The Featured Foodie for May is JJ from 84th and 3rd.
I first met JJ when I was very new to the food-blogging land and I was completely impressed by her enthusiasm for food and blogging.
I was kind of, sort of, intimidated by her too! Not because she was scary, she’s far from scary. It was more a case of feeling incredibly lazy. I suddenly felt that I needed to get a few (million) projects of my own.
She’s the kind of woman that grabs life by both hands and makes you feel like you should be doing something with your life!
A part from running her blog, 84th and 3rd, JJ also recently launched Seasonal Sunday Lunch, is one of the hostesses of Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, creates amazing zines and has a million other projects on the go.
Phew! I’m exhausted just typing that. How does she do it all?
JJ is a ‘vege-quarian’, tries to eat unprocessed and is a fan of gluten-free dairy-free and vegan recipes. She’s an NYC-gal but her recipes take the typical American-fare to a much healthier place. I really like her twist on the traditional US dessert – Pumpkin Pie – that she turned into a Vegan Pumpkin Pie that was no egg, no dairy, no soy, no gluten, no nuts, no corn, no refined sugar.
Some other sweet treats you might like include: French Butter Pastry – or the flakiest, strangest, most genius pie crust you’ll ever make and Vegan Chocolate Fudge, PLUS 11 flavour twists.
JJ explores seasonal produce and loves to invent new combinations like a mad-scientist, such as Watermelon & Cucumber Salad with Tahini, Coconut & Lime Dressing and Mushroom & Lentil Burger.
Check out my interview with JJ and then hop on over to 84th and 3rd to say hello!
Tell us all about you and your blog?
I’m JJ, a recipe developer, photographer, writer, designer, runner, yogi, itchy-feet traveler, NYC tragic and tea drinker. My blog, 84th & 3rd, features unprocessed, veg-aquairan, mostly gluten and dairy free, slightly mad-scientist recipes, as well as lifestyle features and occasional tales from my travels. There is lots of pie.
What is your philosophy on food?
I truly believe food should be fun and healthy should not mean boring. Indulgence is a wonderful thing every now and then but ditch the packaged stuff – if there are ingredients listed that wouldn’t exist in your own cupboard you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Brunch is easily the best meal ever invented.
What do you like to cook at home?
Simple, quick dishes really – noodle soups, salmon with veggies, homemade pizza and way too many scrambled egg wraps. For lunches I’ll generally re-heat whatever is in the fridge and either put it over salad or throw an egg on top – there is no shame in leftovers. Every once and a while we’ll go all out with a seafood feast.
Your favourite restaurants in Sydney, Australia or across the world?
I’m no good at this question! In Sydney we have a favourite little brunch place in Erskineville called Cafe Sophia, but Bread and Circus is great too. Ju Ge Mu & Shimbashi in Neutral Bay does wonderful Japanese. In NYC, Cafe Havana for Cuban and Tacombi for tacos; in Philadelphia, the original Chickie’s & Pete’s for crab.
What is your current food obsession?
Mexican – not the expensive, contrived stuff but honest, spicy, simple Mexican. Stuff on rice cakes – anyone who follows me on Instagram knows about this craziness. Raw desserts, dumplings, pepitas, and making my own chocolate.
What is your favourite food memory?
Oh this is a tough one – I think about food all the time so there are so many memories that involve it… Sitting around my grandmother’s kitchen table with all my cousins making our way through piles of Christmas cookies has to be up there. Also, a family reunion that involved roughly 20 lobsters being cooked in a huge pot in the middle of the lawn!
Describe your ‘last meal’ (ie. if you were on death row and you had one final meal what would you eat and drink.)
A loooong brunch feast including blueberry pancakes, perfectly poached eggs, really crispy pumpkin waffles, a huge fruit salad, singapore chili crab, cold belgian beer, Cafe Havana corn, sashimi with fresh wasabi, prawn dumplings, mom’s chocolate cake, lemon meringue pie, cuchidatis and a huge pot of green tea.
The best advice or lesson you have learnt about food, eating or cooking.
Be brave, it’s only dinner. Experiment and learn how you can push the boundaries on the food you love – you’ll be amazed at what you can create. If all else fails, make French Toast, no one will ever complain about French Toast. Oh also, you can’t hurry a toasted cheese sandwich, trust me on this one.
Want to connect with JJ? Say hello for me!