Seasoned Vegan – Amazing food in Harlem

On our last trip to NYC, we made a point to visit Seasoned Vegan – a soul food vegan spot in Harlem, just north of Central Park. We stopped in for dinner. Service was friendly, the atmosphere was cozy, with bench style seating and tables, pillows, and cool art on the walls. The first thing I noticed was the penny finished floor (check it out!) At this point, we had been following their progress for well over a year or so – when we spent a summer month in NYC in 2013 – Seasoned Vegan was just getting ready to open, but things stalled (regulatory things I believe) and it didn’t happen. Fast forward to now – they’re open, and seem to be thriving. The atmosphere was inviting and lively. Boisterous patrons near us were laughing, music was playing, and it smelled wonderful inside. To start they brought us a side salad to start off with. Lightly seasoned, but with fresh soft and crisp leafy greens (as part of our entree.) The Lemon Crusted Chicken Nuggets come in two sizes 8, and 20 pieces, and come with two different sauces – Jiggy’s Harlem Renaissauce (which is like a BBQ) and Uptown Tangy (which is more of a sambal mayo). We went with the 20 piece plate with expectation that we would take home some of it later on, but once they got to us, even with planning to take some home, we realized we totally over ordered – the nuggets were much bigger than…

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Hello DF Mavens in St. Mark’s Place NYC

In December 2014, we were dropping off my laptop at a shop near St. Marks Place, for repair after a few failed attempts at finding a competent spot in Toronto ( by the way, I cannot recommend Simple Mac repair in NYC enough – they were amazing) When we just happened to walk by the new DF Mavens store/shop as they were setting up to open. I hadn’t known about this – and I saw the logo and thought… wait a second… no. This isn’t really here is it? But yes, it was real life, and a relatively big vegan ice cream shop was getting organized right before our eyes. The doors were closed – but looked like they were ready to open soon. I hoped to catch them before we went back home in a few days. Conveniently, we had to be back in the area to pick up my newly repaired laptop. I crossed my fingers we’d luck out and they’d be ready by then too. A day or two later we were back in the neighbourhood (picking up my macbook) – and the DF Mavens spot was bustling with activity and full of people. It was exciting to see a large totally vegan ice cream shop, with ice cream, coffee, sandwiches, and other food & drink. You could take large containers of their ice cream, cups, cones, samples, whatever. There were so many choices – cashew based, soy, or almond. A great assortment of flavours and they were very well staffed to handle all the samplers…

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Birthday Birthday Birthday (mine)

I’ll get back to Toronto/Ontario stuff soon, but so far, I’m still reminiscing about NYC. Besides, I want to write about a certain vegan bar at some point… but it’s been too happenin’ for me to eat there. As of last month I am yet another year older. Which is of course something that happens every year… but this time I have (yet again) successfully entered into a whole new decade, which still feels like it means nothing much. But now I have to select an entirely new section on drop down boxes. And this number has so much baggage. Thinking back, it doesn’t feel like a significant amount of time has passed, though this year has felt like it’s passing by at a snails pace – for better or worse. Back to the less introspective navel gazing portion of my birthday celebration though…. once again, JC went out of his way to make my birthday special, despite my terrible act of waking up much earlier than usual and almost messing up the order of things. My actual date of birth – December 26th results in some regular complications because places close. Regularly. I woke up to hear JC leaving our temporary apartment, and to this face snuggled up with me in his typical Gizmo fashion. Now the question was… do I check Facebook for validation of my various friends ability to click the “wish MeShell a happy birthday” button? Or do I lay peacefully in the sunshine snuggled with a borrowed…

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Wandering around New York City

For the last few weeks we were in New York City, cat sitting and relaxing for a friend of a friend. The nice part about NYC is being able to get nearly anything I want, whenever I want. Maybe it’s the large population in a relatively small area, maybe it’s just America in general, but it always seems like anything is possible there. Maybe that why I keep getting drawn back into the fold. We were staying in Hells Kitchen in Midtown Manhattan which was conveniently located just outside of the delivery zones of a variety of delicious vegan restaurants, thankfully, this helped encourage us to go outside somewhat regularly. As it was tempting to do as Gizmo is doing above (the cat we were borrowing for our visit), and remain inside, wrapped in blankets, ordering delivery food (thanks seamless!) and groceries (thanks instacart!) and at most standing by the window looking outside. But ultimately, the trip still managed to remind me how much I like walking, in spite the cold. So we did a lot of walking, our google fit and pebbles excitedly buzzing and displaying cheers after a few hours of significant activity everyday. Long walks to wherever. Sometimes with a purpose. Sometimes in search of a purpose, in hopes of stumbling upon something interesting. On one of our first few days there we walked over to Bryant Park to check out their Winter Village Market, which had a bunch of vegan vendors in one of the sections. Word…

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Things I Love Thursday: The Big Apple.

So it’s Thursday, and I’m still in New York City. I don’t know what it is about this city, but it’s always got me feeling introspective. Maybe because it was part of the first big transformative grand adventure I went on by myself, maybe it’s that fast paced life that I feel part of now, maybe it’s because I haven’t had enough pretzels, I don’t know. A common theme for me every week (whether I post a TILT or not) is that I feel grateful for almost everything that has transpired over the last few years. If you had asked me 10 years ago, where I thought I would be, I don’t know if I would have had such a positive answer. Life hasn’t always been easy, but I think the harder parts of the past have made me appreciate all the good good things all that much more. We’re staying in a beautiful condo in Manhattan overlooking the river (a view I love) and with a glimpse of Central Park. Officially we’re catsitting, but really, I have come to the conclusion that all vacations are better when I can borrow a cat (i.e., it’s not really cat sitting, it’s cat borrowing). This is Gizmo (an action shot) When we were in Las Vegas I especially missed our cats, and this time is no different, it’s just a bit easier with another cat around to annoy us. I miss Kes and Emmie, but I know they’re in good hands with cat sitter…

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Airlines, Airports, & General Unpleasantness. The less fun side of travelling.

Travelling is usually fun, or at least the destination usually is. But often, the trip there can set a negative stage for a visit. A bad time at customs, a weird time at security, or a scary in-flight moment, can set you up for a bit of a less than fantastic start. We spent the weekend in New York City, which was awesome. But the trip there was not a great experience. The scary part was our flight. Generally I would like to believe that all aircraft we go on, are in full working order and don’t have any technical issues, because they have in theory been checked and tested sufficiently. Well, unfortunately our Porter Airlines airplane was not in full working order when we got on it, but it took being up in the air for at least 30 minutes for people to make the connection. We were experiencing pretty intense pressure issues as we raised in elevation. I was thinking it was unusual, but it kept getting worse as we kept flying. At some point the captain comes on the intercom and says “unfortunately due to pressure issues on this aircraft, we will be turning back to Toronto.”

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Exploring the Lower East Side and finding a Knishery

In case you’ve ever wondered, this is what part of the Lower East Side looks like at 5am. I was up, bright and painfully early on a Saturday morning ready to take on the city, but we had to wait until the city that never sleeps… woke up. First stop that day was Yonah Schimmel’s Knishery (137 E Houston St, New York, NY). It was just around the corner from our hotel, and after reading a few reviews of the place on IEatVegan and LunchBoxBunch about the place, and I thought – well this place sounds great. I’ve never had a knish why not get an accidentally vegan and authentic one? There is an assortment of flavours some vegan, some not. I asked the man working in the store if they were vegetarian, if they had eggs or milk in them, and he said they didn’t (other than the obviously non-vegan ones like cheese filled) So we ordered a vegetable one and a sweet potato one. I found the sweet potato one a lot sweeter than I would have expected, with a hint of cinnamon, it was the perfect breakfast. Jordan’s vegetable one was soft and savory, and probably my favourite (which is why I might have picked off several pieces of it when he wasn’t looking.) They have a bunch stacked in a glass case, ask you what you want, and throw them in the microwave for a couple of minutes. They were good, but I’m curious what a…

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December in New York – Candle 79

After the whole engagement thing (no big deal right? I’m still eeeee-ing about it) we went back to the hotel, cracked open a bottle of champagne and started calling or emailing family members and close friends. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel appropriate to use Facebook to notify everyone of such important news. Then it was time to celebrate. And what better place than Candle 79 (154 East 79th Street at Lexington Avenue, New York, NY)? I had never been before, but after the endless series of great reviews I’ve read online, I couldn’t wait to finally go. We were the last seating of the evening, and got a lovely seat right by the front window. It’s such a nice space, cozy atmosphere with subtle lighting and plush seats. For drinks, I ordered the Reforestation; a mojito with a twist – a tree is planted with every Reforestation ordered. I love mojitos, I love trees: i.e., perfect combination. Moreover the ingredients interested me, I’d never tried Veev Acai spirit, but I had a little bit about it previously and liked the premise and ecologically responsible business model. Jordan ordered the Ginger Rush, I think mostly because it had sake in it, but it ended up being more my style than his. We picked out an organic wine from Heller Estates that I had to take a picture of to make sure we would remember it – unfortunately, the LCBO/Ontario wine stores don’t have it. We noticed the wine list was perfect,…

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