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New York: The Food Edition

30 July 2008

We had a wonderful time in New York City this weekend. I wasn’t really looking forward to it because my preference had been to drive 6 hours north of here and spend the weekend camping at Acadia National Park. Unfortunately (for me) it had rained all last week, and they were predicting more rain over the weekend. Setting up camp in a soggy mess, and then camping in rain, is not fun. So we decided to drive 5 hours south to NYC instead.

Everyone knows that New York is unique, so I won’t rehash that here (you can always visit my flickr collection of the trip). What I will report on is the food — from a vegetarian’s point of view.

If you’re vegetarian, you know that so often when you eat out away from home, you end up eating lots of pasta (primavera, marinara, “house special”), because that’s the only non-meat option the eateries offer. How unexciting. (And really, it always bothers me that I have to pay the same price for a bit of broccoli and cream sauce on my pasta as someone else pays for shrimp or chicken on theirs.)

We spent the weekend with our friend Cecil, who has lived in NYC for the past 18 months. Thanks to him we ate fabulously at every meal (except breakfast, which was included in our hotel stay). Cecil is a vegan, and he loves to eat out (those studio apartment kitchens are tiny!). The most amazing part of our dining experience was that, although each of these restaurants (except one) served exclusively vegetarian/vegan food, they didn’t have to advertise that fact. The food was so good that anyone would enjoy it — even meatatarians. Imagine that!

What did we have? Well, on Friday night Cecil brought us to Greenwich Village (where he lives) for Vietnamese food, then for dessert we ate huge helpings of cake on the terrace of a vegan bakery shop just around the corner from his place. On Saturday we planned the day so that we were in Chinatown at lunchtime, so we could go to a dim sum restaurant. Saturday night we went in to a small Irish pub and had veggie burgers. This was the only non-vegetarian eatery — but they had great beer and hard cider on tap, so that made up for it (at least for the adults).

Sunday we had Mexican for lunch; you could request soy meat and soy cheese if you wanted, but the burritos were huge, even if you went with one of the many bean options (I had chili in mine). We walked a ton this entire weekend, so we treated ourselves to a quick rest at an Italian gelato place in the afternoon. Half of their choices were vegan (the rest had cream, of course). Our last supper was at a restaurant serving the cuisine of the south of India. Cecil has visited India twice, so he had fun introducing us to some of the specialites of that part of the country.

After a bit of a walk, we figured we were ready for one last dessert. We ended up at a small place that serves Korean food, and had several options from their completely vegan dessert menu.

So much variety!

Needless to say, I regained the 2 pounds I had lost in the previous two weeks since the Consort got Wii Fit (which is a wonderful program, let me tell you!). But that’s OK. Gaining weight because you ate well at vegetarian restaurants all weekend is definitely worth it.

New York? It’s a bit busy. But it has a great subway system, it’s completely walkable, and it has terrific vegan food.

We’ll be back.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 July 2008 8:58 pm

    NYC is wonderful for its variety of foods! Next trip, take the Long Island Rail Road down to suburbia, where there’s not as much vegetarian variety but there is my house. 😉

  2. 31 July 2008 2:16 pm

    Glad to hear you had a good time in NYC! We were there last weekend, too (in Queens, actually, on Sunday). You’re right about the amazing vegetarian options there. My husband (who grew up just outside NYC) says that it’s pretty much impossible to find a bad restaurant there. Because the rents are so amazingly high, any restaurant that’s not good (and doesn’t draw in business) won’t last for long!

    By the way, I posted some music to you this morning. Hope you like it! 🙂

  3. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    31 July 2008 4:15 pm

    You know Katharine, if this hadn’t been such a last-minute, whirlwind visit, I would have definitely come to visit. Our subway stop was also an LIRR stop — it would have been super easy!

    Marsha: I can see that (about the rent). Woo-hoo! I can’t wait to get the CD!

  4. 31 July 2008 6:01 pm

    Aren’t vegetarian restaurants a welcome respite? We always eat at one if I can find one beforehand.

    Daughter Number Two will be in NYC for a few days next month; I’ll have to give her some names of places to try.

  5. 4 August 2008 12:59 pm

    You’d find the same in London. One of the top restaurants now does a vegetarian “tasting meal” to match the meat one. Haven’t tried it myself, but its with a chef I adore, so is likely exquisite. Must come visit some time!

  6. 6 August 2008 5:47 am

    Paris isn’t great for veggies if you ever go there. Especially those who don’t eat dairy products either. Doable, though. And I found a veggie restaurant that did vegan food. It was heaven, although D was very suspicious. He is NOT veggie, although he eats a lot of veggie food – hols for him are his opportunity to eat meat 🙂

    I was quite relieved, especially as one article I found before we left said ‘don’t bother trying to be veggie in Paris, it can’t be done’.

    I have a friend who’s a chef and a confirmed carnivore. He sees my dietary requirements as a challenge, an opportunity to raise his game. If only more people saw it like that…..

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