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.


Cafe Frida in Upper West Side NYC

Cafe Frida recently added a vegan menu to their traditional Mexican options. So of course I had to check it out.

The place was completely packed and very noisy. We were told 15 to 20 minutes for a table for two, but waited 45 minutes. Oops.

There are three entrees to choose from and several appetizers. We decided to try multiple appetizers.

We started with excellent guacamole. Some of the best guacamole since moving to NYC. But the chips are super salty. Then we enjoyed some elote, which is corn on the cob covered in yummies, and soy chorizo quesadillas. 

We also tried the chilies toreados, but they are way too spicy for us.

Overall it was fun to try some new things. I had tasted a couple entrees and salads through Grub Hub ordering. The salads are good, but the entrees would benefit from more vegetables. The platanos are delicious. There are currently no vegan desserts, but I was told they are working on one and I should come back in a couple weeks.

Cafe Frida gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. There are some yummy things and I am glad they are trying, but there is room for improvement. I hope that happens and I can update when it does.

Voodoo Taco

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I don’t normally review local restaurants because these are the people I know and get to live with. However, others have started asking me to do so. If following my tweets @aneverydayvegan, you already know I tweet when I learn about new vegan options in town that are worth sharing.

Recently I found myself at Voodoo Taco. I had heard they had a vegan option, but had not tried it. It’s a very simple place with several taco options. Besides the fun name, there is a veggie taco that says to order vegan if desired. Score! I LOVE it when restaurants make the vegan option easy. Of course I ordered one.

It’s decent. Lots of fresh veggies and tempura fried avocado. I know, the tempura might sound a little strange, but it was good. Not the best taco I have ever had, but not the worst either. Voodoo Taco gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. I would eat it again, but it didn’t wow me. If you find yourself near one of the locations, try for yourself.

Brown Rice Tortillas

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I do not have a gluten intolerance or allergy. However, I do feel lighter when I eat less gluten, so I look for yummy ways to make that happen. Unfortunately, these Food For Life Brown Rice Tortillas did not accomplish my goal. The taste was okay, but the texture was strange and when I go to bend one, it breaks in half. Not as useful for burritos. The description says they are supposed to be moist, but I did not find that to be true. I will keep looking for a gluten free tortilla.

Party Queso

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A few years before I became vegan I was introduced to a dish that made me want to eat the entire bowl, knowing a tummy ache was quick to follow. A local restaurant, named after the street it sat on, made an appetizer, also named after the street, of avocados and cheese. Despite the lack of originality in naming things, the appetizer was very good and my vegan version is always a winner. What you will need:

2 ripe avocados, mashed

Juice from half a lemon

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 cups water

1/4 cup margarine

1 tsp mustard, the kind you put on a sandwich

Tortilla chips

Mix avocados with lemon in a medium clear bowl and set in fridge. Mix nutritional yeast flakes, flour, salt, and garlic powder in a medium pot. Using a fork or whisk, mix in the water over medium high heat and beat to remove all clumps. Keep stirring until thick and bubbly. Count slowly to 30, or set a timer for another 30 seconds, before removing from the stove and stirring in the margarine and mustard. Pour as much of the queso over the avocado as you like. If you have left over queso, it can be eaten alone with chips or used as a topping on other dishes. Serve with tortilla chips and make sure to get a bite before it’s gone.

If desiring a spicier option, add a spicy salsa or picante to the avocado before pouring the queso over it.


Rice and Beans

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Rice and beans has been a go-to meal for me for decades. No matter my budget or time limits, this meal is always easy and delicious. What you will need:

1 cup uncooked brown rice

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can sweet corn, drained

16 oz jar mild salsa

Vegan sour cream, optional

Baby spinach, optional

Cook the rice according to package directions. In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients except sour cream and spinach. If incorporating optional ingredients, place a handful of spinach on a plate, scoop rice and beans over the spinach and top with a spoonful of sour cream. Yummers!


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I associate the holidays with Horchata. Probably because I’m from Texas and have attended many Posadas over the years when this drink is often served. It’s sweet and refreshing without being too thick like egg nog. What you will need:

1/2 a gallon of rice milk

1 TBS vanilla

1 TBS cinnamon

2/3 cup coconut sugar

2/3 cup sugar

Place everything in a large container and stir until well mixed. Let sit in fridge at least eight hours. Just before serving, remove the cinnamon film on top. Ladle into cups and serve cold.


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Last week I wrote about using a new shredded vegan cheese for nachos. One of my favorite things to eat in the summer is nachos and I realized that maybe some would like to know how I make delicious nachos. There are two important tips I have learned over the years for great nachos. The first tip my brother taught me and that is every chip gets refried beans. Every single chip intended for the plate gets some refried beans. The second tip is to use the freshest ingredients possible. For example, make the guacamole rather than buying pre-made guacamole. What you will need:

Tortilla chips

Vegetarian refried beans

Vegan shredded cheese, I use a jack or mozzarella

1 large avocado

1 TBS juice from a lemon

1 can large black olives with pits removed, sliced

2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed, diced

Vegan sour cream

Mash the avocado with the lemon juice to make a simple guacamole. Place a glop of refried beans on every chip and arrange one layer on a plate. Layer with cheese and microwave until the cheese melts, about a minute. Randomly glop on guacamole and sour cream to your liking. Layer on tomatoes and olives. Enjoy!


7 Layer Dip

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I made this twice for different parties last weekend and still didn’t have leftovers. Seven layer dip often has lots of dairy and sits overnight to combine the flavors. I prefer it fresh and encourage all fresh ingredients. For example, there is prepackaged guacamole, but fresh avocados make a huge difference.

1 can vegetarian re-fried pinto beans

2 TBS cold water

2 medium avocados

Half of one lemon


1 container Tofutti non-hydrogenated sour cream

1 can large black olives, sliced into circles

2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and diced

2 green onions, sliced into circles

In a bowl, mix the beans and water until smooth and fluffy, place as first layer of dip in a square glass pan. By adding liquid and air, you are helping to make the dip soft and easier for chips to pick up.

In another bowl, mash avocados with 1 TBS fresh lemon juice from the half a lemon, place as the second layer of dip.

Spoon on salsa as the third layer. A thinner layer will make the fourth layer easier to add, but use as much salsa as you desire.

Stir sour cream until smooth and fluffy, carefully spoon on as fourth layer. Again, use as much as you desire. I tend to not use the entire tub.

Layer black olives next, fifth layer.

Diced tomatoes are the sixth layer.

Sliced green onions are the seventh layer.

Serve with corn chips for a gluten-free option or tortilla chips. Make sure you get to have some because the dip will go quickly!

Spinach Enchiladas

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Enchiladas are one of my very favorite foods. This dish can be mild or spicy depending on the enchilada sauce or cheese used. My favorite enchilada sauce is Hatch. After living in New Mexico for a couple years, I still salivate over the abundant chili dishes that are possible with fresh roasted chilies.


24 corn tortillas

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cans Hatch red chili enchilada sauce

1 medium onion, chopped

6 oz baby spinach

1 large bell pepper, any color, chopped

1 bag Diaya mozzarella or Pepper Jack cheese

1 TBS olive oil or 4 TBS water to cook veggies (if using water, watch very carefully to not burn)

Optional ingredients: frozen corn, fresh garlic, mushrooms, Boca crumbles, mix and match to your tastes



Preheat over to 425 degrees

Sauté onion in oil or water over medium heat, add bell pepper. Cook until slightly soft. Add beans and 1/3 can enchilada sauce, stir, add spinach, cover and let wilt. Soften tortillas in microwave with dampened paper towel over them, 30 seconds. More time if still hard to roll without breaking. Pour enough enchilada sauce into a long casserole dish to cover bottom, about 1/3 of can. Take one tortilla and place a large spoonful of filling into tortilla. Roll into enchilada and place in casserole dish. Repeat until filling is gone. Cover enchiladas with rest of sauce. Cover all with cheese.


Bake 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling. Serve hot with sliced avocado and/or Tofutti sour cream.