Champs at Rockaway: Eat vegan at the beach! »
On Saturday, my fella took me to Rockaway Beach. Last year I didn’t go to any beaches, and I am determined not to waste another summer. We took the A train to the shuttle to the Beach 98th Street station, which has a stained-glass sign that reminds you of a time when this country cared about not just infrastructure, but its aesthetics.
Once there, we frolicked in the (kind of dirty and weirdly smelly) water (I miss you, California); it rained a little bit in the late morning, but it cleared up by the afternoon, and we went in and out of the water and read in the sun until we were hot and sticky and starving.
We walked a little ways over to the Beach 96th Street concession stand, which is a bunch of restaurants making fast food at counters. I washed up in the (admirably clean) restroom, to emerge to my young man brandishing a Modelo Especial michelada. Thanks to Barnivore, I know Modelos are all vegan, but most micheladas I’ve encountered have come with something hideous like Worchestershire sauce, which point I immediately raised. “No,” he said, “I had them list the ingredients and it is completely vegan.” Whoever is making micheladas at Rockaway Beach this summer, bless you; it was light and spicy and so refreshing. (Ugh, Meave, get to the part about Champs. No, let me brag about my boyfriend being the most considerate, adorable omnivore partner a vegan could ask for.) “Also,” he said, “There’s a Champs inside.”
I almost dropped my drink.
There it was! Champs! The best vegan diner on the East Coast! Beloved of Vegansaurs far and wide! Check out the menu:
We ordered burgers, broccoli fritters, and salted watermelon. Pictured: my burger, because I was too hungry to bother with photographs of all the food. I try, you guys, but I am but one woman, and sometimes my appetite overpowers my picture-taking abilities. Trust, though, the fritters were tasty and the salted watermelon awakened a serious craving for more watermelon right now all the time I want it.
OK and the burger:
Would you look at that thing? It is glorious. The slaw is crisp, the pickles are sour, the sauce is spicy, the patty is of good texture, and the bun doesn’t get in the way. It is exactly what you want at the beach, and I strongly suggest you New York bathers get your butts to Rockaway right now. Look what awaits you! And word is Champs may not last the season, so hurry! We can have flawless vegan diner food on the beach! Truly, the world is our oyster mushroom.
(Note: There’s also a Champs on Bushwick Avenue at Dodworth Street in Bushwick, which is my new Sunday go-to; I can never seem to remember to capture my meals before they’re gone, but it’s all been spectacular. I had a tuno salad and a watermelon slush for dinner tonight, and my boyfriend is in love with the soysage. Review coming as soon as I can put camera to plate.)