Travel, It Gets Easier

I’m traveling through La Guardia out of NYC, Terminal C, and am happy to share what I found. A fresh juice bar! Only five options, but that is five more options than I have seen before. Of course I picked the “Champion” of apple, kale, spinach, lemon, and ginger.

I also noticed this sign.

Excellent! I didn’t notice anything with a yellow label, but I was hyper focused on my juice at 8:00 am. I did see vegan junk food and fruit still in its peel, like bananas and oranges. This is also a big step since I generally avoid precut fruit. It is often not ripe enough.

Anyway, my point is travel is getting so much better/easier for vegans! Of course I’m heading to Texas and will likely find less I want to eat at the airport, but yay for LGA!


Cocoa V Chocolat in NYC

Cocoa V in Chelsea recently reopened. I was thrilled since I never got a chance to check it out before. Several people had shared its praises and I really wanted to try it for myself. So hubby and I hopped on a train and made our way there. We were not disappointed!

The shop is adorable.

A small window bar and a couple tables fill a space dedicated to chocolate. There are pastries, take home chocolate dipped goodies, and a case of truffles and chocolates.

Hubby picked out a piece of vanilla cake and I decided I had to try a coconut tartlet with fresh berries. We each adored our own selected, but I was less keen on his cake.

I also picked out chocolate covered graham crackers and marshmallows, a s’mores type treat, that was just okay. Of course I could not leave without truffles and chocolates since that’s the entire point of the store. Those were wonderful. So yummy. If you like chocolate as I do, definitely check out Cocoa V.


Update: Cocoa V closed again 😦

P.S. Kitchen in NYC

I really dislike writing a bad review. These restaurants are run by good people and support ideals that many are against. At the same time, I don’t want anyone to get sick because I was untruthful or negligent. Warning: this is not a good review.

P.S. Kitchen is located in midtown Manhattan. Just west of Times Square, but not quite in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s an area of town desperate for good vegan food. On top of being all vegan and in a good location, all proceeds are given back to animal rights causes like animal sanctuaries. We were excited to try the food and support causes we care about.

The space is cute. Open and clean with some whimsy.

We had a reservation and were led upstairs away from the noisier bar downstairs. It took 15 minutes from walking into the restaurant till a server came and spoke with us. We already needed more water by this time. Then, the server wanted to just take our order, not share any helpful information. So I sweetly asked, since this is my personality. I’m so glad I did because his explanation of the specials completely changed my order!

Food came in reasonable amounts of time. We started with Crispy Artichoke that comes with two dipping sauces.

The edible flowers are a pretty addition and the small plate is tasty.

For dinner, I ordered the Shepard’s Pie from the specials and hubby ordered the P.S. Burger. He is on the perpetual search for his favorite vegan burger.

Hubby liked this burger so much that he started dreaming up taste tests with unsuspecting meat eaters and having them pick this burger as their favorite from a lineup. It was fun. My Pie was also yummy. The potatoes creamy and buttery with the filling a nice blend of veggies and seitan. Not over spicy as Shepard’s Pie can be.

We had to ask for more water again, but the flavors encouraged us onward. The Strawberry Shortcake was ordered next.

A very nice almond flavor and not too sweet. It was yummers.

Oddly, the lights in the room got darker and darker. I’m not sure why. I think it’s important to keep the lights bright enough for people to read the menu without driving everyone around them crazy from phone flashlights.

I was excited to give P.S. Kitchen a decent review. The service was not great, but the food was yummers. That is until hubby spent the night running to the bathroom. Yikes. P.S. Kitchen gets one out of five vegan cupcakes. I do not recommend risking getting sick. Bummer.

Mother of Pearl in East Village

I finally made it to Mother of Pearl in East Village, NYC. I have been wanting to try this Polynesian fusion restaurant since it opened.

The place is very dark and the tables super close together. The darkness always makes me wonder if they are trying to hide something. But the light fixtures are very pretty.

Dishes are intended to be shared and are small like tapas. Hubby had me just pick what I wanted to try.

We started with Mushroom potstickers, Pea & edamame dumplings, Guacamole with plantains, and Char sui buns.

Hubby liked the buns and dumplings the most. My favorite was the guacamole.

We had a little more room in our tummies and decided to try the Szechwan eggplant. Tasty!

The food was good, not great, and the ambience very dark. Everyone was pulling out their phone to see the menu. The waitstaff was nice, but not around much. There was a busser that was great at hovering. Mother of Pearl gets three out of four vegan cupcakes. Maybe skip this one for Caravan of Dreams just down the street.

I only got one menu photo because I didn’t want to have my flash on any more.

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.

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!

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.