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]

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