The Rest (and some of the Best) of the US

Finally we have landed in a place with reliable internet and a comfy couch, so its time to catch up with some posting.

Before we move on in geographical terms, however (I’m in Paris now, and have stories from Scotland and Denmark still to share), I have a few last USian treats to brag about.

Los Angeles

We went back to LA after our SF/ Portland/Utah/Vegas trip, and had one very good meal at Shojin.

We ordered a Dynamite Roll and a Dragon Roll, with some Spicy Tofu and an Edamame and Avocado Salad to start. Everything was lovely, although the spicy tofu was a little on the bland side. The salad was perfect, I loved the creamy avocado and edamame combination, and it was very pretty with all its different colours of green.

Salad
Spicy Tofu

The Dragon Roll came filled with shitake and avocado, topped with seitan and more avocado. It was a really nice roll, but I found the seitan a little too chewy for a bite-at-a-time meal, and the pieces a little big. The Dynamite Roll, supposedly the restaurant’s signature dish, was mind blowing. Its a “tuna” and avocado filled roll, topped with spicy mayo, and it was my favourite dish by far. The mayo was perfect, and the “tuna” was tasty without being too fishy.

Dragon Roll
Dynamite Roll

Its pretty pricey for the US, with their yummy sushi rolls starting at $10.95 each, so we omitted the dessert and drinks option. We are on a very tight budget and can’t go out trying every classy veg place we see, so this was my special pick of the month, but even then we gotta keep it cheap. It was great food though, and if I lived in LA I would definitely go again and again.

A note on finding the place: its in a Japanese Mall, not on the street (we had an address only, and got a little lost walking around in circles).

The other un-blogged spot I went to in LA was BabyCakes NYC LA. As Kristy blogged the place is a veritable trove of vegan and gluten free goodness, and most of their treats are made with whole flours and sugar replacements, so you can (sort of) pretend they’re good for you, too.

I sat down with an excellent coconut and vanilla cupcake, and bought a few slices of day old cake for the plane trip to Tulsa. The cake and the cupcake were great, my annoyance with cupcakes not withstanding, and the inside of the cafe was cute, in that “I’m just a girl” post-feminist way that really bugs me.

coconut cupcake and my hat

The South

I have already mentioned the one fully decent meal we had while in the Oklahoma/Arkansas/Mississippi/Louisianna/Texas region. Suffice it to say that the rest of them time we eating meals created with only a hotel room microwave and one plastic container, and the bits and pieces we found in supermarkets. Think lots of packet soup and peanut butter sandwiches. I took a photo of this meal, because it was probably the best we had, at about 11pm after seeing speedway in Greenville, MS:

steamed veg, raw corn, tortialla chips and tinned chilli

Washington D.C.

Lasagne, Mac and Cheese, something else and veg

Its a terrible photo, but the food at Everlasting Life in DC gets a mention anyway because they had the best vegan Mac and Cheese I have ever tasted, a good lasagne, and a huge selection of salads and hearty soulfood dishes. We tried to visit a second time, but found they were closed.

It was my birthday the day we left Washington (or the day before – time zones make it pretty unclear which day to celebrate it on) and my temporary housemates, care of AirBnB, surprised me with fabulous cupcakes from Sticky Fingers Bakery. We tried carrot cake, peanut butter fudge, cookies and cake and a red velvet cupcake. They were all tasty and moist and wonderful, however I don’t have any pictures because they disappeared fast.

New York City

There is so much vegan food in New York City that its actually difficult to get to it all. We hardly got to any of it, as we spent a total of 8 nights in the city over two sessions, with the first marred by Hurricane Irene (no eating out for us) and the second by a horrible, nasty head cold that rendered me incapable of eating or moving. Below details what we did get to, and for other reports you’ll have to check out http://inthemoodfornoodles.blogspot.com/.

We visited Cowgirl’s Bakingtwice, with fantastic results each time. Both times it was a Friday, on our way to or from the cheap-ass freebie MoMA night (it takes more than four hours to see everything there, and as mentioned above, we are being very cheap). Over our two session we tried a hot dog, a blackened fish taco, a bean burrito, a ground beef burrito, a steak burrito, two Boston creme doughnuts, and a chocolate and vanilla cupcake. Everything was so damn good, there’s almost no way to pick a winner.

Just one of the many burritos we tried
A vegan New York hotdog!

I say almost because really, can there be a vegan treat more satisfying than a lump tasty vegan dough, deep fried, then filled with vanilla creme and topped with chocolate ganache? I think not, so I have to say that the Boston Creme doughnut won my heart. (and its a probably a good thing that said heart doesn’t abide in closer proximity to the doughnut of its choosing, because vegan diet and exercise aside, that doughnut is probably a little bit heart atack inducing, if consumed in the quantities I would like).

The last bite of Boston Creme doughnut, and the cupcake

For my second birthday treat, we had dim sum (that’s yum cha in Oz) at Vegetarian Dim Sum House. In fact, we actually went there three times over all, because it was just that good. Also it happens to be in our tight-arse price range, was open the day after the hurricane and at 10pm on the third occasion everything else was shut.

Everything we tried there was fantastic, but a special mention has to go to the sweet and salty dumplings, which were unlike anything I have ever tasted before. I’m sure I took photos, but of course they are missing (probably on Mr’s camera or phone), so for the time being you’ll have to make do with the photos in this review.

Having googled “vegan new york” the second i booked our tickets, I came across a vegan chocolate shop, and deciding that a vegan chocolate shop was too good to pass up, went there on one of our mental health days (days when Mr and I go our separate ways so we have something to talk to each other about, and don’t drive each other nuts by dragging each other to stuff we don’t care about – he goes to military surplus stores and the like, I seek out chocolate and art galleries, everybody wins).

Cocoa V is the chocolate shop in question – an upmarket chocolate and wine bar of the vegan variety with cheese plates, cakes and confections. I had a horrid head cold, so I ordered the spiced hot chocolate, hoping I would be head coldy enough to withstand the burning Kristy mentioned. Unfortunately, though it tasted really nice, even my head cold of doom couldn’t stop me from burning my throat a little with the very spicy hot chocolate. These people need to be stopped! Or, you know, I could have heeded the advice and just got a normal one.

The tasty but painul hot chocolate, which for some reason won't let me save it right-way-up. Let's just pretend that this presentation is "artistic".

I also tasted a salted caramel vegan chocolate, which totally made my day with its lovely, smooth, caramelly centre and sparkly, purple exterior.

Purple, sparkly, caramel, chocolate goodness.

The last noteworthy place we visited in the USA was Maoz Vegetarian. We had several of their life-giving felafel things, and loved them every time. They have a buffet style area where you can choose vegies, chillies and sauces to add to your felafel, great chips and really refreshing minty lemonade.

Maoz felafels in Times Square

Since we left the US, and even a few times while we were there, people have told us, “it must be hard to be vegan in America”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The US was the most accommodating, vegan-friendly country I have ever visited, with options in every supermarket, clearly labeled ingredients, and even corner stores carrying some frozen veg meal or another.

So, thanks America, you treated us right 🙂

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One Comment Add yours

  1. K says:

    Sounds like lots of damn fine eating. The US is so great that I want to go back as soon as possible.

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