New York Round-Up #1

It’s been a whirlwind few days, hence my lack of posting. But no posts does not correlate to no good food, though…. the food at the vegan restaurants here has been amazing!

One that I always find interesting about my eating habits… I can only enjoy very fancy dishes for a few meals in a row. Then I find myself longing for something more “typical”, like a big salad or sandwich. That’s not usually a problem, as I don’t tend to go to the fancier vegan restaurants much in a row, except now when I’m trying to get to so many in the space of a few days 🙂

Here is the amazing feast for my first couple of days here. I landed late Friday afternoon, and this post covers Friday evening, Saturday lunch and dinner, and Sunday dinner. (Again, apologies for the blackberry photos!)

On Friday night, I arrived and wanted to get to the closest place since I was tired from being up for many many hours – that place was Candle Cafe. The food there was amazing.

I started with some incredible lasagna – roasted veggies, basil tofu ricotta, tapioca cheese, all layered in between the noodles and topped with seitan-filled red sauce. I’d been wanting some Italian food, and there it was! The lasagna was surrounded by garlic-sauteed greens, which were also amazing.

Since I love to make vegan desserts, I figured I should also have dessert at all of these places to see what they make. Thankfully, I’m walking dozens of blocks each day to work it all off!

Tonight I had the chocolate peanut butter cake, which was a nice sturdy cake with peanut butter filling and chocolate ganache.

On Saturday, I was at a conference all day and made my way to Organic Avenue, a little cafe featuring great juices and raw take-out foods. This was by far the best raw take-out I’ve ever had.

Here, I had a green juice, and some dandelion-kale salad. I’ve never thought to mix dandelion greens in with my kale salad, and it was really interesting. A little bitter, but it felt so healthy to eat! I would definitely do it again. I also love that they have juices in glass bottles, so I have a couple of nice bottles to take home with me.

The star of the show, however, was the raw Everything Bagel with Scallion Cream Cheese. AMAZING! I don’t usually love raw dehydrated things because they are usually quite dense and heavy (or have flax seeds that stick all in my teeth, but that’s another story). This bagel was absolute perfection. It was mostly ground seeds (flax, sunflower) and veggies (zucchini, potato, lemon, garlic, onion) and then topped with more seeds. Light and chewy, just as it should be.  And the scallion cheese…. it was a cashew cheese fermented with probiotics and had an amazing flavor. This I must try at home!

After the conference, I walked to the theater for a play, and figured I’d find something on the way. As I was walking, a window caught my eye, as it said VEGETARIAN in huge letters on it.  I checked out the menu in the window, and was so happy to have found this place. It’s called Otarian, and they say they are the planet’s first low-carbon restaurant! Inside, they did indeed have a proclamation from the city stating that ALL of their energy use is off the grid. I didn’t manage to take any photos there, but they had nice salads and soups and veggie burgers and burritos, etc. It was vegetarian, but most of the items could also be made vegan by leaving off the cheese and creams, and they also offer vegan cheese.

On Sunday, I went to dinner at Blossom…. and it seemed even better than the meal the night before! I’d heard great things about their raw sweet potato rolls, so I got those to start. Incredible… raw thin sweet potato wrappers filled with young coconut shreds, jicama, carrot, red and yellow peppers, scallions, avocado and an almond ginger dipping sauce. I loved the soft coconut pieces mixed in with the crunchy things – they were reminiscent of the (cooked) rice noodles that are featured in most asian wraps.

For the main meal, I got the seitan scallopini – a breaded seitan cutlet cooked in a white wine/lemon/caper sauce, served with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed kale. I loved the presentation and the flavors were spectacular. I wanted to ask for a spoon to get all of that lovely sauce, but fortunately the mashed potatoes made it thick enough to pick up with the fork!

Blossom has 3 locations in NYC –  Blossom that I chose for dinner, and 2 Blossom Cafes. There is some overlap in the menus, but each one has some unique items. One of the cafes is actually closer to the apartment I was staying in, but it was the dessert menu that made me choose Blossom over the cafe – as soon as I saw this on the menu I knew I had to have it: Lavender Coconut Creme Brulee.  And did it live up to my expectations – creamy and custardy, with a light hint of lavender and only a very thin coating of carmelized sugar on top. It wasn’t that sweet, and was perfectly rich and satisfying. As soon as I get home, I’m going to buy a kitchen torch and make this dessert!

And that covers the first 48 hours of the trip….. yes, I’m eating far more than usual…. but since I’ve been so rarely in NY, it is so well worth it to get to all of these restaurants. And there is more to come!

6 thoughts on “New York Round-Up #1”

  1. OMGoddess…Kelli that was so fun! I felt like I ate with you. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing. I loved seeing the links of the places too. I think NYC may have one up on L.A. on the number of places, and the variety. What do you think?

    I looked up ganache (learning these food terms), and it said mixture of cream and chocolate. What is used for vegan ganache?

    Looking forward to drooling some more. 🙂

    1. The vegan ganache was most likely soy milk (or almond) mixed with melted chocolate chips. Some use margarine or a thickener like arrowroot, but I’d think at a restaurant like that, it would be more natural… so probably just the choc chips with nut milk.

  2. My faves are definitely the raw Bagels and the sweet potato wraps…Your city trip is already a great inspiration for me! Thanks for posting. Jay Lakshmi

    1. Yes, everything was completely vegan. I think the creme brulee was probably coconut milk, a little sweetener, and a thickener like agar or Irish Moss to make it custardy…. and maybe some vanilla, along with the lavender.

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