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.)
Meow Meow Tweet! vegan skincare to make you look and smell delicious »
I especially loved:
The cocoa cream, which softens your skin and makes it smell like really expensive chocolate, and I do love to smell edible.
The rosemary eucalyptus lip balm, which goes with me everywhere because it is perfect protection against this stupid post-winter weather that is wreaking absolute havoc on my poor sensitive lips.
The walnut oat face exfoliant. It comes as a powder that you make into a paste by adding water, and at first I had a hard time getting the proportions right, but once I got it, I loved it. It thoroughly exfoliates without abrading your delicate face, and after this winter I have about a million layers of dry, dead skin to slough off. Soon, I will have a radiant summer(-adjacent) glow, I’m sure of it.
I like to put the relief balm on my temples when I have a headache, and if I were into massages, I imagine I’d like it rubbed into my sore muscles, too. It’s also been pretty nice on the burns I am, as a very careless cook, constantly causing myself.
The repair balm has got myrrh, which I didn’t realize I was super into until I opened this little canister and fell in love. I put this stuff on my cuticles, on (closed!) cuts, and sometimes on my lips when they are especially chapped (seriously, I was not made for this weather), and it smells fancy and feels really great.
You can buy these and all of Meow Meow Tweet’s line (they have a deodorant cream that I wasn’t too crazy about, but a friend of mine and her mom adore it) at these fine brick-and-mortars and online. They also make appearances at the Vegan Shop-Up in Bushwick, and have an adorable blog. Meow Meow Tweet is all natural vegan body care, made with love by vegans. I love their stuff and I bet you will, too.
Help the Cinnamon Snail get a new shell! »
The Cinnamon Snail, the best food truck on the East Coast, needs a new truck! Want to help them get it? Of course you do! They are the greatest and living with the Snail is a trial and punishment that none of us, vegans and omnis alike, deserve.
So get a piece of that sweet Kickstarter action! The rewards look pretty sweet, too; if I had $250 to spare, I’d sign up for the cooking course (for heaven’s sake, someone teach me what to do with tempeh, I canNOT) for sure.
The streets of this great city are bereft without the glorious food of our beloved Cinnamon Snail. For their sake, for our own sakes, we must get them back in business. To Kickstarter, food lovers!
Hey New York: Free food at Terri on Thursday for the Great American Meatout! »
Who wants to come to lunch with me on Thursday? Or breakfast? Or dinner? To celebrate this year’s Great American Meatout, Terri in the Financial District is offering $10 of free food for anyone who mentions the Meatout. That is an actual meal’s worth of food! And it’s all vegan, and everything I’ve had (and I work around the corner, so I go here … often) has been good, so really, what else do you need to know?
The Terri in question is at 100 Maiden Lane in Manhattan, and is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, March 20. Celebrate the Great American Meatout 2014 with free vegan food — what could be finer?
Get ready for the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival! »
Are you going? We are longtime superfans of the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival so you know we are. Plus, check out who’s going to be there: Alchemy Creamery! Beyond Sushi! One Lucky Duck! The Regal Vegan! Rescue Chocolate! Treeline! Upton’s! It sounds like an awesome two-day eating party and we can’t wait to see your gorgeous vegan faces there (March 1 and 2 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Metropolitan Pavilion)!
Bonus! The NYC Veg FoodFest people are very sweetly offering our readers 50 percent off tickets: Buy them here and enter VEGTASTIC in the discount box.
It’s Vegan Shop-Up time again! It looks to be as awesome as ever, and the weather promises to be a bit less oppressively humid, so come on over to Bushwick and get shopping! Or at least eating and drinking. It’s like our very own vegan microcosm Smorgasburg, only with a way better bar.
If you’ve never been check out the list of vendors to see what wonders await you. See you tomorrow!
The August Vegan Shop-Up runs from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 10, at Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Grattan Street in Brooklyn off the Morgan L stop.
Restaurant review: Rawlicious Soho! »
Meave: Remember how I was saying last week that we are really lucky vegans? Let’s double that sentiment, because recently Megan and I were invited to a tasting at Rawlicious Soho, the new Rawlicious spot at 249 Centre Street in Manhattan. Of course we said YES to fancy free food, because what are we, not hungry? Not eager to try new dishes? Not kind of obsessed with cashew cheese and raw vegetables? Well, maybe the last one is more me than Megan, but still. To Rawlicious Soho we went!
Meave: First they brought us this plate of nut-and-seed flatbread topped with dill cashew cheese, caramelized onion, and cherry tomatoes to share. It was beautiful, vibrant, and really tasty. If you’re not eating all of the tomatoes you can get your hands on during the summertime, you are missing out. They’re perfect when they’re ripe and totally nasty out of season, so take advantage of the summer and get snacking.
Megan: Yeah, the whole thing was great but the tomatoes were out of control. I was like, where the hell did they get these and can I get a 100 more? That was true across the board—they must have some super taster finding their fresh veggies, everything was just perfect.
Meave: Next, they brought us each a plate of their taco salad, which was made of avocado, salsa, walnut refried beans, red and green onions, cashew sour cream, and sundried tomato nacho chips, over romaine lettuce. You guys, I loved this salad. I still think about it. The avocados were perfect, firm and yielding and buttery in that avocado-y way. The walnut refried beans I could’ve eaten alone, forever, but with the crispy lettuce and the tangy cashew sour cream—a really great combination. Though I have always been partial to taco salad (it was my main jam at Gratitude before all the ugliness).
Megan: The avocados were cray! Totally perfect! And ditto on the walnut refried beans—who ever heard of walnut refried beans?!
Meave: Then they brought us each a slice of flatbread pizza with cashew cheese, pesto, tomato, zucchini, mushroom, and basil. Rich! basil-y! Unctuous, you guys, the combination of cashew cheese and basil was unctuous, so rich and savory, plus the firm vegetables and the crispy flatbread—so good.
It was at this point that we realized we were both getting pretty full.
Megan: Loved the pesto! Additionally, damn, why’s Meave gotta use words I have to look up?
Meave: After we managed to eat our entire pieces of pizza, they brought us plates of their pad thai with kelp and zucchini noodles, carrots, red cabbage, green onions, and cashews in a “tangy Thai sauce.” Crispy-crunchy, savory-sweet, and very good. Not as spicy as I would have liked it, but the textures were delicious, and it was nice and cool on a hot summer afternoon.
Our lovely server, who had been vegan for all of three weeks (hooray!), had to box our dishes for us, as we were both reaching stomach capacity.
Megan: I have to differ on this one, I wasn’t that into the zucchini noodles. I’ve never been a big fan of raw food but everything here was so great I think I’m a changed woman! But this is the kind of dish I think of when I think of raw food—“noodles” that are all crunchy. Not my thing. Good sauce though (but I don’t like spicy).
Meave: But of course we had room for this tiny, flawless dessert: a brownie bite with coconut “frosting” and chocolate banana ice cream. Because it’s sweetened with dates (and bananas), you could really taste the walnut, cacao, and coconut flavors. Again, the texture was incredible. I should really stop being surprised that raw desserts can be so goddamn good, but still, this was amazing and I am in love with it.
Megan: Guys guys guys, this thing was OFF THE HOOK. Why am I not eating this little chocolate wonder all the time?! And I usually don’t even like coconut (I know, I’m that picky vegan) but this was perfect! The banana chocolate ice cream was awesome. The whole thing was awesome. It was my favorite part of the meal.
Meave: It stands to reason that we would be biased, as Rawlicious offered us this tasting free of charge, gave us a table with really great lighting, and were totally accommodating and very nice. Of course we’re biased. Still, the food was very, very good. The restaurant space itself is charming, light and airy with an exposed brick wall and bright, interesting art.
Megan: I’m not at all biased because I’m stone cold and hard to impress. But I was impressed. I just don’t usually go in for raw food so I was skeptical, but the food was so good! And yeah, my first reaction was, whoa, this place is nice! It’s not at all hippie like Cafe Gratitude or something—which is another association I have with raw food (despite Pure Food & Wine). When I think of raw, I think of crunchy cold food and new-age crap. This place is not like that! I even liked the paintings, and I’m hella snobby about paintings. So the place is upscale—but comfortable all the same. Our waitress was soooo nice. Like Meave said, a brand new vegan! I gave her some tips of course because I’m me.
Meave: I would absolutely go again. Especially on a date! Definitely I would invite a gentleman here for a beautiful meal in an attractive space, where the lighting makes everyone look like a total babe.
Megan: Agreed except it wasn’t the lighting, Meave is a total babe. In conclusion: I WANT MORE CHOCOLATE BANANA BROWNIE BITES!
Bunna Café at Mama Joy’s for lunch! Ethiopian in Bushwick! »
The only way to improve this, I thought, would be to eat it sitting down, on a bigger plate, with even more food and more people to share it with.
Which is now possible at Mama Joy’s, where Bunna serves totally vegan Ethiopian lunch Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You should go! Take your friends! Take a date! Go eat!
Here’s how it looked today:
Mama Joy’s is at 1084 Flushing Ave. in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Bunna Cafe’s Ethiopian lunch is cash-only.
The Vegan Shop-Up returns for July! Every time I go I eat something new and delicious, I buy something awesome, and my heart fills with joy to see what a crowd turns out for a vegan event. Also I just finished the last of my queso on Sunday and it’s time to stock up.
Interested? Check out the list of vendors! I’ll see you on Saturday.
As usual, the Shop-Up is open from noon to 6 p.m. at Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Grattan Street in Bushwick, off the Morgan L stop. For more information, visit them online.
Stop New York’s annual slaughter of geese! »
Gothamist rounds up the info on the Department of Agriculture’s annual New York City-area goose-murder, this year targeted at the geese living in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Is that actual irony? It’s certainly disgusting.
If you want to help stop the totally unnecessary murder of hundreds of geese, get more info from Goose Watch NYC, and sign the petition addressed to Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
[Photo by Peter Roan via Flickr]