A day of discoveries in New York City

May 10th, 2010 · Lisa · restaurant review, Review, Travel · Comments

On my last day in New York I persuaded myself to ignore my sore feet, got up early, packed, checked-out and stored my luggage. I wanted to make the most of the hours I had before my bus departed.

I enjoyed a banana, orange and some cinnamon buckwheat snacks from Pure Food and Wine while I mapped out my plan for the day.

May’d me smile on May 8Discovering something new just by walking down a familiar street in a new direction. After a couple of days staying in SoHo I had already developed a routine for navigating the area. On my last morning, I took a different route and this new perspective brought forth amazing finds. Including a beautiful paper shop, full of fine stationary, unique gifts and breathtaking creations.

Across the street, I spied this…my heart skipped a beat.
Check out the plethora of kitchen gadgets.
I have never seen such a diverse collection in one space.

I even found the chocolate transfer sheets I had learned about in the vegan chocolate truffle class I took at the Natural Gourmet Institute. If I didn’t have a long journey ahead of me I would of stocked up. But since the package warned against the effects of humidity I wasn’t sure this delicate decoration would survive the raucous 11 hour bus ride to Toronto.

Next, I discovered the perfect refuge from some morning drizzle – a tiny little coffee shop full of interesting characters. Terry had recommended this option when we wandered past the night before. The coffee is top quality and the conversations even better. Patrons were recommending books, books stores and pastries as they sipped their morning java.

Right next store was a little shop full of treats that many have realized are accidentally vegan (all of the flavours except the Bees Knees). I prefer raw almond butter but I have a brother (whose birthday is next week) who is probably made up of 40% peanut butter (n.b. just an approximation), so I stepped inside.
The store serves a menu of peanut butter dominated delights and sells a number of unique pantry items. I found a little something to send South (Dan lives in Orlando).
I quickly discovered that I was in a bit of a vegan bubble when I stumbled upon this sign (across the street) in front of Sacred Chow. I wasn’t ready for lunch but I enjoyed the quote.

I had carefully weighed my lunch options the night before – Terry and John and provided some suggestions, I read menus online and made sure I wasn’t repeating any previous experiences. I have been to New York twice before and slowly I’m making my way through the vegan restaurant roster. After my deliberation Soy and Sake came out the winner. Their unique menu, full of options that I would never make at home (a critical factor) sealed the deal.

I had been craving a huge salad when I sat down so I started with the avocado salad with ginger dressing.
It was delicious and very filling.

But on a day focused on new experiences, I needed to order a beautiful sushi roll that went way beyond the avocado or cucumber versions I’ve tried in the past.

The Hawaiian roll won me over

Fresh banana, avocado, Korean pear topped with a layer of mango and served with mango sauce. The pear was crispy and banana and avocado were both incredibly creamy. I am very happy that my mouth got to discover this special treat. I was only able to eat two sections before I had to give in and pack up the rest for later.

Energized by my lovely lunch I headed Uptown with my sights set on new heights.

Along the way I passed this food cart serving up vegan ice cream. I was way too full to even consider ordering some but I was so impressed by the availability of vegan fare that I had to at least take a photo.

Come on Toronto, the gauntlet is down…we really need to respond with something that can compete with Blackwells, Stogo and Lula’s.

Then I found the Highline. My jaunt through this new park was one of the highlights of my trip. Discovering a new part of New York where you can be surrounded by the diversity of amazing architecture and the simple beauty of nature was a great way to spend my final day.

It is built along an old rail line and provides lots of spots for sitting and resting your weary feet while admiring some incredible city views.

If you’re ever in New York I hope you’ll find some time to discover the Highline.
The route provides lookouts toward the Statue of Liberty and Chelsea Piers.

When I returned to street level I went back toward the Lower East Side.

I looked through the options at Babycakes and Teany. The cookie kits and tea blends were enticing but not tempting enough for me to repack around them. I also perused the titles at Bluestockings – a great alternative bookstore and cafe on Allen st.

Then I found a free table and free wireless in EarthMatters. The cafe menu offers a great roster of fresh vegan meals (both cooked and raw), smoothies and fresh juices. I picked up some fresh fruit and caught up on emails.

I also discovered this new beverage. I have used apple cider vinegar as a digestive aid in the past and really like the addition of fresh ginger in this tonic. I will be recreating this at home.

It was finally time for me to pick up my bag and head to Penn Station to catch my bus. At the hotel I met a woman from South Africa exploring New York for the first time. I passed on my barely used Metro Pass and gave her a long list of itinerary options.

At Penn Station, I discovered a huge Borders (where I could get a little shelter from the strong wind gusts). This location had an amazing array of vegan titles, including:

I have been excitedly anticipating the arrival of Ani’s newest book, its delivery at my door is imminent so I left these copies on the shelves for someone else to discover.

The trip home was full of rest-stops (that stopped me from resting) every 1 1/2 hours, a long wait at customs but I did discover the delight of having a whole row to yourself!

Now I’m back in Toronto, back at work and already dreaming of my next adventure. My trip to New York provided some much needed perspective on what brings me joy. I love how being away can help you to discover what makes you feel at home.

Have you ever stumbled upon a restaurant and had a surprisingly delicious meal?

What item have discovered is accidently vegan?


  1. Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:31 am

    You are making me yearn for NYC! I haven't been since 2002. There are SO many vegan places now! And, that sushi looks AMAZING!

  2. Posted May 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Mmmmm an item that I have discovered to be accidently vegan is fudgeeos!! Thank you for reminding me actually…it's been so long since I've had them. 😛

    Yes, my dad and I once stumbled across what is now one of my favourite restaurants ever in Tucson. It's a vegan restaurant called Lovin' Spoonfuls. The first time we went to Tucson we drove past it a couple of times, it happened to be just literally down the street from our hotel. I had researched vegan restaurants before going and Lovin' Spoonfuls wasn't one I had heard of. I don't know why but for some reason although the sign said something about vegetarian food, I thought from the outside it would just be a sandwhich and salad place for some reason. I can't remember what was going on in my brain and why I didn't want to go check it out, but some reason we decided not to go, maybe I was skeptical because I hadn't heard anything about it.

    One night the restaurant we were planning to go to, which I had read about, turned out to be a hare krishna place that my dad didn't want to eat at, so we started driving around looking for somewhere to eat. We drove and drove and couldn't find anywhere, got lost and everything. Finally we decided to just go to a fast food place on the way back to the hotel, and then as we drove past Lovin' Spoonfuls we figured at that point, ok we might as well go in. Turns out it was a full out vegan restaurant and it is AMAZING!!!!! Check out their menu!

    P.S The highline looks amazing!!

  3. Posted May 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Woops, forgot to post the link!


  4. Posted May 12, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I think you're due for a visit. I would love to make my way to LA sometime soon. I've never been and I know the food scene is pretty fantastic. So much to discover.

    There was a show on TV called Loving Spoonfuls that I loved – it was recipes from grandmothers. What a lucky restaurant discovery you made in Tucson. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Posted May 12, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    What an amazing trip LIsa!
    I have been wanting to go to babycakes! Hopefully nex time. It looks like such a cute place!

    OK, that kitchen place looks insane! I would have had a hay day in there! XO

  6. Posted May 12, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    I have been enjoying all your posts on your NYC trip…makes me want to move there. Glad you had a great time..and a vegan ice cream cart?? Wow!!
    Pure2raw twins

  7. Posted May 14, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Heathy – it was hard to leave the store without buying anything. If my bags weren't already full I would have been in trouble.

    Twins – I'm glad you enjoyed my travel posts. I certainly followed your adventures as well. Vicarious travel is almost as fun as the real thing..almost.

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