Eating Vegan in NYC

Get ready for a lot of blabbering, and some food pictures.  And a really long post!

Ok, so NY is my favourite place in the entire world.  No kidding.  I love it there - the mobs of people, the weirdos (I saw some guy taking his pants off in the subway! Werid, yes.  And then the police showed up 5 minutes later.  I won't ask), and - no duh - the food.  Oh, the foooooooooood!  The cute little street vendors selling fruit!  I squealed when I saw Trader Joes!  So many different types and ethnicities! 

Well, I'll be honest.  I didn't like eating out all the time.  I never have, really.  I tried to tell myself it was "culinary research".  Which kind of worked, kind of didn't.  I like to have control over my portion size, and how much high-cal food goes in the dish.  Please note: I HATE wasting food, and eat everything on my plate, unless something is VERY off...
BUT, I am extremely pleased to say that I did not gain any weight at all during the trip - I left 131 lbs, and returned 130 lbs.  Yay for walking/standing all day!
On restaurant food: Yes, it's good.  But, to be honesy, after a few meals I got a really odd taste in my mouth, that I linked to eating foods prepared with oil.  If you've read any of my recipes at all, you'll know I barely use any oil at all.  I used to think that, if I could, I would eat fried foods and such all day long... this trip taught me differently.  Yes, I will never turn down deep fried tofu, fried rice, or something of that nature.  But after a few meals of food just lightly sauteed in oil, I'm like "no more oil, pleeease!"  I guess it's just what a person gets used to, after a while.
One of my biggest complaints about eating out is that it's so boring.  I normally do a sudoku or something while I eat, and you can't really do that at a restaurant.  M and I run out of things to say... so I am left starting around the room.  Which gets old.  I eat way too fast, as well, if my hands aren't occupied by a pencil or something. 
Last random thought, I promise.  I found out that organic foods taste better.  Like, automatically.  I never buy organic myself, since it's so darn expensive, but had a bit of organic while eating out.  DANG THAT STUFF IS THE BOMB!

Alright, now for the food.

So, my first morning there, I had a salad for b-fast, because that's all that I could find!  The rest of the mornings, I had an apple and everything bagel, since I found the continental b-fast at the hotel.
Salad with 6 toppings: lettuce, carrots, olives, broccoli, roasted bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, chickpeas... with a balsamic dressing.  (And I totally told the guy to go easy on the dressing.  Guess what I found at the bottom of my bowl?  A lake of dressing.  -_-)
This was quite good.  I've never had a salad for breakfast, but this hit the spot!

I didn't have time for lunch that day - M and I spent ~4 hours getting to Staten Island for a college tour, and that ate up the whole afternoon.  So, needless to say, I was HANGRY (hungry/angry) by 6.  We went to Gobo, a sort of Asian, sort of American place.  They gave us some hearty, grainy bread with a sweet potato-raisin dip to start.  The bread was so good - thick, and hearty, like I said.  I got the Escarole, Frissee, Radicchio with Soy Cutlets and Pine Nut salad for starters, and I was like Whoa!  Maybe because I was so hungry, but somehow I don't think so.  The lettuce was fresh and crisp, they used fresh mandarines (I've only ever had canned), topped with sprouts, raisins and a few other goodies, finished off with a balsamic vinegarette.  And, oh, those soy cutletts.  Out of this world!  They kind of reminded me of chicken fingers, the way they were presented.  I would love to be able to re-create these!  The texture and breading were very similar to chicken fingers as well, but there was not really any taste to speak of.  I was totally OK with that, since there was enough flavour already in the salad.  But that texture... ohohohoh..
For my main dish I got the Pineapple Fried rice.  It came topped with avocado, which was a very pleasant surprise!  There was also some sort of bean in there, perhaps soy beans.  Veggies were pineapple, broccoli, bean sprouts, carrots, onion, and maybe a few other things that are slipping my memory.  A little greasy, perhaps, but what else is FRIED rice supposed to be?  I was so pleased with it, even after that amazing salad.  Needless to say, I was no longer hungry.

Sorry, the above picture is kind of pathetic... I forgot to get a shot until the bread was almost gone...

Doesn't this look tasty?  It's a Superbiotic 12" pizza (subbing sun dried tomatoes for the artichokes) from Naked Pizza.  So healthy.  So good.  The crust was REAL pizza crust - the kind that I'm scared to make (I just make that pathetic super-thin crust.  That'll change, soon, thought!).  Loaded down with real veggies, Daiya cheese (the first time I've had that stuff... GOOD!), and fresh tomato sauce, this was easily the best pizza I've had in years.  Oh, you darling, thick, crust... 
One thing I loved was that they posted nutritional info for their pizzas.  This made me more comfortable about eating a lot of it (I had 3/4 of the pizza... yes, I eat a lot).  The cashier was nice to us, as well, and pointed out vegan options.  :D

Sacred Chow.  Is. Really.  Good. 
A cute little vegan place with really nice waiters, and awesome decor.
I got the three tapas thingy, and was soooo happy with my choices!  For sure worth every last penny, and every last calorie (although it was pretty cheap and healthy!)
My three tapas were (in the order of the photos):
Roasted Black Olive Seitan.  This was served with a lovely dijon sauce over some spring mix.  There wasn't a lot of flavour, but the texture, especially the breading, was delish.
Mama's Soy Meatballs.  What can I say?  The sauce was loaded with veggies and spices, and the meatballs held together very nicely.  Again, great texture.
Root Veggie Latkes, served with date butter.  OMG THIS STUFF WAS AMAZING.  The butter, I mean.  Pardon the language, but that is the only way to describe its awesomeness.  The latkes were good too.  Nice and hearty, with root veggies like parsnips and carrots.  But that butter... sweet and savoury and amazing and awesome and fabulous and woooooowwww.  Yes, I would recommend getting the latkes...

Black bean burger and sweet potato fries from Quantum Leap.  Let me start with the burger.  The bun was legit.  Hearty, whole wheat, and mmmm-mmm.  The veggies made a nice topper, and the burger was flavourful, but not overly so.  It had an excellent texture, and was firm.  Not as chewy as seitan, but not falling apart like most home-made burgers.  It was juuuust right.
Now, about them fries.  Yikes!  Those babies were some of the best, if not the best, fries I have ever had.  They were sweet potato, which made them extra special to start with, and really thick.  There was a nice, almost sweet, light breading on them that added an extra kick.  I don't think they were deep fried, since they were not greasy at all.  Just enough oil to make them a guilty pleasure, but not too much.  Ahhh, if only I could make fries like that...
Totally recommend this place.
(Sorry about the red pic, the lighting was off and I didn't want to mess with my camera)

This was from Wild Ginger.  I was very disappointed.  The portions were small, and the food lacked flavour.  Enough said.  (I got the Sweet and Sour Sesame Soy Protein)

In Times Square, there's this really small gem called Moaz.  They do vegan falafel.  And, I mean, the DO vegan falafel.  You can either get a pita pocket or a salad, then you get some lettuce and 5 falafels, and they have a little salad bar (kind of like Whole Foods), where you can load your dish up.  I got the salad, and I would TOTALLY recommend doing that, because you can get more toppings.  Anyway, lunch was about $13 for two people, and was completely amazing.  I topped mine with tabbouleh, chickpea salad (it had red onions, etc in it), olives, roasted cauliflower/broccoli, tahini paste, and probably some other stuff that I forgot.  Wowowow, it was good...

THIS bad boy came from the PeaceFood Cafe.  The soup was mung bean and butternut squash.  I haven't had b-nut squash in ages, and this reminds me that I'll have to give that veggie some love this fall.
And that sandwich is the Pan-Seared French Horn Mushroom Panini.  It had mushrooms, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, mint/basil pesto, and artichoke aoli.  I spent almost half an hour deciding which sandwich to get, and I THINK I made the right choice with this one ;).  It was insanely good.  Like, really, really good.  Who doesn't love pesto?  One thing I found interesting is how much more mild their arugula was compared to my home-grown arugula.  Anyway, even though I'm not so big on mushrooms, this was amazing.  The bread was out of this world - so soft and satisfying.
Yes.  Visit the Peacefood Cafe.  You won't be sorry.

 This was Franchia's Duck Stone Bowl.  It also came with kimchi and sweet chili sauce (I ended up using all of the chili sauce...)  It was alright.  The restaurant was kind of cool - it had 3 different stories, and we sat on the top floor.  However, I was NOT impressed with the food.  Yes, the sizzling was kind of neat - my food was sizzling (the sound it makes when it's cooking in a wok) for about 10 minutes after the waiter brought it out.  However, the portion was small and it was lacking much flavour.  The 'duck' was good, but nothing to write home about.  I would certainly not return, or recommend this place.

These delish noshes came from The Organic Grill.  Ok, they had the BEST soup I have eaten in AGES.  And I'm not exaggerating at all.  I don't know what made it so good, but it sure was.  A-mazing.  The soup was kind of a veggie-corn chowder, with a super-thick broth.  Other veggies were onions, tomatoes, carrots, and I got one piece of zuchinni (which was fine with me, since I don't like zuchinni).  Yowzer!  I am now going on a quest to recreate this delicacy of soups.  Get ready vegan chowders, because here I come...
The huevos rancheros, made with scrambled tofu, topped with salsa and guac and drizzled with chipotle sauce, were excellent as well.  The fries, which were later smothered in organic ketchup by moi, did not disappoint either.  I have never really liked tofu scrambles, but this one really hit the spot!  Again, inspiration to make tofu scrambles ;).  I love b-fast for dinner - even more when I can get veggies included in the meal.

Sorry, Terri, but I think your Thanksgiving sandwich is adorable.  The pile of Tofurkey made me chuckle.  I mean, just look at it!  Piled high with sliced of tofurkey, slathered with cranberry sauce, and there's a few sliced of celery and walnut peices hiding in there... all stuffed between some toasted, thick, rosemary-laden bread.  What more could a hungry person ask for?  Oh, how about some fabulous split-pea soup for a few extra dollars, toast included?  Yes, please!
The atmosphere of the restaurant was excellent, too.  They had some nice, upbeat music, and a long counter with high stools to sit.  A fun, healthy place to grab lunch!

Yikes, that was a lot of writing... well, I hope some of you find this useful!  Go eat, my friends, go eat!

No comments:

Post a Comment