06 November 2008

new, new york eats

normally, when i go to new york, food isn't a big priority. i'm all about walkin the streets, lookin up and around, hunting and gathering. restaurant dining has usually been limited to a meal or two. not this time.

my brother is a vegan, has been for the last three years. during this trip, dining climbed up a few notches on the priority list. i'm realizing that being a vegan is not a lifestyle of deprivation. it's quite the opposite. for every one thing i assume he's missing there are so many new things to be had. hanging out at vegan spots and then going to a 'normal' spot he would point out a vibe difference. i noticed it too.

it's not like meat makes people go crazy or be rude but that being a vegan is about choice. you choose this lifestyle. you choose to be conscious of every thing you put in your body. there is a consciousness in everything. it makes for a unique and chill bunch to hang out with.

accessibility breeds appreciation. contrary to even my own assumptions, new york city vegan options outnumber san francisco by an embarrassing amount. if we ate at a location a day we'd be in new york, well over a month. san francisco? maybe a week. true, there are over 8 million people in new york city vs. roughly 700,000 in sf so there is more of a population to sustain a vegan culture. i hope we can catch up.

while exploring nyc with my brother, i slowed down enough to eat. we sat down. we shared meals. we spoke with other people. and not just about food, at first maybe. we'd arrive for the food and stay for the company.

i never left a restaurant unsatisfied or craving meat. i did leave new york wanting more time with my loved ones.

here are the new spots that we'll be sure to visit next time, vegan in tow or not.

cafe blossom
the soup of the day was a sweet potato and coconut puree. there was a chill in the air and rain had begun to fall that night. this soup was perfecto for those conditions. it was rich, sweet and savory. it reminded us of a filipino desert soup. it was slurped by all at the table.

we ordered a variety of things and truly enjoyed every single morsel. we had and you should definitely try the

black eyed pea cakes
tuscan pizza tart
autumn sweet potato rolls (raw)
crostini tapas
sweet potato fries

we had a couple of other items not featured on their menu and not retained by my brain. i do remember having a piece of seared, smokey tofu with a delicious sweet glaze that rivaled many entree sized steaks i've had.

red bamboo soul cafe
hands down our favorite spot. it's a teeny space. scott joined us late and we had to ask him to wait outside for us. he'd pop in and snag some fries off our plate much to the chagrin of these hipster batches next to us. we ordered food to go for him and he said it was worth the wait in the cold. we chowed down on

lumpiang shang hai
buffalo barbeque wings - these were out of this world. they not only included a skewer [which totally enhances the wing experience w/o having to deal w/a bone]but had this awesome chicken skin texture to it. yumski. g will be attempting to bring home a couple of orders on the plane at the holidays.
soul chicken sandwich
bbq half chicken - they went so far as to fashion a 'wing' on this piece!
garlic fried rice
garlic pepper chicken

highlights here were the chicken club sandwich and their sangrias, of which they have two. a white (w/peaches and pears) and a red (w/oranges and apples). will sipped on a lavender lemonade.

the banditos have a serious sweet tooth. we get it from our mama. you won't miss the meat at any of these loverly joints.

we turned the corner after chompin on some burger's at kate's joint and came upon this sweetie. i noticed it because the name lula is the special name niece extraordinaire calls our mom.

we were full but could not pass it up. all the 'ice creams' are made on site and are the bomb explosive. i got down on a chocolate, pistachio + strawberry caramel sundae. once my spoon hit the strawberry i couldn't help but exclaim (to no one in general), "this strawberry is hella good!" the cool guy servin' it up (he and his wife run it) said, "where are you from?! i haven't heard that since san francisco!"

over two really good cups of coffee we learned that lula's is named after his wife's niece, that the boltbus is way better than the chinatown bus if you're wanting to go to philly and that yes, new york city can handle another ice cream parlor.

while we there a local stopped in with a sample of his new homemade (and vegan friendly) root beer. will had a sample asking what it was called. the local asked what his name was and instantly dubbed it will's beer. he was over the moon.

after leaving, he said that hanging out there made him feel very much at home. that there is a commonality among vegans (and vegetarians and all those into organic foods)that transcends boundaries.

what's not to love about cupcakes? how bout cupcake tops?! they're just like muffin tops (you know, like the best part of the whole thing) but cake..and with frosting. so yum to the ski.

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