Life Through The Lens Of The Spring

So much time has suddenly passed since my last post! We're approaching mid-April and I have an abundance of vegan food to discuss with ...

So much time has suddenly passed since my last post! We're approaching mid-April and I have an abundance of vegan food to discuss with all of you! Until I can figure out how to make my posts hinge upon some sort of structure, I'm just going to keep barreling through my most recent food pics and tell you about what my life was like while I ate said food. Cool?

So the NYC Veg Fest happened. I always look forward to going to this festival. This is my fourth year attending it! This year my friend Belinda, who is also vegan, came with me. Since she comes in from Jersey, I asked her to stay in Queens with me the night before so that we could get moving early enough to Manhattan in the morning. Seizing the evening, we made empanadas! Belinda is from Mexico so she was a good person to have cooking with me my first time ever making empanadas and she taught me the ropes of how to make them awesome, the way she grew up making them with her family.

We made two kinds: Corn-crusted red chile seitan and wheat-crusted zucchini and choclo with ají amarillo. I foolishly forgot to split them and take a picture of the middle. We also made salsa verde and a ton of guac! Amazing. 

All I managed to photograph from the veg fest was this coconut macaron that was actually at The Seed Market next door to the festival. At the actual veg fest we saw Jay Astafa make his mozzarella and ate a lot of it, which was amazing, got lots of good food, bought some beet juices, mexican drinking chocolate, vegan t-shirts, Ethiopian food, ate vitamix soup and got minty lemonade. We tried to go to Chloe Coscarelli's demo but the tent was too full. Bummer. It was Belinda's first time at the veg fest and she had great time! Isn't it great to reconnect with old friends, especially when you find out they've gone vegan?! 

Alex couldn't come to Veg Fest because he was in California for a couple weeks visiting his brother. When he got home I made him what seems like his favorite type of dinner. The template for his favorite kind of meal is as follows: heavily seasoned meat-analog, potatoes - mostly any preparation will do, and a traditional veggie. No brussels sprouts, no artichokes, no fancy farmer's market kale or squash. Just an old standard carrot, green bean or asparagus. Asparagus might be pushing it. This is the Italian Meatloaf from Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen. It was really great and I love using brown rice as a meaty base for these types of things instead of seitan or wheat gluten. It feels more varied in nutrition and texture and not sit like a brick in your stomach. These potatoes are whipped with roasted garlic and olive oil, and the carrots have some pomegranate molasses as a glaze. I'm not sure how I got away with that one, but he liked it! Don't misunderstand him, he will try and almost always like everything that comes out of my kitchen, but when it's a special meal I'm making with him in mind, I like to play to my strengths, and my strengths are garlic mashed potatoes and meatloaf.

I felt like eating really healthy after feeling kind of terrible for a few days. I made this beautiful salad with some smoky chickpeas and a roasted red pepper dressing! It was plentiful, delicious and hearty as salads seldom are. Spring is here and it's time to get serious about salads!

My mom and dad came to visit over Easter weekend, and we had a nice few days full of outdoor spring weather walks, catching a glimpse at the first blooms of the season, cut in between with much delicious vegan food from our favorite spots. Mom and dad always come happily to the vegan spots with us, even though neither of them follow a vegan diet. They just trust that whatever place I take them to is going to be awesome. The first stop was Champs for breakfast. I finally broke away from the shackles of breakfast burrito brain and ordered the benedict bowl! It was an amazing switcheroo in the breakfast routine. Also bowls. Why is everything not a bowl?? 

 Potatoes, cherry tomatoes, spinach, tofu scramble, and hollandaise

We took them walking around several parks that day, beginning with Prospect. It was definitely a windy day, but coupled with walking several miles it evens out and the wind doesn't really chill you if you keep moving. It was beautiful and I'm glad we didn't miss out due to the skeptical weather that was forecast. This is Prospect Park Lake.

I love these wheat thingies. What are they called?? They complete the composition and make this a paintable scene. I need to know their moniker.

After Prospect Park, we decided to take them to yet another park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, where Alex and I got engaged last spring :) Can I mention that my parents each carry a rare but pleasant gene called the parking gene?? Whenever they are present, a spot that's perfectly conducive to where you want to go/walk to/be/live is suddenly before you. They bring the ease of Western Mass's parking conditions along with them to New York City. I am thinking I will pay them to just ride around with me full time to reap the benefits of this gene which they did not pass on to me.

Anyway, we hung out in our unbelievable spot and ate several doughnuts a piece, from Dunwell, of course. Then we strolled around the piers for a while, taking in what may be the best view in all of New York City. We also saw the line for Grimaldi's and laughed. We're a Roberta's family.

The next morning we decided to go to M.O.B for brunch. We left early thinking it would take some time to park, but silly us, we forgot about the parking charm and found a spot directly outside and had about half an hour to kill before they even opened. We walked around the Barclays and surrounding neighborhood, but alas, not much to see. M.O.B was really amazing. They are a little too frou frou with their coffee, though, serving us each an individual french press. WTF is a french press anyway?? It was good coffee but I like it to come in a mug and drink it immediately instead of waiting 4 minutes to press and also googling how to use a french press before I did it. It was good coffee, but I wasn't raised in a country club so I prefer my coffee hot, black and in a mug already.

I ordered the Roasted Corn and Shiitake Scramble, which came with tofu, red bell pepper sauce, sautéed kale, sweet potato home fries, sour cream drizzle and flatbread. I opted to add the "carrot bacon" for $1.50 more because what kind of self-respecting (self-proclaimed) foodie doesn't add something called "carrot bacon" ?? It was utterly amazing and everyone at the table snatched a few pieces. I think my dish was the clear winner of the table, seeing as my dad and Alex each ordered the blueberry pancakes and my mom ordered the citrus-scented pancakes with figs and blood orange hibiscus syrup. She gets it: if you must order pancakes for breakfast, at least make them pancakes you couldn't make for yourself at home. But me? I'm a savory breakfast fiend and I defend my choice as the best of them all.  

An amazing plate of food

 The blueberry pancakes were good too. I got to try them because as soon as our plates came Alex decided "we're sharing" and took half of my food, replacing the gaping spots left on my plate with a few of his pancakes. BTW I am back on bananas! Cue the gif from 10 Things I Hate About You when JGL says "And I'm BACK IN THE GAME!!"

 Why are the little wild blueberries just so much better than big blueberries???

Inspired by Amey from Vegan Eats And Treats I made the most gigantic pot of minestrone soup, following her recipe to a T. What is a T? Anyway, it was great soup and I ate it seven times. There's still half a bowl left. The leftovers got a little melancholy at day 6, but I spruced it up by sprinkling over the top some almond parmesan. I love soup. Thanks Amey!!

I had said almond parmesan in the fridge because I made some to go with this pasta with broccoli. It was about 30 minutes of chopping and stirring and suddenly a dinner that ruled was before me. Almond parmesan might be the answer to the world's problems. We would all be a little less awful, less selfish, more thoughtful, more compassionate, more humanistic if we all would just have a big bite of pasta twirled up and dusted with some almond parmesan every once in a while.

Alex took me on a surprise date night on Friday, featuring dinner and a movie. The dinner: Angelica Kitchen. I have had this place on my radar as the quintessential vegan restaurant that's played sanctuary to all compassionate souls of this city since the 1970s. I'd never been but almost every time I told someone I met that I was vegan, they would always ask if I've eaten at Angelica Kitchen, and that they couldn't believe I hadn't and that they must take me there. Alex had read that their cornbread was "dyno" so we began with that. 

The waiter asked us if we wanted "Southern-Style" or "The House Cornbread." Now I didn't know there were two kinds. I thought cornbread varied only based on adding sugar or not, cream or milk, or jalapeños and cheese or not. Apparently I am totally wrong and "the house" cornbread was a more dense, hearty and savory dish. We opted for the "Southern-style" fluffy, normal cornbread. I liked it, as it was what I expected cornbread to be, but Alex's first words after eating it were, "Somebody makes better cornbread than this...." (me).. :) 

Alex ordered this dish from the daily's special called "Patties Smith" which were little vegetable cakes that taste like your childhood Thanksgiving dinner and smokey ketchup, alongside some potatoes, asparagus and a salad with a lemony dressing. It was so amazing and I kept stealing bites. 

Since Cadry from Cadry's Kitchen had posted a round-up of her favorite vegan reuben sandwiches from around the country I have had reubens on the brain. I had no clue what to order at Angelica Kitchen, having only been suggested the "Dragon Bowl", which to a hungry KZ read like a bowl of $16 rabbit food, and so I landed on this reuben. I am a big fan of all things reuben, what with all the sauerkraut and russian dressing and tangy meat-like substance, in this case tempeh. I love tempeh! What is with all the tempeh hate around here? Get with the tempeh times. I am going to write a new zine and call it the Tempeh Times. That project is mine. Don't steal my idea. I'm doing it. It's off the table for consideration. If you do it first I'm coming for you, and putting a fist between your teeth. Just kidding, would never hurt you. Just give you a stern piece of truth. But beware of that truth.

The movie we saw was called While We're Young, a shockingly appropriate film for us by a favorite director of ours, Noah Baumbach. It was about a couple in their mid-forties struggling to keep their friends of the same age relevant after choosing not to have children. They meet a couple in their mid-twenties who helped reignite their passions for living life in NYC. A lot of other stuff happens too. You'll have to watch it. It's a great film. I am not a forty-something with any regrets about not having kids or struggling to reignite my will to live, nor am I a textbook hipster who is an aspiring documentarian with a pet chicken who seems to have nothing but time on their hands. Still I found myself in between the two, wanting to be neither, and feeling good about who I am and where I am now -- ready to choose a path to follow. I'm a really lucky person. I know I say this all the time, but I am filled with love for all my fellow vegans and am perpetually inspired by every last one of you.

So much love,


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  1. Structure? You don't need no stinkin' structure! You're posts are like a visit and you shouldn't change a thing. I will be the first subscriber to Tempeh Times and I think your gift-with-subscription should be almond parm bc I, too, am a fan (Chloe's Italian Kitchen style). Hope to see you very soon! The weather has turned and I'm back in the game!

    1. Great! I have my first subscriber before I've even written the first issue. It's on my to-do list! We'll have to hang out soon, what with all the vegan food to eat and nice weather to be had!

  2. What a fun post! I need that coconut bacon in a major way. I'm with you on the savory breakfasts. On those rare occasions that I get something sweet, I have to at least get a side of scramble or veggie sausage. Savory breakfasts are where it's at! I really wanted to go to Champs & MOB while in NY and didn't make it there last fall. They keep moving higher and higher up for my next trip, whenever that happens.

    I love it that you got a reuben. Your thoughts on tempeh totally cracked me up. I used to adore tempeh, and then we had a falling out a few years ago. Now, it's best if we keep our relationship more sporadic. But sign me up for Tempeh Times! Maybe tempeh and I can reconcile.

    1. Yess the carrot bacon was really amazing! Next time you're in town we will have to go back! Lots of people don't like tempeh! I've heard people describe it as bitter, or sour or some other weird tastes I never get from tempeh. So maybe I'm missing the tempeh-hating gene too. I''m team tempeh!