NYC Vegan Eats: Part 1

As an early birthday present from my husband, I got to embark on a two day jaunt to New York City last week. One of the things I miss most about life in the City is easy access of some of the world’s best food, vegan or otherwise. Every time I visit, I make sure to squeeze in as much deliciousness as my wallet and stomach can afford. Even though this trip was short, I still got to visit a few old and new favorite vegan restaurants. In hind sight, I should have taken some more photos of what I ate, but I always feel super awkward photographing plates (and, to be honest, I forgot).

My first stop (literally, right off the bus) in the city was ‘sNice in the west village, home of the Vegan Panini, one of my all-time favorite sandwiches. I first met the Vegan Panini about five years ago and my love hasn’t wavered  The balance of flavors and textures is perfection in sandwich form. The smoked tofu is firm and chew as all good tofu should be. Sun dried tomatoes add a hint of sweetness while garlicky, creamy pesto bring the whole thing together on a crusty baguette.   My oldest,closest friend and I enjoyed our panini as we caught up on each other’s lives. I also got to introduce her to my almost four month old son!

Later that night, I met a few friends for dinner at Red Bamboo in Greenwich Village. I’d only eaten here once before, my freshman year of college, and figured it was time for a return. Red Bamboo and its sister restaurant, Vegetarian’s Paradise 2, are NYC vegan staples. Soul food and Asian-inspired cuisine both have their place on Red Bamboo’s expansive menu. It’s a little heavier on the mock meats than I usually prefer, but I do have a soft spot for mock chicken. We started with the vegetable dumplings, which were good, but nothing to write home about. Unable to decide what to order, I ended up sharing the sesame beef and cashew chicken with a friend. The sesame beef was the favorite of the night–it tasted just like the Chinese-American takeout dish I remembered from childhood–with crispy morsels of soy-based protein, lightly fried and smothered with a delicious sesame sauce, served alongside a hearty helping of veggies and brown rice. We finished the meal with a dish of chocolate and vanilla ice cream to share. I enjoyed the food, but I probably won’t go out of my way to eat here again. Soy and Sake still wins as my favorite place for vegan pan-Asian food in the city.

Part 2 coming tomorrow: The Cinnamon Snail and Peacefood Cafe