Happy New Year to all! I have grand plans to get Vegan Good Things back on track on 2017… I’m afraid to look back at January 2016 to see if I made the same resolution last year and failed. But I do have some good things planned. First, my annual Oscar Noms series is coming up, my favorite series of recipes / food posts in honor of this year’s Oscar nominated movies. I have a stack of new cookbooks that I’m planning to review, and some brand new recipes to post as well. I have a new Instant Pot that Santa brought me, and I’m super excited to experiment and post some recipes using that. And I’m also doing some recipe testing for what will potentially be my 2nd cookbook. I’m ready to get back to cooking!
2016 was a tough year for many reasons, but I did enjoy some amazing vegan eats and I’m looking forward to even more new and exciting restaurants and recipes in 2017. So focusing on the positive, my top 10 favorite vegan eats from 2016 were:
10. Christmas cookies. I went to an epic all-vegan cookie swap before Christmas and was able to nibble on and take home the most amazing array of vegan holiday cookies: too-pretty-to-eat sugar cookies, lacy Florentines, rosemary chocolate shortbread, pepperminty aquafaba merinques, Scandinavian cardamom moons, fudgy bars, several variations on the classic chocolate chip… it was a dizzying assortment and I know I’m forgetting a few but they were all amazing.
9. Buddha Bodai. This is simply one of our favorite spots in the city. We go there regularly, and in popular NYC tradition, we even go every year for vegan dim sum on Christmas day.
8. This superhero-themed birthday cake. My dear friend Marisa, the superwoman behind the documentary Vegucated, is one of the most generous souls you could ever hope to meet. She volunteered to make this incredible gluten-free vegan birthday cake, covered in fondant superhero logos, for my son’s 5th birthday party. That lady has some serious skills!
Just a few of the other superhero-themed foods we had at the party:
7. Thanksgiving. Because Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday of the year because it just centers around being grateful and eating yourself into a coma. We were lucky to have some non-vegan-but-still-enthusiastic-about-eating-vegan-food friends come over to our place for an incredible meal. We had, starting from the top going clockwise: Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans, a Trader Joe’s Holiday Roast and a Field Roast Smoky Forager’s Roast (both covered with homemade shiitake mushroom gravy), Green Bean Casserole, a gluten-free millet-based stuffing, the Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Bacon from Baconish, and my baked macaroni and cheese. Not pictured: pumpkin pie with coconut whipped cream, and apple crumble. I’m already dreaming about Thanksgiving 2017.
6. Champs Diner‘s Grinder sandwich. This one is loaded with grilled Blackbird seitan, banana peppers, mayo, melted cheese, onion, garlic, on a hero. I ordered it on a whim and have been dreaming about having another one ever since. So tasty.
5. May Kaidee’s Thai food. May Kaidee has several vegan restaurants and vegan Thai cooking schools in Thailand. May herself came to NYC in 2016 and I was excited over the summer to meet her, when she was hosting a series of private dinners in her apartment. It was a fun, intimate dinner experience, complete with cooking demos and traditional Thai dancing afterwards. May opened her first NYC restaurant this past fall, and her hospitality, generosity, and of course, amazing authentic Thai food are all to be found there. Please go and support her!
4. Van Leeuwen‘s vegan ice cream. This picture pretty much sums up my entire 2016 summer. Van Leeuwen (multiple locations in NYC) has greatly expanded their vegan menu, a promising sign that their vegan options are doing well and creating greater demand! Van Leeuwen makes the best vegan ice cream in the city, hands down, no question. It is rich, and creamy, and full of flavor. I love their dark chocolate, and their roasted banana walnut is a favorite of mine, but the special (limited) flavor this summer that captured my heart was the red currant wedding cake. I wasn’t even sure what to expect but it had a subtly tart, sweet, cake batter-like flavor. It probably sounds weird but it was so delicious!
3. The Impossible Burger, served exclusively (for now) at Momofuku Nishi in Manhattan. This burger was impossibly juicy and meaty. It was worth standing in line for a few minutes in the pouring rain before the doors opened. The Impossible Burger is hardly the only item on the very un-vegan menu, but when I went for lunch to try it, every single table ordered one. Every. Single. One. I’m positive that not everyone was vegan, or even vegetarian, because speaking with my omnivorous communal table mates, they deemed the burger “very tasty” and said they could tell the difference, but that it was a “very good substitute.” Definitely the tastiest veggie burger out there.
2. Screamer’s Pizza. I’m so in love with Screamer’s Pizza in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The city’s first all-vegan slice joint, you can actually get whole vegan pizzas or pizza by the slice there. Their crust, their sauce, their toppings and combinations… this is real NY-style pizza, folks. You can’t go wrong with their pepperoni or supreme pizzas, but definitely also try the Hawaiian and the namesake Screamer pie.
And #1. Drumroll please… this absolutely astonishingly good birthday dinner at Delice & Sarrasin, a new all-vegan French Bistro in the West Village. I can not rave enough about the food there. It is a tiny but cozy little restaurant owned by a French family who have all gone vegan. Their vegan cheese platter was… dare I say it?… the BEST vegan cheese I have ever had. They make it themselves and it was truly the most authentic-tasting cheese I’ve had. I absolutely adore their traditional (read: rich and hearty) menu, which even includes classic dishes like Escargot (made from mushrooms) and Foie Gras! As a Francophile I was truly in heaven. I went with my gal pals Valerie and Leanne and we shared:
The meal at Delice & Sarrasin was heavenly. Divine. If you are in NYC, get yourself over there yesterday. I’m planning many more visits to Delice & Sarrasin this year. Here’s to good eats and many more vegan good things in 2017!