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A few weeks ago John and I rented a car and drove to New York City with some friends. Oh boy did we take advantage of having three days to eat our hearts out! Last year we spent a week in New York and made a good dent in the vegan food scene, but didn’t even come close to trying all the hot spots. There are just so many vegan joints and more are popping up all the time, like Champs Family Bakery (176 Ainslie St, Brooklyn, NY 11211) which opened since we last visited. We ventured across the bridge and met up with some friends to feast on a sugary selection of Champs’ baked goods including cinnamon buns (best ever!), bear claws, donuts and cheesecake brownies.

Cowgirls Bakery

Cowgirl’s Baking (259 E 10th St, East Village, NYC 10009) is another new bakery in town and one we knew we had to try. We picked up a trio of cupcakes: the peanut butter bomb (that’s me!), coffee & donuts (that’s John!), and vanilla with flower (for our dear friend Emily).

Kate's Joint

Kate’s Joint (58 Avenue B, NY C 10009) has been around for years and is a favourite of our friend Emily’s, so we headed there for brunch on the Saturday morning. I didn’t have the best experience, but it’s partly my fault for ordering the Sweet Potato Hash (yams topped with collards, fakin, Daiya cheese and tofu scramble) when I don’t really like three of the four ingreidents. My adventurous menu choices get me in trouble sometimes.

Blossom

We went out for two fancy dinners, the first being at Cafe Blossom (466 Columbus Avenue, NYC 10024). After a long day of eating I went for a light choice and had the raw Autumn Sweet Potato Rolls, made with coconut noodles, jicama, carrot, red and yellow pepper, scallion, avocado, and almond ginger dipping sauce. John ordered Tempeh Pad Thai and Emily chowed down on Lemon Peppercorn Seitan with (freakishly large) grilled asparagus, seared thyme potato cake, and roasted tomato cream. We topped off our meal with the Blossom Parfait, which had layers of chocolate ganache, vanilla crème anglaise, butterscotch, date walnut compote, and candied pecans. Dreamy!

Candle 79

Our last meal out, the finale of our NYC eating adventures, was at Candle 79 (154 East 79th Street, NYC 10021). I have been wanting to eat here for years and am so glad we finally had the chance. We enjoyed some complex dishes, all with a lot of height (one of my favourite food qualities!). I ordered the Grilled Vegetable Wild Mushroom Stuffed Tempeh with sweet potato puree, asparagus, chocolate mole sauce, and fennel salad. John had his dream dish: a Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Cake with seasonal vegetables, red pepper-coconut curry, ginger-apricot-date chutney and toasted almonds. Emily ordered one of the day’s specials, a walnut crusted seitan dish with a whole bunch of other ingreidents I can’t remember but can assure you paired perfectly and tasted really delicious. Our amuse bouche was a pesto crostini with brussels sprouts and I also had a Coconut Mint Frappe with avocado, coconut, agave, mint and lime. The whole meal was perfect and made for a great end to our last night in New York.

What we imported

The next day we drove home, carrying with us a whole bunch of vegan goodies that are hard, if not impossible, to get in Canada. We brought back lots of chocolate, marshmallows and other treats we picked up between Whole Foods and the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. My favourite finds were Hail Merry’s Meyer Lemon Miracle Tart and Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter. Don’t pass up the chance to try these!!