Stuck in the city during a heatwave? I feel ya. The air is thick and waiting for the subway can feel like a form of torture. It’s important to drink plenty of hydrating fluids during this weather to avoid forms of mild dehydration or worse. And if you’re feeling a bit sluggish from the heat, an iced matcha during the day can be a great option to quench thirst and give you a boost of energy.

Introducing Matchaful. Hannah Habes, Matchaful founder, found herself researching ways to improve her health after a diet heavy on processed foods, lack of sleep, and demanding jobs started taking a physical toll. She discovered matcha and all its wonderful health benefits, and after drinking it for a year, she decided to make organic, sustainably grown matcha accessible to more people. Matchaful was born in 2015 and opened its first pop-up in Dumbo in December 2017. This June it came to Smorgasburg and I jumped at the chance to check it out. Artisanal drinks are adorned with flowers and served with bamboo straws. Pictured above are the Moon Berry Magic (matcha, blue majik algae, and elderberry elixir) and a Smorgasburg special, the Summer Asana (match, mint, maple, and lime).

In addition to the Dumbo cafe and weekend spot at Smorgasburg, Matchaful matcha can also be enjoyed in your own home whenever you please. Matchaful just launched a 100 gram packet of Hikari grade matcha for $65. That’s 100 servings of their highest grade, single origin matcha at $0.65 a pop. The ground tea leaves are grown on one farm under the shade provided by solar panels that help power nearby cities. Matchaful is also a member of 1% for the Planet, giving 1% of all sales to non-profits working to preserve our environment. Sounds like a win for everyone if you ask me.

Matchaful at Smorgasburg.

Matchaful at Smorgasburg.

Photography by Hannah Baik.





The Hot Cacao.

The Hot Cacao.

Step inside this modern wellness sanctuary and you'll instantly start to feel more relaxed. The market is spacious and light, complete with a cafe, shop, grab-n-go refrigerated section (they even sell the hard-to-find Coconut Cult yogurt!), infrared saunas (I'm a big fan!), cryotherapy, and IV drips. The boutique section is a wellness junkie's paradise - you'll find a curated selection of probiotics, supplements, adaptogenic powders, bath salts, natural deodorants, coconut butters, candles, teas and so much more! You'll recognize some Back to Basil favorite brands like The Beauty Chef, Moon Juice, Herbivore, Sun Potion, P.F. Candle Co, and many others! After browsing the store, head to the cafe for a Glow Matcha (Moon Juice Beauty Dust, matcha, coconut butter, collagen, pearl, raw honey, and almond & coconut milk) and The Blues smoothie bowl, made with banana, pineapple, cauliflower, coconut oil, E3Live, probiotic, almond milk, turmeric honey, toasted coconut chips, mulberries and granola. Schedule ahead for the wellness services in the back or take a chance as a walk-in. You can call (646) 850-6300 for availability and can also book online. If you want a stress-free space to work from, bring your laptop and set up shop at one of their pristine white tables complete with succulents. Sip on a Brain Coffee (Moon Juice Brain Dust, organic coffee, ghee, Brain Octane, and coconut butter) and let new ideas flow through you. 

Clean Market is located on E 54th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. A friendly, accommodating staff can answer any questions and will happily show you around the space. Downtowners, take my word - it's worth the trip!

The Blues smoothie bowl.

The Blues smoothie bowl.

Photography by Colin Ziemer.



Rachelle, herbalist and Supernatural Cafe founder.

Rachelle, herbalist and Supernatural Cafe founder.

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Rachelle Robinett opened the Supernatural Cafe at WOOM Center on January 2nd this year, but she’s been studying and working as an herbalist for years. Rachelle grew up on a farm in Washington State, but she told me, “all I wanted to do was live in New York and work in fashion.” And that she did. Rachelle worked in advertising for fashion clients, and also did some modeling before eventually transitioning into the world of wellness as a full-time career. I asked her what the tipping point was for her to make the jump, and she says while friends had been encouraging her for a while, she credits one woman with giving the final push. The woman, who is now a friend, works at Estee Lauder. Rachelle explains, “I was in a meeting there presenting some advertising strategy and she interrupted me” asking, “could you please tell me what your skincare routine is?” Yes, you read that correctly: a meeting with one of the largest cosmetic & skincare brands and conglomerates in the world. Rachelle was caught totally off guard in the middle of a presentation, and started explaining that she drinks a lot of green juice and water, but the woman - whom she had never met, mind you - kept wanting to know more. After the meeting she pulled Rachelle aside to tell her that the information she had and the way she communicated was really special, and that she should really consider sharing it with a greater audience. So Rachelle started a blog and things grew organically from there.

Today Rachelle works individually with numerous clients to tackle their concerns on an individual basis. Her approach is very personalized for everyone, but she says she usually starts with food. She’ll even go grocery shopping with clients when needed. One of the most refreshing things about Rachelle is her down-to-earth, no frills approach to wellness. In the last few years the wellness movement has really taken off, and some days it feels like we’re being told we should buy ten different powders and try a variety of expensive treatments. Not only will that burn a hole in your pocket, but it’s often unnecessary. She says, “if we can fix a symptom with a food, we’ll use a food.” And that “diet is first...good quality food, good quality water, good sleep, good exercise - then herbs,” starting “with the weakest stuff first.” If you want simple, honest advice (there’s a lot of misinformation out there!) to improve your health, Rachelle’s your girl. If you want a delicious plant-based, non-dairy medicinal mylk, Rachelle’s your girl. If you want to hang out at a cool cafe, inside a very special yoga studio, and talk to a total babe of an herbalist - you guessed it, Rachelle’s your girl.

You can visit Supernatural at the WOOM Center at 274 Bowery, 2nd Fl.

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Before sitting down with Rachelle this week, I emailed her a few questions:

ASHLEY: I was first introduced to the Supernatural Cafe when I sampled an elixir after a WOOM class (and it was delicious!). How did the idea to open a cafe inside WOOM Center come to you? Did you practice yoga there regularly beforehand?  
RACHELLE: So glad you liked the elixir! Making mixes for the yoga guests there is a great perk of being in a place with such a lovely community. Supernatural coming to be there was really organic and spontaneous even. After a practice there, the owners and I got to talking about my taking over the area that became the apothecary/cafe. We co-hosted a dinner together (they cooked and I taught about food as medicine) and the rest is (recent) history. 

I love mixing my own potions at home and have fun combining different ingredients. Are there any adaptogens or herbs that you don’t recommend combining? Do any counteract each other in your opinion? 
The beauty of plant medicine is that it's generally safe, though not always and not for everyone. It's always wise to read up a bit on any herbs you're using and usually to ensure that they don't interact with medications, or that they won't keep you up at night when you're trying to sleep because they're stimulating, for example! Otherwise, mix away.

With summer around the corner I wanted to ask if you have any herbal topical or ingestible solutions to ease redness from either sunburn, heat rash, or insect bites?
Internally, nettle (probably my favorite herb) is a wonderful antihistamine. Great for allergy season, or if you get a rash of bites, say. Topically, arnica and aloe are great. Comfrey and camphor and mints are soothing (though can be too sharp if you're sunburned). Coconut, shea, and jojoba are excellent moisturizers. (I haven't used lotion in years!) Witch hazel is also a great toner. I make simple essential-oil infused witch hazel-based mists and use them all day long in the summer, especially after a run or lots of sun. Verte Essentials' is also beautiful.

What are some of your favorite in-season plants to eat in the summer?
Fruit! Anything local. Lots of spring and summer greens. Lighter, softer things usually. And herbs that are food-medicine too, like nettle. And always mushrooms. 

In addition to WOOM Center, what are some of your other favorite NYC spots for self-care and yoga?
I'm a fan of simplicity and affordability so parks are always great - even if it's just a small neighborhood one. I love riding my bike and running - again as simple, free ways to get some sun and air. City Acupuncture is my favorite acu spot. Daniel Ryan for mind-therapy. A secret massage spot in the West Village for deep work. The Alchemist's Kitchen for herbal shopping and inspiration. Modo Yoga for yin or kick-ass flows. The Union Square Greenmarket! Jamie Cook for my hair, which is no small project. So many great spots...

Do you plan to expand the Supernatural Cafe to other locations in the future?!
If that's what the people want, then: yes!

Click on the menus below to enlarge.

Photography by Colin Ziemer.



the coolest coffee on canal


I left corporate life in March, but somehow I still find myself frequenting the office... Office Coffee that is! Canal Street Market (if you’ve never been, picture a Chelsea Market type situation with part shopping, part food, then add an extra dose of cool) opened to the public at the end of 2016, with the adjacent food hall opening a few months later. The space is beautiful and host to lots of interesting events, many of which are design related. There’s even a new instillation (today - June 17) for all you soccer fans out there, where you can watch World Cup Games and play foosball or FIFA!

Many of the food vendors at the market are rotating, but Office Coffee has been a staple since the start, and it’s the only food vendor over on the retail side. Reason being, Office Coffee is actually an offshoot of Office Magazine, a biannual artistic publication on fashion, culture, entertainment, and more. Head to Office Coffee for a delicious smoothie or smoothie bowl and order a matcha or cold brew while you’re at it. Soak in the stylish surroundings and grab some gorgeous stems from Fox Fodder Farm, a talented florist, on your way out. Canal Street Market is located at 265 Canal Street. It’s just around the corner from the Glossier showroom, so you’re welcome, just made your Saturday plans.


Pictured above are the Lafayette Bowl (dragon fruit, peach, banana, oat milk, granola, lucama, kiwi, and cacao nibs) and the Crosby Bowl (blue majik - algae, pineapple, banana, lychee, and coconut milk, topped with fruit and granola).


Photography by Colin Ziemer.