Friday, July 22, 2016

The Chronicles of a Fashion Girl: Chapter 7

Veganing Your Way Through NYC

A surprisingly simple thing to accomplish.  When I first visited NYC 9 years ago, I had just converted to vegetarianism and was convinced I'd never find anything to eat.  New York is all about slices of pizza bigger than your face and hot dogs from a stand on a corner, right?  I'd been spoiled in California with all of the healthy yoga douchebags and their juicing and organics and I'd starve to death in New York, right?
Wrong.
I was shocked to discover that there are actually more vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options in New York than any other place I've visited, even more so within the last five years.  Here in the City, you can go almost anywhere at any time of day and find an option free of animal product, gluten, GMO, and whatever else you're maniacally avoiding.

This post is dedicated entirely to food, which I feel is long overdue.

Markets:

There's a Whole Foods on almost every corner, which is exciting and terrifying (for your wallet) at the same time.  Specifically in the Upper West Side, you're surrounded by a plethora of healthy markets.  A few of my favorites: Westside Market, Zabar's, Life Thyme Natural Market (which is actually down in the West Village), and good ol' Trader Joe's.
Westside Market appears to be a tiny little convenient store from the outside, but take a few steps and you find yourself in the organic market version of Mary Poppins' purse.  Just look at this cheese aisle:

Just for cheese! Isn't that amazing?
Life Thyme Market I actually discovered by mistake.  I was desperate to use a bathroom and happened to pass Life Thyme on my way to get some ice cream.  I stopped in (it's necessary to have a voided bladder when you're consuming delicious ice cream so that all of your focus can be on the flavor, obviously), which was the best decision I made all day...besides the ice cream, which I'll discuss shortly.  Much like Westside, the market opened up before my eyes into a grand bazaar of health foods, organic products, a bakery, a fresh salad and meal bar, and deli.  I wanted to take everything home with me.  I simply couldn't leave the store without taking a few samples of the fresh food (made daily) they had on display, which fed me for an entire weekend.  But honestly, who could turn down a hippie paradise like this?


These are just a few markets out of the thousands you come across here.  It's simply overwhelming.  There's something for everyone, with every diet and every food tolerance/intolerance you could possibly think of.

Eats:

I've been making it a point to eat out at a different restaurant once a week.  While the food here is otherworldly, I'm also on a budget which means I am forcing myself to home cook most of my meals.  This process is a lot less enticing in New York than it was in La Habra.  Anyway, this last weekend my roommate Bella took me to the most delightful restaurant I think I've ever been to: Rockin' Raw.

This Peruvian restaurant is delicious, healthy, and incredibly creative.  Much like the name presumes, nothing (except for one dish) is cooked.  Every dish, including desserts, is made of raw ingredients.  This means "pasta" made out of zucchini or spaghetti squash, delicious vegan "cheese" made out of cashews, and "pie crust" made of flax seed meal.  I had to force myself to stop eating--everything was so fantastic.  We ordered an embarrassing number of appetizers and desserts, and even ordered more for the road.  No regrets.

The only cooked dish: Jambalaya with flax seed meal

Left: Jalapeno poppers stuffed with "cheese", Right: "Pasta" dish.

This is just one of the MANY vegan organic restaurants I've been to since I moved here.  Would you like to hear me talk about more restaurants, or has this been a huge snooze fest?  Give me feedback! Also, is there anything about my trip you're specifically curious about?  Keep me posted.

Until next time,
Fashion Girl

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