Photo Essay: The Best & The Rest of NYC (of my winter vacation)

Vegan Ice Cream at Stogo

STOGO

Starting with the Ten Best NYC Vegan Experiences of my winter vacation, in no particular order:

  1. The entire Vegetarian Dim Sum House Experience
  2. Carrot Tahini spread and Terra Sana Syrah at Candle Café – nothing else I sampled there interested me.  It was underwhelming the more ‘upscale’ dining attempt (on a budget) of my vacation. Photos below.
  3. Earl Grey infused Vodka Cocktail at Angel’s Share
  4. Toasted Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with blueberry tofu cream cheese from Bagels on the Square – plus the half dozen I brought back with me
  5. Dinner at Soy & Sake – specifically, the specialty sushi rolls and shrimp tempura appetizer. It was the vacation of fake shrimp and Daiya.  Overall, the best dinner of my vacation was here.  No photos, because every now and then I refrain.
  6. Gluten & Vegetables Pan Fried Noodles at Buddha Bodai – I get this every time I’m there.
  7. Vegan Knuckle Sandwich at Boneshakers -While I still think Daiya is more to look at than actually eat, I appreciated it in this glorious bagel sandwich.
  8. Dr. Cow’s cashew hemp nut cheese from Lifethyme Market - brought back to Portland, but in the running!
  9. The atmosphere & organic Ambrosia White Plum Tea at Wild Ginger, NYC
    • Side note: They refer to themselves as a vegan cafe, but the menu notes a few non-vegan offerings with whey, for example. Order carefully. My lunch here was the night after food poisoning, so I can’t say much about my meal because I picked at it.
  10. Toasted Almond Joy ice cream at Stogo – I dig this solid, gelato style shop. I’m not trying to take sides in the vegan ice cream shoppe wars, I just really like their ice cream. I haven’t been wowed by every flavor I’ve sampled, but I’ve been at least intrigued.  Toasted Almond Joy and Coffee have been my favorites so far, and my sister repeatedly orders the Coconut Vanilla..

Honorable Mentions:

  • Veganized Novice Pesto slice with sun-dried tomatoes and Daiya at Slice - even though once my friend Millie sampled it and said the pesto tasted like pickles, it invaded my experience. You order custom, organic slices here, and they offer vegan pesto and Daiya – which again, was all over NYC.
  • Soy Latte at Tillie’s of Brooklyn (another place with Daiya!)
  • Soy Cappucino at the dear minibar, East Village
  • and because it may have been the cause of late night food poisoning, but I’ll return for more, just the same: Oasis falafel, Brooklyn
  • Economy Candy – because it rules.

Recs? I’m well aware of favorites  I didn’t stop by during my brief vacation, and places I wanted to try (like Cocoa V, the freaking new vegan chocolate shoppe, Counter and Blossom) – any suggestions for my next pilgrimage?

The Photos and the arrival:

nyc

Upon arrival in NYC via good ‘ole Fung Wah from Boston, I decided to walk a few blocks into Chinatown for some vegan Chinese food. It was time for an early lunch after a long bus ride, the sibling I was staying with was just waking up for the day (of course), and her current neighborhood isn’t exactly known for its vegan options. Little did I realize, I was walking into the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade.   I didn’t quite comprehend the growing crowds, and then I was stuck first inside, and then within 1 block of Buddha Bodai with my suitcase, unable to go further for a couple hours.  On the plus side, I had meal in Chinatown, in New York City, and I witnessed the excitement of the New Year Parade!  It was wild, and I remembered what crowds are like, to an extreme.  Towards the end I did get a little angry, knocked over a few dozen people with my suitcase, and inched my way to a subway entrance and my mini family reunion.

Smiley Soy Latte at Tillie’s of Brooklyn (I was way too excited to be at a cafe named Tillie’s, with my friend Millie. It made my day).

tilly's

Candle Cafe

The wine

candle cafe

Carrot Apple Ginger juice

candle cafe

Blueberry smoothie

candle cafe

Bread with marinara dip

candle cafe

Bread with carrot tahini spread

candle cafe

Millet Casserole

candle cafe

Daily Special Lasagna (with Daiya)

candle cafe

Cajun Seitan Sandwich

candle cafe

Daily Special: Macadamia encrusted tempeh with quinoa and sautéed vegetables.

candle cafe

This was my entrée - the sides well cooked, but utterly boring, and the tempeh was bland, which breaks my heart to say that anything encrusted, in macadamia nuts, could be.

Vegan Knuckle Sandwich with soy sausage, Daiya cheddar, and tofu scramble on a bagel at Boneshakers in Brooklyn

Boneshakers NYC

Vegan sausage sandwich at Boneshakers

boneshakers, nyc

Boneshakers

boneshakers, brooklyn

Cappuccino from miniBar

nyc

Falafel at Oasis, Brooklyn

Oasis Falafel

My sister, Jen, creepily waving her hand, in front of the Vegetarian Dim Sum House. The rest of my photos can be found on the Stumptown Vegans Guide.

Veg Dim Sum, NYC

Pesto Slice, at Slice

Slice, NYC

Stogo counter

Stogo

Lifethyme Natural Market - I’ve rarely been in NYC and not stopped here.

NYC

Wild Ginger – first time.

Wild Ginger

King Oyster Mushrooms appetizer

Wild Ginger

Sauteed Tofu & Vegetables in Brown Sauce (lunch special, my order – I really appreciated the side of kabacha squash)

wild ginger

Smoked Teriyaki Seitan with Sugar Snap Peas (lunch special, not vegan, not mine!)

wild ginger

Miso Soup

wild ginger

Singapore Mai-fun with vegi fish cake (lunch special)

wild ginger

Ambrosia White Plum Tea

Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger, and my reckless suitcase

Wild Ginger

Only in New York.

freaking Rice Pudding restaurant

rice puddin'

Jenny, Millie, and Mike in front of MooShoes

strike a pose

Alright, that’s it for the travel recap of my winter vacation in Boston and NYC! Here’s Part I and Part II.

Photo Essay: boston. vegan. vacation. go.

Just what got checked off the Vegan To-Do List from my Return to Boston post…

See tall buildings? check!

beantown

As for food, let’s start with the No Name.  If there was a flag representing Vegan Boston, this would be on it.  The very first gluten/fake meaty anything I could stomach! (and now require at least once every two years).  Battered gluten, sweet and sour sauce, sesame seeds, broccoli – need I go on?

they call me no name

More from Grasshopper – Tofu & Broccoli

1/100th as exciting as the No Name, I know.

Grasshopper

What best follows Grasshopper?  Pizza! Who’s with me? (Not immediately after! Allicia can attest.)

Slice of the day from Peace ‘O Pie in Allston.  With Daiya, vegan sausage, pine nuts, kalamata olives, and roasted garlic.

Peace O'Pie

I was really content with my experience at the former T.J. Scallywagg’s.  On top of that, this was the first time I tried the Mozzarella Daiya and continued eating.  Super nice staff, great menu, and gluten free options!  Any place that optimizes the pine nuts gets a gold star in my book.

My friends shared this intense looking vegan ham & mushrooms pie:

Peace O'Pie

Tableside jar of Parma.  A shaker of nooch (okay, or Parma) is the true sign of a vegan friendly establishment.

Parma at Peace O'Pie


Soy Latte from Espresso Royale on Newbury Street

Espresso Royale

Featuring Bagel Rising bagels and cream cheeses & tofu cream cheeses!

Below, you can see my first East Coast bagel experience – a real treat with jalapeno tofu cream cheese, roasted red peppers, and sprouts. Thank you to my friend Sarah for the rec, even if I wasn’t badass enough for the vegan Tequila bagel sandwich!

bagel rising

Spike’s Curly Fries

spike's

Dinner at Montien Thai Restaurant in the Theater District.

One of those great, impromptu dining decisions.  I was really pleased that our server didn’t even flinch at the vegan requests.

Montien

Sorry for the flash photos, but what can I say? It was after a bubble gum martini at the IT.

Montien

Rice Noodle something something.

Montien

Back Bay, the old college stomping grounds.

boston

Comm. Ave – tiny little bits of old snow that broke my heart.

Comm Ave

Wired Puppy Coffee on Newbury St.

NEWBURY ST

Espresso from Wired Puppy.  Every now and I give in and decide my stomach is up to the task.  It was worth it.

Wired Coffee

Davis Square & Blue Shirt Cafe

Blue Shirt

My friend Millie and I decided to visit Davis Square for a bit. I have so many fond memories from my first apartment there.

Our original intention, besides wandering memories, was to visit the new, all vegan Pulse Cafe that someone had left me a comment about a couple months ago. Sadly, we were in Davis early on, and the cafe didn’t open until 5pm.
We then browsed the menu at Diesel Cafe and were both bummed that the most exciting vegan option being a hummus plate, and went corner the corner to Blue Shirt for lunch. The cafe had expanded since my days of running in for a wrap with tofu to quickly eat on the T to class or work downtown, and it at least seemed like their vegan options had as well.  There were a few more mentions of tofu on the menu, but bizarrely, it’s not that they weren’t vegan, because I comprehend that honey and eggs are utilized, but that there wasn’t a vegan-izable version of a couple of these options. Both Millie and I found our wraps unexciting, which is extra sad considering that a) we have just flown in that morning and were ravenous, and b) we’re both excitable people!

A Disappointed Millieship

millie! with a boring wrap.

Her Disappointing Curry Wrap

wrap

My Disappointing Wrap.  I rarely don’t remember what something was, but this…huh?

wrap 2

Expanded Blue Shirt Cafe

blue shirt

Ah, Chinatown.  I remember when I found you terrifyingly sketchy to walk through at night as a college freshman.  How things change. This is where the original Buddha’s Delight was. I did go for lunch at My Thai, and have a review in the works.

Chinatown, Boston

Soy Latte from Boston Common Coffee Co. in Downtown Crossing. News to me. I have to say that it doesn’t look like much, but it was decent.

soy latte

Let’s head to Kendall Square. When I lived in the area, I was constantly paranoid of secret helicopter pads and underground labs blowing up on the MIT campus.

jess 032

My reason for the venture to Kendall – scoping out the Clover Food Labs food cart. It was nearby the relocated Olive Tree cart, which was formerly my staple Jerusalem cart (and restaurant). I was in college, so my diet was supposed to consist of $3 falafel wraps.  C

jess 033

Heading down to Central Square – just because it’s fun, I will mention again how much I used to love Pu Pu Hot Pot, their free delivery, and Spicy Tofu and Broccoli in Garlic Sauce.  And again, did you see their name?

Central Square

The highlight of my time in Central Square, or Cambridge, for that matter,my first exposure to Leslie and the Lys!  Wow. Wow. Wow. WOW.

leslie

Another highlight? 1369 Coffee House.  So reliable!

jess 015

Vanilla Soy Latte.  Vanilla = Vacation.

Soy Latte from 1369

Next up, NYC.

Musings on New York Bagels

Knuckle Sag Bagel Sandwich from Boneshakers in Brooklyn, NY

Boneshakers NYC

Memories & Musings.

Every now and then I grab a bagel from a certain local bagel chain in town. The owner is actually from New York, though their boiled bagels aren’t quite channeling even half the perfection that belongs to true New York bagels.  Hailing from the fish shaped part of the Empire State myself, I’m admittedly a bagel snob.  I think this local chain has some of the most easily accessible, better quality bagels Portland has to offer (though the consistency wavers), and that nearly all the others in town are like rolls with holes.  Big ups to Sweetpea in Portland for offering a variety of flavored Tofutti along with their bagels.

The sight of a big brown bag with a dozen from Bagel Boss was a regular sight in my house growing up.  Sesame, Poppy and Cinnamon Raisin have long been my favorite varieties of these thick and chewy representatives of New York. It was normal to opt for a bagel with cream cheese for lunch in high school, even when you’d likely be eating one the next day for breakfast. Go, carbs, go! Same for college. While I was stunned by the difference of airier Finagle Bagels when I moved to Boston for college, I still have a small soft spot for them. Ironically, and adorably, my younger sister in New York still asks me to bring her a super cinnamon raisin back whenever I’m going between the cities, years later.

On my recent NYC vacation, I took home half a dozen from Bagels on the Square.  My sister works nearby and is often picking up a bagel there for lunch while we’re on the phone.  Photos of their selection are below – these are the kind of bagels I’m reminiscing about! The kind I’ll rave about for minutes!

I don’t have my sister fed ex me bagels or anything, and they certainly didn’t keep me in New York, but the memory, and reality, of true bagels, holds.  Thick and chewy circles of memories.

Great New York bagels make the rest pointless…or simply vehicles for Earth Balance or peanut butter or Tofutti or whatnot.  I’m not saying I always stick to this, but I can maintain an authentic bagel hiatus knowing I’ll be back.  I wasn’t even aware of this emptiness in my life until a few months into my move to Portland – I had returned to NY, suddenly, and needed a bagel.

Bagel Case at Bagels on the Square, NYC

BAGELS

There were at least 5 or 6 varieties of tofu cream cheese in there!

Cream Cheese R Us

The Boneshakers bagel sandwich was a beautiful sight.  Turmeric colored tofu scramble, melted Daiya cheddar, browned veggie sausage, and that swell bagel.  I’ve come to accept that Daiya has taken over the world and it undeniably worked and melted in this bagel sandwich.  This sandwich could be part of civilization! It could star in a commercial!

That being said, it was on the bland side, overall, but there’s always hot sauce – and again, just look at it!  I look forward to spending more time at this cafe on a future visit.  Their menu was really appetizing and the location reminded me of Red & Black.

Bagel Sandwich!

Boneshakers NYC

More on Bagels:

oh, rejoice! The Portland Farmers Market is back!

It was undeniably the place to be in Portland this past weekend.

and thanks to the press releases (who doesn’t read press releases about their local farmers markets?), I knew it was going to be bigger & better than ever – doubling in size in the PSU Park Blocks.

I was literally sitting at my desk this morning, daydreaming about the vegetables I have at home.

For such an early start to the season, I was constantly thrilled, booth by booth, to see such variety!  I’ve grown accustomed to walking home from the first market of the season with a bundle of raab or rapini or two, and I did, with a bunch more. I started my farmar adventure with a patiently delivered, cup of single origin Burundi Stumptown from Cafe Velo, nibbled on a trail mix bar from BlackSheep Bakery, explored the new routes, marked purchases for round #2, and ran into happy friends.

Notables:

  • The variety!
  • The hipster mustaches! more than ever! with babies! (I know! It’s Portland, but there were more than usual)!
  • Room to move!
  • Gooey (Daiya?) vegan cheese on deep dish slices at the new Via Chicago Pizza stand!
  • The line for coffee at Cafe Velo is not as scary as it looks!
  • Local Yukons (especially miniature! make me never want to buy another russel potato again).
  • Multi-recycling & composting efforts!
  • Petunia’s Pastries stand!

The Photos:

The market is enormous!

farmar 2010

There is room for 3 different music spots! Maybe more? At least 2 were official.  Sadly, I don’t have a photo of the cool country western singers (with mustaches).

life march 2010 012

The crowd thickens…

life march 2010 015

Broccoli raab sighting #1, check

RAAB

Even more glorious raabs!

life march 2010 021

Bought my garlic here…

farmar 2010

Tempting.

farmar 2010

There are two food strips now – in the middle and the farmost SW corner.
Some vegan highlights -

farmar

I’ve never ordered from here, but it’s nice to know it’s an option.

farmar food

Via Chicago

Chicago pizza Portland Farmers Market

BEHIND THE SCENES

farmar 2010

Glorious.

life march 2010 025

If I hadn’t opted for coffee, hot peppermint tea would have been calling.

life march 2010 026

Preppin’ the mushroom samples

life march 2010 027

support the fraggles

fraggles

My haul: Cremini mushrooms, Yukon Gold potatoes, brussel sprout raab, broccoli raab, mustard greens, asparagus, miner’s lettuce, red Chesnok garlic

farmar haul 3/20/2010

My only reason to get up at 9am on a Saturday that is truly worth it.  I contemplated signing up for a CSA again this year, but the farmar is truly too much fun to resist.

And the first actual dish from my haul, besides nibbling on miner’s lettuce and tossing a piece to my cat:

Shells Con Broccoli Raab, modified from The Urban Vegan (with miso!)

urban vegan pasta

Made with orrechiete and broccoli in the book; whole wheat shells and broccoli raab in my kitchen. Small dish of nooch for sprinklin’. Local greens and garlic.

back to portlandia!

I’m officially back from a one week vacation to Boston and New York with my friend Millie. I’m a little bummed it didn’t snow, but I had swell times, so I’ll live.

Expect a bajillion photos next week.  For now, let me say that the most awesome things I sampled on vacation were a variety of sushi at Soy and Sake, a latte at 1369 Coffeehouse in Boston, the new Peace O’ Pie, and a NYC bagel.  I need to go back to my rule of not eating bagels outside of New York State.  There’s simply no point.   Other highlights (or amusements) included the Leslie and the Lys show, a bubblegum martini, double doses of fake shrimp, Stogo, and Daiya cheese everywhere.  Is it the new face of veganism?

Vanilla Soy Latte at 1369 Coffeehouse in Central Square. Cambridge, MA

Soy Latte from 1369

I went for the vanilla, cause you know, I was on vacation…

Upcoming posts: NYC and Boston travel write ups, the secret project with Janessa and Portland’s First Vegan Iron Chef news!

Adventures with Daiya: zpizza, Quesadilla & Native Bowl

Thank You, zpizza.
daiya

The first time I tried Daiya, I was in Laguna Beach, CA and had a pizza delivered by zpizza, pictured above. I was in such dislike with this goo on soft crust that I thought I was being tricked with soy cheese with casein.  This new soy-free vegan cheese had just arrived on the scene at Food Fight! in Portland days before, and across the vegan internet, the hype was through the roof.  And it didn’t come across like hype, there seemed no doubt that this vegan cheese was revolutionary.  New and old vegan cheese eaters seemed to be ridiculously impressed.

It’s been released across the country and added to menus like no vegan cheese before it.  In Portland, Mississippi Pizza, Savor Soup House cart, Whiffies (in a vegan meatball pie!) and Native Bowl are all using it so far.

There’s no tricking to melting it.  It does what it’s supposed to. It comes in two flavors, Italian blend and Cheddar style, and I’ve accepted that it’s the new king of the vegan world. Does that mean I have to like it?  Do I simply dislike it? Is it too realistic, channeling too much Velveeta (thanks Maeve, for that)?

On my first post about Daiya, after grilled cheese trials at home and from Savor Soup House, I mentioned my mixed feelings.  On one hand, this is a melty, available vegan cheese making waves and getting real respect (restaurants, consumers and bloggers); on the other, there’s something about the cloying, stick to the roof of your mouth texture and flavor it gets when melted that rubs my taste buds the wrong way. Yet, I actually liked it raw at VegFest.

Onto the adventures.

Quesadilla with Spicy Pinto Bean Spread and Italian Daiya

daiya quesadilla

I was utterly impressed with the melt action! This was so easy and I wanted to like it. Sadly, couldn’t manage more than two bites.  Is there cilantro in the cheese that’s activated once it’s melted?  I’m joking, sorta.

Lunch from Native Bowl in the Mississippi Marketplace, featuring a grilled cheese with Cheddar Daiya, housemade cashew cheese, seitan  and jalapenos.

Native Bowl

This sandwich rocked the house, but I think I could have easily lived without the Daiya: it’s didn’t capture everything in a melty embrace, and that was OKAY! The other ingredients, fine, working with the Daiya, made for an excellent, unforgettable sandwich.  And pickles! Cookie! Love, love Native Bowl.

Final Thoughts:

When I told people about the zpizza experience, I was told a couple tips repeatedly – there was too much cheese and there needed to be more toppings, and that I should try it again in a sandwich.

So, because I don’t want to be the crazy official hater, or called names and kicked out of veganism, and every so often I can bear and appreciate it, I’m trying to think of this new product like an acquired taste and I’m welcoming more tips! Vegans will never live without the gooey cheese sensation again – you’ll tell the next generation stories about this! The pre-Daiya era.

And if you’re a hater, well come here for a hug, because it’s taking over.