Tag Archives: New York

All the best of vegan NYC in 2016

Sometimes I think if I lived in New York instead of Austin I would have been following a bagel cleanse instead of a taco cleanse. Bagels have long been my favorite part about trips to the city because they are so amazingly good and so many places have a variety of tofu cream cheeses, including green olive. It’s the best thing in the world.30004804410_1d5acdf7fb

Other than bagels, the last few times I went to New York I felt like the popular vegan places were overrated. Candle 79, Champs, Beyond Sushi, Wild Ginger, and Dunwell Doughnuts are all infamous vegan spots that I was super excited to try and then a bit let down by. This trip was different because I went with traveling expert, and awesomest person ever, my pal Jojo who set me straight on all the best places to go. Wait, actually it was my Austin friend Jessica who told me we had to try the impossible burger at Momofuku Nishi which was our first stop.30124738716_b6ee6f9e27

I had read that you have to get in line before they open because they only make 50 burgers a day so we got to happy hour super early. Eventually a staff person came out and asked us if we were there for the burgers. When we told him we were, he said that they don’t do them for happy hour anymore, only lunch! GASP! But then they said they would make them for us. Whew. The impossible burger is supposed to be so meat-like that vegetarians are grossed out. Known as “the burger that bleeds” we couldn’t wait to see what all the fuss was about. In the end, all five of us, all vegan, enjoyed it. Someone said it was on par if not better than Arlo’s here in Austin, which, I have to disagree with. The patty reminded me of the burgers I ate in the elementary school cafeteria. The fries were like McDonalds fries, which was awesome since the real McDonalds fries are made with meat so I can’t eat them. I would have liked it better with some cheese and I do think Arlo’s is better but I’d, for sure, recommend it.

Later we stopped for a slice at Vinnie’s in Brooklyn which reminded me of Dimo’s in Chicago, they have all sorts of crazy options like vegan mac and cheese or teriyaki chicken.30046760082_b7d126d9f5

The next morning we got bagels and did the most touristy thing one could ever do in New York: rowed boats through Central Park. I should have taken a video so that I could use it in a video montage set to New York City. It was so fun, we saw turtles and didn’t capsize once. We headed to Riverdel Cheese shop and deli in Prospect Park in Brooklyn for sandwiches and it was just the kind of sandwiches I love, roasty, toasty, and filled with cheese. I got the M Night Shamlani (or something) which was cheese and salami just like the sandwiches I made growing up. Yes, I went from a diet of almost exclusively meat, cheese, and bread (and olives) to a vegan. I wish a place like this would open around here, I love that vegan delis are getting so popular.

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After some wandering about we headed for Lagusta which now has a location in the East Village. I had been to the original in New Paltz a few years back and thought I’d died and gone to heaven, a very expensive vegan chocolate-based heaven. I saved my chocolates for an emergency because I knew at our next restaurant we were going to want to eat everything on the menu.

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Meeting up with friends at Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new Brooklyn location of Modern Love is something I’ve been wanting to do for as long as it’s been in existence…or before it even existed. When I found out my friend Laura was going to be in town the same weekend as Jojo I knew it was time to make the trip.

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Everything about Modern Love is perfect, from the dark wood walls, the cute bathrooms, to every single thing on the menu. I was overwhelmed. Even though I’d been studying the menu in anticipation for a while I could not decide what to get. Luckily, I had enough people with me that I got to try just about every appetizer. The poutine was what I was maybe most excited for (I did have a dream about it). Instead of french fries they were large potato wedges and covered in the most delicious porcini gravy, and truffled almond  riccotta. We also had chili cheese fries, the tempeh stuffed avocado, Brussels with bacon, and what turned out to be my favorite, the mushroom blintz with smashed beet relish and kasha arugula salad.

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For my entree I had a hard time deciding. I really wanted the Mac and Cheese with pecan-cornmeal crusted tofu, BBQ cauliflower and kale and I got to try it and it was truly fantastic. The tofu was just perfectly done and crispy on the outside. I ended up getting the Stuffed Poblanos with Street Corn (spicy lentil meat, yuba chicharrones, red rice, jicama slaw, smoked guacamole, pico de gallo, coconut sour cream, fresh herbs). The yuba was like nothing I’ve ever had before. A couple people thought it was potato-skin esque put when Laura said it tasted like pig skin, it was an aha moment. It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten something like that!

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Finally came dessert and I went for the  Dulce De Leche Coconut Cream Pie.30010364610_9cdcd4e0d1

We tried to walk off the excessive eating by taking Isa’s advice and walking across the Williamsburg bridge which was super fun and beautiful.

Dim sum in New York has seemed like something important to do since I first heard of it in the movie Working Girl circa 1988 and I’ve seen many pictures of Vegetarian Dim Sum House. We met up for brunch even though Jojo thought dim sum for brunch was inauthentic and I think Nick might have just been full up still. Everything was crazy good and only 6 dollars apiece.30157812166_c446c3558b_z

The turnip cake (not pictured) reminded me of the most giant noodle ever. The monk dumplings, the coriander ham rolls, & the vegetarian pork rolls were all perfectly done and ridiculously tasty. It was just so much deliciousness in one meal. I could eat there every week. It would suck to live in New York and be super lazy, knowing that you could get on a train and have the best meals ever if only you could leave the house. I would be terrible at it. At least you can get so many things delivered.

We stopped in Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery to grab some knishes to-go and I followed the sign’s advice and brought one home for a friend! It was delicious. The perfect airplane treat.

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We also stopped at By Chloe a couple of times for various desserts. I had never had a black and white cookie so I was super stoked to try one. 30216253151_2784f399ac

We had heard that the yuba sandwiches from Superiority Burger were some of the best food in town so we tried those as well. The restaurant was so tiny we couldn’t all sit at once and I didn’t take a picture but I had to share Jojo’s. I now want to make all sandwiches with yuba.

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Seriously. This trip was 100% tastier and way more fun than my last few trips and it was all thanks to Jojo and her wonderful husband Nick. If you are ever on a trip check out her blog Vegan in Brighton cause girlfriend does her research and there is no dicking around eating shitty food with Jojo. It’s all good all the time. 30005346660_64e4545211_o

And grab a knish for the airplane. You won’t regret it. 29671630334_0ce036499d

New York: The City So Nice They Named It Twice*

When it’s been summer for a while in Texas it’s hard to remember what it’s like everywhere else. “No pants” kind of becomes a way of life. To put it succinctly, I packed all wrong for my trip to the north starting with upstate New York. Swacket totally lied to me saying that I’d be comfortable in jeans and a hoodie when I would have been happier with snowpants and a heavier jacket than I own. I mean, it’s the end of May! Also, I never learn. The nice part about the change in temperature was that it was just the starting moments of spring and everything was in bloom. We got off the plane at Newark and made our way to Ethiopian food at Lalibela‘s as soon as was humanly possible.

We had such warm service and it was a cute place but even though there were more vegetarian options, I have to say I like the Ethiopian places in Austin better. Lately it seems like they have just been popping up everywhere. We must have at least five by my count.

We headed up to Hudson on what I thought would be a two hour car ride, 6 hours later found us checking in to our sweet Air B&B house and meeting with our friends to start celebrating the next days wedding which was to be at a beautiful spot right on the Hudson river.

In the morning we drove across the river, through the town of Rip Van Winkle, and onward to the Love Bites Cafe which I thought was particularly apropos on a wedding day. (PS, lately I have been totally overusing the word apropos. It’s really fun to say. PPS I always totally overuse the word totally even though I’m not an 1980s california valley girl. I totally don’t know where this comes from.) We arrived in Saugerties, an adorable town with a ridiculous name, and settled in for another very expensive meal. Why is everything in New York so expensive? I mean, I get it in the city but every place we went was pricey and nothing was Texas sized.

I got the sweet potato hash which was pretty rad, although I could have used more greens…and more potatoes. 

We trucked back over the Hudson to Hudson to get ready and found the beautiful wedding spot.

Jen and Ian are so in love and I am so happy for them! If you live in New York and are interested in placenta encapsulation she is totally your girl. We had fun with masks and they had a delicious Mexican spread with tons and tons of vegan options so it didn’t end up mattering that my breakfast wasn’t lumberjack style.

The next day I had breakfast at Earth Foods and I still wish I could take it back. I know better than to order a tofu scramble that is described as having ginger, tamari, and sesame. Having tamari listed on the menu immediately signals that you are somewhere with a 1970s approach to veg food. Surely, you can put those items in a tofu scramble, but clueless restaurants try it, it’s always kind of… disappointing. Anyway we weren’t there for the food in the first place so I wasn’t even thinking of this as an “eat everything in sight trip” until my instagram friend Dianne reminded me that Lagusta’s Luscious was right on the way down to the city. Holy shit. The Motherland.

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I instantly turned into a vegas style high roller and I said to Dan, get whatever you want it’s on me. It was overwhelming. They had baked goods.

Chocolate bars, and things covered in chocolate. 

And so many handmade chocolate truffles.

We got the chocolate pyramid, the apple carmel, the croissant infused carmel, the furious vulva and more.

I think the chocolate turtle was my favorite.

Lagusta is in New Paltz which seemed like a serious hippie town. But maybe that’s just because we went to Karma Road for lunch.

Imagine friendly dreadie types, quotes from the Dali Lama, pictures of farm animals, and magazines about the healing power of flowers, with the dead softly playing and you will have a good idea what this place is like. We were really confused about the ordering process and ended up with a smattering of warmed up deli food which ended up being ridiculously expensive but luckily VERY tasty.

Then it was onward ho to Manhattan to meet up with some old friends at a micro falafel place called TaïmTaim

When I saw they had green olive falafel I think my heart skipped a beat. It was delicious.

We stayed the night with another friend in Brooklyn who took me to Bagel World in the morning. Bagels are one thing you just can’t really get in Texas so I was stoked for a New York bagel. When I saw the hand written sign; “this way to bagel paradise” with all the tofutti I knew I was in the right place.

I opted for scallion cream cheese on a poppy seed with olives aka what I would eat every single day of my life if I lived in New York. This blog would be about bagels then instead of breakfast tacos.

As much as I loved this bagel I’d rather be in Texas. Our food carts would never have a line like this.

That’s right, I went to the Cinnamon Snail, and after waiting in the line that seemed to last the better part of the day I learned that the cart was cash only and I only had seven dollars. In Austin this would be enough for a meal but in New York the best I could do was a couple of doughnuts. It all sounded so good. Maybe we can get them to drive down for Texas VegFest somehow? I doubt it, they probably make a killing. (not literally because they are so vegan) The doughnut was good and I was glad to have it on my cross country flight to Oregon which will be the next post. For now I will go back to enjoying New York on the screen.

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Everyone’s your friend in New York City

Last week I suddenly took a trip to NYC to stay with my Dad in the hospital after his heart attack He’s doing really well. We are already talking about kale and yoga and all the other things that he is excited to integrate into his life. I was totally surprised that the hospital served him fried chicken, roast beef, and ice cream. What the hell? Isn’t that, kind of, the OPPOSITE of what you should be eating?

It was a tough trip for me, I was pretty stressed out already before this happened and being worried about my Dad was just adding to the anxiety. Also, I am not a big city girl. Lately you can hear me complain quite often about the fact that the pace of life in Austin has gotten too dang fast and that it just isn’t as chill as it used to be. What happened to slackertown? This trip sure put things in perspective. In New York it’s like you are always in the middle of a sea of humanity. I spent way too much time underground.

I bet I was at this station 96 times

On the other hand, I hadn’t been to New York in quite a while and I was 100% stoked to go to the most vegan friendly city in the ole USA. Even more than that, I was excited to be reunited with my old breakfast bff; the bagel. The first one I had with hummus and kalamata olives was all that I could ever hope for. I also love that in New York the small coffees are actually small!

I got to stay with one of my most favorite people and his super adorable fiance in Brooklyn and they took me to the hipster part so I could compare and contrast Williamsburg with Wicker Park and East Austin.

They also went with me to Wild Ginger which I had heard many good things about but found pretty so so. I’d compare it more closely to Austin’s Veggie Heaven than Portland’s Lucky Strike. We shared the fried tofu skins which were pretty good. 

Then I got the Citrus Seitan because it had kale and sounded good. I like that it came with an orchid, it was like being in the tropics! But the seitan was a little gummy and the dish was over sauced Chinese take out style. It was fine, just not what I was expecting.

The next morning I got off the train at the hospital just as my lovely sister was getting in to town and I immediately dragged her to Absolute Bagel, which was only a block away. There was a line down the street! She immediately wanted to leave but I figured if you are in a city that has, probably over a thousand places to get bagels and there is one with a huge line, it must be worth the wait. It was vegan bagel heaven inside. Fresh bagels were coming in like popcorn at the movie theater. There were, like, ten flavors of tofutti including green olive. *swoon* This is the very bagel that I made at home, poppy with green olive cream cheese. I have to go to two stores and my kitchen to make it happen. 

As I did the day before, I spent most of my time with my Dad. But his procedure was such a success that they let him go and we spent the afternoon helping him to Staten Island. The fun part of New York is that everything seems familiar. 

And you can’t help but see the sights as you go from A to B. Well, as long as you are above ground. 

After getting my Dad settled I somehow convinced my sister to go to Moo Shoes and look at vegan boots and then we went to an adorable bar Casa Mezcal for fantastic cocktails. We had the cutest hobbit bartender and we loved the drinks. Then we headed over to Candle 79 for a fancy vegan dinner. We ordered the mushroom fricassee to start and I liked it’s earthy simplicity. My sister tried the butternut raviolies which we actually giant whole wheat raviolos. We liked my entrée a lot more. I went for the famous seitan piccatta and it was all it’s cracked up to be. Oh the creamed spinach, the mashed potatoes, and that glorious tangy lemony sauce. It was addictive. It would be hard to order anything else there. 

To finish I wanted cannoli but Lana wasn’t nearly as excited about the novelty of vegan cannoli and was dying for the peanut butter mousse. 

It was delightfully smooth and rich. I want to make both recipes from the Candle 79 cookbook which I have at home and haven’t made one thing from yet. I have no excuse either because it is a gorgeous book and I want to make everything. After all that fabulous dining, wine, and mezcal I had to get up at 5:30 am to catch a flight. It was strange getting on the train in the middle of the night and emerging at the airport in the light of day. 

I was so happy to be home and so happy my Dad is doing so well and that I got to see my friends and my sister.

But…

Please god, no more trips! No more family emergencies! No leaving Austin…until our upcoming trip to Mexico.

Happy Thanksgiving!