Bryant Park’s Winter Village 2017 NYC

In 2016 the organizer of Bryant Park’s Winter Village changed and the vegan mission was lost. I was so disappointed in the lack of vegan options that I didn’t even want to blog about it. This year is better and I’m thrilled.

There are two vegan food vendors this year and several vendors with a vegan option. The photo is a cous cous bowl from Cous Cous Vegan Bowl. I almost jumped into the air with joy when I saw this name on the Village map today. And the bowl is yummers! When I picked it up I said, “thank you for brining vegan back to the event.” The person behind the counter said, “that was our goal.” Excellent! They also have vegan hot chocolate.

The other vender is the always wonderful Raaka Chocolate. This year they have a gift box of their current six bar line up.


If wanting something else, explore deeper to discover vegetable dumplings, tacos, Mediterranean wraps, and more. Yummers!

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Vegan Food & Drink Festival

The vegan food & drink festival finally came to NYC! I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to see what other cities have been able to experience. I was not disappointed.


The festival was on Randall’s Island, a place I had only driven over in a taxi or bus to the airport. I had seen countless others walk along the bridge to other events on the island and decided to ride my bike and take a pedestrian bridge on the southern end. Good choice. A very easy route that gave me stunning views of the East River.


There were many local vendors at the event and many I had never heard of. I skipped long lines for places I knew, like Cinnamon Snail. Other long lines snaked out of vendors offering fried goodness. Tempting, but I would rather explore more.

The deliciousness seemed endless.


We finally tried the Impossible Burger, which was a total trip and weirded me out. It really does smell, taste, look, and and have the texture of a medium raw burger. Hubby gobbled, I tried a bite. I also got a Nashville sauce tofu sandwich that was amazeballs.

But it was more than food!


I had great fun exploring all the signs and information.

There was music too, but nothing live while I was there. Just so many people enjoying vegan goodness.


If you get a chance to go to one of these, I recommend it. I got early bird tickets that were only $10.

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.

Buddha Bodai in Chinatown, NYC

We recently explored Chinatown more and of course had to sample the food too. Buddha Bodai happily offered a warm and full dining room.


Everyone was stuffing their faces with Dim Sum. We decided to try:

  • Sweet sticky rice dumplings
  • Veg meat rice roll
  • Steamed vegetable bun
  • Steamed dumpling, because I adore dumplings
  • Lotus root pan cake
  • Sushi rolls of sweet potato and vegetable, because the friend with us really wanted sushi


I have almost no idea which was which of the different dishes and it was very fun to try so many things. However, I probably needed help ordering as I was not super impressed. The sushi tasted strange to me, but that’s what we get for ordering non-Chinese food in Chinatown.

Buddha Bodai gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. Everything tasted fresh and it was fun, but if I go back I will take an expert to help me order.

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.

Orchard Grocer in Lower East Side

I was lucky enough to be part of the Grand Opening of Orchard Grocer in Lower East Side. MooShoes took half their floor space and turned it into an all vegan grocery store.

It is a wonderful place with lots of fun options and a deli for sandwiches and salads. Even a daily soup!


The place was packed, but I had great fun picking out local products and other brands with which I don’t normally have access. Then we got sandwiches.


I got a bagel with carrot lox and hubby picked out a caprese sandwich. Both were yummy.

I will be trying to get to this gem on a regular basis!

Sacred Chow in West Village NYC

Hubby and I decided to try a new place for brunch today. Our top three rotation places are Blossom on Columbus, PeaceFood, and Candle Cafe West. It’s hard to break habbit, but we were up for a challenge! I jumped online to look up top vegan brunch places in NYC. This site recommended several places we have not tried for brunch and Sacred Chow was on the way to our ultimate destination for the day. Score!

It’s a small and cute space. Bonus, our server was super nice. We began with coffe for hubby and I got fresh ginger tea. Hubby liked the coffee, but my tea was weak.

In an effort to try multiple fun things, we ordered three plates:

  1. Belgian Waffle
  2. Soy Buttermilk Biscuit Po ‘Boy
  3. Huevos Rancheros

We actually got the French Toast, but everything was yummy.


Everything was fresh with a nice combination of flavors. Hubby felt things were a bit bland.

Sacred Chow gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. I would return, especially when By Chloe down the street is packed, but the food has a lot of competition in that neighborhood. It was fun to try a new place. Also, I now don’t trust that site of the supposed best brunch places. Our regular haunts are tastier.

But, as always, check it out for yourself. And then let me know what you think. Yummers!

Delice & Sarrasin in Chelsea

Hubby surprised me, I adore surprises, with reservations to the vegan French restaurant, Delice & Sarrasin in Chelsea. I didn’t even realize this was a thing! Apparently about 18 months ago this cute place switched from a traditional cream and meat heavy menu to a fully vegan one. We had such fun!

We started with the cheese plate, that was actually fantastic. They make all the cheeses in-house and we wanted more, it was so good!


I’m always hesitant with faux meat options as I don’t normally enjoy them much. But it’s faux meat or ratatouille here. I ordered the Poulet Basquaise and hubby got the Steak tartare vegetable accompagne de frites maison.


We were both pleasantly surprised and I didn’t mind the faux meat at all. My “chicken legs” even had sticks in them that startled me when I first cut into the dish.

Now we really want to go back and try their signature crepes. Maybe for brunch soon? Delice & Sarrasin gets five out of five vegan cupcakes. Delicious, adorable, and pushes me out of my comfort zone with yummer results. Definitely check it out.

Angelica Kitchen in East Village

Angelica Kitchen is a long standing vegan restaurant in NYC. It was one of the places I visited during my second trip ever to NYC, many years before I moved here. People claim to adore this place. I, however, think there are better options.


The place is cute and homey with lots of natural light, a nice change for NYC.


I decided to order from the special list as that is often the best food for the day at any restaurant. I got the Winter-Layer Wonderland and hubby selected butternut squash soup and a Ruben. We were both excited for our options from a place so beloved.


Well, the food was dry and cold. Unfortunate. The overall flavors were underwhelming. This was what I remembered from the many years ago I had visited (2005? 2006?). Back on the early 2000s I would have jumped on any opportunity for a vegan restaurant, even if I was a better cook. But there are incredible vegan options within walking distance of Angelica Kitchen to take advantage of. In relation to those, this place gets two out of five vegan cupcakes. I’m sad I didn’t enjoy the food more, but want to be honest about my experience. I won’t be going back.

Brooklyn Wiskers in NYC

One of the things I adore about the Vegan Shop Ups here in NYC is getting to know the folks making veganism easier when they are just starting out. This is the case with Brooklyn Wiskers. I was lucky enough to meet the founder/baker and enjoy the yummyness a year before this cafe opened.

I have been drooling over her croissants and desserts for months and look forward to seeing the yum at the Shop Ups. When the cafe was being planned, the owner said it was coming and promised to keep coming to the events. Score!

Brooklyn Wiskers is adorable and has an expanded menu with the permanent location. I finally made it out to Bushwick earlier this month.


In addition to those delicious pastries, I ordered “bis-cats” and gravy with kale and potatoes. So yummy!


I highly recommend catching Brooklyn Wiskers when in Bushwick. Brooklyn Wiskers gets four out of five vegan cupcakes. It’s a cafe and small, but wonderful and worth the train ride.