A few weeks ago I had the chance to go to NYC with Veteran Mommy. Our husbands had to go for work and we got to tag along!
It was a quick trip, so I wanted to make the most of my culinary adventure. I absolutely love to travel, and I especially love experiencing the food culture of each city (most cities have something unique to offer). One of my favorite things to do is to go to small grocery stores and markets and just browse (especially when we are overseas - do you know in many European cities, the eggs are on the bread aisle and NOT refrigerated). I have been know to walk into bakery after bakery and cafe after cafe...just to look! It's just so fun for me :) Luckily Veteran Mommy is pregnant, so she was feeling a little more of the "food love" than normal and was a trooper!
So I thought I would share with you a few of the fun places that we ate.
The first one was a little cafe that I found on HappyCow.net. One of the reviews online said that the Midtown Melt was one of the Best Sandwiches that they had ever eaten...vegan or not! Pretty compelling testimonial. So we decided to walk on down and give it a try ourselves.
Now this sandwich is generally not something I really would have ordered. I am not necessarily a fan of seitan, and vegan cheese doesn't usually call out to me. But alas, we thought we would give it a try - so we split one. And what can I say....it was UNBELIEVABLE! The flavors were incredible, and the seitan was breaded, seasoned, and cooked to perfection! My only complaint was that it was on a white focaccia bun - which of course tasted great, but I wish it were on something healthier made with whole grains. That said, I am super excited to recreate this one at home!
Another great place we found, OTARIAN, was right around the corner from where we were staying. It is a fantastic "fast-food" type restaurant that has a clean vegetarian menu made with whole foods. It was outstanding! We were thrilled with all of the choices as well as the prices. Some of the fancier vegan restaurants and cafes can get quite pricey. This place had real food for real prices (they even make their own mayo and BBQ sauce) . How refreshing!
This Mushroom Quinoa Lentil Burger was fabulous as were the Sweet Potato Chiplets. (And for only $7.95!!!)
They also had a small salad bar with 3 choices of salads. We started off with a Curried Couscous Salad with sweet potatoes and cauliflower (absolutely scrumptious) and topped it off with a fantastic Massage Kale salad with Sweetened Pumpkin Seeds...mmmmmmm! Sorry about some of these photos - I only had my iPhone (4) and not my SLR.
Another amazing place we ate was Candle Cafe, which is the cafe version of their fancier restaurant, Candle 79. I read about this place on one of my favorite sites (ChoosingRaw.com) and knew that I needed to check it out. It was quite busy and we had to wait for awhile, but luckily we got in just on time - we flew out of JKF right after out meal :)
The food was wonderful (although a bit spendy). My hubby ordered a sprout salad (knowing he would probably eat a little "non-vegan" something later on :) that was quite tasty.
I had a wonderful Indian Tofu Wrap. It was PERFECT! I am not a huge tofu fan and I was anxious to order something that might tempt me to use it in my kitchen a little more often. Well this wrap certainly did the trick! With grilled marinated tofu, sauteed greens, curried basmati rice, pinto beans, mixed pepper saute and date/raisin chutney all wrapper together in a spinach flour tortilla - it was unbelievable (I am running out of adjectives :). The sweet tomatillo aioli that it was served with is really what made it perfection.
.....and the best part.....my Candle Cafe cookbook just came it the mail yesterday! So you can count on me recreating this dish!
And last but definitely not least, we made our way to Babycakes (Vegan and Gluten Free) Bakery.
It was a bit smaller than I had pictured, but super charming.
There were so many tempting choices, but I settled on a Double Chocolate Crumb cake that was excellent.
I would also recommend their great Gluten-Free Cookbook. Some of the ingredients are a little tricky to find without paying a fortune (like xanthum gum and coconut flour), but it has a great variety of recipes!
And just to let you know, not everything I tried was delicious. We stopped into a beautiful little grocery store right on Eighth Ave and we were intrigued by this "Potato Spinach Knish". Unfortunately it got thrown out quite quickly!
So needless to say, I had an incredible trip to the Big Apple - and yes we did more than just eat - (interesting that the city's nickname is a food though:) and I am anxious to go back!