Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday Brunch at Blossom, Visit to Cocoa V

Happy Easter! It's Sunday, and it was gorgeous outside today, so we decided that a special brunch was deserved. I've mentioned before that I love brunch, and if there's anything I like more than brunch, it's a meal at Blossom restaurant... so a brunch at Blossom, with some good friends joining us, is pretty much as good as it gets.

 Our friends Susanne & Terje, with their daughter Alea, who is not impressed.

Blossom is our go-to place for birthdays, special events, and whenever we want to suggest a restaurant to go to with vegan-skeptic friends. We've been several times with some of our most carnivorous pals, and everyone always raves about it. Sometimes you even see celebs there, like the time we dined in between an Olsen sister (which one? who can tell?) and Emily Deschanel, an outspoken vegan actress.

We were absolutely ravenous by the time we arrived, so we quickly ordered some appetizers including my favorite "Cape Cod Cakes" that are reminiscent of crabcakes, but made with hiziki seaweed, tofu, herbs and spices, and served with a vegan tartar sauce. I was a big fan of crabcakes at one point, but I actually think that these are every bit as satisfying.

Cape Cod Cakes, with hiziki seaweed, tofu & spices, with vegan tartar sauce

We also tried the ravioli in cashew cream (an appetizer) and their French toast, which may or may not have been listed as an appetizer, but we ordered it anyway. The ravioli is filled with a spinach, mushroom, and pine nut mixture, and is a delight to your umami receptors. But what really shocked me was the cashew cream sauce - it was so incredibly smooth and creamy, almost like an alfredo sauce but without any of the heaviness or that sticky mouthfeel that cheese sauces can have.

 Spinach-Mushroom Ravioli in Cashew Cream (tastes so much better than it looks)

The French toast was perfection. In fact, I thought my French toast turned out pretty great, but theirs wins, hands down. It was perfectly crispy, buttery, and might have had a hint of cinnamon and some other spices to it. I'm on a mission to figure out what they use as their batter, and how they get it so perfectly browned and crispy. It comes topped with fresh berries, maple syrup, and a slice of tempeh bacon.

The best vegan French toast EVER.

Then we were on to our main courses. Two of us got the Soy Bacon Cheeseburger, which comes topped with caramelized onions, soy cheese, soy bacon, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle aioli. What can I add to that, except YUM?!

Soy Bacon Cheeseburger with perfectly crisped fries
This picture would have been better but my husband would have eaten the camera if I made him wait any longer.

I got the BLT, made with "crispy southern fried tofu," tempeh bacon, lettuce and tomato on ciabatta bread. I often make a simpler version of this at home, without the fried tofu, but it added a lot of good flavor and another texture to the sandwich. It also had the chipotle aioli, which added just a little heat and was very tasty.

Vegan BLT with tempeh bacon and southern crispy fried tofu

And another friend of ours ordered the Soy Philly Sandwich, like a Philly Cheesesteak but with pan-seared seitan, grilled onions, peppers, soy cheese, and again the ubiquitous chipotle aioli. I've ordered the Soy Philly before, and it's one of my favorites.

 Soy Philly sandwich with grilled onions and peppers

We were stuffed to the gills after all that, so we needed to take a little walk to burn it up, and also to put our favorite 3 year old to sleep in her stroller. We made a quick pit stop in Cocoa V, however, which is associated with Blossom restaurant and just a block away. Cocoa V opened not too long ago, and is the very first 100% vegan, organic, and fair trade chocolate shop.

As soon as you step in this charming little shop, you can't help but feel like, well, a kid in a candy store. Each bonbon is prettier than the next, almost too pretty to eat. Almost. They have a dazzling assortment of flavors to choose from, everything from chocolate ganache to passion fruit to orange vanilla caramel to fresh mint to pecan praline... I could go on and on but I'm starting to drool.

 Easter egg chocolate lollipops

Painted chocolate Easter eggs

But it's not enough that the chocolates look gorgeous, right? They have to taste good! And boy, do they ever. Rich, creamy, smooth... they all taste wonderfully fresh and are everything you could ever want in a bonbon, vegan or not.

Cocoa V also pairs their chocolates (and other sweets) with wine and a selection of savory dishes, like vegan quiche and even vegan cheese plates. But after our incredible meal at Blossom, I didn't have room for anything else. That will have to wait until our next visit. Luckily, there's always room for chocolate though.

The 12 winning bonbons that got to come home with me.

Blossom Vegan Restaurant
187 9th Ave., between 21st and 22nd Sts.
New York, NY 10011

Cocoa V
174 9th Ave., between 20th and 21st Sts.
New York, NY 10011

1 comment:

  1. Very nice post. Great chocolate store and the french toast looks tasty. Thanks for sharing.