Well darlings, this is what you've all been waiting for. We've run the gamut of Bittersweet's Vegan's 100 of 2008, and leapt the hurtle of HHL's Vegan Hundred of 2009. But now, people, now we're breaking new ground.
Now, I bring to you none other than...
the Melissa Bastian New York in Green Vegan 100!!
Like the other vegan lists, these are foods that you simply must try (whether or not you're vegan, really). This list actually also incorporates some eating experiences - settings and such. But the main difference? These are in New York! Get it? See? It's regional.
Should you feel the urge (and I hope you do), copy this list and just go ahead and tell us. Have you eaten it / been there / done that? Do you want to? Would you do it again? For my fellow New Yorkers, or those who live close enough to get into town reasonably often, answer away and please put a link to your answers in the comments! To those who just love to visit, answer as well, and maybe this list will be a good reference for the next time you get over this way. Even if you've never been here, tell us how it all sounds to you!
Alright then. Let's get to it, shall we?
1. cornbread at Angelica's Kitchen - oh yes, both kinds with several different spreads.
2. the Zen slice at Viva Herbal (2nd Ave) - my favorite. I crave it.
3. lemongrass seitan on rice vermicelli at Lan Cafe - I make everyone eat this.
4. cake batter soft serve ice cream at Lula's Sweet Apothecary - I keep meaning to get this when I go there, and then I'm always tempted by something else. I have to go in with tunnel vision one day and just do it.
5. Vegan Treats' Peanut Butter Bomb cake - so... much... sugar!
6. the "Penny Lick" at Penny Licks - so cute! But I always (foolishly) opt for something bigger.
7. oyster mushrooms and grilled asparagus at Gobo - if it says oyster mushroom, I've ordered it.
8. dosas from the vegan dosa cart man at the southwest corner of Washington Square Park - once! I'd never had dosas before so I had no idea what I was eating, but I know it was good. I have to get back down there!
9. coconut tofu soup at Pukk - mmm, the lemongrass...
10. camarones y coco at Vegetarian Paradise 2 - I am not much for veg "seafood". But these coconut covered deep fried "shrimp" are freakin delish.
11. crab rangoon at Red Bamboo - I had to try it, but it is not like the crab rangoon I remember.
12. medu vadi at Madras Cafe - man, does this place do some amazing things with lentils! Bad news though. I was there just last night, and they told us that they're closing! I may have to go light candles out front and mourn.
13. dinner at Hangawi - not yet. I've been here for four years and there are still vegan restaurants I haven't eaten at!
14. wings at Foodswings - every flavor! Possibly the best vegan junk food there is.
15. vegetarian combo at Awash - every couple of months I get an urge for that unique spongy bread that goes with Ethiopian food.
16. nutmeats from Bonobos - so amazing. You can make a "cheeseball" out of it for your holiday party. We did!
17. sunflower lentil pate at Sacred Chow - vegan tapas. It's brilliant.
18. white chocolate wonderful peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co. - I was swayed by the dark chocolate, which is also vegan! I'll have to go back for the white.
19. Sweet & Sara marshmallows with toasted coconut - one of my fave treats. These are available in Whole Foods across the country now, but they still come from right here in Long Island City!
20. ginormous lollypop from Dylan's Candy Bar - I go in there, and I pick things, and then I see the line, and then I leave. Every time.
21. seitan scallopini at Blossom - Jonathan swears that this is divine. I haven't had it, but apparently I have to. But the west side is so far!
22. baked veg meat bun at Buddha Bodai - OK, so I'm addicted to all of the roasted veg meat at BB. But this one bun... OMG. And they like never have it. So it's like the unicorn of dim sum. (Not that I would eat unicorn. Because, you know, I'm vegan.)
23. Thanksgiving dinner (prix fix) at a vegan restaurant - this year, for the first time, we're cooking for/with friends. For the past four years though I've always partaken in what seems to be an NYC tradition - awesome TG meals at the vegan restaurants. I've done Candle Cafe twice, once Blossom, and last year Angelica.
24. fresh apple cider at the Union Square Greenmarket - it's getting to be that season again! Actually it feels like it's already December. We need hot apple cider like nobody's business.
25. "turkey" salad from Sunen Foods - oh, so many work lunches would never have been had were it not for this excellent little company and their tasty packaged-but-freshly-made foods.
26. red sonjas at Mundo (in Astoria) - pretty much the only reason to go to this restaurant if you're vegan. But oh, what a reason. Get the red lentil soup too. Total delicious lentil overload.
27. sausage roll from Vinnie's on Bedford - we love the fact that, while Vinnie's is really just an old school NYC pizza parlor, they also have great vegan offerings.
28. a dragon bowl at Bliss on Bedford - the 1970's version of vegan. I have this kind of meal every now and then, to cleanse some of the cookie-ness out of my system.
29. a Red Bamboo soul chik'n sandwich purchased at the Bamn Automat - I haven't but Jon has and I'm fascinated by the concept.
30. ravioli of the day at Caravan of Dreams - haven't been here either. This intrigues me though!
31. spaghetti squash spaghettini at Counter - I wrote this place off years ago (wow they serve a LOT of cheese), but I think I may go back to try THIS!
32. some teeny tiny ridiculously overpriced "entree" at Pure Food & Wine - can you tell that I was underwhelmed? Sure, the food tasted good. And after we dropped a bill and change on "dinner", we went and got some food. But it's part of the NYC vegan dining experience. Just don't think that they're all like that!
33. ramen at Souen on 6th - they let you put udon noodles in anything! I LOVE UDON. So I guess that no, I actually haven't had the ramen.
34. dumplings at Franchia - I went there once a really long time ago, when I barely even lived here and wasn't even vegan. Clearly I need to go back.
35. the vegan panini at 'sNice - there are many vegan offerings there, but this is my favorite.
36. chocolate hazelnut ice cream at Stogo - it's not a habit - it's cool - I feel alive...
37. a falafel pita with way too many crazy toppings at Maoz - I'm so happy they're opening more of these! Finally, European chains coming here instead of the other way around.
38. black sesame sweet tofu (soft serve) at Kyotofu - worth going to midtown for. Seriously.
40. an Ess-a-Bagel bagel with their tofu cream cheese - you can't call it cream cheese though. When you order it you can only call it tofu: "Can I get a whole wheat, toasted, with herb tofu, lettuce, and tomato please?" like so. They have like eight flavors!
41. brunch at Curly's Vegetarian Lunch - a great place to take omni friends who get upset about not having eggs at brunch. You get vegan food and don't have to look at/smell meat, at least. And the owners are superdeluxe people - there's a good chance one of them will be your waiter.
42. grits and a sake bloody mary at Old Devil Moon - this place is closed now, but we remember the good times.
43. peanut butter and banana sandwich at Think Coffee - Think is a good coffee establishment. They care where their foods and coffees come from and take part in the community... even if they are always all packed up with NYU students.
44. bad service with an attitude at Kate's Joint - tofu scramble in an hour or less (maybe); sneers and condesention from your server for free!
45. Melissa Bastian's veg lasagna and red velvet cupcakes - ha! Got you. But I've fed these to a pretty large number of people now, and both recipes did originate in NYC. So, will you be next?!
46. a fig and almond cake purchased at Dean & Deluca, the big one on Spring Street - this place is amazing. The flowers, the mushrooms, the breads... it's also the only place I've found the cakes of dried figs and almonds pressed together in this whole city.
47. pulled sugar candies from Papabubble - stick around in there for a little while and watch them make the candies. It is positively fascinating.
48. bean curd and broccoli from a Chinese takeout place that has lightup pictures on the wall of its main entrees - even if it's not on the menu, they'll make this for you.
49. a plate of goodness from Veggie Castle - I was lucky enough to go to the original Veggie Castle, the one housed in an old White Castle, two times before it closed. I haven't been to the second one yet.
50. beers at the Brooklyn Brewery - yes, Brooklyn Lager and the rest are still brewed in Brooklyn, and you can go there and drink! All of their beers are vegan except for one odd cask ale.
51. seitan satay sticks at Tien Garden - for all this restaurant's healthiness, these sure are doused with some mightyfine peanut sauce.
52. zucchini fries at the Organic Grill - I'm not a big fan of this place. The tables belong at a picnic spot or rest stop, not inside a restaurant. But these things almost make up for it.
53. Sake lemonade at Goodbye Blue Monday - they have some vegan food too, but... they have sake lemonade.
54. lhasa momos at Tsampa - it's a signature dish. Fo realz.
55. dinner with 4 course vegan - a special affair, always different. We went for our first month-a-versary. I could tell you where he is, but then I'd have to kill you.
56. a burrito from Benny's - nope, but Jon swears by them.
57. a vegan meal at one of Flushing Chinatown's veg restaurants - I think I've been to all of them.
58. a pleasing experience at House of Vegetarian - I haven't eaten here yet. The veg population of NYC seems to either love it or hate it; what do you think?
59. shark fin soup at Vegetarian Dim Sum House - aaaggghhh! Seeing this on the menu is why I haven't been back. I mean, yes it's vegan. But aagh! I was so traumatized by this that for awhile I called it The Soup that Shall Not be Named.
60. rice at Rice - yup. I like rice.
61. omusubi at Oms/b - I am so in love with this place! You have to be careful because they do use a lot of fish. The soups are all, uh, unclean. But there are so, so many amazing rice balls! I have introduced a few people from work to this type of food, and they are now all addicted. (This allows us to make many hilarious jokes about having balls in our mouths, which are clearly work-appropriate.)
62. pakora at Seva - Seva may be the first restaurant in all of Queens to use the v-word (vegan, that is) on the menu. For this, we love them. And their pakora rock the house!
63. bread from Balthazar bakery - oh Balthazar. This fancy French bistro doesn't have a whole lot on offer for the vegan crowd, though their fruit salad is the most delicious I have ever had. But they are known for their fresh breads.
64. Vegan Drinks at Angels & Kings - no! I have not been to this! Because it is always on Thursdays, as part of the conspiracy against me.
65. something accidentally vegan at Zen Burger - this all-vegetarian fast food joint aggravates me to no end, because almost nothing on the menu is vegan. I want to support them for being all veg... but! I had their ZenHarvest burger, and it was nothing special (except for where it came from). I wrote to them to ask wtf, but did not receive a reply. Do us all a favor and write to them too - maybe if we all do they'll start to think about it!
66. the vegetarian appetizer combo plate at Bread & Olive - I haven't been here yet, which is sad because I work in midtown. I'm dying to know if the Moudardara is vegan!
67. that funky triangle of tofu sitting in soy sauce from a bodega salad bar - you know the kind, sitting on end with a split in the top of the triangle, stuffed with green onions and bits of red stuff. What is that red stuff? Pimento?
68. Entenmann's individual apple pie (the kind in a little paper pouch) - Entenmann's sweet treats may not be sold out of a horse-drawn cart in Brooklyn anymore (thankfully, poor horse!) but it's still a New York classic. In New Orleans they have similar pies made by Hubig's - they're still made with animal lard! *shiver*
69. fresh fruit and/or vegetable juice from a juice cart on the street - my favorite cart is at 48th and 3rd Ave.
70. knishes at Yonah Schimmel - can't believe I haven't been there yet! Gotta go gotta go gotta go.
71. the "Elvis" (peanut butter and banana) at Papa's Empanadas - Steinway Street, I am coming for you.
72. a soft pretzel from a cart on the street, with mustard - do not pay more than one dollar.
73. nuts for nuts! - tastes like sugar on nuts. Smells like PURE HEAVEN.
74. sorbet from Caio Bella - this gelato chain can be found in a smattering of states now, but it actually began in Little Italy in the 1980s. The important thing, though, is that their amazing sorbets - including the dark rich chocolate - are vegan! I suggest the blood orange, chocolate, and champagne... possibly all at once.
75. cornmeal crusted tofu at Spring Street Natural - probably what I had ordered the day we told the parents we're engaged.
76. mango slices that have been arranged on a stick to look like a flower in bloom - I see these in Queens all the time, but the one time I ate one was in Coney.
77. zeppoli from a street fair - who doesn't love fried dough covered with sugar?
78. funnel cake in Coney Island that you watched them fry - coolest process ever. I have pictures.
79. pommes frites from a paper cone - yeah, but only from a bar. Not the real deal from that place off St. Mark's with the giant fry guy statue. The crowds in that neighborhood annoy me.
80. the Mexican chocolate milkshake at Curly's - sure, you can get a vegan chocolate milkshake in plenty of places in this town. But where else can you get a Mexican chocolate milkshake?
81. the Bandeja Paisa at The V-Spot - I am dying to try this Colombian dish.
82. an accidentally vegan falafel, rice, and chickpea platter from a Halal food cart - for lunch sometimes.
83. Thai iced tea at Pukk - it has soy milk in it, by default. Best. Thing. Ever.
84. ice cream cookie sandwich at Stogo - yeah, they'll take vegan cookies and sandwich some vegan ice cream in there for you. Are you ready to visit or what?
85. V-Spot empanadas purchased somewhere other than V-Spot - they have these at Sai Organics where we grocery shop. It's actually how I heard about the restaurant. I'd still prefer to get them fresh, but it's nice to know they're there!
86. pasta with marinara in Little Italy - it might take you some talking, but you can convince them to leave the cheese off. It'll be really, really good marinara, and the bread with olive oil is to die for.
87. Quinoa pasta at V-Spot - so curious to know what this is like! I had no idea you could make pasta from quinoa.
88. a slice of vegan cake while waiting for a band to start playing in the basement of Cake Shop - haven't been here yet either. I need to get out more, apparently.
89. your breakfast on the subway - breakfast, no. But when I left the law firm for six months and worked at a coffee shop instead, coming home at two in the morning, eating "dinner" of leftover pb and banana sandwiches that had sat in the case all day... yeah. Trains don't run too often that time of night, and food tastes good when you're real hungry.
90. a picnic in Central Park - not the idyllic in-a-basket kind, but in the strict "we brought food and sat in the grass and ate it" kind of way, yes.
91. dark chocolate bark from The Chocolate Room (Park Slope) - oh, my.
92. black coffee from the bodega - I opt for tea instead. Jonathan's done it. But a surprising amount of them now have soy milk.
93. a soy hot chocolate from Oren's Daily Roast - I was so happy when an Oren's popped up by my work; previous to that there were only about three hundred Starbuck's to choose from.
94.mango maki at Tanaka - the east 50's of New York is where the sushi craze began on the east coast. IMHO, this is where you'll still find the best sushi in NYC.
95. dim sum at Buddha Bodai - my favorite restaurant event ever; better than brunch anywhere. Did this for my birthday last year. Have missed it many times because we just can't get down to Chinatown early enough... you know, like by three.
96. pierogi in or from Greenpoint - two packs in my freezer right now.
97. a cheeseless pizza or Siciliana from Rizzo's - they were in a movie you know.
98. marzipan from a bakery in Astoria - the mousse mice are cute and all, but look at the delicate little marzipan fruit shapes! Amazing.
99. a soy latte from the Starbucks on Roosevelt Island - I'm fascinated by the fact that this former welfare island now has a large enough condo population to support it's own $-bucks. Haven't gone in though, just stood outside and stared.
100. lunch pieced together from the salad and hot food bars at the Food Emporium beneath the 59th Street Bridge - the grocery is actually sort of, like, inside the bridge. And it is the most beautiful grocery store I have ever seen. That sounds weird, right? But seriously. It's breathtaking.
So there you have it! 100 amazing tastes and experiences from the vegan wonderland that is NYC. Had them all? I'm jealous! Haven't had any? It's time for a visit. And the really funny part is that I'm sure I've missed like a billion. I only mentioned one or two things from so many restaurants, and I'm sure there are restaurants that I'm forgetting about entirely.
Friends, vegan New York is here for you. Come, indulge, and enjoy!
P.S. - Like this idea? I would love to see a Vegan 100 for Portland, or Chicago, or wherever you live!