Saturday 30 May 2009

New York - Syracuse & Ithaca

Whilst I was over in New York I spent some time away from the city and went upstate to Syracuse to visit my friend, fellow PPker and blogging superstar bazu and her husband Michael.

We hung out at her house and ate awesome food you can't get in England, like this totally rad vegan cheese pizza from a box that we made in a toaster oven!!

She even made me pancakes for breakfast. They were amazing, I can never even make mine round! We ate them with Earth Balance and yummy local maple syrup.

I really wanted to go to Farm Sanctuary so we went on a road trip *yay*

Farm Sanctuary is awesome, I say awesome way too much but there really isn't a better way to describe the place! They provide rehabilitation and permanent sanctuary to thousands of abused farm animals from across America whilst also educating people about their food choices by actively promoting a cruelty free plant based diet.

We got close to some goats...

and hung out with some chickens...

and I totally can't wait to go back there. I'm already planning another trip for next year but this time I'm hopefully going to stay at their on site B&B.

After we'd worked up an appetite walking around the sanctuary we ate at the ABC Cafe in Ithaca. I pretty much always choose the burger if it's on the menu and here I went for the classic ABC burger.

I originally asked for the burger with soy cheese but it turns out that theirs isn't vegan so I just had it plain. They were out of buns too so I had it on wholewheat bread and overall it was pretty good, nice fries too!

For dessert I picked something off the specials board and had the vegan brownie.

It was full of walnuts which I love and it was incredibly rich and fudgy. I prefer a cakey brownie myself but it was still ok.

I've saved the best 'till last with this post...I wish I could pick up Strong Hearts Cafe and pop it down right next to my house. I actually ended up having the same thing both times we went there, the truly amazing Egg Trick Muffin.

I've made something similar at home before using Redwood vegi bacon but with the Gimme Lean sausage, the Teese and the not having to make it myself their version was just better. It was ridiculously filling too and a bargain at only $5.50.

They also do the best vegan desserts I think I've ever had. This one's their chocolate cupcake with mint icing.

Not only was it huge but it was moist and chocolaty with a not too sweet mint icing. I also got a chocolate peanut butter swirl brownie which was cakey just how I like them.

I took this photo on the bus on my way back to New York City, the brownie certainly made the five hour trip better. I think Strong Hearts was probably my favourite place to eat in all of New York.

I have no doubt I'll be back at Strong Hearts and in Ithaca again so expect more about these places next year. Next time Brooklyn and Rutherford, NJ.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

New York - Manhattan

So I'm back! I'm going to divide my New York stuff into a few posts so I don't overload my brain, or yours. First of all I stayed in Manhattan for a few days in The Jane hotel. This place was so cute and has plenty of rooms suitable for one person, great if you're travelling alone but don't want to stay in a hostel. All the rooms are decked out like ships cabins and as it's an old tenement building you share the halls with the buildings long term residents.

One of the first places I hit up when I arrived was Atlas Cafe to get myself a Vegan Treats donut.

Seriously this was so good. Now I've never had a non homemade vegan donut before and I don't really know how to describe this one, but I'd go as far as to say that I doubt you could get a better donut than this. It's even cute, I will definitely be eating vegan treats products on my travels again.

On my first evening in NYC I met up with fellow PPKer Danya from the Seitan Said Dance blog and we went for dinner at Pukk. Although she's a native New Yorker she'd never been there before either. On first impressions the place looked a little trendy and the menu outside had no prices but as it turns out this place is incredibly cheap. For only $7 I had the Pad See Ew which was broad noodles, ''chicken'' and Chinese broccoli in a sweet black bean sauce. You could also choose to have this and other dishes on the menu with either ''duck'' , tofu or veggies making it a great compromise option if one of you loves fake meat products and the other does not.

After dinner we adjourned to Lula's Sweet Apothecary a totally vegan ice cream parlour.

I was too tired and jet lagged to take my own photos but this one from Flickr accurately shows the awesomeness of this place, just look at those cool jars of sweets & toppings! We both went for the cake batter swirl soft serve cones which were great, I haven't had soft serve for a long time, especially in such a great waffle cone. I will definitely be back here on my next trip to try one of their brownie sundaes.

One place I went to regularly due to it's close proximity to my hotel was vegetarian sandwich joint 'sNice. I was usually too ravenous to get any pictures but I had some great smoothies, awesome bagels, moist muffins and yummy sandwiches there. One thing in particular that came highly recommended to me is their Vegan Panini which comes with smoked tofu, pesto and sun dried tomatoes. They also do some great salads.

Please excuse the pretty terrible picture taken on my hotel room windowsill but the cupcakes at 'sNice were SO good that I couldn't just ignore them. I really think they were the best cupcakes I had in New York City. They were huge for a start and also really moist with a not too sweet icing and they get extra points for the cute sprinkles, so if you're there get one...or two!

One of the nicest places I visited during my stay was Counter. I met up with yet another PPKer there for brunch. Now I know I took pictures of the awesome pancakes I had there but somehow my camera managed to delete every picture I took that day so you'll have to make do with a description instead. The pancakes were super fluffy and came with a berry syrup, fruit on the side and maple syrup. I also had the freshest freshly squeezed orange juice I've ever had, it was awesome, the staff were really friendly and I can't wait to go back there one day.

I visited Whole Foods a few times during my stay, usually just to stock up on Newman O's and vegan sprinkles to take back with me but I spotted a a couple of things I just had to get whilst I was there.

Yet another windowsill picture I'm afraid! On the left is the Whole Foods vegan chocolate cookie which was chewy and had decent sized chunks of walnut inside. On the right is a piece of Whole Foods Pineapple Upside Down Cake, I loved this! It was really pineappley, ridiculously moist and as you can see from the picture covered in huge pieces of pineapple - yum.

Yet another thing I didn't manage to get any pictures of was the PPK meet up at Vegi Dim Sum. I loved this place, we ordered loads of little things to share from the menu including turnip cakes, roast pork buns, treasure balls, rice flour rolls with kale, monk dumplings, a plate of mixed gluten, lotus root cakes and sweet and salty dumplings. Each of these things only cost $2.75 a plate. One of my favourites were the turnip cakes, on first sight I thought they looked a little gelatinous and creepy but they were awesome, as were the roast pork buns but do not do as I did and eat these first, they're incredibly filling! If you're in New York City as a group this is the perfect place for dinner, the more of you there are the more things you'll get to try.

After dinner we went around the corner to Babycakes, New York City's healthiest bakery. This place is really cute, all vegan and has loads of wheat free and gluten free options. I think the best things there were the brownie bites, little cakey brownies with a gooey chocolate filling - yum!

Last but by no means least my friend and fellow blogger Lisa from Panda With Cookie and I visited the awesome Red Bamboo. If you love fake meats this is the place for you. Since going vegan I've been missing the British classic fish and chips so as soon as I saw the menu I knew that's what I wanted to go for.

This fish was seriously amazing, it was moist and flaky just like fish and had a yummy breadcrumb based coating. It came with fries which were great too and sides of ketchup and tartar sauce. I wouldn't say this was exactly like the British version of this dish as the fries were pretty nontraditional but it certainly satisfied my craving.

I love New York City, there were so many fun things to do and too many tempting places to eat for me to fit them all into into my short trip, I'll be back! Next time Syracuse and Ithica...