Tag Archives: vegan

Café Viva: The Unexpected Vegan Haven

With midterms coming around, I didn’t have time for a sit-down meal, but still wanted to indulge in a tasty, healthy, meal. That’s when I found Café Viva. I was struck by the variety of items they had, from vegan pizza and gluten free pizzas on spelt, corn, or whole wheat crust to salads to pasta and calzones. I finally settled on a slice of Zen Pizza (vegan) and a vegan Pasta Bolognese.

The order arrived within twenty minutes, thirty minutes earlier than Seamless had predicted.

Café Viva: Broadway Avenue (between 93rd and 94th Street)

Zen Pizza (Vegan):

Green tea herb, miso-tofu, green tea basil pesto, shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomato, and roasted garlic on a green tea herb spelt crust.

I didn’t expect much since I had never tried green tea and tofu on pizza, and had never really considered pizza as “healthy,” but I was pleasantly surprised.

2017-04-07 18.08.59-2The pizza had an overall herby scent, and the shiitake mushrooms and green tea worked surprisingly well together. The sun-dried tomatoes were rather acidic, however, and overpowered the other flavors. The miso-tofu was also rather dry and flimsy – by the end, I was just eating the tofu and mushrooms alone (san-crust). Despite the flimsiness, however, the flavors blended very well in a zen-like manner.

Pasta Bolognese (Vegan)

with homemade Seitan meat sauce. 2017-04-07 19.01.02

Café Viva offers both Linguini and Penne Pasta options, and I ordered the Linguini option. The meat sauce was extremely fresh, and the pasta was the perfect texture.

The 2017-04-07 18.09.48portion is extremely large (especially so after finishing a whole slice of pizza), and there was ample sauce. Although the pasta did not look particularly appetizing, it tasted heavenly.

The pasta came with bread, but it was overly salted on the inside and under-seasoned on the crust.

I will definitely go to the Café Viva store next time to sample some more of their other vegan pizzas and pastas.


The Cinnamon Snail: Vegan Food on Wheels

For my last blog post of the semester, I decided to try something a little different, and the Cinnamon Snail is definitely something out of the ordinary. The Cinnamon Snail is known for having vegan food trucks scattered throughout New York and New Jersey, but recently they opened a location in the Pennsy, a new food hall above Penn Station on the corner of 33rd street and 7th avenue. The food hall has numerous other options other than the Cinnamon Snail (and all of them looked great).


Although their menu is limited, their food is truly spectacular. You will not regret visiting either their location at the Pennsy or one of their food trucks. I decided to order the Maple Mustard Tempeh Sandwich, which was made with roasted garlic aioli, marinated kale, tomato, onion, and of course, tempeh. They were very liberal with their use of garlic aioli along with all of the other ingredients used. The garlic aioli was delicious and tasted great with the maple marinated tempeh. This sandwich was filled to capacity and as a result, I left completely stuffed. I can’t even begin to describe how much I enjoyed this sandwich. All I can really say is that you must try this for yourself because you will not be disappointed!

Maple Mustard Tempeh Sandwich
Maple Mustard Tempeh Sandwich

Even though I was completely stuffed, I couldn’t resist trying their Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie because I could already tell from their display that it would taste good, but I didn’t realize just how good it would taste. It was probably one of the best brownies that I have ever had because the chocolate was very rich in flavor and the peanut butter cheesecake layer in the middle was utter perfection, especially with the contrast of the chocolate.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie

I’m so glad I got a chance to try the Cinnamon Snail because it is probably one of my favorite places I have tried thus far. There really is nothing quite like it in all of Manhattan. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for a quick bite in a casual atmosphere (and of course great vegan food).

Village Natural: A Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant

When I walked into Village Natural, I was welcomed by a surprisingly casual and homey atmosphere, the type of atmosphere that is hard to find at a vegetarian or vegan restaurant. Village Natural encompassed everything I was looking for into one: vegan and vegetarian food, a homey atmosphere, a short wait time, and excellent food! The restaurant is located at 46 Greenwich Avenue in the West Village.


When I sat down and got handed the menu, I realized I was going to have a problem; there were so many options that all sounded amazing. After spending a lot of time going through the menu, I decided to get the Breathe Classic Smoothie and the Veggie Cutlet Parmigiana, which also came with a salad. The smoothie was vegan and was made with strawberries, bananas, and orange juice. I could not tell that it wasn’t made with diary!

Breathe Classic Smoothie
Breathe Classic Smoothie

Almost immediately after ordering, my salad arrived. I was very hungry when I arrived at the restaurant, so I was very happy to get my salad right away! The salad was the perfect size and tasted great with their homemade tahini sauce.


Right after finishing my salad, my entrée arrived, and I knew just from the smell that it would taste amazing. I ordered the Veggie Cutlet Parmigiana with cheese, but it is also available without diary cheese to make it vegan. My entrée came with pasta as well as broccoli, leaving me with a lot of food to take back with me! The Veggie Cutlet Parmigiana itself tasted very similar to chicken. One of my favorite meals before becoming a vegetarian was chicken parmigiana and if I wasn’t at a vegetarian restaurant, I would have thought that I was eating chicken.

Veggie Cutlet Parmigiana
Veggie Cutlet Parmigiana

I will definitely be going back to Village Natural sometime very soon. So far, this is one of my favorite restaurants I have been to in Manhattan and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for good food, even if they aren’t vegetarian or vegan.

Rockin’ Raw: Vegan Peruvian Creole Food

One of the things that I definitely take for granted since moving to the city is the opportunity to try so many different vegan restaurants. Even though all vegan restaurants only serve vegan food, they are all very different. On my most recent adventure to find a vegan restaurant, I stumbled upon Rockin’ Raw located at 171 Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village, which serves Peruvian Creole food that is both vegan and gluten free.


Being that it is close to Washington Square Park, it is a great place to get takeout and eat in the park, now that it has gotten warmer outside. Although I would definitely recommend eating in the restaurant as well, because it is very nice and cozy inside. It is small though, so it definitely will get crowded.

I decided to try the lasagna and I also got a chocolate shake to go with it. For their shakes, you have the choice of either almond milk or coconut milk. I decided to try it with coconut milk. The taste of the coconut milk was very obvious in the shake, but it definitely gave it a unique flavor, and actually made it even sweeter. I would guess that with the almond milk, a customer probably couldn’t detect that diary milk wasn’t used. Ultimately, the shake was very good and definitely satisfied my chocolate craving. I would definitely recommend trying it!

Chocolate Shake
Chocolate Shake

The lasagna I had was excellent because it tasted amazing and also the portion size was quite big. I’m not sure how, but it definitely tasted like there was meat in the lasagna, which made it much better than most vegan lasagnas you will find at other vegan restaurants. The lasagna was made with layers and layers of zucchini, mushrooms, red bell peppers, marinara sauce, and sunflower ricotta cheese.


Before going to Rockin’ Raw I had pretty high expectations, but the meal I had was even better than what I expected it would be. I highly recommend trying Rockin’ Raw; you will not be disappointed!

Mouthwatering Vegan Cuisine, Made Possible at by CHLOE.

As I walked into by CHLOE. after having stood in a line out the door and down the street, I smelled something extraordinary. It didn’t smell like food that could be made in a vegan restaurant, it smelled too good, too flavorful, and definitely not something that could be vegan. I figured, perhaps the food just smelled good and didn’t actually taste quite as good as it smelled, because that couldn’t be possible. It turned out, I was very wrong; there was a long line for a reason. And might I add, the line moved very quickly and it only took a matter of minutes for my food to be made.


The restaurant is basically a vegan fast food place, but the decor would suggest otherwise. While a customer does order and pay at the counter, the rest of the restaurant has the feel of a casual sit-down restaurant, making it the best of both worlds. It is located at 185 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, which is a little bit of a trek from Morningside Heights, but it is definitely worth it.

I ordered the Pesto Meatball Sandwich, which was so flavorful, and the vegan meatballs actually tasted like real meatballs. The combination of the pesto and the vegan meatballs, along with the marinara sauce and the various other ingredients had such an amazing and unique taste. I had never tasted anything quite like that before, but now that I have, I know I will be craving it very soon.

Pesto Meatball Sandwich
Pesto Meatball Sandwich

Out of all of the vegan restaurants that I have tried in Manhattan thus far, this is by far my favorite. Not only is the food spectacular, but all of their food is very inexpensive. Whether or not you are a vegan, by CHLOE. should be at the top of your list for restaurants that you want to try.

Angelica Kitchen: Affordable and Delicious

This time around, when I began looking for a vegan restaurant, I decided to find a place a little further from campus. I came across Angelica Kitchen in the East Village located at 300 East 12th Street.

Although the restaurant is a little far from campus, it is very inexpensive for the excellent quality of food, and definitely is worth checking out!


The restaurant has a really great atmosphere with a modern and casual feel. Angelica Kitchen also has a separate area for takeout, where you can order and pick up your food in a very short amount of time. Also, the area for takeout has a counter by the window with stools for those that may want to stop in for a quick meal.

I ordered a hot apple cider and the Hot Open Face Tempeh Sandwich. The apple cider tasted very fresh and the sandwich was very different from what I expected, but it was excellent! The sandwich was made up of multiple pieces of a sourdough baguette, each topped with a very well marinated piece of tempeh, which also came with gravy to put on top. I got mashed potatoes on the side and they were also very good. They had some sort of seasoning that made them taste better than most of the mashed potatoes I have had in the past. The difference in taste may have been from the vegan substitute for butter that must have been used.

Hot Open Face Tempeh Sandwich with Mashed Potatoes
Hot Open Face Tempeh Sandwich with Mashed Potatoes

Ultimately, I am so glad that I got a chance to try Angelica Kitchen and I will definitely be going back. This is a great spot for anyone looking for a vegan restaurant or anyone just looking for great, relatively inexpensive food that is served in a great atmosphere.

30-Minute Gourmet: One-Pan Pasta


If you are looking for a quick and versatile recipe to add to your collection, look no further. This recipe for one-pan pasta is probably my #1 go-to when I need to make something impressive. It can easily be prepped, cooked, and cleaned in less than thirty minutes, making it a perfect recipe for nearly any occasion.


Even beyond the speediness, its taste alone will make it one to ad to your bookmarks bar. Cooking all the ingredients together allows the water to absorb all the flavors, which is then absorbed by the pasta. Instead of having a heavy sauce coating the pasta, the recipe relies on the natural flavors to give the pasta a much lighter and subtler taste.


Something else I love about this recipe is that it can stand alone or be a perfect side to nearly any main course. One of my favorite pairings for this recipe is a lightly seasoned salmon. Just a light brushing of butter, salt, and pepper draw out the natural flavors of the fish, much like this recipe does for the pasta, making it a perfect match. And the recipe is highly malleable. I have tried different ingredients and found that as long as the proportions are right, there are very few ingredients that would pair poorly with this pasta. I altered my personal recipe based on food sensitivities and other preferences, so it’s good to try many different variations to develop a personal recipe for your taste.


One final thing I have to compliment this recipe on is that cleanup takes less than five minutes. The cutting board and knife can be cleaned while the water is heating, leaving just the pan, tongs, a fork, and a plate or bowl (unless of course you are sharing the pasta). And because there is no sauce, there is hardly any mess to take care of. Really, it is so simple it can be done in a matter of seconds.



Now onto the actual recipe I have been raving about.


One-Pan Pasta (Adapted from Lottie + Doof  )


12 oz linguine

12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large

3 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

7 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 sprigs of basil

3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon pepper

4 ½ cups of water


Combine all the ingredients in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs until water has nearly evaporated. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.





Blossom Du Jour: Fast Food Vegan Style

For my last post of the semester, I wanted to find something a little different from the other vegan restaurants I had been going to. Most vegan restaurants are sit-down restaurants, whether they are fancy or more on the casual side, but Blossom Du Jour is a healthier and vegan version of a fast food restaurant. They have five locations, one of which is not too far from Columbia, located at 449 Amsterdam Avenue between 81st and 82nd Street.


The restaurant was very small inside with a decent amount of counter space. A lot of people get take-out, but many also sit at the counter to eat. If you sit at the counter, there is a nice view of Amsterdam Avenue through the windows. It is a nice spot to eat alone, but you can also bring a couple of friends to enjoy the food with.

I decided to try the Strawberry Banana Burst smoothie and it was truly amazing. It was made with strawberries, bananas, and apple cider. I couldn’t even tell that there were no diary products used to make the smoothie!

Strawberry Banana Burst Smoothie
Strawberry Banana Burst Smoothie

I also tried the Midtown Melt sandwich, which is made with cajun spiced seitan, vegan cheese, agave, guacamole, lettuce, and chipotle aïoli. I could not even tell that the cheese used in the sandwich was vegan! Also the guacamole and chipotle aïoli tasted great together, along with the other ingredients in the sandwich. I would have to say the best part was that my food was all made in under five minutes and it tasted like food that I would order at a restaurant, which would take more than quadruple the amount of time to make.

Midtown Melt
Midtown Melt

I really enjoyed going to Blossom Du Jour, and I will definitely be going back sometime soon! I have never been to a vegan fast food restaurant before, and I’d have to say that it was a great experience. I recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a quick and delicious meal in a casual and comfortable atmosphere.

A Vegan’s Heaven in the Village

This time when I chose a vegan restaurant to visit, I decided to stray a little further from campus and I found Red Bamboo on 140 W 4th Street in the Village.


The restaurant has a very calming and cozy feel, making it a very nice place to go if you are stressed. I decided to get take-out from the restaurant and it only took them 10 minutes to make my food! So, if you are very hungry after making the trek from Morningside Heights, luckily, you will not have to wait long! And my trek was truly worth it!!

Popcorn shrimp
Popcorn Shrimp

I decided to start off my meal with an appetizer. I chose the popcorn shrimp because one of the things that I miss the most after becoming a vegetarian is shrimp. The vegan popcorn shrimp were absolutely amazing! The shrimp I got had the same texture and taste of real shrimp! The shrimp were fried perfectly and the sauce that came with them complimented them very well. I will definitely be going back to get more!!

Classic blt
Classic B.L.T.

I got the classic BLT for my entrée because I was really interested in trying Red Bamboo’s version of bacon. The tempeh bacon was also really good and it  had a very similar taste to real bacon. The sandwich also included whole wheat bread, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and vegan mayonnaise. The mayonnaise didn’t taste exactly like real mayonnaise, but in some ways it was actually better. It was a little less thick than real mayonnaise and had a little bit of a different taste, which actually went better with my sandwich than real mayonnaise would have. I definitely will have to get this sandwich again!

I loved everything about Red Bamboo and I will definitely be going back sometime very soon. Everything I tried tasted absolutely amazing and now I know that there is a place that makes great substitutes for the food that any vegan or vegetarian misses. I will definitely be recommending this restaurant to everyone I know, whether or not they are vegan or vegetarian!

Peacefood Cafe: Any Vegan or Non-Vegan’s Paradise

Everyone loves dessert, and luckily, Manhattan is home to numerous bakeries for all of us dessert lovers in the city. The problem is that it is almost impossible to find a good vegan bakery, even in Manhattan. I made it my mission to find a good vegan bakery and I found the Peacefood Cafe, which is both a vegan restaurant and vegan bakery.


The cafe is a nice, casual, and cozy spot to have a meal with a friend, while enjoying their many vegan options. It is definitely a stress-free atmosphere! It is located in the Upper West Side on Amsterdam and 82nd, so it isn’t too far from campus. They also have another location in the Village.


The bakery part of the restaurant had many vegan desserts, which all look like they must be made with diary products. Upon walking in, I even wondered if their desserts were actually vegan! In place of the dairy products normally found in these desserts, the Peacefood Cafe uses healthier options, such as avocados. Not only are these desserts vegan, but also many of them are even gluten free.

From left to right: chocolate chip cookie sandwich and raw chocolate mousse pie
From left to right: chocolate chip cookie sandwich and raw chocolate mousse pie

I had a chocolate chip cookie sandwich and a slice of the raw chocolate mousse pie. The chocolate chip cookie sandwich was two large cookies with chocolate inside, which made them stick together. Without the chocolate inside, the cookies were some of the best I have ever had. The chocolate inside was so rich in flavor that it made the cookies taste even  better. The mousse pie was made with avocado, which made me a little nervous to try it, but it was amazing! The taste of the avocado was undetectable and if anything, it made the chocolate taste even richer in flavor. I will definitely be going back to the cafe to get both of these desserts again!

Mango Lassi
Mango lassi

I also had a mango lassi while I was at the cafe, which I was a little nervous about because it is a yogurt-based drink. The mango lassi was pretty good considering it was vegan, but it wasn’t as good as the non-vegan ones I have had in the past. The yogurt used in the drink tasted like regular yogurt, but the lassi tasted too much like yogurt and did not have enough of a mango taste. Overall, it was good, but I think I will try a different drink next time.

I look forward to going back to the Peacefood Cafe to try more of their vegan options! I definitely would recommend this cafe to anyone looking for a nice to spot to eat and hang out with friends or anyone looking for a good take-out place. This cafe is great for both vegans and non-vegans, alike!