Weekly Vegan Eats

Weekly Vegan Eats

Another week to roundup some of the nommie things I ate. I had kind of a rough week between a couple bad allergic reactions causing skin rash outbreaks and eye swelling (cute, I know), and Millie getting super sick, but regardless, here are some scrumptious vegan food highlights to help inspire your eats if you’re in a rut!

(PS: Millie is doing much better now thanks to our wonderful vet in Hoboken and a couple rounds of antibiotics!)

Pistachio Butter

Easy Homemade Pistachio Butter

Holy cow! This stuff is incredible. I have been fluctuating between inhaling and trying to slowly savor this stuff since I made it last week. You can get the recipe here. It’s lovely on bread and toast and on bread with jelly and with chocolate. Can’t get enough!

Cherries cherries cherries

Holy cow ShopRite came through with the cherry sale this week. This was a particularly juicy, plump, and flavorful batch. I mowed through a huge bag in under 36 hours. Could have done it faster, but wanted to spread the wealth over more than one day. YUM. I actually went back on Thursday for another bag, which I ate in its entirety that day.

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The Best Vegan Restaurants in NYC (according to my Tastebuds)

The Best Vegan Restaurants in NYC (according to my Tastebuds)

Hello! I get a lot of requests for recommendations for what to do and eat in New York City, so I thought I’d make a list of all of the best vegan restaurants in NYC (according to my tastebuds and experiences, at least) and keep them all in one place as a reference for anyone who may be curious!

This list is by no means exhaustive; please note I have always lived in the city as a student and have limited funds and time to eat out, but I do have many more places on my to-eat list (noted at the bottom), and I will update as I go!

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I was originally going to list all my favorite eats and activities in one place, but the eats portion ended up getting to be much longer than expected, so I decided to break up the posts. Keep an eye on for a post on my favorite activities in the city, coming soon!

Below you’ll find my favorite vegan-friendly eats in the city. Now grab your Metro card, we’re goin’ to New York City!

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Random Eats Lately

Random Eats Lately

Hey hey! How’s it going? I’m just popping in to share some random meals and snacks I’ve been into lately. I love reading these posts because they inspire meal and snack ideas in my own life, so I hope to inspire some of you. Let me know if you like these kinds of posts! They’re fun to write so I’m happy to share more like them.

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This past week was particularly emotional and stressful and chaotic in school, work, career stuff, and with some family stuff too, and I ended up getting a killer migraine on Friday, which I took as a signal that I need to take a step back and relax for like, a hot second. All that to say I wasn’t as motivated to post serious intensive content this weekend and wanted to write something bubbly and fun. Now on to the food:

Avocado Toast from Mathew’s Food & Drink

Last weekend my friend Raag came to visit me in JC and we got brunch at Mathew’s. I got the avocado toast and it was one of the better avocado toasts I’ve had. Ever since Vital Root changed (ruined) their avo toast, I’ve been looking for a new avo toast bae and I think I found it.

It came with whipped avocado, fresh peas, radish, pickled shallots, and poppyseeds on toasted sourdough. The fresh peas added a nice pop of sweetness that contrasted nicely with the tangy pickled shallots. And I’m a sucker for poppyseeds so I was so into this. Paired with a side salad and some shared tater tots.

Ripple Foods Yogurt Bowls

I bought some Ripple Greek style yogurt recently and was excited to try it. Verdict: decent, but doesn’t taste like Greek yogurt. The thickness is there, but I want that TANG baby. Also, it was a wee bit gritty.

With bananas, homemade banana bread granola, berries and goobs of peanut butter on top, however, it was a satisfying snack for sure. Still think I prefer Kitehill Plain Greek style yogurt, but the search for a perfect vegan Greek yogurt continues…

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Orchard Grocer Review

Orchard Grocer Review

Monday was my last day of winter break before spring Semester started up again. My friend Caty had off work so we planned a late lunch date to orchard grocer to celebrate MLK day.

Orchard Grocer is an all-vegan deli on the Lower East Side, stocked with vegan spreads, sauces, faux meats, cheeses, snack foods, and candies. They also have a deli counter where you can order some vegan sandwiches and soft serve.

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Columbia Mailman Orientation +Vegan Eats in NYC

Columbia Mailman Orientation +Vegan Eats in NYC

Oy! It was orientation week. I thought I’d blog through a wee bit of the past week for ya, in case any of you are interested.

Saturday + Sunday

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I flew into NYC early Saturday morning, and got straight to apartment hunting. Apartment hunting in New York City is among the worst activities one can put oneself through on earth. Anyone who has done it can vouch – it is literally the most ridiculous, stressful, and upsetting processes of all times.

I ran around the city all day, ate a bunch of snacks (apples, bananas, nuts, nut butter packets, chocolate covered nuts, etc) and eventually grabbed Just Salads for dinner. I have a weird obsession with Just Salad.

 

Everyone I know prefers sweetgreens. But I’m a Just Salads gal FO LYFE. I got kale + romaine mixed, double roasted sweet potatoes, apples, chickpeas, organic roasted tofu, beets, and jicama, with a side of each spicy avocado dressing and agave mustard dressing. And bread, because bread.

I passed out, and did the whole damn exact same thing the next day. And repeated dinner. Good times.

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Monday

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Monday was day one of orientation. Lunch was a buffet style of yummy food. The quinoa salad had chickpeas, cranberries, herbs, and a lemony (I think?) dressing. Wrap was white bean dip and grilled veggies. P impressive.

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Swag:

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There was also a reception that night with lots of appetizers and snacks. I made a plate of fruit, crackers, nutty bread, guac, hummus, and nuts. Yum.  I was pretty impressed by the food selection at Mailman. They did a good job of providing healthy, yummy, filling options. Bravo!

I had a bad day that day for personal reasons. Really bad day. My anxiety is out of frickin’ control. I found out some icky stuff about my mom’s health issues, and was rejected from an apartment, because as a student in NYC, you need a guarantor who makes 64-80 times the annual rent to co-sign your lease. My mom was rejected, because she can’t provide proof of employment (since she doesn’t work since she is disabled). I found this frustrating; I understand that renters want to be sure rent will be paid, but I find this is also somewhat discriminatory. So if you aren’t wealthy or know someone who is, you can’t get a place? #annoying.

I ended up at my friend’s place in Brooklyn late that night, where I ate a banana with peanut butter and some of his leftover kale salad. And a bunch of chocolate. And went to bed.

Tuesday

Tuesday was day 2 of orientation. I’m bad at orientations. We got boxed lunches (I went with that day’s vegan option), and then we had a long 5 hour small group discussion thing on diversity and privilege. Tough conversations, etc. I was having another bad day with anxiety, and probably came off as emotionally unstable to other people since I was being overly emotional. Oh well. Just gotta move on and not obsess.

Bathroom signs at Mailman:

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For dinner, I stopped at Whole Foods out of fatigue and convenience. I got a salad with roasted sweet potatoes, lemon roasted tofu, and some vegan dumplings. I also got a ‘power’ bagel (whole wheat with cranberries and seeds) on the side because my body wanted CARBS baby. Eaten with a vegan cookie. Noms.

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Wednesday

Wednesday was another day of orientation. I had some errands to run in the morning, then headed up to Mailman. I had a hummus wrap and grapes and chips for lunch, but didn’t snap a photo. After orientation, my friend Raag made us some yummy Indian food for dinner.

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He also taught me some cooking tips. Apparently, many Indian dishes are prepared by first browning onions and tomatoes together. This was new to me. Usually, I add tomatoes much later. This was a fun new tip! He also taught me I should rinse my rice before I cook it. I was happy to learn his tips. He’s so kind, and an awesome cook!

Thursday

Thursday I ran some errands around the city and sat around like a crazy anxious person waiting to hear back about an apartment and catastrophizing my life in every way imaginable. At some point, I stopped and enjoyed an organic peach in Bryant Park.

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I swear my anxiety has been peaking this week. I have really been struggling to get through normal daily activities. I know I have to get it under control, but this week has been so busy I haven’t had time to deal with myself. I am VERY thankful to my supportive friends and aunt for being there for me this week.

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A bit later I once hit up Whole Foods for lunch. I got a Justin’s almond butter packet (on sale for $0.50 WHAT UP), another bagel (because I really enjoyed the last one, and for $1.00, it’s a lot of filling carby goodness), a banana, and some salad and hummus from the salad bar. I think the cashier rang up my order wrong, because this lunch ended up costing me $2.77 which I didn’t even notice until I looked at the receipt while eating? Okay. I’ll take it.

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My friend Caty let me come over and sit on her bed and watch dumb videos on my laptop while she went on a run with a friend. I had been pinning out at coffee shops all day but needed to like, not be sitting in real pants around humans. THANK U CATY.

We grabbed a late dinner at Peacefood, which is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC/the world. We split the Asian greens salad (with greens, jicama, tempeh, carrots, and a yummy spicy peanut dressing), and the vegan cheeseburger. Pardon the crapy pics; that place has dim *~*trendy romantic*~* lighting.

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This cheeseburger. You guys. It is my FAVORITE vegan cheeseburger on earth (and I’ve had a lot of veggie burgers in my 17+ meat-free years). It’s a house-made vegan patty with cheese, guac, pickled peppers, caramelized onions, and some sauce or something on homemade focaccia. It is messy and hearty and flavorful and delicious. LOVE.

After dinner, the Van Leeuwen truck was parked right by Peacefood. Van Leeuwen makes the most delicious, rich craft ice cream I have ever had. Their vegan base is a blend of coconut, cocoa butter, cashews, and extra virgin coconut oil. It is OUTSTANDING.

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I ended up with “one scoop” of vegan strawberry jam, and one scoop of vegan cookie dough.

One scoop ended up being more like a pint. And I ate it all because it was FRICKIN’ delicious. I was really glad I sampled the strawberry jam, because it was honestly one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had! And not something I would normally think to order (I tend to be a chocolate/nut ice cream over fruit kinda gal).

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But it had a rich base with swirls of housemate strawberry jam and pieces of biscuit that were like crunchy and sort of soft simultaneously. And the vegan cookie dough was obviously amazing, with big chunks of vegan cookie dough. My fav flavor there is vegan banana nut, which tastes likes straight up banana bread, but they didn’t have it at the truck. Which probably turned out for the better, since I tried the strawberry!

We ate in Union Square Park, then headed back to BK. I went to bed at my friend’s apartment, and she went out with some friends.

Regarding the large amount of ice cream…I DEFINITELY ate past the point of fullness. In fact, I felt a little TOO full about 30 minutes later. I inhaled it because I think I really needed a good meal after so much walking the previous few days, but the stuff is soooo rich I think I overate beyond my needs. Yes, I was a bit uncomfortably full. But you know what? You live and you learn. Yup, I probably inhaled like, a day’s worth of calories in the form of vegan ice cream in like, 2 minutes, but it is NOT worth obsessing over. I went to bed with a very full tummy and decided to slow down on my ice cream inhalation next time (also, usually they don’t give me THAT much, even when I order two scoops instead of one…I think the guy just was feeling generous).

Friday

Friday I woke up early, went on a run (hadn’t exercised besides walking all week and figured it may do my anxiety some good), showered, and got brunch with Caty and one of her friends.


She called me around 10:40am asking if I wanted to go to Champs, which is a vegan diner. I was bummed I had LITERALLY just finished a bagel with nut butter and banana and wasn’t super hungry but decided to go anyway. I’m glad I did.

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Since I wasn’t super hungry I got a pancake with berries. And syrup. Champs was fun. It’s like an old school diner with classic diner entrees, but all vegan. And with fun art.

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The pancake was yummy. Tasted like a straight up diner pancake, if that makes sense. Like that unique, griddle-cooked taste.

After that, I spontaneously booked a plane ticket for that night and decided to head home for the long weekend, since I learned the apartment I was approved for wouldn’t let me move in until Thursday, and I was quite frankly in need of some real sleep on a bed (not a couch) and some alone time.

I’m quite the introvert, and not having any personal space, especially during an orientation week, makes me feel anxious and overwhelmed. I literally often feel like I need to be alone and calm down to get back to baseline when I’m overwhelmed with anxiety, and having no place to just sit and be by myself has increased my stress, anxiety, and panic.

Also, I MISSED MY FRICKIN’ DOG who has been in Wisconsin until I’m settled with a place.

Thanks for reading! Sorry I’ve been absent this week. Haven’t been in the headspace to blog. But feel much calmer home and with my doggo and with a good night’s sleep in me.

Can any introverts out there relate to feeling super overwhelmed when you don’t have your own space? Any tips for crippling anxiety? Let me know and stay #blessed!

Recap: The Seed Experience NYC – Cooking Demo with Guy Vaknin of Beyond Sushi

This weekend I was fortunate enough to win tickets to The Seed Experience courtesy of Beyond Sushi. They had a giveaway and I entered and somehow won! Whoohoo. So on Saturday and Sunday I trekked myself down to Soho and ate a lot of samples and talked to a lot of cool inspiring people and ate a lot more samples and had me a good time.

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The Seed Experience was a collection of plant-based speakers, demonstrations, films, samples, more samples, and what I was most interested in: COOKING DEMOS.

vegan goat cheese for days!
vegan goat cheese for days!

And yes! There was a cooking demo by the owner/executive chef of  my ALL time favorite restaurant Beyond Sushi. You better believe I went in squealing.

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So on Saturday afternoon after I drowned myself in new products like aloe water, maple water, tons and tons of vegan cheese and ice cream (which were all very delicious!) I watched Guy Vaknin (owner/executive chef of Beyond Sushi) make some rolls, speak about how he got where he was, and wow the crowd with incredible avocado filleting skills (seriously, you should have seen it).

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I’m planning to soon post a recipe with a how-to for making black rice sushi but I thought I’d dedicate a little time/space to speaking about Guy:

Turns out Guy started as a chef and did a lot of catering for kosher crowds. Kosher people have lots of dietary guidelines that do not allow them to eat certain things at certain times. I’m not going to pretend I understand the rules well, but Guy mentioned there was rule about not preparing and consuming fish and meat together. But Guy wanted to make a sushi roll appetizer for the crowds. So he started making vegetarian rolls. Though he’s a trained chef, he was not a sushi chef, nor even a vegetarian when he started this concept. He sort of learned it form another caterer, and when he was off duty had no other option other than to master the art.

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Guy, a culinary creative genius, used black rice in his sushi instead of white rice. He said he “saw the reaction,” and knew there was something special about this concept. He started bringing his black rice/vegetarian sushi to vegetarian food festivals, and got lots of positive crowd reactions, inquires, and press, he was inspired to go back to the kitchen and keep working. After a second year vegetarian food festivals, he decided to take a big risk, poured everything he had into one business concept, and started Beyond Sushi. He built the original location on 14th street (between 2nd & 3rd – see my original rave review here) and started by serving vegetarian sushi.

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For a few weeks, customers came in and Guy noticed that some were confused by the different vegetarian vs. vegan options, as some of his original menu items contained eggs and dairy in their rolls and/or sauces. Guy made a lot of personal reflections and seriously considered desires of customers, and decided to turn the restaurant completely vegan, and made the switch to a vegan lifestyle himself. He says he can now “not even picture” life any other way.

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The tiny sushi shop quickly exploded in popularity and has received endless rave reviews and press features for its creative and delicious approach to vegan dining and sushi. Guy still works there 7 days a week, usually in the downstairs kitchen area.

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He puts a phenomenal amount of thought and effort into every roll and every piece of sushi that beyond sushi produces. I was shocked at the time and effort the prep work behind each item on their menu. All the regular rolls have such depth and preparation – including marinating and fermenting of vegetables (often overnight) to get the flavors exactly where he wants them. The rolls of the month are all produced using local, seasonal produce from the Union Square Green Market, which although are more expensive, truly reflect the flavors of the season and the responsible sustainable drive behind the Beyond Sushi concept. It was humbling to see such a successful man so deeply passionate about his craft. He also addressed the possibility of expansion – turns out he has been approached for franchise opportunities, but wants to stay small so the quality of each roll can be carefully controlled. People are hard at work, Guy insists, every morning at 5am, julienning and prepping vegetables and sauces to stuff the rolls with flavor. This care and attention to detail are part of the reason Guy won’t go big (yet). “You can’t mass-produce this,” he said, looking down at his just-crafted roll.

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And as a huge fan having had almost every roll and wrap on the menu, I must agree with him. There is nothing like it. That’s why it’s my favorite restaurant and why I can’t even go to another sushi place since trying Beyond Sushi.

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So thank you, Guy, for the inspiration. And thank you Beyond Sushi for the tickets to The Seed, the inspiration, and for continuously delighting my taste buds. I will forever be a loyal fan and customer – wishing you all the success in the world !

Beyond Sushi

Hello again! Once again, school and NYU Spoon got busy, and I got a dog and stuff. So basically I got really busy again and let blogging fall wayside. Because it turns out blogging is time-consuming. Which you don’t really realize until you start. I mean like, you gotta take a bunch of pics, upload them, write stuff, blah blah blah….anyways I’m back, and better than ever! Can’t wait to get this thing re-rolling this summer. I plan to start explaining the last semester (my new dog, my life, etc). 

You can get a sneak preview of the latest in my updated About Me section. In other news the cashier at starbucks asked me yesterday, “Aren’t you a bit young to be drinking iced coffee?” I’m 23. This doesn’t really bother me any more; I mostly just think it’s funny.

But before I start adding all my new stuff this summer, I’m going to add all the stuff I collaborated on this semester, including NYU Spoon and my friend Dan’s blog Like It’s Your Last. Both are really cool projects with really cool people and you should check them out. 

Here is my first piece published on Like It’s Your Last. It’s about Beyond Sushi, which is my current addiction. It’s also the photo that’s on my homepage. Its gorgeous. It’s vegan sushi. But it doesn’t really taste like sushi. Basically it’s like constant flavor explosions and I can’t get enough. For skeptics I beg you to keep an open mind and an open mouth (but then close it when you chew plz). This piece was also edited quite a bit and and published on NYU Spoon and The Daily Meal. The one I wrote for Dan is more my own thoughts and stuff but in publications apparently things get changed a bunch. That’s fine. I’m still learning. But that’s also why I want my own blog so I can say whatever the heck I want and not get tweaked. More on this later.

Anyways here it is. I’m gonna copy/paste it from Dan’s site:

Beyond Sushi, located on 14th street between 2nd and 3rd, is easy to miss. In fact, even as I regular, I sometimes walk by it. A no-longer-hidden gem, the green space is small but tidy, with a zen dining room that seats up to 12. The three small tables are for sharing, elbow room is a small sacrifice to make for such innovative cuisine.

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Beyond Sushi is a vegan establishment, and while the idea of vegan sushi may sound paradoxical, I bring even my most carnivorous friends here, soliciting their blind trust to follow me into the delicious world of Beyond’s redefinition of sushi.

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I like to start with the carrot salad. The carrots themselves are lightly blanched: slightly tender but with a nice, crisp bite and lightly dressed in a heavenly sauce. The sweetness of the carrots is enhanced with notes of chili, ginger, garlic, fresh cilantro and sesame seeds. Although the flavor combination sounds like it could overwhelm, it doesn’t. It’s simply perfect.

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Then comes the sushi. Surprising combinations of healthful but hearty ingredients like sweet potatoes, avocado, mushrooms, tofu and crisp green vegetables are thoughtfully paired together, wrapped in a seaweed hug, covered with a layer of rice and finished with a specially paired sauce. This food is beautiful. It’s art. It’s almost impossible to eat without snapping a picture. What’s even better to discover is that its beauty is not just skin deep; when it hits the palate, it delivers flavors that surpass expectations.

Take, for example, the La Fiesta roll. Filled with avocado, pickled jalapeño and chayote, this beauty is artfully topped with a mango chili sauce, bringing a burst of sweet and spicy to the earthy roll. One thing that is striking at Beyond, both aesthetically and to taste buds, is the rice. Beyond Sushi uses a 6-Grain blend or black rice in all their rolls. Both of these rices put white rice to shame, providing more flavor and a far superior mouthfeel. The quality of the seaweed (which, in my opinion, makes or breaks a sushi experience) is reflective of every ingredient they use: it’s at its peak freshness and prepared perfectly.


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Food is clean, and flavors shine. I liken my journey through a roll to solving a puzzle. As I make my way through, I discover a new element in each piece: Tanginess from the pickled jalapeño. Umami from the black rice. I just got a hint of chili. That brightness…wow the cilantro was a nice touch. By the time I’m finished, I’ve gone through an entire whirlwind of flavors, and eagerly move on to the next roll.

If it were up to my taste buds, I would pack away ten rolls without taking a breath. However, the limits of a student budget usually stop me after 2 or 3, which, I have found (after a few minutes surfacing for air) to be surprisingly satisfying, leaving a feeling of full nourishment for body, belly and spirit.

 

“That’s the best sushi I’ve ever had,” is what my mother (a carnivore) said when I took her for the first time, and I’ve heard this phrase echoed from every skeptic I’ve brought along. I tend to agree. Each time I gather my things to leave the small healthy haven, I catch myself thinking, “Wow, that wasn’t even sushi – it was better than sushi – like, beyond sushi.” For a moment I mistake this as a profound thought; I then realize, I’m simply reiterating their quintessential name.

Beyond Sushi
229 E 14th St
(646) 861 2889
@BeyondSushi