Guest post: My top 10 vegan reasons to be in love with New York City, part two!  »

As I said yesterday, I just moved to California from New York City. It happened very suddenly, and as I’ve gotten more settled, I’ve found a much greater appreciation for how easy and wonderful it is to be a vegan in New York. I miss it, and I wanted to tell you all how much I love it. However, in an effort to spare you all from the longest post in the free world, I have managed to narrow it down to a top 10 list. Yesterday, Nos. 10-6. Today, the thrilling conclusion!

No. 5: Quintessence
When I first got excited about raw food, I had a number of negative experiences with raw food restaurants. I was convinced that it was disgusting and I might never like it. Quintessence changed all that. By far one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the city, Quintessence makes incredibly yummy, indulgent, and healthful raw dishes that put all that other raw food to shame. A pearl in alphabet city’s clamshell, I fantasize about their Caesar salad on the regular. Oh Quintessence, I miss your tiny tables and huge salads.

No. 4: The Vegan Bodega
Eric Hopf and his family are in the process of opening an all-vegan store in downtown Manhattan. Although it’s not open yet, I’m already in love with the products they’re providing and their dedication to the cause. They currently operate as a pop-up until their storefront becomes a reality. If you can, support these awesome people and their endeavors because this store is going to rock. 

No. 3: Honey LaBronx
Yes, it’s a bit ego-stroking to put my own podcast co-host on this list. Still, she is one bad bitch. This crazy activist is constantly spotted marching through crowds with a bullhorn, and waving her homemade protest signs in Christine Quinn’s face, and occasionally getting arrested. This queen fights for the animals, she’s exciting, and if it wasn’t for her, I never would’ve ended up in front of a microphone answering questions to new vegans. Check out her cooking show, our podcast, and go see her hot ass live. She is a freaking inspiration, and she looks good doing it. She’s also an okay friend, too, I guess.

No. 2: Soy and Sake
Another of my favorite restaurants in NYC. Soy and Sake saved this sushi-lover from a life of fishless moping. They have most delicious vegan sushi rolls, as well as a plethora of dishes to die for (bourbon chicken! rock shrimp!). It is without question the one restaurant I will always visit in New York. It’s also killer for large parties, and I’ve seen countless omnivores be blown away by their food there. Go! Take friends! EAT SUSHI!

No. 1: Sweet & Sara
Sweet & Sara is basically my favorite vegan company. Their origin story is beyond inspirational, founder Sara Sohn is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and their products are amazing. AMAZING. The s’mores were one of the first treats I had that made me stop and say, “You know what? I should be vegan. This is awesome!” and I’ve continued to love them with a passion ever since. The last year I lived in NYC I was working in Queens off the 7 train, and I rode by the S&S factory every day, and every day I was reminded that being vegan is fun, delicious, and exactly what I want to be. I love that Sara and her little bunny, Skipper, too. I have half a mind to get a S&S tattoo. Too much? I’m doing it anyway.

Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in California. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight, and writes for US Weekly's Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz.

[photos: Empire State Pigeon by ZeroOne via Flickr; Quintessence raw pizza by Robyn Lee via Flick; vegan sushi from Soy and Sake; Sweet & Sara peanut butter s’more by via Flickr]


Guest post: My top 10 vegan reasons to be in love with New York City, part one!  »

For those of you who haven’t heard—and honestly, I don’t know how you couldn’t have, I have been tweeting about it like crazy—I have moved to California!

It happened very suddenly and I’ve been a whirlwind of a hot mess the last month. As I’ve gotten more settled I feel I have grown a true appreciation for how easy and wonderful it is to be a vegan in New York City. I miss it, and I wanted to tell you all how much I love it. However, in an effort to spare you all from the longest post in the free world, I have managed to narrow it down to a top 10 list. Please enjoy Nos. 10-6 today!

Cue the Letterman drumroll!

No. 10:  Westerly Market
I doubt I’ve ever left this place having spent less than $200 and I have never regretted it. Westerly Market is a magical place filled with all the hard to find vegan goodies as well as an incredible selection of organic produce, bulk dry goods, and frozen meatless wonders—what we all secretly wish Whole Foods actually were. Even while living in Brooklyn I would pack a backpack with Westerly groceries and haul it all the way home. The staff is also incredibly nice and they will order almost any product you are interested in them carrying. I love you, Westerly Market.

No. 9: The Cinnamon Snail
This food truck tops the list of awesome things NYC has stolen from New Jersey. Incredibly yummy food, addicting baked goods, and the nicest crew ever, I found myself hunting down the Snail every chance I could and I downright stalked them in my final week as a New Yorker. Cinnamon Snail, I could not love you more. If you don’t follow these dudes on Twitter already, you best get to it. Life is empty without you, Cinnamon Snail!

No. 8: May Wah
Thank dog May Wah ships nationwide (I would be inconsolable without access to its vegan pork buns), but there’s nothing quite as fun as shopping in this Chinatown gem and stocking up your freezer with the best of the best meatless meats. It’s cheap, the food is great, and on request the employees will quickly steer you away from any non-vegan products (although there are only a few). I love you, May Wah! I wish I could go buy some dried noodles and frozen faux shrimps right now! [Ed. note: 99 Ranch, Laura!]

No. 7: Vegan Shop-Up
The Vegan Shop-Up rules. It’s an awesome pop-up market with only 100 percent vegan goods, from soap to brownies. This bi-monthly event is beyond fun, and a great way to stock up on hard-to-finds. It’s also how I discovered some of my favorite vendors, like Rescue Chocolate, Gone Pie, the Vegan Bodega, and Cake Bites. If you’re in NYC and you haven’t been to this yet, you are MISSING OUT! Get your butt there ASAP. 

No. 6: The Vegan Guide to New York City 
This book does exactly what its title promises, and awesomely, its authors release an updated version every year. There is an iPhone app as well, but it’s from 2011 and they’ve yet to update it, so I’m on the fence about recommending the download. Might be better toget this year’s book. It’s still the flipping handiest thing in the world. Meeting someone in Midtown and you’re pretty sure there are no vegan restaurants in the area? Consult the guide! PROBLEM SOLVED.

Come back tomorrow for Laura’s top five vegan reasons to be in love with New York City!

Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in California. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight, and writes for US Weekly's Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz.

[photos: Empire State Pigeon by ZeroOne via Flickr; Cinnamon Snail by Megan Rascal for Vegansaurus; May Wah vegan meats by Shira Golding via Flickr]


Vegetables Make the List for Best of New York  »

In New York Magazine, the “Best of New York 2011: Eating" list includes vegetables alongside donuts, breakfast tacos and lamb (always got to have some baby sheep). What up, vegetables?! You’ve arrived! Stars from "the best of this year’s vegivore bounty" include carrots at Dirt Candy, Brussels sprouts at Carmine Club Cafe and turnips at Dovetail. I’ve never been to any of these places, but I have been meaning to go to Dirt Candy as it is vegetarian.

I say the more attention non-meat gets in the foodie community, the better. It’s just funny that it’s like people have just discovered vegetables and that they are some kind of trend like slap bracelets and Skip Its. Little do they know, vegetables have been here the whole time!


New York City Council bans excessive dog-chaining!  »

On Jan. 17 in New York City, the City Council passed two new pieces of legislation. One new law prohibits chaining a dog outdoors for more than three hours continuously in a 12-hour period. The penalty is up to $500 or three months in jail. Booyah! Three hours already seems like quite a bit of time to chain a dog outside, but still, this is a good step forward. It also prohibits chains that are too heavy, and choke collars. Yay! I made the mistake of watching Animal Cops the other day and a dog they rescued had been tied with a chain from a tow truck that was so heavy it had cut into his neck. I can’t watch that show! But yeah, heavy chains cause a lot of damage and pain.

Mayor Bloomberg still has to sign the legislation, but it was voted through the council 47 to one, so he would be a dick not to. 

The city also raised the license fee for an unaltered dog from $11.50 to $34; the extra money is going to programs that deal with overpopulation This is more encouragement to spay or neuter—not that ANYONE gets their dog licensed. OMJesus, when I first got Figgy in Philly, I was freaking out trying to get his license before the 60-day period after I adopted him. Then I find out NO ONE I knew had licensed their dog! In Philly, you’re supposed to reapply every year for an un-fixed dog, but you can get a lifetime license if your dog is both neutered and microchipped. That was cool. I never got Fig licensed in San Francisco but I was thinking it was OK since he was licensed in Philly? But it probably doesn’t really work like a driver’s license.

I’m not positive anyone in NYC actually gets a dog license but the few that do will be have to pay more now if they don’t spay or neuter their pup. So that’s good. The anti-dog chaining win is pretty great! Hopefully in the future they will make the allotted time shorter and shorter. Go dogs!

[photo from]


Getting educated: vegan truffles at Natural Gourmet!  »

Natural Gourmet is an awesome fucking institution. Yeah, they use poultry and other animal products in their cooking school. But it’s one of the few professional outlets where the public/you can take a baking class—entirely VEGAN!—and learn some real technique. Hands-on, did I mention? I’m a student, and it was really awesome to have a non-academic thing to do on a Thursday night post-finals meltdown. I had the lovely opportunity to drop $110 on a class titled “Decadent and Delicious Vegan Truffles.” Running 3.5 hours, we had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.

The class was lead by sassy-but-classy Fran Costigan, a pretty respectable self-proclaimed Diva of Vegan Desserts (yes, it was embroidered on her uniform). I mean, look at that paper toque; this woman means business. We learned that ganache is the base for all truffles (or at least the ones she was showing us); and that the key ingredient to a good truffle is really really good chocolate; and, just a tip, the cacao content should be at least 65 percent—the more cacao, the thicker the ganache. The chef recommended a bunch of eco-friendly, fair-trade, vegan chocolate brands (read: Theo). The set up consisted of a short lecture/introduction by the chef, followed by recipe assignments and hands-on production of the truffles. I made a regular old chocolate truffle (no frills) rolled in cocoa nibs.

And my truffles were fucking delicious. At the end of the class, they sent us around to everyone’s stations to stock up on everyone’s truffles. The result: chocolate even CocoaV would be jealous of. I think the $110 price tag was a bit excessive, but in the end the hands-on nature of the class made it all worth it. Oh yeah, and DID I MENTION THAT THIS CLASS WAS 100 percent GEARED TOWARDS VEGAN BAKING?!?! Everyone in the tristate area should take a class there immediately. Oh and guess what I made this morning? Lavender-vanilla chocolate truffles, using a master recipe edited by yours truly. I’m on my way to becoming the best vegan chocolatier out there.

[photos by Brianna!]

Angelica Kitchen NYC  »

If you’ve visited New York and have wanted a grand tour of all of the top vegan restaurants in the Village, you’ve probably been recommended Angelica Kitchen. It’s pricey, often overcrowded (by hipsters), and some of the waitstaff can be really fucking rude. Like, obnoxiously self-entitled and bitchy. For no reason. Oh, and the food is kind of mediocre. That was the negative vibe I had about the place the first two times I went.

I figured the third time’s the charm, and sure enough it was. Granted, I went to AK at a relatively un-busy time (read: 3:30 p.m. on a Friday). But I got a really really sweet waiter who served up some really amazing food. The story is this: after a heavy night of drinking I had Pommes Frites at like 2 a.m. Oh, greasy amazingness. But even worse than the hangover was the post-2a.m.-French-fry-gorge-guilt. So I needed something really healthy and balanced. I needed macrobiotic food. I needed Angelica Kitchen. And can I just say that this healthy meal TOTALLY HIT THE FUCKING SPOT. Pictured was the daily special: lemon-glazed seitan; sweet potato mash; quinoa, corn, and olive salad; arugula; and steamed green beans.

I also added two items from the “basics” menu for $2 or something reasonable like that. It was steamed kale, collard greens, and napa cabbage on a bed of soba noodles with a side of black sesame dressing. It was arguably my favorite part of the meal.

This was the Southern-style cornbread my meal-mate got. It was so good I didn’t even get a bite of it. 

All in all, the service at Angelica Kitchen is totally hit-or-miss, which is really a drag. An obnoxious waiter/waitress can totally ruin the experience (and consequently, the food), so I recommend going at a non-peak time. It’s 100 percent cash-only, and you’ll probably get castigated if you go ill-prepared for that. Oh, and a lot of hipsters hang out there so be sure to wear your horn-rimmed glasses and ironic mustache.

[photos by Brianna!]


In Isa We Trust  »

Vegansaurus is getting ready to launch a new site in New York City! Here’s a sneak peek of on one of our fabulous writers, Brianna, who wrote the below piece in honor of a recent signing by vegan goddess Isa Moskowitz on Tuesday night at the MooShoes store. Sadly, none of us New York folk were able to go ( Super Vegan has a nice little write up, though!) but here’s a bit about Brianna’s excitement leading up to the event!

When I made the switch from vegetarianism to veganism about three and a half years ago, I didn’t miss yogurt. I didn’t miss scrambled eggs. I didn’t even miss cheese. My hips definitely didn’t miss any of them. But I did miss baked goods - cupcakes, muffins, cakes, cookies, and all of the yummy toppings that adorned them. When a little cookbook came out called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, I kind of fell in love with Isa Moskowitz. How fucking punk rock is a Pistachio Rosewater Cupcake?? Or a Margarita Cupcake? Or a fucking S’mores Cupcake?!?! I’ll give you a hint: really fucking punk rock. So when I made the move to The Big Apple, I half expected Isa to open her long-rumored restaurant in Brooklyn and I knew that I would frequent said restaurant and eat all of the cupcakes she would hypothetically sell there until my ass would no longer fit into my jeans. But then she moved to Portland. And I cried a little. Ok, maybe I cried a lot.

So I did what any normal creeper would do, I added her as a friend on Facebook. After one fateful status update I found out that she would be less than a mile away in person signing her new book that centers around cookies at my beloved Mooshoes. Even more pressing was the amazing catering that would inevitably be there. And this is the story of my fateful meeting with my idol, Isa Chandra Moskwitz.

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