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Weekend Recap

October 14, 2009

Dear Internet,

As all you regular readers already know, this weekend I had the wonderful pleasure of visiting Caitlin in NYC! I have so many amazing food experiences to share with you all from our few days together, so let me start right in!

Friday

My bus left Toronto at 8:00 a.m. and didn’t arrive in NYC until 8:00 p.m. (two hours later than scheduled). I was very disappointed to have to wait an extra two hours to reunite with Caitlin, but the ride itself wasn’t that bad. I got a lot of reading done and listened to a couple podcasts. (Also, if any of you remember my last post and are curious about how my bus food packing turned out, it worked very well! The two Larabars I bought (pistachio and coconut creme pie) were super delicious and my two peanut hazelnut butter sandwiches made for a wonderful lunch!)

When I finally did arrive, though, I was ready for a real meal, and Caitlin already had everything prepared for me (isn’t she a sweetheart?)! The dish for the night was 16 (or was it 18?) bean stew ratatouille served over polenta (cooked double-boiler method). It looked like this:

Friday Polenta

And it tasted wonderful! It was the perfect meal for the end of a long day of travel. Alongside this, I also got to have my first taste of Trader Joe’s wine!

TJ's Wine

Friday night we enjoyed the Savignon Blanc, and we had the Chardonnay on Saturday. I definitely preferred the Chardonnay, but since both bottles for only $3 each, I can’t really complain about either one. I wish I could find such cheap wine up here!

Caitlin also had a special dessert prepared: Vegan Magic Cookie Bars!

Friday Dessert

These were so so so good. Caitlin used Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies as the base, which provided a nice little spicy cayenne kick along with the sweetness on top. So so so good!

Saturday

The next day we decided to spend the afternoon and early evening in the Upper West Side, having all sorts of fun. It started off with a small picnic lunch in Central Park, featuring open face tofu sandwiches!

Saturday Sandwich

A few notes: That’s Dave’s Killer Bread on the bottom there, which was absolutely killer in every way! You West Coasters are so lucky to have Dave’s Killer Bread (more) readily available. On top of that there’s some of this awesome mustard Caitlin had (sorry that I can’t remember the exact name / description). The tofu was fried in nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper beforehand. And on top of that is a Jersey tomato, with some alfalfa sprouts on top! We both had two of these delicious little guys, which made for a wonderful lunch date.

After that, we did a lot of walking, with some sightseeing along the way. First, I found out that Canada has now invaded the streets of NYC!

Tim Horton's

We didn’t go inside, but it was nice to see a little piece of TO in NY. Next, we got to see this famous street corner:

Restaurant

I trust that everyone will recognize this.

After this, we went to an awesome book store in the area, Book Culture. This store has, hands down, the best philosophy section I’ve ever seen (both sides of an entire aisle PLUS two bookshelves of new releases downstairs AND a corner of marked down remainders). It’s partly new, partly used, and I think it gets a lot of traffic for Columbia students and professors. I was able to pick up Bob Brandom’s new book (“Reason in Philosophy”) and a super cheap collection of Davidson essays.

During our travels in the UWS, we also picked up ingredients for the night’s dinner, which was a wonderful quinoa-and-vegetable-and-dried-fruit-and-seed-stuffed acorn squash!

Saturday Squash

Along with this, we both enjoyed BIG salads, the perfect complement to any meal:

Saturday Salad

We were also able to pick up two bottles of Red Jacket Orchards apple juice, both flavors we’ve never tried before. First, Rhubarb Apple Juice…

RJO Rhubarb

This was good; the rhubarb gave the juice a nice little “green” flavor. Our second bottle was Cranberry Apple Cider…

RJO Cranberry

Also good, although I’m not the biggest fan of cranberries. We (mostly me) also had more of Caitlin’s delicious Vegan Magic Cookie Bars for dessert, and after that (and catching up on the new episodes of The Office we had missed) we called it a night.

Sunday

My third day in New York started off like any proper Sunday in the City should: sitting in a coffee shop doing the New York Times Sunday crossword with my favorite person in the world. The coffee shop in question is The Bean, a scrumptious little cafe in the Lower East Side.

The Bean

Caitlin got a Soy Latte while I got a Chai Latte, and those cute little dessert squares are a Toffee Almond and a Chocolate Hazelnut bar. As for the crossword, we nearly completed it, everything except for part of the upper left and the lower middle sections if I remember correctly. Overall, it was an enjoyable puzzle!

Next we headed off to Tompkins Square Park. We were originally planning to go there for the New York Vegetarian Festival (or some such similarly titled event), but in the end the festival turned out to be sort of a non-event, but fortunately we did stumble upon a wonderful farmers’ market that was happening at the same time and place! We picked up several of the ingredients for that night’s dinner there and the rest at the nearby Whole Foods, and then proceeded to our final destination for the day: Babycakes!

Babycakes is a wonderful little sweet-ery that specializes in 100% vegan desserts. We decided to have a little sampler of their offerings. First up, your standard chocolate cupcake:

Babycakes Chocolate

Good, but not great. Kind of tasted vegan-y, which is never a good sign. Next, a carrot cake cupcake:

Babycakes Carrot

Better, but more or less the same deal as the chocolate cupcake. Finally, a slice of Jalapeno Cornbread (sorry for the blurry photo!):

Babycakes Cornbread

A-MA-ZING! This little slice of bread was absolutely mouth-watering! It was incredibly soft and melty, and had the perfect amount of jalapeno spice in there to excite your palate. I would go back to Babycakes in a heartbeat just for this cornbread, but I would also like to try some of their other breads and perhaps some of their more special cupcakes and cookies.

Our afternoon adventures complete, we headed back to Brooklyn to prepare Sunday’s sort-of-like-(Canadian)-Thanksgiving feast. The menu was an irresistible combination of corn, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, and mushroom gravy, and it looked something like this:

Sunday Plate

Major major props to Vegan Dad for providing the Roasted Mushroom Gravy recipe. This is perhaps one of the best vegan gravy recipes I’ve ever tasted, and it provided the perfect complement to our other dishes. The sweet potatoes were Caitlin’s signature coconut sweet potatoes recipe, the corn came straight from the farmers’ market, and the veggies came from all over—just take a look:

Sunday Veggies

We had another new Red Jacket Orchard’s juice along with this dinner, as well—their Spiced Apple Cider:

RJO Cider

Caitlin loved this, but it just too spicy for me! I guess I just prefer my apple cider more mild.

But wait—that’s not all!

Dessert for the night was a strawberry rhubarb pie that we bought at the farmers’ market.

Sunday Pie

Sunday Pie Slice

This was Caitlin’s first ever rhubarb pie, and I think she liked it. I enjoyed it quite a bit as well. All in all, it was a very enjoyable, if somewhat untraditional, Thanksgiving dinner!

Monday

This was my last day in the city… but we didn’t let that get in the way of great food! My bus didn’t leave until 7:20 p.m., so we were able to squeeze in lots of good eats before I had to go.

First came lunch, which we shared with Caitlin’s friend Germaine at JivamukTea Cafe! This is a wonderful cafe run in conjunction with a yoga studio that is 100% vegan and also 100% delicious. Caitlin and I started our lunch off with a bowl of Maharini Dahl:

JivamukTea Dahl

This was very tasty, and the perfect thing for that rather nippy day Monday turned out to be. For our main course, both Caitliln and I decided to get salads, which we split. I got the Seitan Salad (which, since they were out of seitan, became a Tempeh Salad) and Caitlin got the Montaña Salad (which, since they were out of avocados, didn’t come with its promised avocados). Here’re the pics:

JivamukTea Salad 1

JivamukTea Salad 2

Both of these salads were really good (and appropriately huge), and their respective dressings (mustard vinaigrette and carrot ginger) were both excellent. However, I was a little disappointed with how similar they were. Both salads used exactly the same base of greens, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes; the only difference was the special topping. So although both bowls were very satisfying, I would’ve liked to see some more variety.

Oh, and did I mentioned that we also had dessert?

JivamukTea Desserts

From left to right: Chocolate Rose Tea, Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookie, Coconut Green Tea, Red Velvet Cupcake, Chocolate Cupcake. All were super tasty, especially the teas.

In the afternoon, Caitlin had a class to attend, and after she got out, we ran off to grab some dinner before I had to catch my bus. Our destination of choice: Max Brenner. You can tell that we were at Max Brenner because his face is on the napkins:

MB Napkin

For those that don’t know (like myself before Monday), Max Brenner is a popular establishment near Union Square, famous for its chocolate and desserts. But it also has a dinner menu, and a surprisingly vegetarian friendly one at that, which is what we first availed ourselves of. Unfortunately, the restaurant decided to majorly dim the lights while we were there, making picture-taking a difficult task. But I was able to salvage decent enough photos of our main courses, an Avocado Salad and an Asparagus Crepe.

MB Salad

MB Crepe

Both dishes were good, but nothing out of this world. On the side, we also had a small plate of Black and Tan Battered Vidalia Onion Rings served with Dark Chocolate Ranch Dressing. The onion rings were very good, and so was the sauce, although the dark chocolate flavor was no as apparent as I had hoped.

Finally, we split one of the desserts, Max’s famous Chocolate Pizza! My picture of this was nowhere near save-able, so you’ll have to content yourselves with this photo I found on the internet:

Our pizza looked like the one on the bottom: melted chocolate with peanut butter and hazelnut crunchies on top. This was incredibly tasty! I really want to go back to Max Brenner to sample more of the desserts, as they have tons of them, which I’m sure are all equally as good.

And that brings us to the end of this long, long post. As I hope you can tell, I had a wonderful time in NYC and can’t wait to go back (which won’t actually be in too long!). Thank you to Caitlin for picking out all our restaurant spots and preparing such wonderful food at home!

We’ll be back with regular posts soon, so be sure to check back. In fact, I have some exciting dinner concoctions to report from tonight, but they will have to wait for another post and another day.

Until we eat again,

Willie

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3 comments

  1. […] that I haven’t posted for a few days; I think I was still tired out from my last, long post about New York. Fortunately, though, this means that I’m going to squeeze a plethora of awesome food […]


  2. […] leftover dough I tasted, this is going to be a spicy treat! It probably won’t be as good as Babycakes’ a-ma-zing jalapeño cornbread, but I hope Caitlin will like it […]


  3. […] down to New York for the long weekend and visit Caitlin, which is precisely what I did this year (and what I did last year). And Canadian Thanksgiving gives us the perfect excuse to make a festive autumnal dinner (as if we […]



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