It's been over ten years since i lived in NYC. I remember when i wanted to find anything organic or even a single product containing the word soy (other than soy sauce) I had to rely on the 1 1/2 "health food" stores that were more like little closets containing outrageously priced old, droopy veggies and a handful of pills and green shake mixes. Sometimes they'd carry tofu, but usually i had to go down to chinatown to find it.
But what i found in my recent trip there last week was that the whole town's gone plant crazy! There must have been over 100 vegetarian restaurants in Manhattan alone - most of which was vegan. The choices ranged from an amazingly tasty $3.99 buffet at Little Lad's (a family-owned restaurant in the middle of the downtown Wall Street Area) to the more elegant options like Gobo (an Asian-Fusion restaurant located on the Upper East Side.) Since much of the NYC experience is eating the food, we managed to try a few handfuls of restaurants catering specifically to our vegan preferences.
Each day started off with bagels and tofu cream cheese. Mid morning snack consisted of either street pretzels or knishes, lunch was usually some sort of casual vegan dining, then more pretzels, bagels or knishes to hold us over until dinner - another vegan restaurant.
What amazed me more than the sheer number of dining locations for us folks on plant-based diets was the variety of options. We ate all sorts of foods like chinese, ethopian, japanese, soul food in Harlem, vietnamese, american, mexican, indian, italian, granola-crunchy, thai, and middle eastern.
Here are some photos of our dining experiences:
My first NYC pretzel in many years - enjoyed in front of an NYU building
This was the most incredible brownie I have ever eaten. Got it at Teany (Musician Moby's cafe)
Photo below was of the counter.
Japanese food at Mana - upper west side.
Indian Buffet at Chennai Garden - really cheap at $6.95
Little Lad's $3.99 buffet meal and bowl of dessert (fruit covered in granola and an incredible vanilla sauce)
Whole Foods salad costing almost $20 but completely worth it!
Strictly Roots in Harlem (photo below is of restaurant window) I am so used to the California version of vegan (very politically correct) that is was bizarre to spot a woman diner in a full fur coat.
Ethopian - Meskerem (there was so much food - all incredibly tasty - that even I could not clean the plate. I saved the leftovers for bagel topping the next morning.)