Thursday, May 22, 2008

Special Report: VegNews in NYC (Day 3)

Who: VN Publisher Joseph Connelly + VN Associate Publisher Colleen Holland
What: Day three of a five-day business trip
Where: New York City
When: May 16, 2008
Why: Farm Sanctuary Gala + Veggie Pride Parade + meetings galore with colleagues, friends, and magazine partners

The Scoop: May is one of the best times to visit New York City, but we seemed to have hit a bout of bad weather. With our fully loaded schedule, we had to persevere and keep moving on our food-foraging adventure through Manhattan.

The city's trendy Chelsea neighborhood welcomed a new vegetarian restaurant in 2006 called Blossom. Owners Pamela and Ronen have recently opened the doors to a second location, the more casual Café Blossom on the Upper West Side (just a block from Central Park). While the original location boasts a two-story townhouse complete with a fireplace and cozy banquettes, this new space was sleek, modern, and very cool. With the drizzle outside, we took it slow and enjoyed a wonderful lunch with one of our NY colleagues. Our table shared the Autumn Sweet Potato Rolls (raw shavings of sweet potato filled with coconut noodles, jicama, carrots, and red pepper with a ginger dipping sauce). Given our Candle 79 meal the night before, we opted for salad entrées to keep things light. We had the Rocket Arugula (organic arugula tossed with green apples, marinated tofu, cherry tomatoes, and plantain chips with a lemon-tahini dressing), the Grilled Tofu Salad (grilled sesame tofu over mixed greens, arame seaweed, and sprouts in a carrot-miso dressing), and the Caesar Salad (fresh greens with herbed croutons tossed in a creamy dijon caesar dressing). All were delicious and very fresh. Lingering longer than we should have over steamy mugs of soy hot chocolate, we shared a slice of lemon cake and biscotti. On a gray day, there was no place we would have rather been.

But the day had to go on! We hopped on the subway and headed down to the Lower East Side to one of our favorite stores, MooShoes. An absolute must-visit on any veggie’s NYC itinerary, we ducked into its über-swanky new storefront on Orchard Street. The studio-like interior showcases gobs of vegan footwear—from sexy leatherette heels to summer espadrilles to casual sandals. They also sell handbags (love the Matt & Nat line) and a hand-picked selection of veggie cookbooks. Oh, and VegNews. That makes us happy. After catching up with co-owner Erica Kubersky (who, along with her sister Sarah, started MooShoes in 2001), we walked out with two new pairs of shoes. We just couldn’t help ourselves, and how could we not support this fabulous veg business? In the same neighborhood, one can also visit Bluestockings anarchist bookstore, Tiengarden Chinese restaurant, and Babycakes NYC vegan bakery, making it a great destination for visiting vegetarians.

Later that evening, we headed back uptown for another meal at—you guessed it—the award-winning Candle 79. We just can’t get enough! Meeting a business associate, we attempted to order conservatively so that we could make it through the weekend. We won’t go on and on about meal #2, but standouts included the housemade ginger soda, cornmeal-crusted oyster mushrooms, the live zucchini enchiladas, and the Chocolate Brownie Sundae (served in a martini glass). The restaurant was packed solid, and sitting nearby were VegNews columnists Dan Piraro and Rory Freedman (along with some of their friends, including our July+August 2007 cover gal, actress Emily Deschanel). Even in this city of eight million, you still bump into people you know everywhere you go.

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