Hot Nationwide Shift: Better Junk Food!

 

Illustration by Gluekit for TIME

BY LARISSA ZIMBEROFF

TIME MAGAZINE COVER STORY – AUGUST 15, 2019

No one denies peas are nutritious. Whether they’re delicious—that’s debatable. But arguments over taste no longer matter because peas, specifically yellow peas, are being formulated into so many products, they’re unavoidable, and often invisible.

As a crop, the pea has risen and fallen in favor, but today everyone seems to agree that it checks the box against the biggest problems plaguing the Earth: climate, food and health.

From a sustainability standpoint, peas, in the legume family, do everything wheat, corn and soy don’t. They require less water, are drought tolerant, reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizers because they take nitrogen gas from the air and store it in their roots, and make an ideal candidate for crop rotation. Worried about GMO peas? They don’t exist outside the lab. Want to avoid allergens? You’re probably good there too; allergies are rare, another reason peas are leaving soy in their dust.

Mintel, the market research firm, reported that 757 new pea-related foods hit the shelves last year. That’s in addition to what’s already out there, including the most famous pea food, the Beyond burger. With one of the strongest first days of trading for an IPO in the last two decades, Beyond Meat is a prime example of our food system’s new priority: plant protein. Much of the 20 grams of protein in each burger comes from peas, but some comes from rice and mung bean. “One goal of this innovation is to diversify protein sources,” says Ethan Brown, the founder of Beyond Meat. “We believe it isn’t a desirable consumer proposition to have pea protein as the sole protein across our product platforms.” He’s right. Who wants to eat the same thing everyday?

Almost any doctor will posit that a plant-based diet is healthier than one high in animal protein. They would also agree that eating a plate of peas is better than eating processed foods made from fractions of peas. Nevertheless, “there is an assumption in food science that we’re going to break things into components. I guess it has become a part of our culture,” says Liz Carlisle, author of The Lentil Underground. Understanding that the food industry has started to utilize plants as source material for multiple components is key to understanding the pea’s newfound financial success.

Peas are easily broken down into building blocks of function: starch, fiber and protein. In China, home to many of the manufacturing plants that do this work, called fractionation, pea-protein isolate is widely thought of as the byproduct of the process. Pea starch is used to make noodles, and the leftover protein is shipped over to the US. McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams makes five non-dairy flavors starring micronized pea protein; Ripple Foods has sold 7 million gallons of its non-dairy milk made with Ripptein, a proprietary protein made from yellow peas; and Annie’s, one of the scant few utilizing organic peas, stashes it in its mac and cheese.

The United Nations named 2016 as the International Year of Pulses, which include peas, lentils, chickpeas and beans. That, says Tim McGreevy, CEO of USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, helped kick off a “paradigm shift towards plant-based foods” in the U.S. “Up until five years ago the majority of our product was exported,” says McGreevy. But now, the U.S. is getting on board with the rest of world, where highly adaptable pulses like peas, chickpeas and lentils are widely used across cultures.

The federal government is helping push the trend, as well. In the last two farm bills, the government authorized funding for the Pulse Crop Health Initiative, including almost $3 million in the last two years to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finance proposals that will accelerate our knowledge of peas.

However, these efforts pale in comparison to Canada, which has $115 million (about 153 million Canadian dollars based on current conversion rates) earmarked for research into plant protein and plant-based products. Canada is also luring investors out to build processing facilities closer to its pulse crops, which are more than double what’s planted in the US. Roquette, a French company, is spending $300 million (about 400 million Canadian dollars) on a pea-protein facility in Manitoba, and Verdient Foods, a pulse processing facility in Saskatchewan, largely invested in by married partners James Cameron, the film director, Suzy Amis Cameron, an environmental activist.

In addition, Canadian companies don’t have to deal with the constant threat of retaliatory tariffs from places like China. “All of US agriculture has been hugely affected by the tariffs,” says McGreevy. “We’ve been completely shut off of green and yellow peas, and the Canadians are taking full advantage of that.” Because the U.S. is no longer a reliable supplier, McGreevy reports that his Chinese counterparts are looking towards the Baltic region of Europe to fill the gap.

In any case, peas are likely here to stay. “I don’t see this as a trend that is going away as the world works towards meeting food demands globally,” says Ron Kehrig, deputy director of investments for the Saskatchewan ministry of trade.

It’s not only food manufacturers who see the beauty in peas. If science can make a more protein-packed legume, it could answer the looming question of how to feed our growing population. To that end, an international team is poised to release the entire genomic sequence of the pea, opening the tiny legume up for genetic studies. “It puts peas back where they belong,” says Rebecca McGee, a plant breeder with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, who worked on the project. “Of course, this comes from a pea breeder, so take it with a grain of salt.” McGee is currently working on a related initiative called “MP3,” which stands for “more protein, more peas, more profit.” The goal is to find the genetic nature of protein concentration, which could then be modified to make a more powerful pea.

We’re in a world that craves new and there’s a line of plants waiting quietly behind the pea for their 15 minutes. In Canada, Kehrig reports his farmers are testing fava beans and canola seeds. From Brown and his team at Beyond Meat, we may soon get sausages made from lupin beans, or camelina, mustard and sunflower seeds. The message is clear and there’s a not-too-distant future where our unsustainable reliance on animal protein is jettisoned for the almost limitless variety of our plant kingdom.

CONTACT US AT EDITORS@TIME.COM

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More Related Stories:

Do you love snacks? You’re not alone. Here’s why you eat more of them all day long.

Zlati Meyer
USA TODAY

The days of eating three large meals a day have gone the way of the butter churn.

Now, it’s all about grazing from morning to night, and often relying on foods traditionally thought of as snacks to power through a busy day, according to new analysis by the research firm NPD Group. Americans ate an estimated 386 billion ready-to-eat snack foods last year, up from 356.4 billion in 2011.

A granola bar, dried cranberries and yogurt are often a meal for Shamika Johnson of Akron, Ohio, who also has protein snacks and almonds to get her through her daily to-do list.

How Americans snack has changed, according to the research firm NPD Group. They're eating snacks more frequently throughout the day and including them in meals.

“I work. I’m busy. Sometimes, it’s easier to get snacks,” said the 27-year-old masseuse. “Half the time, I don’t have time to sit down for a meal. Combining a bunch of snacks gives me what I need nutritionally.”

Whether you like chocolate bars, pretzels and dried fruits or string cheese, beef jerky and candy, here are four trend takeaways to munch on:

No candy for lunch, but …

Snacks are increasingly becoming part of Americans meals. We’re not talking about crushed potato chips on top of a casserole or raisins tossed into a salad. Snacks are no longer just munchables for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up, but the building blocks of meals.

“There’s a changed definition of what a meal is,” said David Portalatin, NPD’s national food and beverage analyst. “Today, I might have a piece of fruit and trail mix and call that lunch. In the past, we would’ve thought of that as exclusively snacks.”

The blurred line between snacks and the traditional trio of breakfast, lunch and dinner impacts what Americans choose to munch on, too. He pointed to breakfast sandwiches eaten as snacks, despite the first word of the food’s name.

More on Nick Desai, CEO, PeaTos
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Snack It Forward CEO Discusses Peatos Brand

 

Nick Desai, CEO of Snack It Forward, visited the Livestream Studio at NOSH Live Winter 2018 to discuss his brand Peatos. Peatos is a peas and lentil-based snack that takes on the “junk-food” platform with a plant-based approach.

Desai discusses the mission of Peatos, distribution of the brand and how his childhood experiences influenced the approach to the plant-based snack.

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  • PEATOS VARIETY PACK – GET ALL YOUR FLAVORS HERE!: All your favorites are here, Masala, Fiery Hot, Cheese and Chili Cheese. So Enjoy all of them without the guilt.
  • MADE FROM POWERFUL PLANT PROTEIN: Don’t let these words fool you, nutrient-dense pulses are here to take the snacking crown. We combine the strength of powerhouse pulses— like yellow peas, and lentils— with all the bold, flavors you want from a snack. (It’s just like “junk food,” except we tossed out all the junk.)
  • 130 CALORIES, Low Sodium, 4g Protein and 3g of Fiber – GOOD FOR YOU SNACK FOOD : We put everything good into Peatos. Only 130 calories, low sodium. These SuperFoods (Plant Proteins) pack a nutritional punch: non-GMO, gluten free, and sustainably grown, in addition to delivering vitamins and minerals.
  • NON-GMO, GLUTEN-FREE, NO MSG, VEGETARIAN AND NOT FRIED We use the finest Non-GMO ingredients to create the base of our snack. We stay away from artificial, man-made colors like Red 40 and Yellow 6. We keep it real with bold colors that come right from natural sources, like vegetables, real cheese, and spices!
  • TOTALLY VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN Yes, you can eat this! For all you vegans out there, Masala and Fiery Hot are vegan and Chili Cheese and Classic Cheese are not vegan but they are vegetarian, we thought of all you snackers out there.

Get PeaTos on Amazon!

Brian Cuban Interviews Larry North about 11 Healthy Eating Myths

briancuban
A FEW TAKEAWAYS in case you missed it.  Brian Cuban asked Larry what it takes to be lean and some of his answers may surprise you.  
SHINE ON:  Foods for Healthy, Glowing Skin
If you think what you eat doesn’t matter, as long as you “work it off” –that’s a myth.  
exercise6
According to Larry North, eating healthy makes MORE of a difference than exercise.  Here are 11 Tips from Larry:
fourth27
1. You CAN get food, flavor & satisfaction in healthy meals.  Brian mentioned he doesn’t cook and eats out a lot.  Larry said he actually will call the local grocery store where they prepare take-out meals and have them cook/prepare healthy meals for him. Good suggestion.  He orders carefully when at a restaurant. He said  pieces of a cut roll & sashimi is enough.  He believes in eating a lot of good food. He says it’s all about eating. More about the food choices than exercise.
larrynorth2
2. #1 cause of obesity is sugary drinks. Best thing you can do is cut out sodas & sugary coffees out completely.  I’ve been saying this forever. I did so inn 2005 and feel such a difference.  I can personally tell you that your body starts to reject sugar and junk food.
larrynorth3
3. Genetics play a huge role, but HABITS play an even larger role.  Larry stressed that even if you have a lot of family members that are obese, you CAN make a difference by making behavioral changes.
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4. Cardio is overrated.  See #9.
runner
5. You CAN’T work it off. You have to eat it off (meaning WHAT you eat is more important)
healthyeating
6. There’s ONE key to a good meal & fitness program. It’s SUSTAINABILITY. You have to ask yourself if you can stick with it long-term. If you can’t sustain it –it will be short-lived.
walking
7. Behavioral change is the key to fitness.
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8. Work out less; eat better. Larry kept stressing the importance of your food choices. I’m glad about this because I post a lot about healthy foods. I believe a lot of good health (feeling AND looking your best) is nutritional.
kideseatingyogurt
9. 4 to 5 hours of exercise is enough a week.  Larry says if you’re doing more than that –it’s too much.  Brian mentioned that he loves running, but had a problem with his knee and really hates that he can’t run.  Larry said he could get the same benefits from walking –that he doesn’t need to run.
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10. It’s all about what you eat. Plan meals in advance. Larry has two books you can check out. One is “Get Fit” and the most recent is “Living Lean“.
veggies
11.  I missed one.  It’s probably in the book!!  🙂  Wait. I recall another one.   I suppose I should write things down.  Lifting weights. He says you don’t have to spend a great deal of time lifting weights to have it make a difference.  Again, he stresses what you eat as being the most important behavior change you can make.  30 to 40 minutes of even walking 4 days a week keeps you fit when you are eating right.
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The bottom line is you do not need to be a gym rat.
CHECK OUT LARRY NORTH’S BOOK FOR MORE:
THANK YOU, BRIAN. GREAT INTERVIEW.
Link to Revolution Rant with Brian Cuban Show here:   http://tobtr.com/s/3052629.
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Stay healthy, everyone!

60

                                                                                                                              

60.  Minimum # of days it takes to change an unhealthy eating habit.

HOW TO CHANGE AN UNHEALTHY EATING HABIT TO A HEALTHY ONE:

1.  AWARENESS – Be mindful of the unhealthy eating habit.  Think of WHY you reach for certain unhealthy foods. Then, exchange it for something healthy.  See list below.

2.  PLAN MEALS – If you have no time for lunch and that is when you grab something unhealthy, prepare a healthy meal the night before and bring it to the office with you.  If you work from home, put it in the refrigerator for easy grabbing the next day.

3.  REDUCE STRESS – Meditate. Reducing stress will also improve your sleep.  Mediatating just twice a week can help with sleep problems.  Turn off all electronic equipment and find a quiet place with no distractions and simply breathe and stretch.  Nature is wonderful to quiet the noise.

4.  TAKE IT SLOW SO YOU DON’T CRASH – Slow-and-Steady is best.

 20 SMALL CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE THAT ADD UP in 60 DAYS:

  1. Start each day with a nutritious breakfast.
  2. Get at least 8 hours of sleep because lack of sleep can cause you to overeat.
  3. Drink more water instead of sugary drinks, sodas, soft drinks or energy drinks.
  4. Don’t eat meals on the run.
  5. Eat when you’re really hungry.  Stop when you’re comfortably full.
  6. Say no to second helpings.
  7. Eat healthy snacks every few  hours: fruits, veggies, almonds, walnuts.
  8. If you eat dairy, switch to soy or lower-fat dairy products.
  9. If  you eat white bread, switch to whole-grain bread.
  10. Use mustard instead of  mayo.
  11. Instead of sauces, flavor your foods with herbs, vinegars, mustards, or lemon.
  12. If you drink coffee, switch to cafe au lait, using strong coffee and hot skim milk instead of cream.
  13. Limit alchohol to 1 or 2 drinks a day.
  14. Eat larger portions of water-rich foods and less of calorie-dense foods.
  15. If you never exercise –start with walking each day.  Stretch and walk.
  16. Replace unhealthy snacking foods in your house with healthy ones. 
  17. Replace ice cream with  yogurts.
  18. Replace salty pretzels and chips with cereals, almonds, walnuts or popcorn.
  19. Stock your refrigerator with fresh fruits & veggies for snacking.
  20. Make your goal feeling healthy,  rather than a certain weight.

60 DAYS.   TWO MONTHS.  LONGTERM CHANGE.  BE PATIENT.

Happy Saint Patty’s Day: Beer Nutrition

By , About.com Guide

Beer and nutrition? You don’t usually see those two words together, but perhaps beer is a bit misunderstood. It may actually be good for you when consumed in very moderate amounts.

Beer has been brewed for just about as long as humans have been cultivating crops and is actually made with some very healthy ingredients. Those ingredients are hops, brewer’s yeast, barley and malt. There are different styles of beer and each style has a distinctive flavor and color. Tasting and learning about the different types of beer is as much fun as tasting and learning about the different types of wine.

Part of a Healthy Diet

Drinking one beer per day may be good for your health because it has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Why? Some experts suggest these reasons:
  • The folate found in beer may help to reduce homocysteine in the blood and lower homocysteine levels mean a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Lab studies have found constituents in beer that lower triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol in mice.
  • Drinking one beer per day reduces blood clotting so some studies found that cardiovascular patients who drank one beer per day also lived longer.

Other studies have found that women who consume one beer each day have improved mental health. Drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages in moderation may also improve bone density.

Of course that doesn’t mean that if one beer is good, three or four must be better. That isn’t true. Drinking more than one beer or any alcoholic beverage per day can put too much alcohol in your system and that isn’t good for you. Heavy drinking has been associated with several health problems, so moderation is definitely the key with drinking beer. The studies also point to one beer per day as being beneficial, not drinking all seven beers in one day per week. That type of binge drinking will overload you system with alcohol too.

The benefits of beer nutrition probably have nothing to do with the alcohol and there are some low-alcohol beers and non-alcohol beers available which offer the same heart-protective effect as regular and light beers.

 

Nutrition Information

According to Michael Jackson, the Beer Hunter, Trappist monks drank beer to sustain themselves during their Lenten fasts. They called their beer “liquid bread.”

We don’t tend to think much about the nutritional aspects of beer, but according to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one 12-ounce serving of regular beer has the following nutrients:

Beer is actually a good source of folate, niacin, magnesium, potassium and niacin.

Drinking Too Much

While drinking one beer per day may improve your health, heavy drinking will not. In fact heavy drinking has the opposite effect. Heavy drinking is defined as more than 21 drinks per week for women and more than 35 drinks per week for men. Drinking heavily leads to liver damage, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, pancreatic diseases, severe thiamin deficiency and some cancers.

Who Shouldn’t Drink Beer?

Beer drinking isn’t for every one. Some people have personal or religious reasons for not drinking beer or other alcoholic drinks. That’s OK. All of the health benefits of beer can be found in other foods beverages. The following people should not drink beer, or should speak with their doctor before drinking beer or other alcoholic beverages:
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding women should not drink beer. Even small amounts of alcohol can damage a developing fetus.
  • Young people. In the United States the drinking age is 21, in Canada the drinking age is 18 or 19. Other countries vary.
  • People with liver, pancreatic diseases, or really, any type of chronic disease should speak with their doctor.
  • People with gout should avoid beer. Gout is very painful and is triggered by alcohol.
  • People taking any type of medications should speak with their doctor. This includes over-the-counter medications.

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Remember, “healthy drinking” is 1 for women, 2 for men a day.  After that, you’re just loading up on empty calories.  

According to the National Institutes of Health if you knock off 5 or more drinks — you raise your risk of death from a heart attack 30%.  And if you drive — you raise the risk of killing someone else.  If you drink to be cool –the Mom, wife, husband, son or daughter of someone you accidentally killed will beg to differ.

If you don’t drink –you get the same “healthy drinking” benefits from exercise & good nutrition.  

Happy & Healthy St. Patty’s Day, everyone!  🙂

MD

 

10 HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES

1.  BANANAS – Fiber, potassium keeps blood pressure in check.

  
 
 
 2.  BEANS – Fiber, protein, iron, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants.
  
  3.  BERRIES – Antioxidants, boost brain power.
 
  
 
4.  APPLES – Fiber, protects brain cells from tissue damaging free radicals
 
 
 
5.  OATMEAL – Fiber, omega-3‘s, helps burn belly fat
  
 
6.  SALMON – Improves mood, omega 3’s
 
 
 
 
  7.  SPINACH – Loaded with vitamins C, K, A & folate, great brain food, improves mood
 
  
 
8.  YOGURT – Boost immune system, protein
 
 
 9.  KIWI – Vitamin C, potassium
 
  
 
 
10.  PINEAPPLE –  Vitamin C, good for skin.  No knives?  Pick up easy to peel tangerines.
 
 
Related articles

Aphrodesiacs for Valentine’s Day, Romantic Dining in NYC, Musings from Mom & Dad

“Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” ~Steve Jobs

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie — it’s amore.” ~Dean Martin

Ah,  love.  And pizza.  And love of pizza.   When I was a bright-eyed kid, my Dad made pizza for a living when he wasn’t working in “construction.”  Fellow Brooklynites will get the quotations joke.   While in grade school, I waited up for him for three reasons.  One, he brought home the next day’s New York Post and Daily News.  I loved feeling like I knew what was going in the world while everyone was sleeping.  Yes, New York was the WORLD.  Two, he always brought home large fresh pizza pies and three, quality time with Dad talking about  news and pizza.  So naturally, I associate pizza with love.

English: Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pi...
Image via Wikipedia

Turns out, pizza made Reader’s Digest list of Top 10 Love-Foods for Valentine’s Day.  Saying “Love Foods” the way Don Cornelius would say, “Soul Train” in his honor today.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, aphrodisiacs are based in “folklore, not fact.”  Still, people continue to believe in the love-inducing effects of certain foods, herbs and extracts.

Some say if you believe something, you’re halfway there.  Ah, the placebo effect.  None of these attract a mate, but if you already have one, they may help improve  your love life.

                                 “Love each other.” ~Nonna Angelina

Discovery Health listed some of these:

  • Asparagus: The vitamin E in this vegetable is said to stimulate sex hormones.
  • Chili peppers: Some researchers say that eating hot peppers makes us release endorphins, which might lead to “other things.”
  • Chocolate: This favorite for Valentine’s Day contains phenylethylamine, one of the chemicals your body produces naturally when you’re in love (see The Chemistry of Love).
  • Oysters: Oysters contain high levels of zinc, which reportedly increased the production of testosterone. Testosterone increases libido for both sexes.

Others include Ginkgo, Spanish fly (dead beetle parts) and Damiana.

Back to pizza.  READER’S DIGEST also compiled a list of sexy foods to boost your libido.  This one includes pizza pizza. Lots of ’em are yummy, so enjoy!   The first 6 are in my favorite snacks.  The link that follows it describes the health benefits of each.

  1. WATERMELON
  2. SPANISH OLIVES
  3. STRAWBERRIES
  4. CHERRIES
  5. ARTICHOKES
  6. CHAI TEA  (See 15 health benefits of chai tea according to science, which includes 5 chai tea recipes at https://www.jenreviews.com/chai-tea/
  7. PROMEGRANATES
  8. PIZZA
  9. WHIPPED CREAM
  10. STEAK
Reader's Digest
Image via Wikipedia
CLICK BELOW FOR READER’S DIGEST LIST with HEALTH REASONS to ENJOY THESE FOODS:

http://www.rd.com/slideshows/10-more-aphrodisiacs-for-valentines-day/

Reader’s Digest Magazine: Only $4.00 per Year! (livingrichwithcoupons.com)

You could stay in with your  love and one of the yummy items on the list above OR if you’re in NYC you can check out these special 2012 NYC Valentine’s Day deals and prix fixe menus OR do both.

By , About.com Guide

1. 21 Club

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at New York’s landmark ’21’ Club, where the romantic upstairs dining room has been the site of numerous wedding proposals. For Valentine’s Day 2011, ‘21’ is serving a sumptuous three-course dinner, including a Veuve Clicquot champagne toast, for $125 per person.

(We had Rush’s book signing at 21 Club and I found it a tad stuffy.  Although, it may have been in  a different room than the dining room they speak of)

2. Agave

Enjoy a laid-back Southwestern Valentine’s Day at Agave with a special three-course menu and a premium tequila tasting for $120 per couple.

3. Aureole

For Valentine’s Day 2011, Aureole is serving a sumptuous five-course, prix-fixe dinner featuring foie gras and lobster for $175 per person ($100 wine pairing supplement). While there are certainly more affordable Valentine’s Day options, Aureole is a great choice for a special occasion splurge.

4. Bouley

The legendary Chef David Bouley is offering a six-course tasting menu for $195 per person ($295 with wine pairings) this Valentine’s Day. You can also take your Valentine to lunch at Bouley for just $36 per person for the tasting menu.

5. Bun Soho

This fabulous Grand Street Vietnamese spot is serving up a four-course prix-fixe menu with specialty cocktail and dessert for just $45 per couple. It’s the most affordable Valentine’s Day deal we found in Manhattan for the second year running.

6. Bryant Park Grill

At Bryant Park Grill, Valentine’s Day specials include the seafood raw bar for two, romantic cocktails (Budding Romance for Two features raspberry vodka and an edible orchid), and a complimentary box of hand made truffles. The regular menu is also available.

7. Chez Josephine

Chez Josephine, the restaurant inspired by the legendary Josephine Baker, offers a romantic setting complete with red velvet walls and chandeliers. Pianist/vocalist Christ Curtis will serenade diners as they enjoy a prix-fixe menu of French American bistro favorites for $75 per person.

8. COMMERCE

Enjoy incredible food in this historic Greenwich Village space. The three-course Valentine’s Day menu  offers options for $69-$98 per person (depending on entree choice).

9. Gentleman Farmer

Make it an intimate local Valentine’s Day at Gentleman Farmer on the Lower East Side. This cozy 20-seat restaurant serves a menu that combines traditional French cuisine with fresh local ingredients. The Valentine’s Day 2011 prix-fixe menu is $55 for three courses.

10. Guantanamera

Make it a Cuban Valentine’s Day with a three-course dinner, live music, and hand-rolled cigars for $69 per person.

If you want to impress someone special, choosing the right restaurant can make all the difference. These restaurants offer romantic atmosphere, as well quality food and service that are sure to impress — whether it’s Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or another special occasion.
(Some of the following seem like nothing special when you’re  a local. Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe don’t seem particularly romantic to me.  The Sea Grill gets lots of tourists.)
More Romance in New York City:

1. Gramercy Tavern

Gramercy Tavern Dining RoomPhoto by Ellen Silverman, used with permission
Danny Meyer’s restaurants are reknowned for impeccable service, and Gramercy Tavern is no different. Serving creative American fare, Gramercy Tavern is the perfect place for a perfect meal, from start to finish. Reservations suggested, though the tavern area has reduced prices and a no-reservation policy.Gramercy Tavern Basics:
42 E. 20th St.
Between Broadway and Park Ave. So.
212-477-0777

2. Union Square Cafe

Union Square CafePhoto by Nathan Rawlinson, used with permission.
Another Danny Meyer destination, Union Square Cafe offers great service and delicious fare in a comfortable setting. Union Square Cafe is friendly to vegetarians. Reservations suggested, though the bar area offers you an in without a reservation.Union Square Cafe Basics:
21 E. 16th St.
Between Fifth Ave. and Union Sq. West
212-243-4020

3. One If By Land, Two If By Sea

One If By Land, Two If By SeaPhoto Courtesy of One If By Land, Two If By Sea, used with permission
Often considered the most romantic restaurant in New York City, One if By Land, TIBS is housed in a former carriage house that features nightly live piano music and working fireplaces. Exposed brick and dim lighting make this a great destination for a romantic evening.One If By Land, Two If By Sea:
17 Barrow St.
Between 7th Ave. S. & W. 4th St.
212-228-0822

4. Balthazar

I must admit, I’m a bit prejudiced, since Balthazar is where I went for dinner after I got engaged, but if being transported to a bustling Parisian bistro is your idea of romance, this is the perfect destination. Steak frites are fabulous, as is the onion goat cheese tart.Balthazar Basics:
80 Spring St.
Between Crosby & Broadway.
212-965-1785

5. Daniel

If you really want to dazzle your date, Daniel is among New York City’s most impressive restaurants, with prices to match. Decor reflects Daniel Boulud’s appreciation for Italian Renaissance design, but the menu features creative French cuisine. 3 Course Prix-Fixe $96.Daniel Basics:
60 E. 65th St.
Between Park and Madison Aves.
212-288-0033

6. Blue Hill

With an annual Valentine’s Day tradition of serving a “hands-free” meal, Blue Hill offers an off-beat take on your typical romantic evening. Serving American cuisine, Blue Hill builds a menu focused on seasonally available produce from the Hudson Valley.Blue Hill Basics:
75 Washington Pl.
Between Sixth Ave. and MacDougal St.
212-539-1776.

7. Savoy

This warmly lit restaurant feels more like a country inn — complete with a roaring fire in the colder months. Dine on fine American cuisine and if you’d really like to impress, reserve for the chef’s special menu.Savoy Basics:
70 Prince St.
Between Crosby and Lafayette Sts.
212-219-8570

8. The Sea Grill

Overlooking the ice rink at Rockefeller Center, The Sea Grill is a great choice for a romantic evening, assuming your date likes seafood. From oysters and clams to herb crusted skate, the menu offerings reflect a range of seafood options all well prepared and very fresh.The Sea Grill Basics:
19 W. 49th St.
Between Fifth and Sixth Aves.
212-332-7610

If it’s the perfect view that makes you feel romantic, you can do no better than The River Cafe on Brooklyn’s waterfront. Featuring delicious food combined with professional, attentive service, The River Cafe is well worth leaving Manhattan for the food alone, but the view of downtown Manhattan makes this an irresistable choice.The River Cafe Basics:
1 Water Street, Brooklyn
718-522-5200

10. The Place

This West Village restaurant offers all of the romance of New York’s finest restaurants, but with a more affordable price tag. The menu features both American and pan-European cuisine.The Place Basics:
310 W. 4th St.
Between Bank and W. 12th Sts.
212-924-2711

If anyone had a personal great experience at any restaurants listed –please let me know in comments.

More Romantic New York City

MUSINGS FROM MOM & DAD

MOM:      Love isn’t about getting roses or going to restaurants.
ME:          What is it?
MOM:      I don’t know.  Ask your father. (married 50 years and she doesn’t know)
ME:          Dad, Mommy said to ask you what is love?
DAD:       She’s crazy.
ME:          Well, what is it?
DAD:        What?
ME:           Love.  Amore!!!
DAD:       When you want to be with one person so you can be crazy together.
ME:           Brilliant.
Actually, Mom gave me a beautiful answer when I asked her once before. I always ask them that question.  If they have an epiphany, I want to be the first to know.  Mom said love was about two people who want to grow a garden together, water it every day, watch it grow, thorns and all.  Something like that. I wrote it down somewhere.
Post note:  If you’re single and alone on Valentine’s Day — you can’t go wrong with the pizza.     One of the few things you can still find for one dollar a slice.  Pizza = Love.   😀

Link below to find .99 cents pizza anywhere in NYC or click on City/State to find elsewhere:

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”                      ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery