So, a few posts ago, I wrote about a fabulous day in and around NYC. But there were a lot more foodie adventures that weekend that I’ve yet to share!
My second day in the city also completely revolved around food. In fact, I like to consider it as a self-led Vegan Food Tour of Brooklyn. I got all of my ideas from a combination of this great NYC Vegan Weekend on a Budget video by Our Hen House, HappyCow.net, and from my friend Amy whom I was visiting. I plotted all of our ideas onto a Google Map, and then picked a cluster of places within walking distance of each other.
We started out in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn at the Bedford Avenue Subway Station, an area with a total Hipster Vibe (in fact, Williamsburg is even mentioned in UrbanDictionary’s definition of a Hipster). Whether you love or hate Hipsters, I know that delicious vegan food and eco-friendly boutiques are always plentiful wherever Hipsters hang.
We started out with Brunch/Lunch at Bliss Cafe, just a block from the Subway station. The place was super cute & sunny and not crowded at all for a Sunday morning.
I ordered their Tofu Club with Grilled Tofu and Tempeh Bacon and was impressed by the presentation, size, and freshness of everything on my plate. However, at first bite, I decided it was dull. The Tempeh didn’t resemble Bacon at all in taste or appearance, and the thick slabs of tofu + tempeh together made the sandwich both overwhelming and bland at the same time. On the bright side, the sandwich seemed pretty healthy and it filled me up, but it wasn’t anything nearly as special as the food that was yet to come…
From here on out, our day followed a pattern: Eat till we’re full. Walk and shop till we’re hungry again. Then walk to the next place on the list to eat.
After my huge sandwich (and just a couple hours earlier, the bowl of muesli I’d had before heading out), it was a while before I was hungry again, but thankfully the shopping along Bedford Street kept us happily occupied!
We spent a while browsing the jewelry & trinkets at the cute & clever boutique, catbird. I especially love that they provide their own list of the best places to eat & shop in the neighborhood.
One stop we made was actually a combination of eating AND shopping: Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory & Store
I enjoyed some samples and then got a few bars of Dark Chocolate for the road: Stumptown Coffee (my favorite), Pecan & Maple, and Vanilla & Smoke.
Then it was time for some more shopping along the way to our next destination…
I loved SkinnySkinny, which sells Organic & Vegan Bath and Body products and Gifts.
EcoCloset had such beautiful jewelry made out of dried berries & nuts that I picked up a birthday present for my Sister.
Finally, we had worked up enough of an appetite for a snack at the infamous… FOODSWINGS!
A popular late-night spot, we had no trouble getting a table in the casual restaurant in the middle of the afternoon.
The Our Hen House video raved about their “Drumsticks” and Milkshakes, so that’s exactly what we ordered. We split a Vanilla & Chik O’ Stiks (like Butterfingers) milkshake, and each had a Buffalo Style Drumstick. They were exactly what comfort food should taste like – sinfully delicious!
From here, we walked a little over a mile to our next destination. We got lost a few times, and didn’t seem to be in the safest areas, but it was daylight and we were so full, we knew we had to walk to make some room in our bellies for our next treat.
Even so, we were stuffed to the brim upon arrival, yet our next treat was the best bite of the day and so we somehow made room for every. last. crumb.
And where were we headed? Dun-Well Doughnuts: NYC’s first All-Vegan Doughnut Shop which serves a rotation of over 200 flavors of artisan doughnuts, baked fresh twice daily!
The store shows its commitment to Veganism in another cool way too – there was a shelf with store-copies of VegNews Magazine and a number of educational books that diners can browse through as they sip their coffees.
Amy and I agreed to share two different flavors of doughnuts. It was hard to pass up the beautiful Raspberry donuts, but we were thrilled with our choices – A Coconut Doughnut, and the “Greyhound” Doughnut, which was a spin on the drink of the same name made with Grapefruit & Vodka.
Both doughnuts were so soft, moist and, well… doughy, it was like a taste of heaven. As a flexi-vegan, I can honestly say that these Vegan doughnuts were better than ANY doughnut I have EVER had. Seriously. It’s a good thing they don’t have a location anywhere near Chicago, or I’d surely develop an addiction.
It was at this point, Amy and I started to panic. We were so full of sweets and treats that we knew there was no way we would be hungry for our dinner reservation, which was still 3+ hours away, at Manhattan’s Franchia restaurant. In a move of desperation, we decided to walk towards the restaurant (which was 5 miles away) from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
Our walk took us across the Williamsburg Bridge, which, although not as breathtaking as the Brooklyn Bridge (one of my favorite places in New York City), was pretty cool.
After walking for about 3 miles, we realized there was no way we’d be able to work up enough of an appetite to dine properly at Franchia, where I would have had to try their Tofu & Roasted Kabocha Pumpkin and at least 3 other dishes. With a sigh of regret, we called and cancelled our reservation.
After carbs and sweets, all we wanted was VEGETABLES, lots and lots of vegetables! Amy knew of the perfect place for our cravings – Westville – East, a bustling bistro on the Lower East Side known for it’s Market Vegetable sides & platters.
While the menu of veggie choices was quite lengthy, cheese & bacon were used liberally on the menu. However, I was able to find enough lighter menu choices to create a beautiful Market Vegetable Platter. The marinated cucumbers were too salty to eat, but the Artichoke Hearts, Kale, and perfectly seasoned Sauteed Tomatoes hit the spot. I also ordered a bowl of the Gazpacho which was simply fantastic.
After dinner, we headed to the train back to Jersey. While I know I ate more calories than I burned that day, according to my fitbit we did walk over 10.5 miles on our journey!
And the next day, we got right back on track. Before I headed back to the airport, we took a Power Yoga class and then went out for a healthy lunch at another gem.
Next time I visit Amy, I will definitely be insisting on another visit to Subia’s Organics in Jersey City. This sunny, all vegan cafe earned a special place in my heart.
Part cafe (and juice bar!), part natural foods store, I’d definitely be coming here all the time if I were a local.
I ordered the “Un-Turkey Salad” Platter which I wish I could eat all the time. The salad was one of the most colorful, freshest salads I’ve had, and was towering above the plate. Along with Brown Rice and the delicious protein-packed “un-turkey salad”, this meal left me feeling energized and satiated for hours.
Amy ordered her favorite BBQ Riblette Salad which was equally impressive. Lucky for me, she let me have a riblette of my own
What a wonderful way to end such a delicious weekend!
I’d love to hear from you!
How much do your vacations revolve around Food?
What are your favorite places to eat in New York City?