Review: Riverside Vegetaria In South London

South Londoners and North Surreyites – you need to know about this little gem of a restaurant on the River Thames called Riverside Vegetaria.

I paid my second visit there last week, and for the second time had a great evening.

It’s in Kingston-Upon-Thames, and a 25 minute drive from my home in South West London. Although I’d say it’s totally worth up to an hour’s travel!

The restaurant has been there for almost 30 years, and has won a ton of awards. The owner has a spiritual philosophy of ‘love all, serve all’ and this definitely shines through in the high quality of the service.

You: ‘What about the food already???’

Ok, ok, I just wanted to set the scene.

The menu is approximately 80% vegan, and 20% vegetarian, and everything is clearly marked. If you are gluten-free there are a large number of items marked ‘wheat-free;’ and if, like me, you are health-conscious, all rice is brown rice, and all grains served are whole grains. Very little oil is used.

There is a huge variety of dishes available, from Indian dishes, to Mexican, Italian and Jamaican.

Now when I say that from my experience the food is hit and miss, you need to know that it’s 80% hit, and 20% miss, and even the misses are still good – they’re just not exceptional like the ‘hits’ are.

Organic Spicy Vegetable Balls with Coriander Sauce

Our stand-out starter is the vegetable balls with coriander sauce. These balls are fried but not at all greasy, and they are brilliantly set off by the intense coriander flavour in the dip.

Now as a health freak, I wouldn’t normally entertain the notion of a dosa for a main course. They can be greasy and often contain white wheat flour – which I’m not a fan of.

Masala Dosai

Riverside Vegetaria’s dosa is not only To.Freakin.Die.For taste-wise, but it’s made with lentil flour, is not at all oily, and comes with the most delicious coconut sambal and vegetable sambar for dipping.

I’ve also tried the Jamaican stew and a special – green lentil curry, which were both excellent.

Organic Spicy Jamaican Stew

 

Green Lentil Curry

The dosa really is top class though, and my absolute first recommendation.

I’ve found that the Italian dishes are not quite as good as the Indian dishes, so my advice would be to stick to spicy Indian, African and Jamaican dishes.

I love that the garlic bread is wholemeal – you hardly ever get this in restaurants! And a soup we tried this time was full of fresh okra and herbs, a perfect dunking receptacle for the bread 🙂

Okra & Chickpea Soup; Garlic Bread

Most dishes come with a colourful salad – not as a sloppy garnish but as a thoughtful, well-presented accompaniment. You’ll want to take a pic for Instagram before you tuck in!

You must also consult the ‘specials’ board as there seem to be a huge amount every day.

As for dessert, my partner says the chocolate fudge cake was great – moist, rich and as decadent as it should be. I had an orange sorbet which was decent.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

I can’t offer much info about the drinks as I just have tea and my partner has beer. Sorry – we’re just not wine aficionados!

Riverside Vegetaria is in a beautiful setting next to the river, with a small outside terrace for spring and summer dining.

The decor is cozy and cute; prices are absolutely fair; and the vibe is friendly, casual, local and inviting.

The only downsides are that the space is very small, and fills up quickly as the restaurant is so popular. You can find yourself squeezed in tight with the neighbouring table practically joining yours. Not too cool if you wanted a more intimate meal with a friend/partner. I guess this is worse in winter because the outside space is closed, so they have to maximise covers inside. My advice is to visit on a Monday or close to the beginning of the week, or wait until later in the evening when the restaurant has emptied out a bit, to have your meal.

I haven’t yet visited on a summer evening but I can only imagine that if you go on a warm night, and are lucky enough to snag one of the riverside tables, you’ll find yourself in heaven for a couple of hours…

 

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Yorica Ice Cream London: A Review.

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It’s way past the time that I should have written my review of Yorica, London’s only fully vegan ice-cream parlour.

It’s been about three months since I visited the first time, and about six weeks since I went the second time. I put off writing this because, well, you’ll see.

I remember being soooo excited to hear there was an ALL.VEGAN.ICE.CREAM place in London.

This stuff normally happens in New York or Austin – not London!

And it’s on Wardour St, one of my favourite streets ever!!

It opened in March, but I didn’t have occasion to visit until July of this year.

I was with my (non-vegan) mum. The idea was we’d have a mini ice-cream crawl. First, a gelateria in Covent Garden, which has several vegan options, then on to Yorica.

When you enter Yorica as a vegan it seems magical. It has a sixties psychedelic theme going on decor-wise, and is…just…so…pretty! It has fun slogans and signs everywhere like this:

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Yorica actually offer froyo as well as ice-cream, so if you want a lighter dessert, you’re covered!

They have four flavours of froyo – caramel, matcha, chocolate and vanilla, and there are around thirteen flavours of ice-cream, including chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, bubblegum, cookies and cream, and beetroot (which, while inventive, didn’t really sound appealing, at least to me!)

There’s a decent selection of toppings at the counter; healthy ones – blueberries, pomegranate seeds etc, along with the old fun favourites – sprinkles, candy, marshmallows, gummy bears, oreos etc.

There are also sprinkle machines in the main space, so you can cover your ice cream in however much crap you want!

I try and limit sugar now for health reasons, but I know that if I’d visited as a kid, I’d have thought this place was heaven on earth.

This visit, I opted for the matcha froyo. Partly because it’s one of my favourite flavours, but partly because I wanted it ‘soft serve’ (‘Mr Whippy style’ to us Brits!) Only the froyo is soft serve, the ice-cream is scooped.

I chose pomegranate seeds as a topping because I couldn’t resist seeing the bright red against the pale green of the matcha froyo, I knew it’d be pretty – and it was:

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My mum opted for caramel flavour with, er, nothing on top. I KNOW! Boring! 🙂

So what did it taste like?

Look. I can only be honest.

Much as I hate to say anything less than congenial about the first vegan ice-cream joint in London; I ain’t gonna lie either. There’s no reason why we should hold a vegan place to a lower standard than a non-vegan place. That wouldn’t make sense. And perhaps you’ll have a different experience to me in any case.

Firstly, the pomegranate seeds were not fresh; they were pretty dry and hard. I was worried I’d lose a filling so I spat them into a tissue.

This alone was not a problem to me. So it was a bad day for the pomegranate seeds, so what? I still had all that luscious froyo right?

You know, the matcha froyo didn’t taste bad; it just wasn’t great, and didn’t particularly taste like matcha. It was pleasant enough for a few mouthfuls. Then, something happened which just does.not.happen.to.me.ever. I found I was having trouble finishing it up!!!! It was just a medium pot; not super big, and bear in mind I can eat a whole pint of Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss, no problem!

I really wasn’t enjoying it as much as I’d hoped to.

The caramel froyo my mum had was a little bit better, but not much.

I think part of the problem was the lack of creaminess, and I figured that froyo wouldn’t be as creamy as ice-cream, what with it not being, um, cream, right?

So I thought it was only fair to give Yorica another try before I wrote a review, and I’d be sure to get some actual ice-cream next time.

SO, a month or so later, the next time occurred, and I found myself at Yorica again, on this occasion with a friend.

This time I wanted strawberry ice-cream. When strawberry ice-cream is done well, then it’s glorious. No need for bells and whistles.

I had a big scoop of strawberry ice-cream, then inquired about a flavour that I wasn’t sure about. I was told it was called ‘wowbutter’ which is like peanut butter, but not peanut butter. Uh, ok! Nothing else was really tempting me so I got a big ol’ scoop of that too.

A drizzle of strawberry syrup to top it off, and then I couldn’t wait to get stuck in!

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I really wanted it to be great, but….it just wasn’t. I had trouble finishing this too. Both flavours just tasted like….cheap ice-cream.

It’s a shame.

I KNOW how great vegan ice-cream can be. There’s an all-vegan place in Austin, Texas which had me going back for 3 more helpings.

And I already mentioned how much Luna & Larry’s coconut Bliss I can devour.

So Delicious, too, are champs at plant-based ice-cream.

So what was the problem here?

I can’t work it out exactly.

I asked what the ice-cream was made with, and was told rice milk. I feel rice milk may be too thin to make a decent ice-cream, perhaps this is the problem? I’m not sure though as it was also a taste problem, not just texture.

Conclusion:

The place is pretty; the service is friendly; and it’s fun looking at all the things you can top your dessert with.

I may come back with my friends’ kids – I know they’d adore topping their ice-cream with ten tons of candy!

And if I was out with several friends just looking for something fun and light to do, I may bring them here.

BUT…if I’m out on the town looking for a truly yummy iced dessert with my partner or a friend, I’ll probably go to one of the gelaterias that have vegan options. La Gelatiera on New Row for example (which has a good number of options), or Snowflake, a few doors down from Yorica on Wardour St that has one or two vegan options.

 

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Review of Beyond Sushi (The Best Sushi You’ll Ever Taste)

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I’m freshly back from a short jaunt to NYC, and I HAVE to share my experience at Beyond Sushi.

We’ve visited New York several times, and I’d heard tell of the gloriousness of Beyond Sushi, and even walked past the branch in Chelsea Market; but not stopped to eat there because it looked tiny, and didn’t seem like there was an area to sit down comfortably.

When we’re on vacation, we like to sit down properly ya know? We like to enjoy our time in a restaurant – we do this so little at home in London so we really like to savour the experience when we’re away, rather than just grabbing food and eating it quickly at a bar or a high table.

However, we’re MAJOR sushi lovers, and on this visit it was time to try this place we’d heard so much about.

There are three branches of Beyond Sushi – in Chelsea Market, Union Square, and Midtown West.

Since we knew we wanted to spend our last afternoon in Central Park, we chose the Midtown West branch.

I had no idea if the space was as small as the Chelsea Market branch but decided to give it a go anyway, if the food was as good as I’d been led to believe, it would be worth the discomfort, right? I’m a foodie and I’ll suffer a LOT to satisfy my palate 😀

But when we hit West 56th, I saw the frontage of the place and my heart sank. It was obvious the place was REALLY tiny. Even kinda hole-in-the-wall’y.’ This wasn’t how I’d envisaged spending my last precious lunchtime in NYC.

On walking in I saw there were around 5 or 6 high chairs at a wall bar, and maybe 3 or 4 tiny tables for two. The place is SO narrow though, and it was SO PACKED, that nothing looked comfortable. Wherever you sat (IF you got a seat in the first place) people would be brushing past you, constantly knocking you.

It was too late to turn back now, so as soon as I saw two of the better wall bar chairs become free, I got my partner to bag them, and I got in line to order.

The menu looked delicious but there wasn’t much time to make selections before someone was yelling at me for my order. It was so noisy and bustly it was difficult to think straight. I went for three of the sushi rolls, but if the atmosphere had been more relaxed I’d probably have ordered from the rest of the menu too.

They have noodle salads, noodle soups, incredible sounding dumplings and wraps; but if you’re new to the place, you don’t have long enough to peruse the menu in this cramped, crowded type of set-up; which is a shame.

I guess this place is great for if you know the menu well, and can go in and order what you want straight away.

There seemed to be lots of workers on their lunch breaks that had ordered take-out, and were just there to pick up their food. The place (at least this branch) seemed to cater best to these people; OR, those that just waltz in knowing exactly what they want ’cause they’ve been so many times before.

As well as the sushi rolls, I also ordered a seaweed salad, and a small bowl of kimchi. We had to catch the red-eye home to London later that night, and kimchi is great for keeping the bugs away!

The kimchi and salad were served quickly, and before too long, out came the rolls, and OMG, they looked specTACular.

I’d ordered these:

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Check out the La Fiesta and the Chic Pea
My top choice - the Mighty Mushroom!
My top choice – the Mighty Mushroom!

They looked like this:

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WOW!

What magnificent, gourmet sushi.

The one that stood out for me was the Mighty Mushroom. That blob of shiitake truffle on top so perfectly and subtly infused each piece with smoke and salt and…just…shiitake-ishness (!) I could’ve eaten these all day.

The next best for me, La Fiesta, was still incredible. You could taste each element just enough, and each complimented the other delightfully in taste and texture.

My other choice, the Chic Pea, was still delicious, even though the other two were slightly better. I love tahini with anything, so I was always going to love this.

The seaweed salad couldn’t have been any better unless it had been brought to me by a hot naked dude. I’ve had plenty of crappy ones where there’s too much added sugar and the seaweed is too hard and chewy. This seaweed was fresh, soft and delicately flavoured.

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As for the house-made kimchi, it looked like a classic kimchi, but I felt it may have contained  pear? I thought I could taste it. I’m normally weird about fruit in savoury stuff, but pear or no, it was great.

I learnt later that it’s the Spicy Mang roll that everyone raves about (avo, mango, cucumber, spiced veggies and toasted cayenne). I saw it on the menu, but again, BLECH with the whole fruit in savoury stuff.

So I didn’t go there.

Next time I’ll quit being a special snowflake and try it.

I was absolutely blown away by this food, and could’ve easily eaten another round of everything – not because I was still hungry, but just so that eating this scrumptiousness wouldn’t have to stop.

As we were eating, the place cleared out a bit (this happened around 1pm) and it became a much more comfortable atmosphere. If we’d have known, we’d have come a bit later to avoid the lunch rush.

Inside Beyond Sushi, Midtown West branch, as the rush hour calms down!
Inside Beyond Sushi, Midtown West branch, as the rush hour calms down!

Look. The food really IS beyond sushi, it’s BEYOND BEYOND. I’d come back in a heartbeat. I’ll dream about these rolls until I get the chance to come back and eat them again.

But, it’s such a shame Beyond Sushi don’t have bigger spaces and can’t make newbies more comfortable, and feel more welcome.

I mean, I get it – they don’t need to. You taste it; you’re hooked, and you’d come back even if they set up in a public toilet.

You’d go and see a good gig in a cramped, hot hall without a/c; you’d go to the theatre and sit on the floor to see a good play – anything that is so good it feeds the soul you’d happily suffer a little discomfort for.

It’d just be nice to be able to eat this gorgeous food in a comfortable space, like omnivores get to do all the time.

My recommendation: Go to Beyond Sushi ASAP. Avoid lunch hours and rush hours. Maybe look at the menu online first, decide what you want, order take-out then eat in a nearby park.

I think next time we’ll get take-out from the Chelsea Market branch, then go up to the High Line, bag sunbeds, and eat in (relative) peace.

 

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Vegan In Brooklyn

This week: Coming to you from NYC!!!

OK, Brooklyn.

But you know what? I ADORE Brooklyn.

I’d much rather stay here than in Manhattan.

It’s peaceful; has stoop-tastic brownstones; wide, tree-lined cobbled streets; amazing street art; cool restaurants – MANY of which are vegan; and a great atmosphere.

You don’t need to be in hipster Williamsburg to get the great vegan food either. We have three vegan places (two entirely vegan and one vegetarian/vegan place) within twenty minutes walk of where we are staying in Park Slope.

As I have limited time, and as I’ve written about New York restaurants before, both here and here; if it’s OK with you, for this week I’m just gonna leave you with a few pics from where we ate today. In Brooklyn.

Hightail it to both of these joints if you get the chance.

Start salivating…..NOW!

First up, from the V Spot:

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Fried avocado in breadcrumbs with spicy mayo and lime wedge. As delicious as it sounds

 

Jamaican wrap with collards, onions, vegan cheese, vegan chicken, Caribbean brown rice and peas. Spicy and scrumptious.
Jamaican wrap with collards, onions, vegan cheese, vegan chicken, Caribbean brown rice and peas. Spicy and scrumptious
Chilaquiles & tofu scramble topped with vegan cheese
Chilaquiles & tofu scramble topped with vegan cheese. This did not touch the sides of my partner’s mouth.
Lightly fried plantain with a thin curry sauce. Because if there's plantain on the menu, I'm having it
Lightly fried plantain with a thin curry sauce. Because if there’s plantain on the menu, I’m having it

For dessert, we ambled a few blocks to the Park Slope branch of Van Leeuwens Artisanal Ice Creamery. These pics are actually from the branch in the West Village in NYC, because they were better than my pics from today.

Van Leeuwens is not a wholly vegan place, but has a decent vegan menu, and the ice-creams are artisanal, with quality ingredients (the vegan ones at least 🙂 ).

The base of the vegan ice-cream is coconut milk, almond and cashew milk. I was a little disappointed that they’d run out of the pistachio flavour AND the coconut whipped cream on both of our visits, but whatever. The ice-cream we had was still very, very good.

Behold these beauties:

One mint choc chip/cookie dough, one banana nut/matcha. Bliss.
One mint choc chip/cookie dough, one banana nut/matcha. Bliss.

 

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Pain Quotidien UK; A Review

Having visited the US lots in the past 10 years, and having consulted Happy Cow a bazillion times to find vegan restaurants (or restaurants with vegan options) in various towns and cities, I’ve long been aware of the Pain Quotidien chain of rustic, casual bakery/restaurants.

I’ve just read they are Belgian of origin, but the headquarters are now in New York. You can find them in London; many cities in the US; Paris, Belgium and Australia; and you can find franchises of PQ in places such as Japan, Brazil, UAE and Spain.

To vegans they are known for having very clearly marked vegan options on all their menus, and to others for having communal tables in their spaces (don’t panic Brits! They have smaller, private tables too. Or is it just me that gets nervous at the word communal 🙂 )

The vegan options are not just salad or hummus and celery sticks, but proper, grown-up starters and main courses that feel like they would rival the non-vegan dishes in taste and texture.

I have no idea why I didn’t try them out for the longest time.

Earlier this year, I finally got around to trying my first Pain Quotidien in Los Angeles (the Larchmont branch).

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t discovered them earlier!

The space was attractive, with a little shop selling some of their own artisanal products – jams, chutneys etc. The garden was beautiful, full of sweet-smelling flowers – but this was Los Angeles, you wouldn’t get this everywhere!

I opted for some lentil soup and salad, which were both substantial and thoughtfully flavoured. The salad wasn’t too heavily dressed (this is a common mistake in restaurants!), it was just perfect. My partner had a killer tofu scramble, and I washed my meal down with some delicious house chai with almond milk.

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The hot drinks are served in bowls, which I love; it reminds me of when I lived in the south of France.

I was really impressed with the food, value, service and ambience at this Pain Quotidien and will always bear PQ in mind now when looking for somewhere to eat in the US.

 

So how does Pain Quotidien UK measure up?

Well, I can only truly speak of one branch, I have no idea if it’s representative or not, though there are elements that are the same in every PQ – the wooden chairs and tables, the rustic atmosphere, the communal seating etc.

The menus are all similar but there are variances based on locale and season. There always does seem to be solid vegan options however, this doesn’t change.

On the rainy August Bank Holiday Monday, after an event that ended up being a washout at the Royal Festival Hall, we decided to try the local (Royal Festival Hall) branch of Pain Quotidien, for a late lunch.

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This particular branch is very close to Waterloo station, so as well as the space you see in the above photo, there’s also a basement level hall under the actual railway arches, which adds a nice local touch.

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The vegan options are clearly marked on the menu with a carrot sign, like so:

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As well as a vegan soup and a couple of decent vegan salads (forgot to take a photo – one had quinoa, taboulé, raw vegetables, avocado and organic rapeseed oil and the other was freshly shaved fennel, raw slaw, chickpeas and basil vinaigrette – no iceberg lettuce here!), they have a couple of vegan ‘tartine’ options:

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The other was also avocado toast but with lemon and cumin.

These were the hot dishes, or mains (the chilli seems to be available at most locations):

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Some straight-up sides:

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And desserts:

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They also do breakfasts, and vegan choices include porridge, fruit salad and granola.

 

Now I’m a huge lover of chilli, and have wanted to try PQ’s version since I learned they had one, so my choice was easy. My partner went for the quinoa cake.  We figured we couldn’t go wrong adding a side of roasted baby potatoes!

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This was a bean chilli, But I think I counted just 3 beans in the entire dish!

I ADORE chilli and it’s a great dish to veganise because it really doesn’t need meat. The beans carry the flavour marvellously, and if you have enough beans in there (you can chuck some corn in there too if you want to add another texture) you don’t need anything else.

Unfortunately, this chilli contained a tonne of  – I’m guessing it was soy protein or TVP? Now a little of this would have been fine, especially if there were more beans for variance of texture.

But whoever made this dish had been a bit heavy-handed with the soy protein, or maybe this is just the PQ recipe? It felt like a meat-eater had made it and thought ‘I’ll chuck a tonne of this meat-substitute in ‘cos that’s what vegans want.’ It definitely made for an, um, ‘over-chewy’ experience.

Yet…the actual taste was great. It absolutely came up to scratch flavour-wise. The guacamole that came with it was good too.

The soy sour cream was completely superfluous, and tasted more like soy yoghurt. Then one of the wait-staff told us it actually WAS soy yoghurt.

The dish came with a couple slices of bread, and it was strange that it was served with regular butter when it’s a vegan dish! I get that non-vegans may order this dish too, but maybe give us some vegan spread, and if someone wants regular butter they’ll ask?

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This was the quinoa cake. You know, it was ok. It tasted just fine. But I don’t know how they came up with it. The beetroot ‘caviar’ tasted just like mashed-up beetroot, and the carrot hummus tasted just like, well, mashed-up carrot.

Because these things are nice enough in and of themselves, this dish was, uh, nice enough. The quinoa cake was lightly flavoured with herbs, and not as dry as it perhaps looks. It was slightly weird to me that the cake was hot and the other elements were cold, but maybe this is a thing, I don’t know.

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The roasted baby potatoes were great, but I thought roast potatoes were supposed to be a bit browner and crunchier? Look, they were good, let’s leave it at that.

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I LOOOVVED my matcha latte! Hurrah! But can I have one final moan and say it could’ve been a bit hotter?

My partner enjoyed his coffee 🙂

I’m always thrilled to see agave available as a sweetener. This has been available for years in many US cafes, but I think it’s the first time I’ve seen it here,

Verdict:

If my experience of PQ in Los Angeles was pretty representative of all US branches – I’d say it’s an excellent choice for snacks, breakfasts, brunches, lunches and early dinners (they tend to close earlier than regular restaurants).

Service was second-to-none, as was the freshness, taste and value of the food.

If you find one with outdoor seating in a pretty space as we did, even better.

I’ll ALWAYS consider PQ while in the US if there is no dedicated vegan restaurant available, and you know what? Maybe even if there is.

As for PQ UK (which maybe should be PQ London – it’s the only city in the UK with branches) I’d still consider it. It wasn’t bad, it’s just that nothing was great, and a few things just niggled. It’s so great to not feel niggled when dining out!

I don’t know how much the fact that I’d consider it is due to there not being many other options.

Next time I’d probably stick to a soup and salad, which I’m sure they’d do well.

The service at this particular branch, like the food, was just ok. The ambience was nice, especially in the basement arches, and they do have free wifi – but it was painfully slow, so maybe not great for working, just playing.

For the portion sizes, it’s definitely overpriced, and there is a discretionary 12.5% service charge added onto the bill. The wait staff told us they get 70% of this and the restaurant gets 30%.

I will say that I definitely want to pass by and grab a matcha latte to go. They’re a whole quid cheaper to take out, and extra hot, it’ll be yummy.

Have you visited PQ anywhere, specifically for the vegan options? How did YOU find it? Does my review hit home? Or you think I’m being a bit of a grumpy-pants?

Hit reply and let me know!

 

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Vegan in Vegas

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 ADTeasdale, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

I’m just back from my third Las Vegas trip, and once again had an amazing time (apart from the 5 ½ hour delay getting there – cheers American Airlines!).

I’m guessing the first words you think of on hearing the name of this desert city are casinos, whores, steakhouses, strippers, cheesy shows, decadence and opulence, tat and trinkets, debauchery and desperation.

Maybe you think of expressionless, over-tanned, leathery-skinned old people in sun visors clutching on to coke cups full of quarters, banging away at the slots until the early hours.

Or maybe it’s the Chinese business men (‘cos it is always Chinese men for the moment) sitting stoically at the baccarat tables; and serving them are the slightly hard-faced, scantily-dressed, fake-boobed cocktail servers (‘cos they are always female for the moment – when women have more money and power, then we’ll see the topless buff waiters!).

If the name Las Vegas gives you a visual similar to the one I’ve described, you are not wrong. You’ll find all this nonsense and plenty more just like it.

The first time we came to Vegas six years ago, I was expecting it to be nothing BUT how I just described it. We were doing a road trip through the southern Utah National Parks and I was absolutely disgusted that we’d have to fly into Vegas as a starting point!

But, sleaze aside (you do have to kind of compartmentalise this – unless you’re into it of course!), I have to admit we were a little mesmerised by the spectacular Bellagio fountains, the stunning fresh flower creations everywhere, the insane daredevil rides at the top of the Stratosphere, the fake volcanoes and light displays etc. The Vegas strip forces you to forget your cares and suckers you into a state of awe and wonder at the outrageousness, the ridiculousness, the sparkle and fantasy of it all. There is no place like this anywhere else in the world and its frivolous and fun; but definitely guilt-inducing at the same time when you think of the water and energy it takes to maintain (in the middle of the freakin’ desert!), and the poor Latino immigrants everywhere on the strip handing out flyers for prostitutes who undoubtedly deserve our sympathy even more than they do.

There is another Vegas however.

For me, Vegas means quick access to lush, pine-forested mountains (35 minutes away) and gorgeous red rock canyons (25 minutes away). There is the 12,000 foot Mount Charleston and the surrounding Spring Mountains that are almost paradisiacal to hike in, and only forty minutes away from the city. The smell of the sun-soaked pines at that altitude is addictive; you just want to breathe it in forever.

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Me, interacting wid naycha..

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The ancient canyons with their red and white strata are like nature’s own playground; there seem to be steps perfectly placed for you to climb as high or as low as you want, all the while being gently cooled by the desert wind (though wear a hat!).

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Vegas for me ALSO means great food.

Believe it or not, there are plentiful vegan options in Vegas.

Now it’s not New York or Los Angeles, or even Austin or Portland in terms of the sophistication and imagination of the plant-based food, and there is not particularly a health-awareness to it. You can get great superfood salads of course, but anything involving flour (veggie burger buns, pastry, cakes, pizza bases, burritos etc) is likely to be white flour. I try and avoid white flour at all times because of these reasons; but it’s up to you if you want to make an exception when you’re on vacation.

There are still great meals to be had nevertheless, and even the US Airways (international) magazine advertises the fact:

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Part of the reason for the plant-based Vegas restaurant scene is because big time hotelier, Steve Wynn, is vegan himself, and has ensured that there are lots of vegan menu options at ALL of the restaurants and cafes at his opulent Wynn and Encore hotels. With ten fine dining and nine casual dining establishments, you could eat at a different place every meal! Several of these restaurants actually have a separate vegan menu. Here’s one from the Terrace Point Cafe at the Wynn:

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It says ‘vegetarian,’ but everything is vegan – I guess ‘vegetarian’ is a less scary word for some!
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The French toast
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The Ranchero scramble

This progressive attitude isn’t confined to Wynn’s restaurants only. There are several restaurants at the Mandalay Bay with fantastic vegan options – and Mexican restaurant Hussongs and pizzeria Slice of Vegas have separate vegan menus! MGM and the Aria also have excellent vegan choices on some of their restaurant menus.

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Soft corn Gardein fish tacos at Hussongs Cantina

Lots of hotel suites in Vegas have full kitchens, so if you get tired of eating out, you can shop at one of the several Whole Foods where vegans are extremely well catered for, and either eat from their hot/cold bar, or cook ‘at home.’

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Vegan friendly version of the iconic Las Vegas sign at Whole Foods

I’m always completely gobsmacked at the abundance of choice there is for vegans in shops in the US compared to the UK and Europe (and I live in London where we have the widest choice in the country!)

These are just SOME of the plant-based ice-creams on offer!

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Plenty of ready meals if you don’t want to go out but don’t fancy cooking!

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There is also better quality fresh veg and fruit. Huge bunches of full leaved kale and collard greens (not chopped to within an inch of its life, packaged in plastic and full of stalks).

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Bulk bins provide a multitude of cheap organic grains, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds. With all the choice available and at every budget level, it really IS easy to be vegan here. Also, there is practically NO limitation as to what you can eat, just in the veganised version – there is even vegan bacon if you are transitioning and have a bacon craving:

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We got through a pint of this…

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…two pints of this (not one after the other!)…

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…and a pint of Mint Choc Chip that we ate before I could take a photo. And we STILL lost weight because of all the mountain and canyon hiking!

 

It’s easy to believe Vegas is just a seedy, steakhouse ridden blight on the desert, especially when you read about places like the pretty odious Heart Attack Grill, with their ‘vegan menu’ of 100% full leaf tobacco..HARHAAAAAAAAAAAAAR…ugh.. (and where, surprise surprise, people actually die). But now, some steakhouses (the SW Steakhouse at the Wynn, for example) actually have excellent vegan menus!

It just once again proves that old cliche to be correct – never judge a book by its cover. Or, never judge a showy casino town by the, er, hookers and cigarette smoke.

Over three trips we’ve discovered the awe-inspiring natural beauty that surrounds Vegas, and the plethora of plant-based options open to us.

Now we know the quality and quantity of the vegan food options available and with the nature there is easy access to from Vegas, it’s often amongst our top choices for a get-away.

 

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Review Of 222 Vegan Restaurant in London

222 vegan restaurant on North End Road in West Kensington is nothing if not a London vegan institution.

I’ve been there lots of times over the years for lunch and dinner, and it rarely disappoints.

It was my partner’s birthday last week, and we were both so busy, we couldn’t be bothered thinking of somewhere new to go to celebrate, so we figured we might as well go back to 222 – it’s not too far from us, and we knew it’d be good.

Like a ninny I forgot to take a photo of the exterior (so in a hurry was I to get to the food!), but you can get an idea of the feel of the restaurant from their instagram page – as well as perving over some top food porn!

Also, apologies in advance for the poor pics. The lighting wasn’t great, and the seating with better light that would have favoured the food pics wouldn’t have favoured ME, so I had to make a choice. You understand.

The space is small, but not cramped, and if you bag one of the window seats you’ve got the sweetest spot, in my opinion.

The decor has recently been revamped, and though it is still a simple and warm rustic style overall, they’ve installed mirrors down one of the walls, which personally I’m not a fan of. It’s obviously the old trick to make the space look bigger, but I find mirrors in your face while you’re at dinner distracting and off-putting – and we’re not stupid – we can SEE the room is small, but it doesn’t matter at all as long as you don’t feel cramped or squashed up in it, and the tables are set in such a way here as to avoid this, so the mirrors really aren’t needed.

The owner, Ben, has nearly always been on site when I’ve been there, supervising and checking everything is running smoothly. He is such a humble presence however, that I didn’t realise he was the owner till someone told me.

They’ve had the same menu for a while now, and it works. There’s enough variety of tastes and textures to please everyone, and we’ve been there so much we know what is good and what ain’t so great (there’s only a couple of dishes in this latter category, most everything else is highly recommended). Usually I can never quite choose between at least three of the main dishes, so it’s still exciting.

The absolute, hands down, best starter here is Hearts Desire  ‘specially selected artichoke heart sauteed with fresh aromatic herbs served on a bed of rocket leaves with a roasted pepper sauce.’

The artichoke positively melts in your mouth and the sauce compliments it so perfectly it’s hard to keep from making the ‘oooohhmmmmmm’ noise with every bite.

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We shared this and some wholemeal pitas with homemade hummous, guacamole and pimento dip.

The only choice of starter that, in my opinion, isn’t up to scratch here is the bean and tofu pancake. It’s not bad, per se, just not as tasty as the other options.

I was actually craving Indian food (I’m a true south Londoner!), and knew the chick pea curry here was fantastic and authentic tasting, so I opted for that.

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My partner went for the Seitan Stroganoff:

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This is apparently a customer favourite. I have to say it was a (cashew) creamy delight, and the seitan strips would have fooled any meat-eater. With caramelised onions, red peppers and herbs, it had a sweet and delicate flavour.

Both mains came with organic brown rice (so refreshing; it’s REALLY hard to find brown rice in London restaurants), and all veg and herbs are always as fresh as can be.

The portion sizes, while generous, are not so much that you feel stuffed, and guilty when you have to leave some.

We also had a side of yummy garlic wholemeal (yay!) bread.

We ALWAYS have the same dessert, the Spice Island Pie. Behold:

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The menu describes it thus:  ‘A delicious raw dessert of cashew and almond cream flavoured with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg on a crunchy nut and coconut base. Sweetened with agave nectar’

 

 

 

It is divine. If I didn’t know what it was called, I’d think it was chai cheesecake.

 

 

They serve a small, but solid selection of vegan wines and beers, and for any cola or soda loving kids (or big kids!) you’ll find a cola and lemonade, both made with natural ingredients and sweetened with fruit juice.

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I’ll be going back again and again for as long as this restaurant is around and performs to this same high standard.

It is very reasonably priced – if you’re on a budget the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet HAS to be one of the best deals in town. I forget how much it is (and it doesn’t say on the website), but I remember it to have been extremely good value for the amount of delicious food I ate.

Personally, I love the fact that the food is health-focussed, with whole foods and sugar alternatives being used where possible.

Service is friendly, and wait-staff are knowledgeable. Though there has been a problem in the past with servers not speaking English to a high enough standard to understand customers, this time that was not the case.

Don’t fear bringing non-vegans here, the meat-eaters I’ve brought here in the past have all left happy, and review sites speak to the amount of omnivores surprised at how much they’d enjoyed a vegan restaurant.

If you are a vegan visitor to our city, and staying centrally, is it worth you travelling for twenty minutes to West Kensington to eat here? Absolutely! GET on that tube!

 

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Review of Amico Bio, Italian Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant In London

So what do you do for the twenty-first anniversary of the day you and your partner got together?

Go for a hearty plant-based meal, that’s what.

Er… WITH your partner, in case that wasn’t clear!

We nearly didn’t go anywhere, what with it being a miserable, drizzly and cold London night, but the promise of good food (as always) motivated us to shake a leg, so off we went to try Amico Bio, a family-owned Italian vegetarian/vegan restaurant in London.

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A veggie Italian restaurant is a very rare thing. In fact I don’t know any other. Italian food, like French, often includes meat, cheese and cream, so is harder than other world cuisines to replicate in a veggie version – so we were really curious to see what it’d be like.

There are two branches of Amico Bio. I believe the ‘original’ is in Smithfields, and the ‘spinoff’ is the Bloomsbury side of Holborn. We went to the Holborn branch – just because it was closer.

I’m not a huge fan of Italian food. My favourite foods tend to come from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America and contain a multitude of spices, so Italian food to me by contrast is a little, well, dull.

I KNOW, I KNOW, Italian food can be incredible, and I particularly like the emphasis on fresh, luscious veg and fruit that you find in Mediterranean cuisine, it just wouldn’t be my first choice, is all. I think also, the prevalence of white wheat pasta and white bread puts me off a little.

My partner loves Italian food, but hasn’t had much of it of late (or since I encouraged him to try food from a little further afield!), so it was nice for him to be reacquainted with it.

The restaurant is in a very pleasant space, very cosy and ‘Italian rustic,’ but still elegant, with a huge print sketch of Leonardo Da Vinci (who was vegan, as we know from here) on a back wall. It’s authentically appointed with huge dark wood (what I took to be very old-timey Italian) dressers and a vast mirror, which contrast with the more modern prints on the walls and arty paper table mats that tell you about the restaurants philosophy:

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Sorry for the crappy interior photo – you really need to see the back of the restaurant to get the whole effect, but I was worried I was starting to look weird to the other diners.

Apparently all the veg for the restaurant is grown on the family farm in Italy, so it promised to be full-flavoured and divine.

The online menu of Amico Bio offered a whole grain option – a risotto made with brown rice, and I was disappointed it wasn’t on the menu the night we went. It DOES say online that menus change according to the produce available, but you’d think brown rice would be available all year? They also have a store in the restaurant that sells wholemeal spelt, and buckwheat flour, so you’d think they’d want to have some whole grain pastas available on the menu, but it doesn’t seem to have been considered.

I don’t get this. If you’re open-minded enough to drop the meat from your traditional cuisine, and you tout the health benefits of your food, why not also make dishes with whole grains, to really optimise the health and wellness benefits?

There seemed to be more dishes containing dairy cheese than I remembered from online too, but there were lots of vegan or ‘can be made vegan’ options.

We shared a bruschetta starter which was the most incredible tasting olive oil drizzled over fresh cherry tomatoes and basil. I’ve never had bruschetta before so I have nothing to compare it to – and it’s a shame the bread was white (why use heavily processed wheat in your bread when the emphasis is on whole, fresh foods??) but the tomato, oil and basil mix was gorgeous – to the point of me craving it again today. UK supermarket tomatoes just don’t compare to Italian tomatoes grown on a farm.

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For a main course I chose ‘Carciofi e culvofiori brasati con parsinache arrosto e cavolo rosso‘ – braised cauliflower and artichokes, roasted parsnips and braised red cabbage.

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The cabbage, artichoke and whatever the shaved, fried veg was (that you can see on top – but was not mentioned in the dish description) were delicious. The cauliflower just really tasted boiled, and the roast parsnip wasn’t as roasted as I’d have liked. All in all, not bad, but a dish really needs a grain or legume to plump it out and satiate. It really wasn’t that filling. I like to feel that I’ve eaten, when I’ve eaten.

Luckily, my partner had ordered ‘Frittelle di farro e insalatina, con fagioli all’occhio nero e cime de rapa,’ or spelt and salad fritters, black-eyed peas and turnip tops, and we ordered a side of roast potatoes with garlic and rosemary.

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Now to me, black-eyed peas and turnip greens are Southern US soul food (another cuisine I adore). I didn’t know they were particularly Italian. This isn’t a complaint, I’m always up for black-eyed peas, it was just strange seeing them in this context. The fritters were fantastic; light, not too greasy, and the spelt made the batter taste richer. My lovely partner let me have most of his peas and turnip greens. This, exactly this, is why we’ve lasted twenty-one years.

We shared the roasties which were bursting with earthy flavour and subtly complimented by the rosemary.

And then, AND THEN, came time for dessert.

I knew the restaurant had a selection of homemade gelato, and I’d seen online that they had pistachio flavour (MY FAVOURITE!!! Or one of them, I seem to have a lot of favourites!) I was almost too scared to ask if they had it this night, what with the menu being as fluid as it was.

But they had it! They also had several other delicious sounding flavours – the only one I can remember is elderflower, but they all sounded so delicious I nearly got thrown from my focus. I stuck to pistachio though, and was not sorry.

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The pistachio came through loud and clear, and the sweetness was at the perfect level: sweet enough so you know you’re eating dessert, but not the slightest bit sickly or cloying. I could have eaten a LOT of this!

My partner had a quintessential Italian liqueur, Amaro Alle Herbe, which just means herbal liqueur. It contained herbs like mint, sage, gentian, rosemary, centaury; and spices like cloves and cinnamon.

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I didn’t try this. I don’t drink alcohol. It smelled a little like a dental rinse, though I kind of got why it might be nice. If you like that sort of thing. My partner loved it, and said it was very warming.

 

Conclusion

I’m kind of blinded by the delicious pistachio gelato and my old favourite black-eyed peas, which make me want to say I’d definitely go there again – and I would, that’s not wrong.

And the prices are reasonable; and service, while in no way exceptional, was acceptable. And it also should be said that the restaurant is in a nice area and has a great look and atmosphere.

BUT, in my opinion, a bit more thought needs to be taken with menu items. While the veg are certainly flavourful and fresh, and the gluten-free crowd have plenty of options (too many really, when you consider that very few people actually need gluten-free food); there is not enough emphasis on WHOLE foods where the grains and pastas are concerned. This means that those wishing to avoid refined and processed grains do not have much choice. As I said, whole grains ARE offered on the online menu. I have no idea why they are not offered in the restaurant.

You should absolutely try this restaurant. Whether you live in London or visit here from elsewhere, it’s a great lunch/dinner venue, and just down the road from the British museum.

 

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I Don’t Care How Trendy And Urban The New ‘Single Concept’ Restaurant Is – There Is No Sexy Meat

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I’m just gonna say it.

There IS no sexy meat…

…despite the nauseating attempts of new ‘single-dish’ restaurant businesses to make their ‘burger’ or ‘chicken’ seem exciting, cool and ‘urban.’

(I ain’t naming no names, but I know y’all know damn well the kind of places I’m talking about! The ones I particularly have in mind are in the UK, but this is a ‘thing’ that came here from the States, so US peeps – you know full well what I’m referrin’ to too!)

Using words like ‘honest,’ ‘gourmet,’ ‘real,’ ‘wholesome,’ ‘sustainable,’ ‘bonafide,’ ‘farm fresh,’ natural,’ ‘healthy,’ ‘traditional,’ etc etc; this crop of new, mainly meat-based restaurants are desperate to seduce you with all these self-proclaimed qualities.

A ‘wholesome hipster’ type atmosphere is also seemingly enthusiastically encouraged, and consumers are made to feel ‘in the know,’ for patronising these places.

However, it is possibly an indicator of how big vegetarianism and veganism have become.

In the dying breaths of a meat-based culture, one that is slowly realising that meat consumption is killing the planet (and us!) it is perhaps predictable that there will be more energy than ever concentrated on attempting to give meat a sexy new resonance, to try and pull people back from the overwhelming trend in the US and western Europe of reducing meat intake.

I admit it, some of these restaurants look like great fun – the decor is usually casual and cosy. Many have a bit of a rustic-y, basic-y conceit going on which is quite enticing in its own way, I suppose. People look like they’re having fun inside. Wait staff are youthful and perky. A particular ‘single-dish’ chicken restaurant I am thinking of has buff male fitties in tight t-shirts turning the big spits the chickens are roasting on.

But if I give it even one minutes thought, the fact that certain positive words are being used to manipulate consumers into believing that the food (usually meat) they are eating is associated with the way these words make them feel, makes me heave.

What the hell about a burger or roast chicken is honest? Natural? Healthy? Gourmet? Wholesome?

Let’s examine this for just a moment.

It is made a big deal of that the burgers in these restaurants are made from grass-fed beef.

We know that grass-fed animals emit even more methane than factory farmed, thereby contributing to even more climate change, and that farming this way is just as unsustainable land-wise. If everybody in the world wanted to eat grass-fed cows – we would need another coupla’ planets!

The free-range chicken these places shout about using is not any better than factory farmed chicken. Customers think their chicken roamed free on a lovely grassy farm, but in fact the label free-range is just a marketing term designed to make you THINK this is the case. We know it is not.

‘Traditional’ is another word commonly used, regarding the preparation and style of the food. I find this calculating and manipulative. When we hear this word (as any good advertiser knows) it subconsciously goes beyond the description of the food, and tends to engender a positive, warm feeling in us, and conjure up images of family and celebrations. It makes us feel we are doing something intrinsically ‘right’ and ‘good.’ Er, let’s remember that ‘traditional’ isn’t always good. FGM is traditional. Slavery was traditional.

And on the health aspect? Meat, NO MATTER ITS PROVENANCE, contains saturated fat, cholesterol and hormones. SO even though you are being given the impression that the meat in these restaurants is a healthier version than a fast-food joint might sell you – it’s not, not really.

I even prefer the idea of fast-food joints to these new honest/gourmet/real heart attack emporia. At least they’re not pretending to be something other than what they are.

The only difference really is that Real Natural Honest Meat Place has pretty, rustic distressed wood tables and benches, and the staff wear cooler T-shirts and have more upmarket accents. That’s all.

Yet I’m sure the people who frequent these places are under the impression they are eating in an establishment that cares about the environment and their health.

*Sigh*

All I can say is, don’t let a marketer decide what is healthy, honest or cool for you. And if you are vegan, don’t be downhearted about this phenomena, I’m not. It’s annoying, but I truly believe it’s part of a last-ditch attempt to entice us into buying meat before vegetarianism and veganism take an even stronger hold.

 

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NYC – Where Vegans Are People Too, Part 2 (Or, Where To Eat In New York).

So last week, I gushed about how New York caters to all the vegans, not just the studenty, beatniky ones. I totally adore students and beatniks, but more diversity was needed, and New York delivered.

I also shared some food pics from the beginning of our wee break there.

If you missed that post? Click here.

This is SOME of what we ate for the rest of the vacation.

Lula’s Sweet Apothecary

Cashew based ice-cream – check out the coconut whipped cream and hot fudge sauce on top!

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And with chocolate sauce on top –

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V-Note (part of the Blossom group)

South of the border salad:

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Mushroom scallops, tofu salmon, broccollini and forbidden rice in a white wine and mushroom reduction:

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Hearty, but non-greasy, sweet potato fries:

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Blossom in Chelsea

Blossom greens and cream of celeriac soup:

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Part of my intention with these pics was to help quell the common misconception that vegans only eat salad. It was so hot while we were here however, that I ended up wanting to eat salad pretty often!

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Aaaaannnnd, mah reKOmenDAYshiuns…

My overall recommendations for vegan dining in NYC are as follows. Though I’ve been four times, there are tonnes of plant-based restaurants I haven’t yet visited, so this is based on my current experience:

Absolute Must Do’s. Go There Yesterday

Franchia – if you love Korean and Japanese food, but want the healthy versions, try this beautiful mid-town restaurant. I love it for the imaginative maki rolls (try the spicy ‘tuna’, the guacamole, or the shiitake ones in particular), the teas, and the space. Don’t forget to look up at the gorgeous ceiling.

Erin Mckenna’s Bakery – If, like me, you are a health conscious, whole food vegan, then you want something healthier than veganised regular cakes. You want goodies that, ideally, are made without refined flour or sugars. So what do you do? You visit Erin Mckenna’s Bakery. They use a gluten-free fava/broad bean mix flour, and use agave as much as possible to sweeten. The excellent thing is, none of the taste is compromised. The cupcakes are deliciously moist and rich. I’ve occasionally had a slightly stale cupcake here, but I’m prepared to accept that it could have been a bad day/member of staff, and even though they’ve down-graded some of their ingredients recently (possibly to increase profit margins, but I have no evidence this is the reason)  I’ll always, ALWAYS go back there when I’m in New York. They were the first and are still the best. Try the vanilla and red velvet cupcakes. And the doughnuts. And the banana bread. And the cookie sandwiches. Ok try everything.

Peacefood Cafe – There are now two branches of this vegan restaurant, one on the Upper West Side, and one downtown, which I just visited for the first time. Though I’d heard about Peacefood a while ago, I avoided visiting it the last couple of times I was in NY because I thought the name sounded corny and overbearingly hippie and mother-earthy. Shows what a silly I was. Never judge a restaurant by its name. At the very least, judge it by its online menu. When I finally got around to looking at theirs, the chickpea fries called my name from the screen, and that was my initial reason for going. I can report that they were excellent, along with the drinks (brazil nut chai highly recommended ) and the desserts – the key lime pie was insane. We actually took this to-go, and ate it a couple of hours later in the Plaza Hotel food hall. I feared it would have turned to mush in the afternoon heat, but it was still pretty sturdy. I loved the decor too, very elegant, yet friendly and inviting. We went back to Peacefood a couple of days later, and will definitely return on our next New York trip.

Re: The Plaza Hotel food hall;  not much doing for vegans I’m afraid, apart from a froyo kind of place that always has one (rotating) non-dairy flavour – but I guess if you don’t like that one flavour, you’re screwed.

Lula’s Sweet Apothecary – This was our first visit to Lula’s. We tried to go last year but it was all closed down. This was doubly disappointing, as we’d just tried to go to Stogo, another amazing ice-cream place (one we’d previously tried) that had also just shut down. Before we left, I read that the shop had kind of opened again, that it was opened on some days, and it might not be called Lula’s Sweet Apothecary any more. Yes. I was confused too. We went on a Saturday night, we figured it HAD to be open on a Saturday night, and it was. It’s kind of at the address advertised for LSA, but maybe one or two doors along (if you go to the given address, you’ll come across it) and I think it’s open Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun, until late.

We happily slurped and munched on cashew-based strawberry and vanilla ice creams (they have lots of sexier flavours, we were just being boring), with hot fudge and marshmallow sauce, and coconut-based whipped cream. This was while sitting outside the shop in the dimming East Village light, listening to the strains of something very Woody Guthrie-esque (Ramblin’ Jack Elliot?) coming from the cosy interior. Go.There.Now.

As for the Blossom chain, for location I recommend Blossom on Carmine (on a pretty street in the West Village), but for food it has to be V-Note. V-note is not in a great location but absolutely worth making a trek to for the food.

Hangawi – sister restaurant to Franchia, it is also midtown, but a little more expensive and fancy. You take your shoes off at the entrance, and sit at traditional Korean tables. The kimchi stews are amazing.

Bliss Cafe – Let’s not forget Brooklyn. Vegan or vegan curious in Brooklyn? Go here. I had a great bowl of chilli with Daiya cheese on top and some gorgeous house blend iced chai.

 

If you’re hungry and passing by…

Gobo – We’ve been to their West Village location twice now (they have another on the Upper East Side), but if I’m honest it was more because I like the space than the food. This restaurant doesn’t seem to know what it is, and some of the items just seem a bit, well, weird. It always seems buzzy, and other people’s food looked and smelled good, so I’m happy to believe I just haven’t yet chosen the right thing from the menu.

Angelica Kitchen – I loved this old East Village vegetarian mainstay when we discovered it in 2002, but revisiting in 2011 and 2013, it just really wasn’t great. The cornbread is fabulous, and I’ve never tried the desserts, some of which sounded great, but I would probably only revisit if I was in the ‘hood and starving.

Next time, I’ll be excited to visit…

So, so many, but the places that come to mind are Souen, Village Natural, Beyond Sushi, and Pure Food And Wine

 

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