Vegan Gastronomy Sweet Tour – NYC
It’s been a while since we’ve done a Vegan Gastronomy Weekend, where “We eat every vegan yum in sight so you don’t have to”. We decided to make this one really sweet since it was Chris‘ birthday weekend. Why not celebrate in style by hitting some great eateries and as many sweet spots as possible in NYC, she proposed. Game on!
First Stop – Caravan of Dreams
We started our Vegan Gastronomy Sweet Tour by priming our bellies with a delicious brunch at Caravan of Dreams. Their extensive menu knocked us off our seats and so did the food itself (see below). The brunch menu items were generously portioned and tasty. Mauro and I opted for regular menu items, the paella and wild rice and mushroom risotto, while Chris, James and Becca went for the breakfast burrito, country breakfast and berry pancakes. I also had a cashew kafir (not pictured) that was frothy and filling.
The food was excellent and the staff was quick and friendly. We couldn’t ask for more.
Second Stop – BabyCakes
BabyCakes was the second stop on our circuit. This sweet little store is so adorable I wanted to take a bite out of it too, not just the goodies in it. From the cute uniforms the ladies wear, wall hangings and mugs to the delectable pastries made based on their sensible philosophy (third picture below).
I’ve never liked super sweet sweets so I was really looking forward to trying them. I picked out a few items that would usually be too sweet for my taste, if they were from other bakeries, and gave it a shot right away. The ultimate test was the red velvet cupcake with the mile high dollop of “cream cheese” icing. I braced for impact while biting into it and was totally blown away with the pleasant surprise that it was not nearly as sweet as I expected it to be. As Goldy Locks would say “it was just right”. Two thumbs up!
All the other goodies pass with flying colors too. Chris and Becca had the chocolate chip cookie sandwich and lemon cupcake: “they were both excellent, even after being all melty and a day old!”
Third Stop – Moo Shoes
We decided to stop by Moo Shoes for a different kind of treat. Belts, shoes and T-shirts to be exact. And we stocked up on plenty of them. Moderation was not in our dictionary during our Sweet Tour. Luckily we didn’t have enough time to do too much damage to our bank accounts since we had to run to Thompkins Square Park to interview Marisa Miller Wolfson. We don’t mess around when we’re out on the town.
Fourth Stop – Lula’s Sweet Apothecary
Our favorite vegan ice cream spot so far is Lula’s Sweet Apothecary. We really looove their cashew cream based flavors, although the soy based ones aren’t too shabby either. My personal favorite is the peanut butter and fudge swirl (I’m a bit of a PB fanatic). Chris and Mauro got the cookie dough, James got root beer, and Becca got coffee. We always sneak a taste of each others orders and everything was so good.
Lula’s also carries Dun-Well Doughnuts, which are totally delish. We stocked up on those too, of course.
Fifth Stop – Stogo
One can never have too much ice cream, so we went from Lula’s straight to Stogo for a back-to-back taste comparison. We also had some sweet vouchers we bought 2 days before, from a popular one-day deal site. We each paid only $1 for our ice creams! Can it get any sweeter than that?
Mauro had the coconut-based Key Lime, Becca had the hemp-based Chocolate, James had the Mango Sorbet and, per Marisa’s recommendation, Chris and I had the soy-based Salted Caramel Pecan. It wasn’t a flavor I would choose out of the blue but it was really good. All of them were really good but my heart still lies with Lula’s cashew-based because they just taste a touch more decadent.
Stogo also carries Baby Cake’s baked goods, a one-stop sweet shop if you’re in a hurry.
Sixth Stop – Cowgirl’s Baking
Whew! This was a long day but we still managed to make it to Cowgirl’s Baking. It was a little late in the day, 4:00 pm, so there wasn’t much left to choose from. James stocked up on the goodies below while Mauro and I settled for a couple of savory Daiya cheese scones and a potato knish (not pictured).
Becca really liked the chocolate chip cookie and James liked the other goodies. Mauro and I had an issue, that we won’t mention, with the potato knish and the scones were pretty dry and bland. We’ll have to give them another shot on a future trip to NYC and hopefully we’ll have a better experience.
Seventh Stop – Pure Food and Wine
We decided to wrap up the day in style, with dinner reservations at Pure Food and Wine. If you’re looking for the ultimate vegan dining experience for a special occasion or that special someone, this is the place to go. Specializing in raw, vegan haute cuisine they really know how to put on a show for your taste buds. Our good friend Sharon Nazarian, Big City Vegan, joined us for dinner and made the occasion even more special.
We started off with a few drinks and a Tree Nut Cheese plate from Dr. Cow and it was such a treat. We ate every last morsel and even ordered an encore. The former cheese lovers in all of us were so amazed and content with the taste and texture of each of the “cheeses”. But that was just the beginning. Moving on to our entrées (their menu changes frequently and some of the items we ordered are not on their current one anymore), we ordered:
- Zucchini, Local Roma and Heirloom Tomato Lasagna – the tomato sauce tasted like it was cooked, stunning
- Sweet Corn Polenta with Braised Chard and Tomato Sauce – surprisingly fresh and comforting
- Spanikopita with Spinach, Almond Feta, Cucumber Yogurt – light and delicious, yet rich because of the almond feta
- Four Jicama Tacos with Portabella and Pepper – great flavors and texture, the jicama worked quite well as the taco shells
- Sweet Corn and Cashew Tamales with Chili Spiced Portabella – hearty, rich and so flavorful – I ordered this one and loved every bite
And for dessert:
- Trio of Dark Chocolate Coated Indian Spiced Ice Cream Treats
- Chocolate Coated Ice Cream Stack with Raspberry Sorbet
The portions were all hearty, filling and plain simply wonderful. I didn’t even feel like having breakfast the next morning (granted we did have way too much to eat the whole day) but that’s still a rarity for me. We highly recommend having lunch or dinner here at least once in your lifetime.
After hours Sharon and I went on mission to vegangelize the world, one cupcake store at a time.
Final Stop – Terri
Mauro and I came back home the night before but James, Chris and Becca stayed in NYC and made one final stop – brunch at Terri’s, a quick and inexpensive spot for breakfast or lunch. They had: Buffalo Chicken Sandwich – “chicken”, buffalo sauce, vegenaise, lettuce, tomato, onion, celery; Breakfast Scramble Wrap – scrambled tofu, Italian “sausage”, spinach, Daiya cheddar, hot sauce; Terri Berri Smoothie – strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, soymilk, agave.
An inexpensive and nutritious way to start your vegan day
Handy map of Vegan Gastronomy Sweet Tour 2011
View NY Sweet Tour 08/11 in a larger map