Hump Day Fronch Toast Glory with Bacon Seitan & Miso-Coconut Palm Sugar Caramelized Figs

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In continuation of the golden, pan-fried bread for hump day tradition, here’s a closer to look at how a ridiculously delightful, recent brunch came together. Indulgent? Check. Utilizing slices from a loaf of bread that wouldn’t hold up to sandwiches? … Continue reading

Product Review: Vege USA

It’s been a tremendously long time since I’ve done a product review. I simply don’t have the time or interest for them very much, and very few offers legitimately pique my interest. This is my space, and it’s not a grocery aisle. I mean, as a vegan blogger, there are only so many times you can open up another raw bar, let alone an email about one.

But hey, here I am, live-blogging from IFBC and back in the game with a duo of frozen entrees from Vege USA: who piqued that interest being just that, a duo of fake meaty entrees with an Asian influence. These items don’t exactly fit into my 100 Days Homemade mode, so they were paired with a from-scratch fried rice – something easy to toss together with my hodge podge of fresh farmers market haul with leftover rice while the entrees warmed in the oven.

Typically, there are three food items I’ll willingly consume on any sort of even semi-regular basis from my freezer: brand-new containers of vegan ice cream (which are then forgotten for epic periods), Gardein/Trader Joe’s breaded chickenless tenders – one of my saving graces during busy times, and most importantly, and influentially, tator tots. And it’s usually the same arrangement – frozen product + steamed kale with nooch (and who doesn’t usually have a few leaves of kale in their fridge?)

I decided to accept Vege USA’s offer to try their product because it was both something I would likely never buy in stores, yet something I would order at a vegetarian Chinese restaurant. That being said, the truth is that the coupons sat in my purse for months — but the intrigue was floating.

Drumroll, please – PRODUCT REVIEW TIME IS HERE.

What is it? Vegetarian Plus Vegan Black Pepper Beef and Vegan Ginger Chicken

Company/Brand: Vege USA

Available from? Whole Foods, Food Fight! (in Portland), Loving Hut, Supreme Master and other vegetarian Asian restaurants, and other natural foods stores

How do you make it? See those freezer packs above? Cut ‘em open, dump the filling onto a lightly greased baking pan or bundle it in foil and bake. I did the latter because I wanted to keep as much sauce as possible, opening up the packets towards the last 10 minutes of cooking. Definitely make a side of rice if you can. With most frozen foods, I do tend to bake longer than instructed and I’m really glad I did that here to really warm the pieces completely.

Like So.

How about describing the finished product in one word?

For this part, I asked Julia Legume to join in, since she shared in on the experience.

Julia found the Black Pepper Beef, and I quote, “Scary”, while she found the Ginger Chicken flat-out “Gingerlicious”. Caps used for importance.

Me? I thought the Beef, texture-wise, was definitely “tender” in that way only seitan can be, while one word for the Ginger Chicken really is just that – “GINGAH”.

So, there.

Plated over fresh chard leaves with Thai Basil fried rice

How about actual thoughts?

From Julia…”Comparing them, I thought that the chicken was much more accessible for people who aren’t in love with the idea of ‘fake meat’. I thought the steak was perfect for the harcore ‘fake meat’ lovers. When I question if something is ‘real’ or not, it worries me, but these people love that”.

I’ve got a soft spot for greasy, vegetarian Chinese food, and these meals were right up that alley – without those greasy feelings. We served them with a side of Thai basil fried rice, but had this been a few years ago, I would have broke out the frozen broccoli and instant white rice (okay, brown rice, and I wouldn’t have cooked it completely, either) and been just as content. I decided to cook both on the same evening for that family-style dining variety.

Let me break it down some more. Both dishes were ….

  • surprisingly saucy for frozen meals
  • quite…flavorful, with noticeable touches of authentic flavors of ginger, star anise, lemongrass and soy in both the sauce and protein
  • easy to prepare
  • straight outta Loving Hut!
  • and really made me pencil in a kale bowl for the next day…

Memories….The Black Pepper Beef somewhat took me back to gluten I’ve had tucked into tasty nests of fried noodles at vegetarian restaurants, while the Ginger Chicken was more reminiscent of grilled skewers I’ve had over many-a-bún, especially at Loving Huts and vegetarian restaurants in Thailand. The sauces were unlike anything I’d typically make, no mater how much ginger I have at my disposal.

Would I buy some more?

Overall, the Ginger Chicken was a much bigger hit on my dining room table than the Beef, so it would be the pick of the two. Sure, both entrees are healthier and less oily that restaurant equivalents, but….I’m just much more likely to order them out for a treat – and I totally will.

But…should you buy it?!

Do you like fake meaty things? Do you miss Chinese food? Go for it.

This has been a Get Sconed! product review. The entrees were furnished by Vege USA for sample.

Veggie Grill Weekend, Day Two: Avocados & New Menu Items

The following is a continuation of menu food porn from my recent Veggie Grill weekend. This post hereby includes upcoming Veggie Grill menu items of the ‘fork and knife’ variety (brief pondering: Do you call it ‘knife and fork?’ Or is that phrasing simply more carnivorous?), a morning visit to the Hollywood Farmers Market, strolling the Venice Beach pier, more silly photos, and further anticipation for the Beaverton opening, just over a week away. Never before have I muttered a similar sentiment for this suburb, but I like to think I returned from my December travels lighthearted, open-minded, prepared to take public transportation wherever it may go (and in any language), and certainly, craving American-style vegan cuisine.

First up, I appreciate a hotel with a chilled pitcher of soymilk, ready to go.

You know, I should have gotten my hopes up (and denied my bladder) when I passed by this publicity poster in an upstairs room. I missed out on a Dolly Parton lobby-walk-by, by mere moments.

My time visit to the Hollywood Farmers Market.

Oh, California.

I picked up two new-to-me varieties of avocado: Bacon and Zutano.

We were serenaded by a Michelle Williams look-a-like in between produce stops.

Branded iced tea shots from a Ghostbusters-style backpack. So LA?

Moving on, we made it to the West  Hollywood Veggie Grill, which I had lunched at last fall on my first visit to LA, for our second lunch tasting.

The full menu is here.

Here’s what we all came  here for, the food.

Most importantly, we started again with nachos. Most definitely, I did not complain. I may have applauded. I’m not normally one for the D-cheese, but Veggie Grill uses it as a base in their nacho sauce, and it really works.

Uptown Nachos [Daiya-based sauce]

Sweetheart Chili Cheese Fries [Daiya-based sauce]

NEW: Bayou Chickin’ Caesar Wrap

Chillin’ Chickin’ Strips, Sweetheart Fries, Ranch and Sweet & Sour for dipping

Wait a minute!

Chickin’ nuggets, Chipotle Ranch (how I dig thee) and BBQ sauce

NEW: Buffalo Chickin’ Sandwich

Fun tidbit: all sandwiches are available wrap-style or served on a bed of kale

NEW: Chicken Fried Steak Plate [Gardein] with Mashed Potato & Cauliflower (aka Caulipots! Name credit: Isa Chandra Moskowitz), Steamed Kale and Porcini Caper Gravy

NEW: The Gluten-free Urban Plate with Grilled Portobello, Grilled Tempeh, Caramelized Onions, Steamed Kale (aw, yeah!), Chipotle Ranch (yeahyeahyeah!), Tomatoes with Basil and Guacamole

NEW: Chocolate Pudding Parfait with Crushed Oreos and Sour Cream Frosting

Our Sunday tasting club: Terese from Veggie Grill, Janessa, Webly, myself and Veggie Grill ‘s “Food Man” himself, Ray.

One last look – surely, that’s a celebrity power couple clandestinely dining on the patio. It would be almost exciting as realizing Daryl Hannah was sitting behind  us the day before in a series of ridiculous pudding photos.

Farewell, Hollywood!

Hello, Venice Beach…

After a week back in rainy Portland, I admit, I missed reading on the beach.

If only there was a rum-based cocktail in a coconut available in place of $3 PBRs. Isn’t this the land of $2 buck Chuck?! The red is vegan-friendly, btw.

With that, we were on our way back to Portland -

Avocados & lemons in tow

I also had some Nicobella chocolates in my bag to sample back home.

On the downside, the mysterious Michele’s take out did not make it home with her.

More discussion coming soon to Stumptown Vegans, in addition to photos and menu tales from next week’s pre-opening event in Beaverton. Check  out their website and facebook for Portland AREA opening information. I’m out.

As for me, I’ll be in Chicago for the first time with the VVC gals this weekend (please share any tips!), and I’m focused on hushing my inner New Yorker about the idea of an authentic, deep dish pizza.

A Very Special Totsgiving

The first-ever Totsgiving™ (I’m hereby claiming it because page 1 of a recent google search has nothing but toys for tots, which seems to have nothing to do with potatoes, and my own related results) was simply epic.

I had the crazy realization afterwards that it was my first vegan Thanksgiving (or, as they’re saying these days, Thanksliving) potluck where the omnivores, including my brother from New York, equaled the vegans in numbers. And I’ll admit, the dinner was no where as disgusting as I feared!

We started with tots, incorporated tots into over half of the dishes, and ended with tot-crumbled dessert.

Without further adieu, I present the photo documentation from our very special Totsgiving™:

Let’s start out by rolling out some seitan. 

The recipe is Chef Brian P. McCarthy’s and available on Everyday Dish. I incorporated pureed shallots, garlic and apple cider into the dough, and baked it, basting with beer, on both sides for 15 minutes at 400F.

Prepping the filling: sauteed shallots, chanterelles & cremini mushrooms in olive oil, white wine & tamari with lightly baked tots and steamed kale.

I bravely modeled my first roulade experiemnt after the inspiration of all inspirations on What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway?

After rolling (in retrospect, I would have rolled it the other way, but we were so focused on these pretty rows), it was tied, seated with fingerlings potatoes and carrots, baked at 425F for 30 minutes, flipping once, and frequently basted with Name Tag Lager from Trader Joe’s.

My brother assembled our mom’s Sweet Potato Pie Casserole (without any fuss!)

First course: a combination of baked Trader Joe’s tator tots and Whole Foods tator puffs with cranberry-habañero BBQ sauce, Gabrielle-approved chanterelle & shallot gravy, white sage gravy and Earth Balance Mindful Mayo & Srichacha for dipping.  The giant martini glass my sister sent me for christmas last year never fails to serve a purpose at my shindigs. 

My brother and I based the cranberry habañero BBQ sauce on this recipe from Whole Foods, adding more fresh cranberries, subbing diced tomatoes for paste and adding a minced habañero for heat. 

The contributions cometh. Chips & salsa left over from the pre-appetizer-we-should-have-some-type-of-food-while-not-eating-and-cooking course.

Ashly’s Crumbled-Tator Tot Apple Pie

Melissa’s Chorizo, Tot & Brocoli Strudel

Lucas’ Tot-topped Shepherd’s Pie

Pumpkin Pie from Sweetpea Baking Co.

Sweet Potato Pie Casserole (with extra pecans)

The pie aisle

This & that

Gravy row. The chanterelle & shallot gravy is based on the Sherried Leek and Wild Chanterelle gravy from PCC Natural Markets, with the substitution of minced shallots for leeks. As we all know, shallots are are undeniably fancier in gravy, not to mention seasonally appropriate here. The incredibly easy white sage gravy comes from Vegan Diner; I added a nice pinch of roasted garlic powder.

Bonus: crescent rolls, for sibling nostalgia’s sake.

Why I bought cheesecloth  (which I didn’t use) and skipped on culinary string for the seitan is beyond me. Let’s blame last minute holiday-shopping anxiety brush-off.

Our feast also included Sweetpea dinner rolls, a Portland tradition, Earth Balance, and Ricemellow Fluff, for those who like to desecrate sweet potatoes.

Family traditions, upheld: Sweet Potato Pie Casserole & Jeff’s Three-Corn Casserole

OMNIS EATING VEGAN FOODZ.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving (or a tator-tot studded variation) without over-indulgent, grateful food moans.

And legitimate Ocean Spray canned cranberry sauce, to boot. 

Pie for breakfast for all!

The Charm of Brass Tacks Sandwiches

Update: They now have a website!

Last week, I was charmed by a sandwich. True story.

softly opening


I stopped by the soft opening of Brass Tack Sandwiches, located on the corner of N Fremont & N Vancouver, and I continue to look back, wistfully. This new deli has creative vegan, vegetarian and omni options, including housemade vegan salami, ham, beanballs, turkey, cold salads & slaws, daily soups, housemade beverages and coming soon – pickles! Both my friend and I ordered the Velveeta Underground, featuring agave smoked seitan ham (yup, I just wrote that) and smoked oat cashew cheese (and that!) and other goodness in between one of Fleur de Lis’ ciabatta rolls. Dare I say, this sandwich was artisan. There’s a build-your-own option amongst other unique named signature vegan sandwiches, too. Here’s the menu.

This adorable combination was served on a cafeteria style lunch try. Add the mug of soup; cue instant charm & nostalgia.

The soup of the day: Cream of Mushroom sprinkled with fresh chives. So great.

Purple Cabbage & Dill Slaw

Behold, The Velveeta Underground

Brass Tacks & the return of Susie

I’m stoked about returning & trying the Captain Nemo, a white beanball & marinara sub, on my next visit.  And believe it: I learned after the fact that this shop was a freaking Kickstarter project come to life! Impressive.

Bonus points for being on my bus line!

Note: They have both vegan and carnivorous versions of their meats – make sure you order the right thing, yo.

Lattes, Sandwiches & Vegan Vietnamese: Seattle Travels with the Veganshizz

Earlier this month, Karla the Veganshizzle and I spent a few days up in Seattle basically drinking coffee, eating vegan food, walking around, and drinking even more coffee.

Our first stop was Georgetown Liquor Co. Hands down, my favorite place to dine (and play NES with a microbrew or PBR in hand) in Seattle. And really, not that hard to find!

The Picard, with vegan aus jus dipping sauce and side salad

The Lowell with vegan ham and green chiles

The Cat Whisperer by Pike Place Market, reminding me, why don’t I have any pet portraits of my roommates yet?

Please help me convince my friend below that Coffeetalk with Karla is a great name for her never-gonna-happen talk show.

Soy Latte at Herkimer, U-District

Bang Bang Cafe

There are many things that I like about Bang Bang Cafe: the Belltown location, the giant dish of vegan mac & cheese (one day this will be mine), the friendly service, the coffee, the Mighty-O donuts, the burritos, the little card for Back to Eden they had posted by the register!….I’m charmed.

Coffee and Lemon Poppyseed donut

Now, consider me happy with my first-time visit to a Loving Hut.

First off, the framed, famous vegan head shot poster:

The Wall of Vegetarian & Vegan Elite (and food):

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Part of the shopping wall:

Vegan Bánh mì

Vermicelli House Special

Attempted to give Cinnamon Works another whirl, badabing, but they were all out of the veganz:

A peak of Shiz’s I know-Jess-is-taking-a-picture-face. Bloggers, be nice to you friends – they’re very patient!

Stopping by Sidecar for sweets:

We enjoyed a satisfying, comfort-food-galore brunch at Wayward Cafe. Honestly, just look at their menu and these pictures and tell me you don’t want to go here. You do! You do! Breakfast All Day!

The Country Bumpkin: Open-faced herb biscuit with tofu scramble, country-style sausage gravy & garlic steamed greens.

The Hillbilly Omelette, stuffed with sausage, peppers, onions &  hashbrowns, topped with country gravy and cheddar cheeze, and served with homefries. Even more whoa.

My Sweet Lord, Hare Krishna cafe. Free vegan cafe (by donation).

Seeing the creepy sights in the U-District:

Pizza Pi – According to my friends, the latest management & menu is the best yet! Noted for next time. The last time I went was years ago and I think it’s changed hands at least twice since then, and it was one of those ‘why does this gross vegan cheese even exist?’ scenarios.

One day, I will.dine.here.

We were in town for First Thursday, and at Anika’s (the vegan wonder of Seattle that she is!) recommendation, stopped by the 30 works in 30 days art show.

The top right here was my favorite:

If you’re a cat, and run to me when I call you, well, that’s a promising friendship:

In more Seattle animal sightings, this dog made me realize that I now have two favorite breeds of dogs: those with capes, and on wheels:

Special Piroshky Report: Last time I stopped by the historic Piroshky Bakery in Pike Place Market, they told my friends and I that a couple of their sweet varieties, like the apple, for example, would be vegan by default because there was no dairy involved. I was excited to peak by again, but that was instantly broken when we noticed ‘honey glaze’ on the window signs. Commence vegan sadface.

OntoThe Highline. No SV review coming with these after my first visit, but here are some quick thoughts: Poor lighting, but lots of greasy potential at this place – a full bar with a specialty cocktail list – I had a short & spicy tequila sipper, a great space with stage, the idea of CAKE-A-ROKE night(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), the faux meat options – looking forward to trying the faux fish sandwich on my next trip up, but our complaint? The pickle fries were deep-fried, and came with a creamy ranch-style dip, but didn’t arrive hot! Double sadface.

Crazy packed BLT-style tofu & tempeh sandwich from The Highline:

Faux breaded chicken sandwich at The Highline:

Most importantly, it’s the year of the pickle fries!

We also took our first trip to Moonlight, a Vietnamese restaurant in the International District that has a separate vegan menu. I wrote a post on it, so sticking with photos here, and my love of their vegan eggrolls.

Eggrolls at Moonlight:

Beef and Broccoli at Moonlight; the Shiz’s iconic favorite soda in the back

Tofu Eggplant Hotpot at Moonlight

Another warming, caffeinated break downtown at Trabant:

Soy Latte, Trabant (which always makes me think of my friend Evan from Drowning in a Demitasse)

Soy Latte, Victrola

With that, I leave you in the Shizz’s hands, at the Pike Place Market:

Season’s Greetings and Happy Long Weekends!

This post is hereby dedicated to KJ & Vijjy.

The Intrigue of the Pizza: balsamic beets, sweet corn & cauliflower basil ricotta

Sometimes, you scratch your brain for ideas when you’re hungry and come up with more than just popcorn + spices. Sometimes, you really regret baking tofu for lunch the night before, because that *so* could have started a tofu scramble revolution for dinner. Sometimes, the thought of simply roasting your beets and having a side of this or that just seems silly. Most of the time, when it’s two days before payday, yet you have the time on your hands to truly cook dinner, you can’t help but hope creativity wins out over desperation and random produce.

This is one of those dinner stories. The Intrigue of the Pizza.

It begins with a mind stuck on tofu ricotta topped pizza. The chapter continues with the boiling of cauliflower,  journeys into a patch of beets, and concludes with a food processor and fresh basil.

cauliflower basil ricotta

Cauliflower Basil Ricotta. Basically, I substituted semi-boiled cauliflower and a small handful of cashews for the primary component of the tofu ricotta recipe in Veganomicon. I added more basil, nutritional yeast and a bit of miso to overpower the ‘flower.

The pizza had both creative toppings and very particular slicing.  The dough was spread with a thin layer of the cauliflower basil ricotta, and topped with balsamic roasted beet cubes, sweet corn, pine nuts, spicy vegan Italian sausage and fresh tomato. As for my fridge, it now solely holds carrots and condiments.

clean out the fridge vegan pizza

Adventures with Daiya: Tofurkey Pizza

The new Tofurkey Pepperoni Pizza, Sampled at Food Fight!

Tofurkey Pizza Samples

My past exerperiences with Daiya have ranged from a tasty, gooey grilled cheese with tomato at Savor Soup House, to uncooked samples at VegFest, to so so home experiments, to the oozing pizza I thought was going to coat my mouth forever and lead to the world’s first drowning by vegan cheese at zpizza in California.  After the first couple tries, it was clear that I was in the minority opinion (but not alone) on this non-dairy cheese, it was taking over the vegan world, and making commercial strides into the ‘real’ world.

I came to accept that progress has been made, vegan cheese that looks and tastes like plastic will one day be behind us, and that goo is here to stay.  That being said, please don’t think all I do is complain about Daiya.  I think it’s fantastic that people are so ridiculously jubilant over a vegan product.

I remain open-minded and my appreciation has developed, which brings me to the latest of my Adventures with Daiya:

In the ever-flowing wave of vegan excitement over the novelty of vegan convience foods, and progress, in the name of nondairy cheese, comes the Tofurkey Pizzas.

I sampled the pizza above, Pepperoni, and the Tofurkey Cheese on Earth Day last weekend at the vegan mini mall.  I liked the Pepperoni, with the thin layer of dispersed Daiya  cheese (both Mozzarella and Cheddar?), mild sauce, and smokey bits (which truly tasted like Tofurkey jerky, but who’s complaining?)

I thought the sole Cheese slice had too much of the greasy cheese, but the Pepperoni distracted me from that with the chewy bits and I can see myself reaching for a slice in the future, if it comes my way.  It’s a little sad that they don’t use traditional rounds, but it’s a freaking vegan frozen pizza, so who cares?

Pros:

  • Vegan, soy-free, and non-hydrogenated!
  • Two popular brands & the possibility of being widely available.
  • Nostalgic, convenience food, with a vegan twist.
  • Thin crust and thin layer of Daiya.
  • pizza!

Cons & Questions:

  • Brand new – have you seen it in stores yet?
  • Over-priced, convenience food – you make the call.
  • The recommended serving size is 1/3 a pizza, is that practical?
  • Daiya is now found at Whole Foods and all over the place – try your hand at a homemade pizza!
  • The Daiya effect aftertaste.  I was telling my friends about this pizza days after trying it, and my mouth was still weirded out.

More convenient Daiya options:

Buy it online, or in Portland at Food Fight!, Whole Foods, and Lamb’s Market.

In other recent vegan cheese adventures:

I really, really like Bacun Cheezly.

cheezly

So much so that I made this pizza with Hot Lips dough, sliced creminis drizzled with olive oil, roasted raab, sliced Granny Smith apples tossed in liquid smoke and balsamic vinegar, Bacun Cheezly, and Mozzarella Teese.

Pre-baked

pre-baked pizza

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.