Friday, April 25, 2008

"April is the cruellest month,..."

"...breeding/Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/Memory and desire, stirring/ Dull roots with spring rain."

As my birthday rapidly descends in a few days, putting me firmly in my mid-thirties (oh yes the horror, avert your eyes), T.S. Eliot's line resounds in my head. The month of April is a mixed blessing depending on one's opinion of birthdays which invariably depends on what age you are creeping towards... In this month of April, there are taxes & birthdays to deal with like my own & Booboo's but then there is fun stuff like my vegananniversary. So instead of dwelling on birthday blues, I give you a recap of the last few weeks which were mostly fun indeed.

Most fun visitor in April award goes to: SKO!!

SKO was in NYC for her spring break & to visit colleges. Nothing beats having my sister in town for the camraderie and also I can drag her to try new vegan joints, but first, an SKO/VKO favorite- Gobo which has two locations in the West Village and on the Upper Eastside. We split the roti canai & the sweet & sour protein. yum yum yum yum yum.

Gobo 1426 3rd Avenue (bet 80th & 81st sts) NYC 10028 212.288.5099

And reminding us all that spring is here are the gorgeous daffodils that SKO brought me-

SKO & I doing goofy things on an empty subway car on a Sunday morning. SKO jumps for joy as we head downtown to our favorite yummy veg dim sum at Vegetarian Dim Sum House in Chinatown which I post no pictures because I have a bizillion of the them in other posts.

Vegetarian Dim Sum House 24 Pell Street (at Doyers St) NYC 10013 212.577.7176

Here's a place that I've been wanting to try- Birdie's in the East Village. They serve chicken & veg chik'n. The place is quite small- about 8 can sit at a table and then a few stools at the counter. It's quite cozy and the owner whose grandmother's name was Birdie was super welcoming. My only issue was sitting so close to others that I was surrounded by people chomping into their chicken carcasses, made me a bit ill. I will opt to sit at the counter next time when it's that crowded. SKO's chicken was much undercooked and had to be sent back- it's been awhile since I've had any chicken but I know it shouldn't be that pink. They apologetically took it back & replaced it & took it off our bill & offered us dessert- which was super sweet. SKO has decided to have the veg chik'n next time anyway. I had the Veggie Smoked Jerk BBQ which was good with a side of collard greens. See the cute collage placemats- the owner made those from childhood pics & 70's tv show cutouts.

SKO & even stayed watching a movie for about 45 mins after our meal- the owner is a big fan of old movies, especially those from the 70's and yes, I am a child of the 70's so I loved me some Sinbad movies & Sigmund and The Sea's the genie scene that we had been waiting to see. My only wish for the genie would be that Birdie's had some vegan desserts & vegan versions of biscuits & mac &cheez- that would have made it complete.
Birdie's 149 1st Avenue (bet 9th & 10th sts) NYC 10003 212.529.2512

We were so close to Atlas, I had to bring SKO to see the dessert case of Vegan Treats goodies at Atlas. Yes darlings- all that yumminess is vegan!
I took home a chocolate glazed donut & a slice of peanut butter chocolate "cheesecake".

Atlas 73 2nd Avenue (bet 4th & 5th Sts) NYC 10003 212.539.0966

Another day brought us down to the Lower Eastside to finally check out Moby's cafe, Teany.
The place is absolutely adorable. SKO & I both loved it. She got to order clotted cream (not vegan) and scones. My sister loves scones with clotted cream & tea so much that it makes her smile- I kid you not. Teany has a giant tea selection evidenced in this metal binder...

Ah yes, SKO will do well down here with the Lower Eastside hipsters. She's the cutest.
Here's my chickenless-chicken salad sandwich, which was tasty.
And the yummiest was the rasberry chocolate cupcake courtesy of Vegan Treats- it was pure yum. The frosting was super light & airy and the chocolate cake part really chocolatey.
Teany 90 Rivington St (bet Orchard & Ludlow Sts) NYC 10002 212.475.9190

Then off to check out some vegan shoes & eco-friendly fashion at Moo Shoes & just acrosee the street, Kaight.
Moo Shoes has a few resident kitties- this sleepy one reminds me of Booboo with those giant paws.
And this little elegant one was admiring the sandals that I tried on.
Moo Shoes 78 Orchard Street (bet Broome & Grand Sts) NYC 10002 866.59.VEGAN

83 Orchard Street
NYC 10006

The weekend brought the Dean's brunch at the university that was seriously wooing SKO with a full scholarship. I was an awfully proud big sister to see a university pursuing my sister with such ardent financial promises. We were not that excited by the school at first, however our whole outlook changed when we went to visit. We were completely enamored by everything about the school. The small student/professor ratio, the commitment to integrating commuter students into the campus life and just the sincerity that really came across that the school really cared about it's students, not to mention having the advantages of a large university with the class size of a small college and of course having all the internship advantages of going to school in NYC.

While SKO met for individual student tours, Grandma & I headed to Whole Foods at Columbus Circle for lunch. We made a nice little sampler for ourselves & headed to Central Park. I had some dal, chickpea masala, broccoli, edamame salad, couscous just to name a few goodies.
SKO returned from the university tour with a giant shopping bag of goodies- a university mug, a bumper sticker for our dad's car and a stuffed ram, the university mascot. Of course, Booboo was subjected to a series of photos with the ram...I am so thrilled that SKO has found a great school that believes in her and that she is excited to go to. Yay SKO!!
Most fun way to celebrate my 2yr Vegananniversary: Candle 79

Was not that long ago that I went to Candle 79 with Veggie Girl and it was fine but nothing to rave about except the desserts, well it is my firm belief to always give a place that I don't love a second shot. So when Fcat asked me where I would like to go to celebrate, I decided to go to Candle 79 again and on my 2 yr vegan celebration, I am glad that I went with an open mind. I absolutely loved it this time!
Fcat started with a mimosa & I had a homemade ginger ale with crushed mint which was absolutely amazing- super gingery if you like ginger. It was so refreshing- I felt instantly revitalized!
We started with the special salad which was watercress with strawberries, lentils & pistachios and a vanilla infused dressing. Absolutely delectable.
Fcat had the falafel pita sandwich, which I enjoyed- it was surprisingly fresh & light for a deep-fried chickpea ball sandwich.
I had the breakfast burrito which was so tasty- the beans had a delicate smoky flavor and the seitan was so tender, really perfect.
And we had to have the brownie sundae for dessert- the ancho-chile chocolate sauce threw me off until I realized that it was ancho-chile versus some strange tasting chocolate, the brownie decadent and everything was delicious. Candle 79 was a perfect way to celebrate 2 yrs of true cruelty-free living!
Candle 79
154 East 79th St (bet Lex & 3rd Ave)
NYC 10021

The whole week that SKO was here, I was also busy getting ready for a big big celebrity shoot. To quell the work anxiety, Fcat and I decided to splurge a bit and go for sushi at one of the best sushi places, Sushi Seki. I started with the seaweed salad which was so mouthwatering-ly tasty.

My favorite is the Three Flowers veggie platter- expensive but so worth it. Love how they delicately slice the tomatoes to resemble sushi and the hijiki roll wrapped in cucumber is my absolute favorite.
Sushi Seki
1143 1st Avenue (bet 62nd & 63rd sts)
NYC 10021

As for work, everything came together pretty well. I found a fabulous location in the Bronx, an old warehouse converted into a studio. There isn't anything like this in the city anymore.

I had great catering from Green - really clean & organic stuff. Here's what I ate- yummy lentil salad and broccoli with eggplant.
Here's what the final wardrobe edit came down to...
And here is Uma Thurman standing on the roof of a dilapidated warehouse in the Bronx- fabulous. I have worked with Uma on many an occasion and she is pretty easy to work with. She is out promoting her new movie and had the most hectic schedule ever- the night before a late movie premiere and then 5am hair/makeup for Good Morning America appearance, then off to the Bronx for our shoot, then off to Letterman. She was in amazing form for running around ragged. I would have been one super cranky you-know-what, but Uma was super professional and great as always. And somewhat interesting tidbit, though not really- Uma & I share the same birthday- okay that's all on that front.
The clients wanted to go to Nobu that evening for dinner. Nobu is still amazing after all these years and they were more than happy to accommodate me, the vegan and the photographer's girlfriend who was vegetarian. We felt like we had extra special service there! Here's a dim pic of the vegetable ceviche- baby corn, edamamde, cucumber & other veggies in a citrus ceviche- absolutely delectable.
Then we had smoked eggplant with miso sauce- yum!
The seared tofu was so delicate- it was so delicious!
There were a few other dishes that I didn't get pics of because I didn't really want to explain to my clients why I had to take pictures of all my food. I had an amazing time at Nobu- it really is great when top top restaurants find innovative ways to accommodate vegan visitors. Nobu is super pricey but oh so worth it...

105 Hudson Street (at Franklin St)
NYC 10013

And to round up the week, I had a client lunch at Balthazar which fabulous French bistros usually have little to offer a vegan, but again a top restaurant is happy to accommodate vegan lifestyles. Balthazar is another of those tried & true NYC restaurants which had withstood the test of time.
I had a yummy beet & leek salad with delicious french fries.
And refreshing sorbet for dessert. Ah, I love a client luncheon!
80 Spring St (bet Bway & Crosby St)
NYC 10012

I know this post was super long as are most of my posts because I have to recap so much, but there's always so much to share. Next post- chock full of things like my being maid of honor at my BFF's wedding and my birthday dinner and belated Booboo bday pics to round out the month of April.

Have a great week- I hope to visit all my blog friends this week since I have so much catching up to do!


VeggieGirl said...

ahhh, fabulous post!!! I absolutely love that photograph of SKO on the subway - it's so candid/active!

so much good food as well - yum! and lucky you that your second experience at Candle 79 was a great one! I'll have to give it another shot as well, next time I'm in NYC.

happy belated 2-year vegan anniversary, vko!!! :0)

SO fun that you got to work with Uma, on that shoot!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY & veganniversary!!
Those daffodils are so gorgeous & SKO is so cute! I see lots of amazing food. I swear you need to try a Candle 79 DINNER though!!! It's very different.
I need to come back & have some Vegan Treats soon! Actually, Sticky Fingers bakery from DC is opening in Brooklyn soon! crazy, right?!

Andréa N. said...

Wow! Awesome tips and pictures! I'm always looking for good vegan places to go. Have a great week!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Happy veganiversary!! What a great way to celebrate by giving Candle 79 a second chance (for your 2 yr annv. no less). Looks like you and SKO had a wonderful visit! That dessert counter at Atlas looks so tempting...

bazu said...

Happy birthday to you, lovely girl! And how cool that your equally lovely sister was in town- everything is more fun with a cool visitor in tow. My favorite shoes come from MooShoes- oh, how I love that store.

Vegyogini said...

Happy early birthday, VKO! And happy veganiversary, too! I've been to Candle 79 a few times for dinner and LOVE it. Teany is one of my very favorite places to go in NYC; I go on every trip. I'll be there extremely briefly (1.5 days) to visit my dad at the end of May. I might have to forego those two faves this trip, though, because I really want to try Pure Food & Wine once and Counter for dinner, which only leaves one more meal while I'm there. :( Oh, well, I'll definitely be back! Congratulations to SKO for being wooed by a great school!

Kimberly said...

Hi, I recently discovered your blog, and have been reading it quite devotedly! It's nice to get a sense of the experiences (and restaurant reviews) of other vegans in NYC.

Anyhoo, I went to NYU for undergrad , and for what it's worth, I think NYC is far and away the best place in the nation to go to college! The students are so independent-minded, the city's research resources are limitless, and you're right, being in a location which allows for "first dibs" on internship interviews is a HUGE boon. Not to sound like a recruitment brochure, but "New York City as your campus" is an experience like none other. Good luck to your sister in making her decision!

Theresa said...

Happy birthday, happy veganniversary, and congrats to SKO on the uni stuff! Getting wooed by prospective universities is seriously fun, it makes you feel so special! And she must have felt extra special with all the places you took her when she was visiting. And that dessert counter! You've got my stomach grumbling...

the little one said...

How lucky you are to eat out at such wonderful places! Best of luck to SKO! Congrats on both another year of life and another year cruelty free!

vintageveganpotter said...

Congrats on the anniversary and Happy Birthday fellow Taurean! I went to Gobo downtown last week for my bday and it was scrumptious. LOVE that place. I definitely have to take the s/o to Sushi Seki - he'd love it. Thanks for recommending it!

Btw, LOVE the blog - mind if I add you to mine?

stonielove said...

what an awesome post, as always! your photos made me very very hungry. those baked goodies look absolutely amazing! oh, and happy belated birthday and vegan-anniversary!

Melody Polakow said...

You have such the glamorous life...

I'm thrilled you had a great experience at Candle 79. The willingness to give a second chance is awesome..

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

Awesome post! I love NYC ...

b36Kitchen said...

WOW! that is a lot of food!

how nice would it be to have you sister in nyc with you while she's going to school?

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

SKO is so cute! I see so much delicious food that I don't even know where to begin commenting...

I'll just say that I've been to Teany & it WAS adorable! I wish I was vegan when I was there so I would have actually sampled the vegan selections instead of sticking with my lemonade or whatever I got... :)

Happy veganversary!

Urban Vegan said...

First of all, don't start moping about your b'day and being in your mid-3os, young lady, or you'll make this 43-year old feel ANCIENT. ;)

Kidding! Happy b'day, VKO!!!!

I <3 the shot of SKO in the subway--looks like you had the entire underground to yourself. SHe is adorable. Let me tell you, I'd be jumping for joy, too, if I were going to Veg Dim Sum. I can almost taste the turnip cakes now.

Funny...I just had a slice of Vegan Treats coconut cake last nite for dessert and a VT coconut creme donut for breakfast. Not the healthiest--but man, oh man, they were good. I've been on a sugar low all day long.

You continue to amaze me with your restaurant hopping, celebrity-laden life. Uma T is my fave actress.

Happy 2 yr veganversary. I'm glad Candle 79 has redeemed itself. Maybe they read all our reviews?!

_gina said...

that picture at teany!
do you remember if the girl in the background [writing at the counter] had tattoos?? cos that looks just like my friend marilyn [who works there]!!!!!

s said...

yes, I FINALLY got an account...

where to start with this post of cute?
-you are SUCH an English major...(T.S. Eliot quote and all)
-thank you for my "most fun visitor in april award", I do try. ;)
-oooh I love Gobo!
-daffodils look cute...
-that subway shot is my favorite...I like your green coat and will be borrowing it from time to time once I'm up...
-Birdie's was nice, undercooked chicken nonetheless...that genie took his damn time showing up, we watched like half of the movie...
-and Atlas is adorable and I must have those too cute flower cupcakes next time...
-oh my god I ADORE Teany's and scones with clotted cream and jam and english breakfast tea...I'm smiling just thinking about it.
-yay for the hipster picture!
-cats at Moo Shoes were soooo cute.
-ahhhh I love the Booboo and the BoobooRam's full of cute! He's her only friend besides the dogs.
-the drinks at Candle 79 look so refreshing...
-oh my god the Uma shoot looks so the location.
-look at you, you're all fancy going to Nobu and Balthazar...cute.

There. I left you the longest comment in the history of the world-- i can haz next blog up pleese? kthnxbai


Rural Vegan said...

Happy (belated) birthday and veggieversary to you! It looks like you and SKO had a marvelous time celebrating. I'm glad to hear that Candle 79 worked out this time, the reviews have been all over the place lately. The food certainly all looks magnificent!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Thanks for taking us along! Happy birthday an blog anniversary ~ I love the way you celebrate!! :)

Liz² said...

happy veggievarsy, happy (almost) birthday, and happy.. well... happy april! SO much good food in this post! SKO is absolutely gorgeous, and the funniest thing is that I randomly picked up Moby's Teany book just the other day and I planned to make the chicken salad recipe for lunch today! Anyway, super jealous of all the great vegan hotspots you have, :P can't wait to see more!

Ashasarala said...

I'm still going to say 'Happy Birthday' because to me, celebrating a birthday isn't celebrating (or cringing over) getting older, it's celebrating life and YOU as a person! Everyone deserves a special day. :)

Happy Veg Anniversary too! I wish I knew what mine was. I know it's been about 5 years, but I never really said, 'Today is the day'. I just kinda took more and more out of my diet over time.

So, I just gotta say- I am SO jealous of you! You've got a really fun, active life. I need to get out of my 9-5 so I can, too. Not only that, but you've got so many vegan options when going out to dine. Boston has so little. It drives me nuts! I kept eyeing those desserts too. Mmmm...

Very cool that you got to work with Uma. I like her work, so it's good to know that she is still a friendly person, even under stress. Usually you hear about celebritites being total a**holes behind the scenes, ya know?

In any case, great post! I can't wait to read about your bff's wedding! :)

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