, I’ll be going to Vida Vegan, and eating out there as a traveler. This weekend, I celebrated being reunited with a close friend. Meals like this are not indicative of my everyday life, either as a student (which will commence after my gap year) or as a self-employed person. But they are a part of my life as a whole. To give you a sense of the whole, I’m always committed to showing you a lot of my DIY foods (snack bars and otherwise!) and simpler recipes as well as some fancy ones. I’m also always learning myself about mindful living; lately, my friend Janae has given me a lot of inspiration about budget-friendly beauty and food.

Here Kathy and I are together:


It was tough to part ways; Kathy and I could have chatted forever! We always can. We managed to get a Union Square shot before I hopped on the train to go home.


Kathy–in her customarily generous way–shared one of her new Healthy Happy Life tees as a gift. So cute!


You can find all of the designs here. And if you’d like to see more of our collaborations, check out episode 1 and episode 2 of the Kathy Gena show!

More on the Seed weekend throughout this coming week. In the meantime, what’s your favorite HHL recipe? I’m pretty entranced with Kathy’s famous matcha smoothie!


PS. Read Kathy’s recap here.

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  1. GENA!! I love it when you post about restaurants because it inspires me to make the gourmet creations myself, the more detail on the dish the better!! I especially like those posts when you eat out because it offers me a look of what is out there in the world!! (because there is not a whole lot in my neck of the woods, lol)

  2. Dear Gena,

    You are so beautiful that it makes me want to write odes about you. Maybe a haiku.

    I shall ruminate.


    • Oh god. I feel like any haiku about me will have to involve coffee and a messy apartment. I’ll wait for this in fear.

  3. Hi Gena,

    Oh how I would love for you to post some mocktail recipes!!! ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Please continue reviewing NYC restaurants!!! I’m a vegan going to Vassar in the fall, and I’m trying to compile a list of vegan restaurants in NYC to hit up when I have the rare time and money to go into the city. As a student, I understand that money can be tight at times, but I also appreciate the fact that it is TOTALLY okay to splurge occasionally. Giving gifts to yourself is healthy and important!

    As always, I adore your beautiful, often witty/profound writing

  5. I’m travelling to NYC from New Zealand at the end of June especially to have a special birthday dinner at Pure Food and Wine. Thanks for these gorgeous photos, I’m even more excited now – I didn’t think that was possible!

  6. So nice to see old friends get together! And I love the updates about Pure or One Lucky Duck or whatever. . . for me, it’s great to get a peek into places that I don’t get to see myself, or see very rarely. (I tried the salsify noodles when there last fall, too–fabulous!). (And seriously, could the cute meter get any higher with you two?!) Glad to hear the talks were so successful. And your posts are always so happy when you’re blogging from NYC! ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Superficial comment here, Gena, but I LOVE the blouse you are wearing in the Pure Food and Wine photos. Love, love, love it, and it looks very pretty on you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Okay, I feel stupid that I’m just now seeing your post. Sorry about that ๐Ÿ™ Wonderful recap of a great weekend and event. I’m excited to return to Pure on my trip, and your photos make me even more excited for it .

    As for the rude reader… I swear the hater trolls will never get their own lives together and out in the world. Ignore, ignore.

    As for my run-on sentences…. ignore those too ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. I’m surprised (and, not going to lie, a little bit appalled) that somebody would call you out on your splurges at upscale restaurants. Everybody deserves a treat once in a while, whether it’s truly “worth” the money or not. Personally, I think eating out at places like Pure (though I’ve never actually been there) are well worth it. I’m on a budget right now, but I still love to dine at nice restaurants, and I enjoy myself when I do. We all have to live a little. With that said, everything looks delicious! I just recently discovered Kathy’s blog through yours, so I don’t have a favorite HHL recipe yet. I’m sure I will in time!

  10. I don’t think you have to explain the occasional (or even more than occasional) indulgence, despite being on a student budget. I sometimes think living mostly on a budget allows a greater appreciation of things like organic fruit and meals at Pure Food and Wine, because we’re kind of hyper aware of the value, and we’re often consciously saving in other ways to be able to afford those purchases. When living in alignment with our values requires a constant juggling of priorities (as it surely does if eating “good” food – however one defines good – three times a day is our first priority), it makes us more, not less, aware of our good fortune in being able to make the choices (around food) that we can make.

    I live on a tight budget myself, and food is the one flexible category in my budget. Hence, it’s the one category I can play with, if I’m trying to save (for, say, a camera). But I find I can’t go too low without compromising my sanity. It seems those “indulgences” aren’t indulgences after all, but very real necessities. Not that I couldn’t live on less, as many are forced to. Of course I could. But it would take some time to manage the transition so I could meet the needs (emotional, physical, spiritual) currently met by good food in other less expensive ways. That’s not something I can do from one week to the next, by, say, living on rice and beans.

    Kathy is SO pretty! And I am definitely getting one of those gray t-shirts.

    • Love this comment — you articulate lots of things I feel much better than I’ve been able to.

      Isn’t she, though? High recommend the tee — I’m wearing mine right now.

  11. Such a sweet post! You two are both so beautiful! The food sounds fantastic…especially the tamales, which I am obsessed with. ๐Ÿ™‚ And that t-shirt is aaaadorable!! Hugs, friend!!!

  12. Gosh, you two women exemplify glowing, vibrant, healthy living.

    You do not need to justify any of your spending with your friends, your family, or us. This is your life to live. I recently realized that I allowed some reactions of others influence a decision I was making about a family trip. It’s unfortunate, because our family of 5 hasn’t had a family trip, and yet I felt ‘unjustified’ for wanting to splurge on our children and our family. I shouldn’t have, I work very hard, as does my husband and we haven’t lived extravagantly. So, please continue to enjoy your special times to yourself, with friends, enjoying food and experiences and spending a little too much money once in a while! We all deserve that.

    Love. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Love this answer. And by the way Gena, I think you HAVE mastered the balance of what to post, it’s just that you really can’t please everybody. Also, what if people are less creative in the kitchen than you and need things like good protein powders and bars, so they can keep themselves nourished? I’d rather they use one of your great recommendations than some random processed product. Just my (final) two cents.

      • Laura, you bring up a good point re: creativity. Some of these higher end items are not appropriate choices for everyone, and I don’t think they’re necessary (ie you can get what they offer through whole food meals) but if you are someone who does not have access to a kitchen because you travel a lot, or you’re always at work, or you just don’t care to cook, AND you have the means, they’re a good option. Without them, people in that category might be more inclined to purchase less healthy or non-vegan fare. And yes, there are cheaper options, but that’s at the customer’s discretion. There are VERY pricey powders, bars, and snack foods that are non-vegan, too.

  13. Blogs are funny vehicles. One can highlight the highlights, which seems like an unattainable goal, or show snippets into the highs and lows. I try to go for the latter, though not sharing everything, but the kitchen successes and occasional flops, sharing tips for others to avoid the same fate.

    Moving more towards minimalism, one thing I plan not to deprive myself is in the kitchen. Beyond cooking and my bike, there is little I spend money on… As a medical student, I was much more conscious of my spending, and never would have dreamed to buy expensive items like protein powder, but now that I have an income, those small indulgences make for a wonderful kitchen experience, all the while balancing it with cheapo beans. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes, it’s always a fine line between showing too little and getting overly personal/intimate. I haven’t mastered the balance myself, but I’m learning more and more about how I want to handle it.

      I hear you on beans — probably my favorite “bang for your buck” food.

  14. Oh wow, how unfortunate. I think that criticism is both overly harsh and a little bit “none of her business”. You are not required to justify what you eat. You are simply sharing some things you love with us. And, isn’t there a difference between “wasteful” and “indulgence”? You are not telling us all we have to eat there to be healthy, whole, happy, morally superior people. You’re just saying you had a great time there. I find that person’s comment rather offensive and hope you don’t take it to heart!

  15. “Rude reader” here. Once again, the whole meaning of my statement re. “wasteful indulgences” has been taken out of context, intentionally I presume in an effort to rally your friends into bullying me – someone who expressed an honest opinion.

    I chose those words only b/c of the contradiction between your constant complaining re. supposed frugal student dining budget and the expensive food habits you flaunt on this blog. Period. I hardly feel sorry for you, nor can I relate at all to someone in grad. school complaining re. how she is forced to cut corners on food while at the same time dining at expensive restaurants and eating not flinching when it comes to eating $4.00 nutrition bars.

    • Not my intention to incite bullying at all. Nor to make you feel sorry for me. Your comment and my response to it made me think and learn, as criticism always does.

    • What I don’t understand is why readers who find the blog poster/post offensive and contradictory don’t just stop reading. Karen, you have an interesting point but you phrased it in a way that sounds unkind. Maybe you didn’t mean it that way but that’s the way it is being read (I didn’t read original comment, but this one is not kindly written).

    • @Karen –

      It’s interesting that you would probably never say these mean words to someone’s face, and yet you’re perfectly find hiding behind the curtain of the internet. You talk down on Gina just because she’s in school and you’re not. I hope you’re not this judgmental in real life. I feel sorry for YOU. Please stop reading if it bothers you that much. Thanks

  16. Finding Vegan is probably one of my top three favorite websites and seeing you two together makes my little vegan heart happy ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t imagine how much fun int was in NYC, not just for the company, but for the food! I wish we had those options here, but for now, I’ll just live vicariously through you guys. Glad you had a fun, safe, informative trip and thanks for the recap!

  17. You could have just told that rude reader to mind their own business. You don’t have to justify where or what you eat to them or anyone. (Especially as a woman, double-especially as a woman with history of ED!) But implying that hard work and budgeting is what allows you to go to these restaurants is actually offensive to me as someone who definitely couldn’t afford this stuff without a lot of luck. (Working hard and budgeting is normally how I EAT. I know I’m not alone)

    I like seeing your pics of these places… it’s nice to dream!

    • Hey Ruth,

      My mom has a favorite expression, “qu’il s’excuse, s’accuse,” or something to that effect, so thanks for noting that I owe no explanations. I guess I just wanted to give a sense of the whole. One of the perils of blogging is that we show highlights/snapshots from our lives, and so it’s natural to wonder “am I implying to my readers that my life consists of nothing but fancy restaurant dining?” And I’m sensitive about being consistent with my messaging, which is why I took that comment to heart; I DO talk about being on a budget often.

      And, I think you are 100% right. I scratched that last reference to work. We all work hard, and luck has everything to do with it. I appreciate your insightful feedback ๐Ÿ™‚


  18. I agree with Michelle. When I was in school, students didn’t think twice about patronizing Panda Express, Papa John’s, or Chick-Fil-A every single day. Although a meal at one of these establishments is considerably cheaper than a dinner at Pure, I’ve no doubt that they always outspent you by the end of the semester. And that’s to say nothing of the contrast in food quality and service that you receive when dining out. I think it’s much more rewarding to limit your dining experience to ones that bring you joy and are memorable. I’m glad you have a nice visit home ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Molly! I think actually most of the saving I do comes from drinking very seldom. Even beers add up, especially in DC. Appreciate your perspective!

  19. First time posting, but I feel I have something to share. I agree with Gena, eating out in a place you like is not everybody’s life, but when you live of a tight budget, your “treats” are always special,and yo should enjoy those rare moments…
    Becase you write a blog does not mean you eat out everyday, just that you share some special moments of your life or share something incredible like the food from above!
    I am self-employed, married and everything, and altough we can afford eating out more frequently, for me, eating out is a good splurge, also a new shirt, os a bouquet of flowers or a “caรฑa and a tapa” after work.
    I love food pictures, and that is why (mostly) i read your blog, so keep themgoing!

  20. First off, I love HHL recipes ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s cool you two are friends. Second, I also am a college student, but I think the vast majority of your readers, appreciating good food as we obviously do since we read your blog;), can appreciate going out to a nice dinner. Accordingly, I don’t think you should have to explain or justify your decisions. I love the food pics from those places!

    • I agree. You work your socks off. You absolutely do not have to spend your time justifying your right to the occasional treat. Enjoy, and keep the posts/ pics coming so we can all drool vicariously (not a nice image, sorry) through your experiences.

  21. Hi Gena!

    I started reading your blog since Sayward talked about you on her blog (been following her for years). I have never posted before, but couldn’t help myself once I read that somebody said your eating out was a “wasteful indulgence”. I recently just graduated from engineering school as a fifth year senior…and I saw a lot of students who would “splurge” on take out EVERYDAY, at least you moderate your budget by food planning. Treating yourself is not a crime, and students deserve to do something special for themselves at least once a week, because we work(ed) hard! I splurged on a facial after I finished my last week of finals, because I deserved it. One important aspect of student life is being able to try new things with friends…we can’t be study bugs eating pre-made food 24/7 (it gets boring). So yeah, definitely not a wasteful indulgence but a great way to treat yourself and add some variety to an otherwise hectic student schedule ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t ever stop treating yourself!


  22. It was wonderful to hear you and Kathy speak today. I always love learning more from others about their journey, recipes, tips etc. I went vegan 8-months ago on my journey. In that time, I’ve influenced one of sisters, my husband, my mother-in-law, my two children (ages 6 and 9). What you said resonated with me. The gist of it that you became a vegetarian for your health. You stayed vegan for animals. This weekend has been one of the best!!