My apologies to those of you who are bored by the gratuitous travel post. I have myself indulged in a righteous eye-rolling at food bloggers who post too much about stuff they eat in their travels to fabulous places. In my defense, and for whatever it's worth, I promise to keep it to a minimum. Also, I try to make it a point not to engage in any serious culinary efforts while on vacation. My best inspiration seems to come from times in which I have just the right amount of leisure between jobs to ruminate on creative combinations of ingredients and exciting confections. On vacation, and not staycation, I prefer to enjoy the vegan offerings of wherever I am, particularly those that I don't have to concoct myself. Take heart. I don't travel frequently.
V-Spot, an all vegan, latin-cuisine leaning restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I was really excited about this place, my enthusiasm for empanadas having been considerable stoked by all the hubbub concerning Terry Hope Romero's soon-to-be-released book of vegan latina cooking. Since we got there around noon on a Saturday, we all ordered from the brunch menu. C and I both got the steak breakfast, which consisted of some strips of seasoned seitan with onions, a side of scrambled tofu, and french fries. C also ordered a single pancake. Matt ordered the fruit empanadas and a sort of tofu ranchero tostada. C and I split an appetizer of empanadas stuffed with daiya, guacamole, and tofu scramble. Verdict? The food was pretty half and half. The seitan was flavorful, but too greasy for my taste. The fries were good, if predictable. The tofu scramble was uninspired. Why is this basic vegan go-to always such a disappointment? A colleague of mine once insisted that the reason scrambles always suck is that no scramble-maker is ever satisfied with any scramble but her own. Personally, I think that's a bunch of crap, but I digress. The pancake was gummy and flavorless. On the upside, the empanadas were delicious and served with a perfectly spicy and tangy salsa. Matt's fruity empanadas were like toaster pastries if toaster pastries were as good as you want them to be. The tostada was also really good. I wouldn't cry to find myself there again, but I won't hurry back either.
The next night we went to the famous Foodswings, specializing in vegan fast food for your not-so-inner fat kid. Guided by Matt, who swore up and down by the things, C and I split a slider in addition to getting full sandwiches of our own--C got the sausage and peppers hoagie while I picked the filet of soul (or whatever the actual name was). Matt got some kind of burger with cheese and bacon, maybe?, and we all split some buffalo chicken wings. Matt totally nailed this one because the wings and the slider were the best part of the meal. Both were delicious. We also all enjoyed our sandwiches very much.
Mooshoes and Lula's Sweet Apothecary. I mostly know about the latter because of Evan McGraw's blog in which he gushes endlessly about their cake batter softserve. The place seriously lives up to the hype. Holy crap. We ended up walking around Manhattan way more than we intended to because when we first arrived at Lula's, we realized we had over an hour until they even opened. This required a complete adjustment to our plans, but adjust we did, and we were there when they opened the doors. Though the brownie sundae and banana split get a lot of attention from people, we all opted to go with the classic sundae: two scoops, one sauce, one topping, coconut whipped cream, and a cherry. Matt got peanut butter fudge and cookies n' cream ice cream, caramel syrup, and graham crackers. C picked the aforementioned cake batter and mint chocolate chip, marshmallow sauce, and chocolate cookie crumbs. I also got the cake batter softserv but combined it with rocky road ice cream, caramel sauce, and chocolate cookie crumbs. The man working surprised me by asking whether I wanted the cherry. Seriously? Why would I hold back now?
If you can't tell, Matt's is above. Mine is on the left, and C's is on the right.
Further delights await us on our repeat visit to Wild Ginger and elsewhere, but, again, I pledge to keep my gloating to a minimums--at least here.