Let me be clear: I freaking dread summers in New York City. It’s all humidity and now that I’m older, I realize it’s not just humidity ⸺ it’s dirty humidity. In my high school and brief college summers spent at home on Long Island’s South Shore, I survived by sleeping most of the day and venturing out come evening. Traveling SE Asia taught me that I can survive heat, but only if I have a fresh young coconut and a straw in my hands. Somewhere, deep down, I did dust off some fond memories of summer nights spent in sweatshirts and denim jackets, but that’s been harder to do on this stay, as I’m trying to make the very most of my time, strategically getting down with my favorite budget-friendly vegan eats and most importantly, spending time with J. Legume, who’s working and residing at a park on Staten Island for the season, and my far off siblings.
As for that heat, cue two showers a day and lots and lots of water (and cheap beer, courtesy of Trader Joe’s). Bring on the thunderstorms.
I’m in town for just under another two weeks, moseying around to my favorite spots, seeking out diverse, irresistible eats & treats I can’t find in Portland, contemplating chopping my hair off (oh, that heat), looking for nut-free vegan ice cream, and chilling at my sister’s, which really means cleaning out the fridge, making sense of the cabinets, and gladly cooking for everyone, as long as someone else does the dishes.
Oh, and making Bushwick my mobile office for the launch of Vida Vegan III ticket sales later this morning….from the future! Er, EST. Hence this early morning ANTM marathon, blog writing and tea.
Here are some unedited photos from my first few days back in the home state:
I kid, for someone who spent years and years (no, really, it seems like that much time was spent doing the following) flying into JFK and taking the LIRR back to Islip, and walking home ⸺ not to overlook taking the LIRR into NYC to and fro, all the dang time, and never embracing this as my future lifestyle. My point is, flying into Newark is really do-able! Here ya go: Newark, AirTran, New Jersey Transit, subway, Brooklyn, check.
I was understandably exhausted that first night, but with the absence of well, daytime meals, and the embrace of my partner, we made our way from Bushwick to Williamsburg for one of my favorite slices. As a d-cheese hater, a straight-up fun New York slice with shredded Teese makes me smile so big.
And dude, we had even better ones at Norbert’s a few days ago (which, to be fair, has d-cheese, but also has cinnamon roll knots. Weight those options).
The next day, while everyone else went off to work, I stopped by the popular Vegan Shop Up at MooShoes in Manhattan. I picked up a hearty sandwich and doughnuts from Cinnamon Snail, plus a gorgeous chocolate bar from Lagusta’s Lucious, the chocolatier with a conscience.
After an excruciating perusal of the sandwich menu and super quick review of the pastry case, I ordered the Seitan al Pastor, because 1) It was the clear sandwich I didn’t want to unfairly alter anything about, like skipping caramelized onions or switching the bread up to my personal preference and 2) beer-battered jalapeño. I mean, come on. Those peppers were surprisingly diced, but regardless of their size and texture, their heat + the chipotle spread made for such a welcome, eye-opening level of spice. The seitan was a tad rubbery, but I’m not complaining, really, because, hello, grilled pineapple, arugula, flavor, and everything else worked so well together on that baguette.
I felt like an ER doctor on my walk and ride bike to Bushwick, passionately urging this box to NOT DARE MELT ON ME.
Later that day, I met J. Legume aka J. LeScone, at the Staten Island ferry. Of course, I knew she’d be ravenous, so I picked up a snack at a Terri on the way.
I want to come back for a sandwich some time. This quick pop-in was for a brownie and baked apple cider doughnut. I tried bites of both and there were quite good!
Don’t fret, I’ve since had my first Dun-well’s fix.
Needs no caption.
That night, we picked up groceries for dinner later on, and stopped at Beyond Sushi for a bite. You’ve got to think ahead in the Big Apple. Oh my gosh, Beyond Sushi exceeded any and all expectations I could possibly have. The flavors, the presentations, the ingredients, and actual seating being available (which is why this didn’t happen on my previous trip)…everything was beyond right. Jules and I ordered the Mighty Mushroom and Sweet Tree rolls to share, and proceed to sit there eating and swooning and vowing to come back, eat these again, and try every single other item on the menu. And let me add, J. Legume was formerly pretty ‘meh’, at best, on sushi as a concept.
The next day, my siblings, my sister’s boyfriend I hit up Xi’an Famous Foods for lunch in Chinatown, which is an establishment (with a trio of locations now, if I recall correctly) my sister has been talking about taking me to for years. It was a really special experience, and I reveled in enjoying vegan-friendly, legit, hand-ripped Chinese noodles at a small counter bar with my little family. I ordered the Mt. Qi Vegetable Noodles and Chang-An’s spicy, silken tofu. What an experience. My brother has specifically expressed interest in having lunch somewhere that *could* be on the Food Network, so it was cute to point out all the Andrew Zimmerman and Anthony Bourdain press around the hot spot.
Things to remedy: lack of bagels so far and my deep farmers market withdrawal.