Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fun, Fab Vegan Birthday Week

Who gets the flu in the midst of spring? Me, apparently. I am just recovering from the most miserable week ever- fever, chills, nasal congestion- you name it, I had it. The couch and I were inseparable. Bet you think I got sick because I was partying like a rock star for my birthday...not quite the case, but birthday week and requisite extended after-birthday week was pretty fun. Now to start the show-and-tell:

First off, a little bday pic of Miss Booboo- having birthday treats on the table.
Grandma and I took a quick trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden to catch the cherry blossoms. It was amazing- the sky was filled with gorgeous fluffy blooms.

I also planned a birthday dinner this year at long-awaited, eco-fabulous, mostly veg restaurant headed by Lee Gross (of my favorite place in LA, M Cafe)- Broadway East. The place opened two months ago and I was excited to check it out. The space is about as green as can be- lots of reclaimed wood & materials and a living wall of plants. What was ideal was the mostly veg menu with a token fish & chicken dish- perfect for a group dinner! I did have some doubts because the place was so new- wasn't sure if they had time to work out the kinks yet.

First off, location- pretty far off the beaten track on the edge of Chinatown on the Lower East Side, but exterior & interior looked cool.

This was hands down the most delicious beet salad ever.
Some of my friends decided that in honor of my birthday, they would order only vegan selections- that was so sweet! Here's the mushroom pate:
This was my actual entree- Peking Tofu. It was delicious.
All in all, the food was good & the room was nice, however, kitchen timing & service really needs to work out some major kinks (as with most new places). Unfortunately, my omni friends were not blown away even though the food was good because of the service distractions. Damn, should have waited a few more months before planning a group dinner...missed an opportunity to really wow the omnis with a new, hip, vegan-friendly place. Since, I am always open to giving a place a second chance- I might be back at some point to check out breakfast or brunch. It was a nice get-together with many of my friends and in lieu of gifts- if they were thus inclined, I asked instead for a donation to my two favorite charities: Farm Sanctuary & The Humane Society of the United States.

Broadway East
171 East Broadway



The most fun to be had was at the dive bar next door. There was some dancing done there after dinner...
The day after- called for some peace & quiet, so to lovely Franchia, I went.
I had some assorted dumplings & tea to make up for the alcohol from the previous evening.
12 Park Avenue

NYC 10016

Later that week brought a client lunch at fancy, schmancy Cipriani Downtown, where people just come to be seen and have some yummy Italian food.
You have to have a Bellini here because these are the guys that invented it, well kind of- it was invented at Giuseppe Cipriani's place, Harry's Bar in Venice (I had one my first time in Venice!). Yum yum.
The menu is definitely not that vegan friendly, so I asked them to make me a pasta primevera- delicious!
And the jaded clientele are everywhere...
Cipriani Downtown
376 West Broadway

NYC 10012

I call it birthday week luck that I happened upon shoe store, Te Casan, right next door. They are the ones that carry Natalie Portman's vegan shoe line. Hurray!

Since it was my birthday week and since I have not been able to walk into a high-end store and buy anything because there are hardly any vegan options, I was so thrilled that I bought two pairs of shoes. I also reconciled the cost in my head that what I paid for two pairs would have only been one pair Stella McCartney's shoes- see, a bargain and helping the economy!

They are just so damn hot. Look at them.
And these, they are simply divine. I stopped by the studio to show off my goodies and even the stylist said that they could have been Givenchy or Lanvin- they are so damn cute.
Te Casan
382 West Broadway

NYC 10012


Saturday brought the Revlon Run Walk. I do this walk every year in honor of my mother, who died from ovarian cancer. With the generous help of friends, family and a few strangers, I also raise a couple of thousand every year in donations. Thank you again to everyone who supported me in this event!!
Everyone participated in this great event!
At the end of the walk which began in Times Square and ended at the North end of Central Park on the East Side, I walked back home and stopped by Candle Cafe for a quick bite- some soup & seitan chimichurri.
Candle Cafe 1307 3rd Avenue NYC 10021

Fcat had joined me for the beginning of the walk, but had to leave early because he was off to the airport. He somehow squeezed in a way to pick out this gorgeous bouquet by himself of lilacs and peonies and had the flowers delivered. Peonies are my absolute favorite. This was the most amazing bouquet ever. I heart the bouquet & I heart Fcat.

That evening, my friend, EH who has been in NYC for 20yrs and is celebrating the fact by doing several monthly dinners of 20 restaurants that have been in NYC for 20yrs- brought us to The Odeon, one of the first hip spots that put Tribeca on the map- way before people even ventured to that wilderness...I had a lovely beet salad and as an entree- a wonderful plate of sauteed veggies.
Since this was a bday celebration continuation, we went on to the private club upstairs at Cipriani Downtown where we drank some champagne and did a bit of dancing.

The next morning, I felt the need to go across town to get me some Cafe Blossom.

I was going to have the delicious tofu salad but last night's champagne made me order the soy bacon burger instead, opting for salad in place of fries so that I had some semblance of not completely junking out and that was also the decision behind the juice too. Everything is so good there!
Had to get a peanut butter soy cream shake for the road though- how else was I going to be able to walk home through Central Park?
Cafe Blossom
466 Columbus Avenue

NY NY 10024


There was one last birthday meal in store for me- my BFF, JK was back from her honeymoon in Mexico and we had lots to talk about. I hadn't seen her since her wedding- which was so hectic that I never got a chance to snap any pics. But trust me, it was a beautiful event and I was honored to be the maid of honor!

JK took me to Candle 79, which has become one of my favorite favorite places.We were served some guacamole tartare.
We then had the watercress salad.
And the yummy guacamole timbale with chipotle black beans- so good.
JK had the paella and I had smoked chipotle seitan- they were both mouth-watering and absolutely delicious!!
Of course, dessert had to be the brownie sundae- yummy yum yum.
Candle 79
154 East 79th Street
NY NY 10021

I guess birthdays aren't so bad afterall...
Have a great week!
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