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Traveling Vegan | NYC

New York vegans are greedy.

Last week was the first time I’ve stayed in New York since I’ve been vegan. And while I was travelling for work, the function of my visit really was just to eat as much vegan food as I could fit in my belly. I present, Exhibit A:

NYC todoThis map doesn’t show all the vegan and veg-friendly places in Manhattan and Brooklyn…only the ones I seriously wanted to visit! (I’ve made it so that anyone can view/edit this map!) And for all those places I did visit, I present Exhibit B:

NYC visited

I missed out on more than a few from my wishlist, but I was happy with my record. Two places I visited twice mostly for convenience. They were delicious, though. I regret nothing. But I am planning my next visit to hit all the other spots!

Overall

Being vegan in New York is not only incredibly easy, it’s also amazingly delicious! I would say only one meal really disappointed me, but everything else blew me away—and by-and-large blew all the other vegan food I’ve had until now out of the water. Hence, I feel that New York vegans are being selfish.

All-Stars

Some meals, as I suggested, were better than others. I’ll call these my all-stars. They lived up to the hype and accounted for my repeat visits. Also, I feel as though future trips will most certainly include these destinations when I’m nearby. The all-star champs include:

Blossom du Jour | 617 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

My first meal upon arriving in Manhattan—despite being drenched from the pouring rain an walking with lakes of water inside my waterproof shoes (the puddles were that high!)—set the stage for an amazing week of eating. From the nearby Port Authority Greyhound Bus terminal, I walked to Blossom du Jour. I had the Un-chicken Avocado Griller and the Butterfinger Shake. Wow! The shake took me back to my butterfinger-eating days of yore with a truly uncanny resemblance to the flavor. While the sandwich was crispy, flavorful, and satisfying! This is a must-visit establishment! Fortunately, they have a handful of locations throughout the city!

The Cinnamon Snail | The Pennsy — W. 33rd Street & 7th Ave., New York, NY 10005

The meal of all meals, I might argue, was the Thanksgiving Sandoo from The Cinnamon Snail. I’ve heard great things about this place and I was not disappointed. Incredibly fast and absolutely mouthwatering (albeit a bit…no, unbelievably messy!!). This sandwich is everything I hoped for in a sandwich. 100% a must-visit establishment and a must-eat meal! To boot, The Pennsy’s food hall atmosphere was an enjoyable space to hang with friends. I brought two non-vegans with me and both loved it—one even claimed it was the best meal she had the whole trip!

The Butcher’s Daughter | 581 W. Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

There was literally only one drawback to this place—limited seating…well, two drawbacks if you count the possibly leather seat cushions in the booth? I wasn’t close enough to examine. HOWEVER, the food, the decor, the music, the vibe were all elevated. I felt super cool eating here. Like, cool enough to pull off clear-knee mom jeans (oh wait, is that not cool? That’s how uncool I am. I don’t even know what’s a cool thing that I’m not cool enough to pull off…). ANYWAY (I keep getting side-tracked!), the food was absolutely fantastic. I ordered the Deli Reuben and it was mind-blowing! Must. Visit. Again.

by Chloe. | 60 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010

Despite the bit of by Chloe. drama lately (which is, indeed, disappointing), I felt I had to try one of the best known vegan eateries around. I was thrilled with my food. I ordered some mac and cheese and a BBQ burger. The food was amazing and the ketchup and sauce were delightful additions to the meal.

Candle Cafe West | 2427 Broadway New York, NY 20024

I have seen advertisements for Candle Cafe for what seems like ages now, with all the VegNews magazines I’m reading. It was a fantastic experience to finally visit. I was worried my expectations would be too high, but I wasn’t disappointed! I ordered a wine (I love being able to order wine and trust that it’s vegan!), an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. It was all worth it! I brought a non-vegan companion with me and she loved her food, too! The atmosphere is really wonderful, especially when compared to most other vegan options in New York, which were fast casual. It was a joy to sit down at a nice restaurant.

The Reliable Champs

So there were some restaurants that reigned supreme. That’s not to say my other meals weren’t great. Honestly, when compared to most things I can order around Baltimore (and I consider myself pretty lucky with my local options), these other meals were all-stars, too.

Bareburger | 535 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

Of course I had to try the Impossible Burger while in New York! So late one night, I realized Bareburger’s flagship LaGuardia Place location (the only location which currently has the Impossible Burger) was still open. I hopped on a train, stumbled into the bar, and ordered the “vegan” burger (the default setup is vegetarian, but not vegan). I must say, while it certainly was good, I found myself comparing it to the Beyond Burger. And it wasn’t meeting my expectations! I would recommend it, but for my burger fix, I think I’ll stick to Beyond Meat!

Beyond Sushi | 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

While in Chelsea Market, I heard that I could get delicious sushi from a plant-based sushi spot. There are other vegan options throughout the market, but I headed to Beyond Sushi. I ordered La Fiesta and the Spicy Mang. They were severely understaffed for the lunch hour, but it wasn’t a terribly long wait considering the crowd. The sushi rolls were good, but not great. My favorite part, though, was the vegan spicy/flavored mayos!! Not something I see, well, ever! I’d return again but mix up my order.

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The Nomo Soho Kitchen | 9 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10013

Our visit to the Nomo Soho was driven purely by our desire to hang out in their beautifully decorated atrium. But when I saw there was avocado toast on the menu (despite costing a pretty penny), I thought to myself, “I’ve ordered ridiculously expensive avocado toast once before, why not again?” And there I was, eating deluxe, pillowy avocado on a thick slice of toast. Worth it? Definitely once. But for the price, I’ll perfect the technique at home and start charging my friends. Bonus: this very non-vegan menu offered both almond and soy milk.

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Seed + Mill | 409 W 15th St, New York, NY 10011

I’ve never had halva before! Turns out, I’m not a huge fan! Hah. The marble and whiskey flavors were really good but the coconut was too sweet. I’d love to try the tahini and other food at Seed + Mill at future visits.

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream |  152 West 10th St, New York, NY 10014

I really didn’t need ice cream after all the food I had eaten, but there I was, and there it was, and how could I pass up? I ordered the mint chocolate chip with coconut whipped cream and chocolate syrup. It was delicious, if only a little expensive!

The So-So’s

Just to be clear, the “so-so” spots were typically better than many of the vegan options I’ve experienced while traveling, they just didn’t meet the caliber I expected of them.

Red Bamboo | 140 W 4th St # A, New York, NY 10012

When my non-vegan travel companion found this place and said she’d be interested, I got so excited. When we ordered the same thing—the Creole Soul Chicken—and I worried it was a bit of a missed opportunity. And it was. We should have ordered two things and split it, because the dish came out and we were both disappointed. While the plates all around us looked fabulous, out came our meal looking like cafeteria food. It tasted like it, too. The description of our dish was terribly misleading. That being said, the prices were great, I’ve heard good things about this place, the space was beautiful, and the plates around us all looked delicious. So I won’t discredit them, I’m just disappointed with my order.

Terri | 60 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

I was stuffed from the day, but I would be hopping on a bus within the hour and wouldn’t have a chance to eat again until I got home—and that wouldn’t be until 11:30 pm. I thought I’d get a salad. I headed to Terri, but was a bit let down when I realized the salads were pre-made and didn’t look all that appetizing. The flavor was alright, but given how “popular” my salad appeared to be in my research (even the cashier, when prompted, suggested the Kale Superfood), I was expecting a great deal more. I ended up eating barely a quarter of it, and taking it home with me. Salads typically don’t keep well, and this was no exception. I regret not ordering a sandwich or wrap, because those looked amazing! But the pre-made salad was underwhelming.

Wrap-Up

Seeing how excited I was just to try new food, I really want to start traveling to nearby cities precisely for the food. I really found a few gems here and I look forward to going back!

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