Monday, May 28, 2007

The First Annual Veganfriendly Awards is one year old! We’ve decided to celebrate the occasion by throwing an impromptu awards ceremony. Unfortunately we couldn’t get Whoopi Goldberg or Billy Crystal to host.
All the choices below were hard to make because there’s just so much good vegan food in NYC. By this time next year, I’m sure many of our choices will change. Heck, some of them might change by this time next week. But for now, here are our picks:

Best Vegan Beverage in NYC
EV: It’s a toss-up between the Melon Cooler at Candle 79 and the Summer Thai Iced Tea at Pukk. Both are sweet and refreshing and are indicative of the delicious meals they’ll accompany. The Summer Thai Iced Tea is a milk-less version of the traditional Thai Iced Tea that has lemon added.
JIM: This one is easy for me. I’m all about the Teanychino at Teany. This yerba mate latte with almond, cornflower, vanilla and sunflower is smooth, sweet and delicious. Don’t forget to specify that you want soy milk!
OTHER CONTENDERS: Mango Lassi at Madras Café, Vanilla Milkshake at Red Bamboo, Fresh Complexion at Vegetarian’s Paradise 2

Best Vegan Appetizer in NYC
JIM: What a tough call! There are so many good appetizers out there! I think I have to go with the Unchicken Nachos at Caravan of Dreams. It’s a heaping pile of nachos, guacamole, Pico de Gallo, black beans, a surprisingly good vegan sour cream, and some deliciously seasoned, shredded seitan. Yum!
EV: The Satay at Blossom is a clear winner for me. It has three no-fail ingredients: house-made grilled seitan, soft, chewy noodles, and a peanutty-coconut-curry-esque sauce. Lest I need to remind you: “if I had to swim through a pile of these saucy noodles with my mouth open, yes I would drown, but I would die happy.” It comes with a fiery pepper sauce on the side that helps kick things into the stratosphere.
OTHER CONTENDERS: both the Mushroom Puffs and Spinach Toast at Pukk, Creole Soul Chicken at VP2 and Red Bamboo, Buffalo Wings at Red Bamboo, Avocado Salad at Lan Café

Best Vegan Entrée in NYC
EV: So simple yet so stellar, the Vegan Panini at 'sNice is a staple that never disappoints. Smoked Tofu, Sundried Tomatoes, and Pesto mingle inside the crusty confines of Sullivan Street Bakery’s best bread. You will savor the salty, creamy goodness of each crunchy bite.
JIM: The Seitan Picatta at Candle 79 is an amazing thing. Just amazing. I'm not going to bother listing the ingrediants because that wouldn't do it justice. Just trust me that you need to try it some day. I don't care what state or country you live in. Visit NYC, visit Candle 79 and try the Seitan Picatta.
OTHER CONTENDERS: Steamboat Rice at Hangawi, Veggie Duck Pad Thai at Pukk, Vegan Quiche at Teany, Assorted Tapas at Sacred Chow, Tempeh Reuben at Angelica’s Kitchen, Seitan Baguette at Lan Café, Steamed Lotus Leaf at Vegetarian's Paradise II

Best Vegan Dessert in NYC
JIM: This is a toss up for me. On the one hand, you've got layers of banana, cream and spongecake served cold with cocoa dusted on top (that being the Banana Tiramisu at Kate's Joint). On the other hand, you've got bananas and chocolate deep fried in a tortilla and served with vanilla ice cream (that being the Banana Chocolate Chimichanga at Curly's Lunch). Both banana-y, both friggin' delicious.
EV: The cheesecakes at Pukk are miniature culinary miracles. They taste like “the real thing” without being overly sweet or too heavy. Whether you go with the Thai Tea flavor, or the Blueberry, your mouth will thank you.
OTHER CONTENDERS: Ice Cream Sampler at Candle79, Pineapple Crepe at Blossom, Vegan Treats brand cakes (available at Teany, Red Bamboo, Atlas Café and other locations), Mango Tapioca at Gobo, Cheescake at Kate’s Joint, any cupcakes baked by our friends Isa and Terry

Best Vegan Food on a Budget in NYC
EV: Vegetarian Dim Sum- where else can you order a zillion things that will thoroughly stuff you and rarely cost more than $10 per person?
JIM: While it’s not a vegetarian-specific restaurant, Dojo is vegan-friendly and super cheap. For less than $4, the Soy Burger Dinner is a huge plate of food that’s very yummy. For about a buck more, I recommend getting it with avocado and extra tahini dressing on the side.
OTHER CONTENDERS: Chickpea, Pukk, Lan Café

Best Vegan Brunch in NYC
JIM: Kate’s Joint recently changed their brunch menu, but I’m pretty sure they still have their classics like vegan pancakes, waffles, and their tasty Kate’s Benedict. Kate’s brunch is decently priced and served with your choice of coffee or tea and your choice of juice or a cocktail.
EV: With goodies like Better than Biscuits n’ Gravy, and Savory Tempeh Sweet Potato Hash it’s hard to beat the scrumptious weekend brunch fare at Sacred Chow.
OTHER CONTENDERS: Quantum Leap, Bouldin Creek in Austin TX (Worth the airfare to Austin!)

Best Vegan Comfort Food in NYC
EV: Fried Chicken, Fishsticks, Buffalo Wings, Mashed Potatoes, French Fries, Milkshakes, Cheescakes, Ice Cream and Heroes galore! Whatever wicked, fried, fatty, vegan fantasy you need fulfilled—Red Bamboo’s got it covered. Of course they offer steamed veggies and salads too. But when in Rome… eat like a piggy.
JIM: I’ve heard a lot of different opinions about Foodswings in Brooklyn. Some people love it, others hate it. But I often find myself craving their chicken sandwiches, barbecue wings, perfectly crispy french fries and creamy milk shakes. So they are my choice for vegan comfort food in NYC.
OTHER CONTENDERS: Curly’s Vegetarian Lunch, Kate’s Joint, Vegetarian's Paradise II

Best Vegan Healthy Food in NYC
JIM: We just went to Hangawi recently and it was like zen for your belly. Everything was so fresh, wholesome and earthy. I think if you ate there every day you might live to be 150 years old.
EV: Angelica’s kitchen serves up wholesome meals that are gentle on your belly and make you feel great. They have soups, sandwiches, tons of “basics” to mix and match, and even sweets to truly do a body good.
OTHER CONTENDERS: Sacred Chow, Caravan of Dreams

Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurant to go to on a Date in NYC
EV: If you want a special night out with a certain vegan cutie there are two places I can not recommend highly enough: Candle 79 and Hangawi. Both restaurants are beautiful on the inside (hopefully like your date) and will serve up the tastiest goods imaginable (also, hopefully like your date).
JIM: Ev’s choices are great for a fancy romantic date, but if you’re in the mood for something more laid back, I recommend a lunch date at Teany. Teany does a great job of balancing trendy and hip with relaxed and comfortable. The food, desserts and drinks are all great and their outside seating area is cute.
OTHER CONTENDERS: Blossom, 'sNice, Sacred Chow, Angelica’s Kitchen

Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurant in NYC
JIM: I should point out that for this category our decisions aren't based solely on the food, they're based based on the overall package. That being said, my pick is a restaurant where the food is consistently delicious, beautifully-plated and inventive, but it's also cheap and the atmosphere and location are hip and cool. My 2007 pick for best vegan-friendly restaurant is New York's only 100% vegetarian Thai restaurant, Pukk.
EV: You know when there’s a whole table fighting over who gets the last brussel sprout, you’re at a good place to eat. Especially when there are a ton of different vegan meals on their way to said table, and there will be a ton of good desserts to follow, and a ton of tasty beverages to wash it all down. To know me is to know I love 'sNice, which is my pick for best vegan-friendly restaurant of 2007. From the vegan panini to their amazing daily sides, from the best cupcakes in NYC to their new quinoa avocado salad, 'sNice has great food in a cute space that you can linger in with your friends.
OTHER CONTENDERS: Candle 79, Sacred Chow, Hangawi, Teany, Lan Café

So that wraps up our award ceremony. We hope you enjoyed it and we hope you enjoy our blog. We're looking forward to another year of reviews!


Blogger Karen said...

i really shouldn't have read this hungry; now i'm in pain from reading about so much tasty food.

p.s. yay bouldin creek!

10:48 AM, May 29, 2007

Blogger Avery said...

Very happy to see that the buffalo wings from Red Bamboo made it on the list!! They blew my mind!!!

11:36 AM, May 29, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really need to try brunch at Counter.

5:44 PM, May 29, 2007

Blogger pinkberry said...

THANK YOU for coming up with this list while I'm still in the city! I still have 10 days left and this ultimate list sure comes in handy.

Jim and Ev you guys really know good food.Every single place you both recommended is a sure hit. Last week I tried this vegan bakery at St Marks place near Tompkins Sq Park which wasn't blogged by you guys....big mistake.If only they had a refund policy.

I know you didn't ask for my list but I am so excited about how good the places you've mentioned that I just have to share with you.

Candle 79 - seitan piccata is really good.Everyone should go there once.It's worth the price.

Sacred chow - best chocolate cake.

Teany - awesome unturkey sub and the gawd!

Quantum Leap- love the vegan burger and the creamy tofu dressing for the salads

Caravan of dreams - I know i will crave for unchicken nachos in months to come.

My next stop is Kate's and then I'm really in trouble cause I don't know which place to go for repeats.

Hope you guys had a good Memorial Day weekend.

11:15 PM, May 29, 2007

Anonymous dangerousmathematician said...

yay for Pukk!

Also, have you guys ever been to Vatan? It's a Gujrathi-style Indian restaurant on 29th and 3rd. It's really excellent stuff, and you don't need to worry about choosing because they bring you EVERYTHING on the menu (and more of anything you liked a lot)!!

5:10 PM, May 30, 2007

Anonymous dangerousmathematician said...

Oh oh. It's a vegetarian place, and I know one or two dishes had yogurt, but you should look into it. They were super good. ><

5:13 PM, May 30, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

how did Pure Food and Wine not make it into anything?

9:15 AM, June 16, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

how did Pure Food and Wine not make it into anything?

9:16 AM, June 16, 2007

Blogger veganfriendly said...

Thanks for the comments, everybody. We're glad you enjoyed our little awards ceremony.

And thanks for the suggestions! As much as we eat out, we still haven't been to all the vegan-friendly restaurants in NYC yet. We definitely need to try Counter, Vatan and Pure Food and Wine.

9:36 PM, June 17, 2007

Anonymous Sheela said...

Hello Vegan friends,

I am vegetarian since i was a child, and only place iknow i have most of fun dining is at Madras Mahal, is stickly Vegetarian restaurant no eggs no fish. Event thier decor represents clean and fresh look. I have never been dissappointed alway take thier full of vairety buffet to go for only 7.95 all you can eat. And they have been awarded for lots of good cooking. Must try that place. located on 27 lexington ave. Madras Mahal.

1:39 PM, June 21, 2007

Blogger Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

This is awesome & super helpful for out of towners not wanting to be stuck with sub par food choice! Thanks!

5:00 PM, September 06, 2007

Blogger ZenDenizen said...

I like getting the Satay at Blossom as an entree. Where's the love for Franchia on 34th & Park (same owners as Hangawi), also a great date place.

10:45 AM, October 12, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If your taste buds ever travel to New Jersey, The Energy Bar is pleasure for your palate. Proudly vegan and hailing from Montclair, check them out.

8:53 AM, January 06, 2008


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