NYC: Viva Herbal Pizzeria!  »

The pizza at NYC’s Viva Herbal Pizzeria is so good, I would brave a blizzard for it, which is exactly what I did last Saturday. As 13 inches were falling from the sky, I managed to finish off two huge slices of vegan pie at this kosher, vegetarian-menu-only spot on the Lower East Side. And when I say HUGE, I mean the size-of-your-head big. With plenty of exotic, fresh, vegan options, this place is a dreamland for the indecisive–-especially when it comes to crust. You can choose from wheat-free, yeast-free, whole wheat, corn meal, spelt, green tea herbal, hemp herbed or traditional crust. And even if you’re consuming a few pizza slices as big as a spaceship, it still feels healthy.

I ordered my fave, the Zen, which is green tea herbed miso tofu, green tea basil pesto, shiitake mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic, on a green tea herbed spelt crust, and a slice of the La Vita: roasted red peppers, soy sausage, mushrooms, broccoli, roasted garlic, tomato sauce, and corn kernels on a spelt crust. The Zen is majorly flavorful, not to mention colorful, and one of the most popular menu items. I guarantee it’s unlike any slice of pizza you’ve ever had. The La Vita, which I had never tried, blew my mind. (It was so yummy, I couldn’t bear waiting to take a picture before I tore into it.) Although it wasn’t as good as the Zen, the flavors were tangy, hearty and saucy. I haven’t tested it out on any carnivores, but I’m willing to bet this slice with soy sausage would fool them and the spelt crust is the icing on the vegan cake. I’m not sure how it’s possible to be both crunchy and chewy, but this crust does it.

As far as I know, the only downside is that their soy cheese is not vegan, but you won’t miss it. Slices run about $4 a pop; full pies are also available. They offer a selection of vegan desserts, including whoopee pies, in case you are craving sweets.

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