NYC Spring 2019
For my spring break this year, I took a trip to New York with my parents and sister Caroline. Though some of my time was spent touring universities outside of the city, we spent a majority of our time in Manhattan enjoying food, art, and broadway shows.
By Chloe was the first restaurant we visited. They specialize in vegan eats ranging from comfort food to salads to baked goods. This was my third time going to this restaurant and as always, I was very satisfied with the food and atmosphere. My dad, my sister, and I all got the Guac Burger, and my mom got a Greek Salad. For the table we split artichoke dip and sweet potato fries. Though Caroline and I loved the food, my parents were not as impressed. I would say By Chloe is a must-go for vegans and vegetarians, but more missable for omnivores.
Generation juice is a spot that I saw all over the city. My first morning in NYC I took a stop there to get a smoothie and a vegan donut. The "Mucho Mango" smoothie was delicious and filling, and it especially hit the spot after the fitness class I took that morning. I was very impressed by the fast service because some juice places take forever. We do not have Juice Generation where I am from, but it is pretty similar to Nektar Juice Bar.
Jack's Wife Freda
This spot was highly recommended to me so I was thrilled that I had the opportunity to go. Jack's Wife Freda certainly has an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere that enhances their eclectic menu that combines South African, Israeli, and American cuisine! I ordered the house salad, which I really enjoyed. It had a tarragon vinaigrette which was a new flavor for me and I really enjoyed it. My dad got Green Shakshuka, which was another thing I had never heard of. It was not vegan so I did not try it but I thought it was a very interesting looking dish. Overall this restaurant has great options with a unique twist which I really appreciate.
Van Leeuwen has become a staple spot for me to visit in NYC. The West Village location is the only one I have been to. My mom and I have observed that it is certainly an after school destination for all of the elementary schools in the area. What I love about the ice cream here is that they have a fantastic selection of vegan flavors, even though they do have regular ice creams as well. They also have clear labels indicating which flavors contain gluten, which is so convenient. This time I got cookie crumble strawberry jam ice cream with vegan whipped cream and house made sprinkles. This was a fantastic combo. I cannot wait to try a new flavor on my next visit because all of them are so creative. One thing to beware of is that they do not accept cash, so make sure you have you credit or debit card before you wait in the long line!
Seed + Mill
Seed + Mill is located in Chelsea Market, an amazing food hall and retail space. Last year, I walked by Seed + Mill but I had already had far too much dessert that day so I had to skip it. But I knew I would be back. This year I finally got to go and I bought some Halva, which is their speciality. Halva is a broad type of Middle Eastern dessert, but this kind was specifically Israeli. I got a chocolate-vanilla marble flavor that was delightfully sweet and nutty. Everything they have is gluten free and a majority is vegan!
After a reservation mix-up at another restaurant, we were so lucky to end up at Badshah. I always love Indian food and Badshah had a great blend of classic and street style Indian cuisine. My family split several dishes. My personal favorite was the Channa Masala. The flavors were pretty spicy but definetely manageable considering that I can be a little sensitive when it comes to flavors. Badshah is located in Hell's Kitchen so I recommend it as an option for pre-broadway eats.
Two Tablespoons @ Urban Space Vanderbilt
Food halls are not very common where I live so I love to visit them when I have a chance on the East Coast. I had been to the Urban Space at Lexington before but this was my first time going to the Vanderbilt location. Food halls are also great for when I am with my parents because although they love all the vegan restaurants I drag them to, sometimes they crave more options. With all the options at Urban Space, it is impossible not to be satisfied. We went during their Friday night happy hour so it was very busy. It was hard to choose with all of the variety, but I ended up settling on the Smoky Beet Veggie Burger from Two Tablespoons. I really enjoyed both the food and atmosphere, and it was very convenient because it was only a five minute walk from the theatre where we were seeing a show!
Bluestone Lane is by no means a NYC exclusive place (I think they even have it where I live) but I had never been before. I was thrilled when I saw that they specifically had a vegan hot chocolate. This was perfect because I do not like coffee. I also ordered gluten free avocado toast. In one of the photos in the slideshow you can see that they put a note in the back saying that the toast did not have dairy, which was pretty funny. The avocado toast was not the best ever but it was for sure very filling. Caroline got the toasted almond butter banana toast which looked great and had tons of honey. The location I went to was a little shop in Midtown that mostly just had drinks and toasts but I know some of the shops are sit down cafes.
The Little Beet
The Little Beet is a small chain that focuses mostly on quick breakfast and lunch food. To me, it is most similar to the restaurant Lemonade LA, They mostly have bowls which is what everyone in my family got. They are not all vegan, but their options are fantastic. I got spirulina rice, with a sweet spicy tofu, white beans, beet hummus, and pickled onions. I would grade it a solid, B. Good but not exceptional. I did not really like how the items in the bowl I ordered was a mix of hot and cold. This spot is very quick so I can really appreciate their efficiency but it was not anything special that I would go running back to.
Smorgasburg @ Prospect Park
When I was visiting my family in Brooklyn, we decided to eat lunch at Smorgasburg, an open air food market with several locations throughout the city. They set up on Sundays from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, and I have to say it was truly a unique food experience. For my Bay Area readers, it is most similar to the Off The Grid food truck events, but much bigger. With over 100 vendors, it was difficult to know what to get. After a few laps to check out my options, I settled on a dosa from Dosa Royale, and a maple lemonade from a booth that exclusively sold maple lemonade. After lunch, I got some Japanese Shaved from Bonsai Kakigori which was not like anything I had ever had! The vegan option was lime coconut and was very flavorful. Smorgasburg is ideal for picnics and enjoying the Brooklyn sunshine. I suggest arriving early to beat the heat and the lines.
Tootsie on Broadway
When we saw Tootsie it was still in previews so if you go now, it may be different. I had seen the movie of Tootsie years ago, and I think the musical was very tastefully updated. I loved this show because it had some lovable characters, funny moments, and hilarious lyrics. My take is that it was fun, but not anything super special. Santino Fontana was a great star and I loved him on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Favorite Song: What's Gonna Happen
The Prom on Broadway
I had heard great things about The Prom but I was underwhelmed in some ways. Thought there were a few catchy songs and a cute concept, the flow of the plot was all over the place. I really appreciate how it strived for representation but honestly it was too long and at times hard to sit through. In retrospect, it was a fun show but in my opinion, it could use some serious cleaning up.
Favorite Song: Dance With You
Be More Chill on Broadway
Theatre nerds know that this show has had a long journey to make it to Broadway. It was so special to finally see it on the stage! I adored the cast (especially George Salazar) and the tech was awesome. This show really is Dear Evan Hansen meets science fiction. So if that combo is your jam, you should for sure check out this show. My parents and I all love this show!
Favorite Song: Michael in the Bathroom
The Whitney Museum
The Whitney had a gorgeous selection of modern art. I cannot believe it took me so long to go! Located at the end of the High Line, the avant garde architecture is just the beginning of the intriguing things we saw at The Whitney. The exhibits there rotate, so I cannot anticipate what you would see but it is definitely worth the visit!
The MoMA was impressive because its collection was packed with so many famous pieces that I have seen replicas of hanging in my art classes over the years or printed in my history textbooks. We used audio-tours to help navigate the many floors of displays. My favorite was the "Good Design" exhibit, which celebrated the aesthetics and designs of daily household objects. I live close to the SFMOMA and though they are similar, it is certainly worth it to visit one even if you have been to the other.