Who: VN Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria
What: An East Coast Jaunt
Where: Brooklyn & Woodstock, NY
When: April 28–May 2, 2011
Why: Because New York is there!
The Scoop: I lived in NYC for two years during grad school, and after this little trip, I can't fathom why I left. New York (especially in the springtime), is phenomenal. With the excuse of a friend's wedding and a long weekend, I recently returned to my erstwhile home for a few days of friends, food, and farm animals.
Bekah officially thumbs up Lula's
My first stop this trip was Lula's Sweet Apothecary. Holy freaking crap. Not only is this LES institution just about as cute as can possibly be, but let's talk about the ice cream. My nearly vegan and highly awesome friend Bekah Brunstetter (who was kind enough to host me), said that the towering sundae we ordered of Rocky Road and strawberry ice cream topped with hot fudge, coconut whipped cream, roasted peanuts, and, of course, a cherry, was better than dairy ice cream. Take that, dairy!
After feasting on said sundae, we tooled around town, and that evening I saw Bekah's latest play, Be A Good Little Widow, which was fantastic. Even The New York Times thinks so! Flowers were in bloom all through the city, the weather was gently warm and not yet the sticky heat of summer (which I actually love), and there was more eating to do! After the play we headed back to Brooklyn, and dined with The Discerning Brute himself, Joshua Katcher, at Vinnie's Pizzeria. Um, again, holy crap. The pie was enormous, delicious, and covered in Daiya, vegan sausage and pepperoni, mushrooms, and broccoli. The four of us who ate it had our work cut out!
Pie a la Vinnie's
The next morning was serious business. Let's talk for a moment about Champs. All I can say is go-lly. I could have probably eaten every single meal here and been totally fine, and I think I made a total of six or so visits here during the weekend. Lemme just say: SCONES! Really, really, really good vegan scones. Pictured below are the strawberry cream cheese and chocolate chip walnut flavors. I love scones, and these were perfection. Champs also offers extremely wonderful black-and-white cookies, bear claws, and a variety of sandwiches. On weekends, you can also score Dun-Well Doughuts there, and score I did. Though I ate them too quickly to snap pictures, the coconut and chocolate with peanuts flavors were both delicious.
After Champs, it was off to Woodstock to visit Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. It had been an unacceptably long time since I was last at a sanctuary, and this place was fantastic. I fell head over heels for Dylan the cow, and loved the way these big, sleepy pigs nestled into their comfy straw beds.
Altogether the trip was amazing, and I'll now begin working non-stop on establishing an east coast branch of VN, preferably one located in Champs and Lula's, simultaneously.