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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Eating Out in New York, continued

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I’ve been down to New York twice in one week—first for a Yaddo “family reunion” at the Brooklyn Brewery last Wednesday night, and then to see a very dear friend visiting from far away. Naturally, I ate a lot of gorgeous vegan food.

 

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I haven’t ever spent much time in Williamsburg, so I Googled to find a list of vegetarian eateries near the Brewery. Bliss Café was the most convenient—cute, romantically lit, and bustling even at 6pm on a Wednesday. I ordered a “bliss bowl”—steamed kale and other veggies with beans, rice, tempeh, and lemon-miso dressing—a simple but delicious meal, washed down with beet-carrot-ginger juice.

 

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I’ve been treating myself to a lot of dessert lately. (My birthday is tomorrow, after all!) This brownie, alas, wasn’t nearly as moist and flavorful as the vegan walnut brownies at the Armory café, but at least the coffee was top notch. Overall I can’t say I’d hurry back here—the service was a bit “oh? you want to eat? all right then, you can sit there I guess,” and I do prefer to patronize restaurants that are 100% vegan.

 

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Vintage beer bottles on display at the Brooklyn Brewery.

 

The Yaddo party was fantastic—I didn’t sample the brew (although most of their beers are vegan), but I made new friends and reconnected with a few members of my original posse. After the event we moved to a dive bar down the street. I was taking the train back at 2:40am, but I didn’t actually have all that much time to wait around beforehand!

 

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I found a 24-hour deli near Penn Station selling vegan cookies. Much much better than that Bliss brownie, but it tasted disconcertingly like egg nog! So the spices were there, but not in the right proportions, I don’t think. And not enough pumpkin, clearly. That said, it was going on 3am and I was hungry, so it did the job.

Now on to visit #2:

 

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Yesterday was one of the very happiest days of 2013, hands down (tell you why later). My friend and I talked for hours over a thoroughly delicious quinoa and avocado salad at Peacefood Café on the Upper West Side. We also ordered gingerade and chickpea fries, of course!

 

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Polished off lunch with a Brazilian nut chai and a chocolate-dipped macaroon. You wouldn’t know it was vegan, right? SO SO GOOD. I also have to give Peacefood a shout-out for some excellent customer service. I love it when a server actually says “Welcome! How are you?”

 

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The right answer, almost every time.

 

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Alone again at half past nine, I headed downtown to a restaurant I used to love in my NYU days called Quantum Leap (Yes!), but I was disappointed to discover they now have fish on the menu. (New owners, probably.) So I went to Sacred Chow just around the corner (which I love, as you know), and even though they were about to close, they still fed me and didn’t rush me out. Not only is their food really good (especially the tapas!), but their service is hands down the best of all the New York restaurants I have ever been to (not just the vegan ones). It is very rare to find a bustling restaurant where the staff make you feel totally comfortable about dining solo (and in the case of my first visit, taking up three empty seats). I said as much to my server, who replied that the owners made a conscious decision to make people feel welcome even if it meant losing a bit of money in the short term. Smart, right?—I keep coming back! Last night they had a Caldo Verde soup special, with kale and onion and potato in coconut broth, and it warmed me up beautifully.

A bunch of us are going to Veggie Galaxy tomorrow night for my birthday, so I’ll have to blog about my chocolate banana frappé next week!

 

2 Comments to Eating Out in New York, continued

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    November 14, 2013 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    You crammed a lot of food into a short period of time!

    Treat yourself! It’s your birthday! Happy birthday!

    What is this great news?!

  2. November 15, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    It’s such a great city to whet and satisfy a vegan hunger! Here’s my NY eatery experience http://va-va-veganblog.com/2013/05/15/biting-into-the-big-apple/

    Enjoy every morsel!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.