Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vacation Part 2: NYC

I had bigger expectations for NYC. I'm not sure what exactly I expected, but it was something more. Like those movies where you see people step out of a cab with all their luggage and look around like a crazy person and say "ahh" like they've made it or something? I guess I was hoping I'd feel like I made it. Instantly.

The reality is less sexy. Driving is like being at a roller derby. It smells like ass half the time. Summers are not designed for al fresco dining. Times Square is mostly foreign tourists and d-bag business people. Subways are the closest to hell you'll ever get. Carrie Bradshaw was on crack: Brooklyn is not the new Manhattan -- unless you think young, depressed-looking hipsters living in the near-ghetto is your scene. Hotel rooms are glorified closets. Cafe food costs the same as fine dining.

But I don't think any of that is the point.

I won't bore you with details, but during my stay there, I was presented with the rare opportunity to work in Candle 79's kitchen. It's still surreal to me. Most restaurants want people with years of experience or culinary degrees of some sort, and as a vegan, that's almost impossible. I could have been food-neanderthal for all they know. But they let me cut things. They asked me if I thought things tasted right. They let me make nori rolls! And those are hard!

Me and Andrew eating breakfast at 7 am in Times Square before my first day of work. The most peaceful it looked the whole trip. Don't mind the hat -- it was part of the uniform.

It was an amazing experience and probably one I'll carry with me for life. And it seems I may have the opportunity to carry on this experience. The head chef told me to call him if we move out there. For now, I'm still Columbus Vegan. But, perhaps New York Vegan . . .

Either way, I understand. You don't go to NYC because it's a great place to live. You go there for the opportunity. And you won't step out of a cab in some amazing movie scene and feel the opportunity overwhelm you. You'll pay your cabby. Get out of the cab as fast as you can to avoid getting honked at. Walk the couple blocks to your dream. And work.


[[Cafe Blossom]]
All organic, vegan, kosher... etc. It's awesome. Visit their website.

Our first day here, we just wanted to grab dinner and go to bed-- I know, we're party people. But it was Sunday night, and that's when we watch HBO.

Cafe Blossom was great. They had a lot of options and convinced Andy and I that olives aren't that bad. Their menu was all vegan with a few raw options. It was pretty reasonably priced, too, considering how fancy looking it was in there. Their waiters were very attentive and our waiter knew a lot about raw food. He was very helpful. We also got a really good carrot cake for dessert that is not depicted here. We brought it back to the hotel and devoured it before I had the chance to photograph it. Sorry!

We bought a bottle of wine. I believe it was a shiraz. Or it could have been a pinot noir. It was tasty. And got me pretty tipsy. I don't drink much. heh.

The bruschetta. We were so hungry, we ate the pesto one before I could take a picture, but if you look closely there's a drop of it on the plate. Now just imagine that drop on a big piece of crusty bread -- and that's what it looked like. My favorite was the hummus with the olives on it. And I hate olives. Or at least I thought I did. The standard bruschetta was great, too.

Andrew's raw pasta. Before his stunt and during it, we're switching him to a raw diet. So, for this reason, he tried out some raw pasta! It was zucchini cut into noodle shapes with a pesto. Very tasty!

A cashew-based fettuccine alfredo with breaded "chicken" and vegetables. Not raw, but vegan and amazing.


CHEAP, tasty, and vegan/vegetarian. Visit their website.

This was Andrew's second spicy throw-down. After that amazing Thai curry from Philly, we decided to go to Pukk and see if their curry was any good. They were by far the cheapest restaurant we'd been to in NYC, and I think we were near a campus. But I can't be sure. The area was slightly younger looking.

Pukk was neat. The bathroom was almost too modern to use. The sink was a giant boulder and the water would drain from the sides of it. Very strange. In a review someone said the restaurant looked like a giant bathroom, and I think it's because [[and you can see a little in my pictures]] the tables and chairs were made of little tile. Like a bathroom.

The service was great, as was the food. I officially love Thai curry.

We had some sort of Thai pancake appetizer. It was a curry with little pieces of fake meat and spinach. Does anyone know what that Thai flat, delicious bread is?? It's amazing!

Thai red curry with "duck", bamboo, and pineapple. It's like nothing I'd ever make, but I really enjoyed it.


[[Lula's Sweet Apothacary]]
Ice cream! All vegan. Some gluten free. All delicious. Website.

This place was SO cute. It was like an old time ice cream shop. They had old ads up from the 50's [[you can see them behind me]], and a little bar where you can eat sundaes in non-disposable cups. The people were super nice, and after trying about a dozen flavors, I got the cookies n cream. I wan't feeling daring, I suppose. Andrew got soft serve cake batter flavored ice cream. His was melting, so we had to get a cup.


The next day, we had to take the long drive back home. We didn't get to see many sites, but we tried some of the best vegan food I've ever had. We did try to get on Fallon, but we missed the cut off by one person. It didn't matter -- for my 21st birthday, I got to cook in a vegan kitchen. I can always remember that much.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

So sorry that NYC didn't live up to your expectations :( Glad you still had a nice visit and dining adventures though!

evolution said...

NYC is an amazing place I hold near and dear to my heart - but with that said, the first time I was there is was during the summer, hot and humid, and it smelled bad (my thought was urine rather than ass but I think we're on the same page). I would suggest you try it again in the fall - its a night and day difference. Thanks for sharing all your travels!

Andrew Warner said...

don't act like you don't love the SS hat.

Unknown said...

Rocking and cool place NYC and very nice foods you had hmmm..
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Unknown said...

Evolution -

I suspect NYC is good about half the year. Fall and Spring. I hated walking around there in the heat-- which only made the stench worse I'm sure. But it's probably be a huge pain to walk around in tons of snow! I suppose I can always adapt. :)


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