The Gluten-free Chocolate Cake ($6) from Vegan Divas is a rich layer cake that will satisfy your chocolate cravings. It will also leave you stunned that it's egg-, dairy-, and gluten-free.
'vegan' on Serious Eats
This year during The Vegan Experience, I focussed almost exclusively on recipes. I'm proud of them, but it did mean that I had very few opportunities to go out and eat. I tried to make the best of it when I did, and with that in mind, here are my ten favorite vegan bites and restaurants in Manhattan.
It's an all-too-common problem for raw vegan food to short out on flavor in favor of ideology. Fortunately, One Lucky Duck's Chocolate Macaroons ($13.50 for an 11 oz. bag) are a tasty treat, regardless of how they're (not) cooked.
It's a lot easier to eat vegan in New York these days, so we want to hear from you—where do you go for animal product-free food around the city?
The Vegan Chewy Chocolate Sunflower Cookie ($2.75) from Body and Soul Bakery lives up to its name—it is both very chewy and highly chocolatey.
Most vegan and gluten-free sweets taste unavoidably healthy in one way or the other. Not this one.
A little over a year ago I wrote about the meal I had at Kajitsu. Based on the principles of shojin-ryori—Japanese Buddhist monk cuisine—it started out as an attempt to find a halfway decent vegan restaurant in New York. It turned out to be not just decent, but indeed the best, most memorable meal I had all of last year. It was the kind of restaurant that you could easily bring a meat-eating friend to and not worry that they will be missing anything, so complex, interesting, and vibrant are the courses.
Since then, the restaurant has undergone a few major overhauls. There's a new location and a new chef, and if Kajitsu 2.0 doesn't quite meet the standards of its predecessor, it's far from a disappointment.
As the description on the display case reads, the Melomakarona ($15/pound, about 16 cookies) "happen to be vegan as well." They're also one of my favorite sweets at this awesome Queens bakery.
I was only vegan for a month. February—the shortest month of the year—at that. Not long enough to comprehensively explore the many vegan options in this city, but long enough to befriend some new favorites that I otherwise might have scanned past on a menu as a flexitarian.
Hangawi isn't the place for an everyday meal, to be sure, but as an occasional destination, it's a transporting treat, and one of the best places to eat in K-Town. Totally vegan to boot.
Lunch is the best time to eat at Spring Street Natural in Soho. You can grab a seat near one of the large windows that line the dining room and watch the busy intersection of Spring and Lafayette Streets. You can also enjoy some of their lunch-only specials, which include several vegetarian and even vegan options.
If I lived in Bed-Stuy, I have to believe that my food expenses would plummet, just because I could live off dollar-fifty chickpea-flatbread sandwiches, or doubles. And the ones at A&A Bake and Doubles Shop make me pretty happy for six quarters.
When people ask me where to go for dairy-free ice cream, I always send them to Lula's Sweet Apothecary, which sells nut-based ice cream so good tastes just incidentally vegan.
I've made my stance on faux meat pretty clear in the past (hint: I don't like it) and I've never been to a Pan Asian restaurant I've liked. This made my choice of Wild Ginger, a vegan, pro-faux restaurant serving such enticing-sounding dishes as General Tsao's Soy Protein and Tofu Teriyaki Sizzling Platter a little suspect. What was I thinking? Luckily, turns out that amidst all that nonsense, there are some actually tasty lunch options.
Shojin-ryori, the predecessor to kaiseki cuisine devised centuries ago by Buddhist monks (and the basis for the food served at Kajitsu) has been a purely vegan cuisine from its outset. There are no wizard-like attempts to transform vegetables into meat-like products, no culinary mimicry, rather It's a cuisine that celebrates vegetables in all of their diverse glory. Kajitsu practices this tradition exceptionally well.
It took a few juice cleanses—in which a cashew or almond milk is your last "juice" of the day—to get us hooked on nut milks. (When that's your only source of fat and protein for 72 hours, you really crave it. Like you've never craved anything before.) But even once back on solid food, we found ourselves missing those rich, nutty drinkables. So we were pretty jazzed to hear about OMilkNYC, delivering their vegan almond and cashew milks in New York.
In looking for great tofu in Chinatown, we headed down to Buddha Bodai where we tried the House Special Tofu ($12.95).
When I first became a vegetarian, when I wanted a fast food fix I headed to McDonalds and ordered the double cheeseburger meal without the burger. This was way back in the day, before they offered a veggie burger on their menu. Thankfully I don't have this craving any more, but occasionally I still want a good sandwich and I want it quickly. Terri is a sandwich shop in Chelsea that serves not just vegetarian but vegan sandwiches, along with salads and juices, for the on-the-go lunch crowd.
There was a time, during my high school years in California, when my little brother Greg was my copilot for weekend In-N-Out Burger trips; I'd get a plain ol' cheeseburger, and he'd be the one ordering a Triple-Triple. But he's been a vegan for five years now. And when I plan our NYC eating adventures, it's always a bit of a challenge; where can I take him where we'll all be happy, meat-eaters and meat-free? Here are a few of my favorite spots to hit.
If they're available, put them on your must-eat list; you'll be rewarded with a bergamot-scented cake and matching frosting.