Strong Hearts Cafe in Syracuse

I actually jumped for joy when Google told me a vegan cafe was a block from my hotel in Syracuse. It was almost unbelievable!

Strong Hearts Cafe was great fun. Definitely focused on being vegan.

The menu offers standard fare except for the extensive milkshake options with very fun names.

For breakfast I decided on the green scramble with marble toast. My friend also got a scramble.

I really enjoyed it. We returned for dinner the same night, but I forgot to take pictures. I tried a milkshake and it was wonderful. I also got the Cesar “Chicken” Salad that was just okay. My friend got the “Chicken” Salad Sandwich that she enjoyed.

The space is rustic and simple.

At breakfast the counter person was surly, but at dinner a different counter person was nice.

Strong Hearts Cafe gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. The food was decent, the staff hit or miss, and I was super happy to have clearly vegan food on my trip.

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Alto Cinco in Syracuse

I am in Syracuse, NY for a couple days and very pleasantly surprised by all the vegan options.

A quick search through my phone the first night revealed Alto Cinco and my colleague who lives here was thrilled when I suggested it. She describes it as Cali-Mexican food. But there are Catfish and BBQ options on the menu, so lots of people can find what they find yummy.

There is a standing BBQ tofu dish on the menu, so I knew I would be happy. Excitingly, one of the specials during my visit was tofu ricotta tacos!

I picked spinach with brown rice and beans for the sides. I was not disappointed. It was yummy. A bit bland, but fresh and worth eating.

When in Syracuse, Alto Cinco is worth trying. The dining room was dark, noisy, and cold, but our server very kind. Alto Cinco gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. A good option when dining with others who still think they need to eat animals.

Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems

I have seen pictures of these gems for a little while and decided to finally try them. I used to love Peanut M&Ms and wondered if these would be similar.

As a dark chocolate, they don’t taste like the M&Ms, which is good since I don’t want the non-vegan ick in those candies. But they are tasty. Even hubby likes them and he is fairly picky.

If interested in a chocolate and peanut combination, check these out. They won’t last long in my home.

Le Botaniste in SoHo NYC

Hubby and I were famished after volunteering with Best Friends Animal Society in SoHo and realized Le Botaniste was only a few blocks away. We had to try it!

It is an adorable space that feels clean and bright.

All vegan and gluten free, it has smaller cold dishes and larger warm dishes.

Being that it is about 20 degrees outside right now, we opted for warm bowls and the cheese plate. Mmm…

I got the equivalent of spaghetti and hubby got something like stewed veggies over quinoa and potatoes. Both were yummers, as well as the cheese plate.

We had a little room left in our tummies and decided to try dessert. Hubby picked out a chia brownie covered in a cashew vanilla sauce and I got a tiny key lime pie. My pie was wonderful and hubby really enjoyed his brownie, especially with an Americano coffee.

Ordering happens at a counter and the staff is very nice. Even asking about our volunteer shirts.

We really enjoyed Le Botaniste and will absolutely go back. Maybe even on Sunday when we volunteer again. Le Botaniste gets five out of five vegan cupcakes for delicious and healthy food with a welcoming environment. Check them out next time in SoHo.

JaJaJa in Lower East Side


My aunt came to visit and wanted to experience a cat cafe. There are two in the Lower East Side and we were hungry after all the kitty cuteness. I had seen JaJaJa on Instagram and wanted to try it. Not at all disappointed.


We were excited to dig in. Oddly, good guacamole is challenging to find in NYC, unless I make it myself. JaJaJa has wonderful guacamole! I also had to try the cucumber gazpacho. It’s green.


Beyond appetizers, I got the Chorizo Tacos and my aunt got the Chilaquiles. Both delicious. My aunt thought her dish was too big for her and shared some with me. This was good since the tacos felt a bit small. But, since I got the gazpacho, I was doing okay.


Again, yummers! Since hubby didn’t join us, I decided to bring home a chocolate chip cookie for him to try. I ordered two, knowing that if I wanted to try it, I would need to have my own. Well, it’s a whole bag of gluten-free soft yummyness. Score! And the server liked us so much that he gave me a bag of Mexican Wedding Cookies too. Second score! They are like my snowball cookies, meaning they do not have the anise flavor.


Tha ambiance is open and clean and the wait staff very nice. We even got the Sanctuary discount. If a member of an animal sanctuary and at a vegan restaurant in NYC, many places will take 10% off your bill when you show your current membership card. I always ask, just in case. I’m in my third year of membership with Catskill Animal Sanctuary and keep the membership card in my wallet.

JaJaJa gets five out of five vegan cupcakes. I love the food, the space, and the people. When hungry on the Lower East Side, consider stopping here and enjoying. Good Mexican food is challenging to find in NYC.

Pizzeria L’Angelo in Venice

I was thrilled to find a pizza place in Venice, Italy with clearly labeled vegan option.


Of course I got the vega. It was okay. Hubby was not at all impressed. The place is a counter only, so we ordered and took our pizza box to a nearby square. This is common in Italy. It was fun to do this, but I wish the pizza had been better.

Pizzeria L’Angelo gets two out of five vegan cupcakes. Not only was the pizza not great, the people working there clearly didn’t want to be there. Too bad. I say skip this place and keep exploring.

Teamo in Venice

Eating vegan in Venice, Italy was the easiest of all three cities visited. Our hotel was not in the main tourist area, which was wonderful. We were able to wander the islands (I didn’t even know the Venice we see today is a series of multiple small islands that have been connected with landfill) and see things others often miss.

Of course we were starving as soon as we arrived. Many restaurants are closed during the mid afternoon so I was thrilled to see Teamo was open and had vegan options. Best part? Sitting outside in the lovely weather.

Of course I had to try the vegan lasagna and gazpacho. Both were incredible! Hubby got asperagus risotto (vegetarian) and the Teamo salad without seafood. The vegan menu is small, but there are miltiple vegetarian options.


Yummers! Not the best lasagna I have ever had, but a yummy option for a hungry dinner. The soup and salad were both excellent.

We enjoyed Teamo so much that we went back a few days later. They must only carry so many servings at a time because the only vegan option available was the burger. Which is not actually a burger and I enjoyed it more than the lasagna. It is two seasoned and mixed with vegetables tofu patties served with your choice of raw or cooked vegetables. I got the cooked vegetables because I also got a salad. Yummers!

Teamo gets four out of five vegan cupcakes. Very worth enjoying when in Venice, especially if the weather allows for sitting outside on the calm street/sidewalk.

Universo Vegano in Florence

Hubby found Universo Vegano for our first night in Florence. It has good reviews, so we were excited.


It’s a cute little place with an English version of their menu.

The menu is giant, we were both overwhelmed. And there is also a case at the front of the restaurant.


We finally decided. I got a lentil burger called the Multiprotein and the Beach salad. Hubby got the Grand Sombrero and a Chop Salad. The Grand Sombrero is a full meal, so he didn’t need the extra salad. It all sounded yummers!


The food was okay. Tasty, but not mind blowing. A simple fast-food approach to vegan food.

If I was in the neighborhood and hungry, I would eat here again. The amazing competition they face would have me eating elsewhere more frequently. Universo Vegano gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. The food was fresh, if not especially flavorful, and the place cute.

Across the street is a gelato place with clearly labeled non-dairy options. Yummers!

Berbere Craft Pizza & Beer in Florence

Berbere is a small chain across Italy and yummers!

Looking for a fun evening meal, I found Berbere through Google. One of the reviews had mentioned a vegan pizza. Hubby adores pizza and when in Italy…

This place has an honest to goodness wood burning oven that cooks pizza super fast. I sat right at the bar where pizza is prepared and really enjoyed watching how simple they made it look.


Although not labeled, I asked for the vegan option. It is seasonal and during my visit they had a beet cream pizza with sautéed green onion and olive.


The dough with beet cream was placed in the oven with onion and olive added at the end. A tasty combination, but would have benefited from more beet cream.

Hubby adored his pizza of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil. Not vegan, but he thinks it is the best pizza he has ever had. We also started with a bowl of olives that were very tasty.

Best part of Berbere? It’s half a block from Sweethings. Us and another couple both stopped at Sweethings to pick up dessert and then headed to Berbere for dinner with our little boxes. The other couple, Florentines, said we had gotten the best dessert and pizza in town. They also got the beet cream pizza.

After dinner we walked back across the Arno River and stopped to watch the sunset. A glorious evening!

Berbere gets four out of five vegan cupcakes. It was wonderful, but only one option and a bit dry. Worth enjoying when in Florence. Yummers!

Sweethings in Florence

I was so excited when I figured out there was a vegan bakery only half a mile for my Florence hotel. I had to get there fast!


It was the end of the day, but there were still a few things to try. The storefront is adorable and the two people working there were super nice.

I tried the chocolate cake with an apricot layer, raw chocolate truffle with raspberry, and lemon cake. Hubby also tried an apricot tart, but didn’t let me taste it. Actually, it was gone before I realized I should have asked for a bite.

Everything was fantastic. Full of flavor but not super sweet, just the way I appreciate vegan sweets.


When in Florence, absolutely swing by Sweethings. It’s not a restaurant, and actually sells vegan cupcakes, but deserves five out of five vegan cupcakes.