- RECIPES BY COURSE
- RECIPES BY DIET
- RECIPES BY SEASON
For veg-minded folks, New York City is an oasis of dining opportunities. Many of the best plant-based meals can be found in this melting pot of culture and cuisine. If you can imagine it, you’ll likely find it in the Big City.
I recently had to good fortune to have dinner with some friends from Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Although none of us live particularly close to the city, we all decided to trek into New York on a steamy summer night because of the wide selection of restaurants. Back home, our choices are limited and eating out can be a ho-hum affair without the possibility of new culinary adventures.
We chose Blossom, located in Chelsea, and despite the fact that we’d all eaten there before, it had been long enough ago that we were eager to go again. As a vegan, it’s not often that you can ravish a menu with wild abandon knowing you can eat ANYTHING on it. We don’t have to ask if the sauce was made with butter or dairy, or if the soup was made with chicken broth, or if the pasta contains eggs. It’s all there for the taking. I love it! (That’s how my family felt when we visited Vegan Treats in Bethlehem PA. Holy (vegan) Cannoli! Put that on your “bucket list”!)
Blossom is cozy and snug, but with two floors, to accommodate a loyal following. Thankfully, we had a reservation…I overheard people being told the wait was 90 minutes at one point! Let’s get to the food! We ordered the Chef’s Sampler as an appetizer – a bountiful bevy of beautifully crafted delicacies that included; Seitan Empanadas, Fried Pickles with Ranch Dip (don’t laugh, these were amazing), Seaweed Caviar Canapés, Spanakopita with Cashew Ricotta, Raw Zucchini Rollatini and Buffalo Risotto Croquettes. Everything was fresh and full of flavor. Hard to choose, but my favorite was the Raw Zucchini Rollatini – the filling was out of this world.
With so many choices, and such infrequent trips to New York, I chose two starters instead of a main course for dinner; the Black-Eyed Pea Cake (I’d heard rumors about this tasty cake) and Deviled Tofu with Chickpea Yolks, which was a special that night. Chickpea egg yolks? Come on, I HAD to try it. I cleaned my plate that night, barely offering up a taste for my curious friends who were dining on Seitan Scallopini and Pasta Bolognese. Knowing that I’d probably be writing about our dinner, my friends offered up a taste of their meals. I could have ordered either one and been thrilled that night. Delish.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that even after our appetizers and dinners, we were still eager for dessert. After much agonizing and gnashing of teeth, we finally narrowed it down to the Chocolate Ganache with vanilla ice cream and peanut butter drizzle, and the Lemon Cheesecake with mixed berry reduction and coconut cookie crust. The Chocolate Ganache was dark, rich, and dreamy and paired perfectly with the sweet and creamy vanilla ice cream. The peanut butter drizzle just sent me over the top. A few bites of the Lemon Cheesecake and I was in heaven; it was light and delicate – almost like the Italian version of cheesecake that uses ricotta cheese vs. the New York style that’s dense and creamy. Both were truly a delight and the perfect end to a perfect meal.
More than anything specific about our delicious meal, the biggest takeaway that I wanted to shout from the rooftops is that, vegan or not, it is entirely possible to thoroughly enjoy and feel utterly satisfied with a plant-based meal. There is nothing missing in terms of flavor, texture, creativity, or satiety. Today’s choices are abundant. Brilliant chefs are pushing the limits of what used to be considered “hippie” food not too long ago. And it’s not that I have anything against rice and beans, a good Buddha bowl or a fresh veggie burger, but the vegan culinary world is marching onward to the tipping point and it’s better than you ever imagined. If you’ve got non-veg friends or a doubting-Thomas for a partner or spouse, check out the growing list of restaurants offering vegan food on sites like Happy Cow. Get ready, friends, Compassionate cuisine is alive and well, and hopefully coming to a town near you soon. Think about becoming a member of Catskill Animal Sanctuary and you’ll be enrolled in our Compassionate Cuisine Champions program that provides a discount to a long list of participating restaurants in NYC, like Blossom, and the Hudson Valley. Bon Appétit!