December in New York – Tien Garden

We’ve been long back from New York city, but since starting a new job, and still having another one, I haven’t had enough time for the fun stuff (which includes this blog.) It was my birthday on Monday so my gift to myself is to write up a series of new blog posts, especially about our trip to New York City.

I like making sure I write while I’m on vacation, because afterwards, things get lost in my memories. I forget to write, I lose track of time, and various other excuses but this trip was different in that after the unbelievable (yet entirely believable) events of the first day, I didn’t know what to say. So I’ll start from the beginning and keep going till it’s done. I’m aiming for one post a day for the next few days.

Jordan and I got up bright and early on Friday morning, suitcases ready and waiting, excitement in the air. I’ve never flown Porter Airlines, so that was new, and delightfully convenient (it’s right downtown and only short drive from our house.) In case you’re wondering, Porter Air does not have particularly vegan items available in their cute little snack boxes, but I filled up on free almonds and coffee in the airport lounge before we got on the plane. I tried asking them via twitter if they ever had any vegan options but didn’t get a reply.

Three hours later we arrived at the Thomson LES Hotel, after a very uneventful passage through customs, catching the air train, and making connections on the MTA. We were too early, but the hotels location was perfect for wandering around and eating. After freshening up in the spa (and feeling fancy about it), we walked a block to Tien Garden (170 Allen St, New York, NY) just in time for lunch.

It looked like a hole in the wall, but the service was very friendly. We sat in the corner and admired the collection of vegetarian friendly books and guides to the city. He had a poster on the wall saying that they had accomplished everything they had wanted to over the years they’d been open and if anyone wanted to take over the business, they should contact them. So you know, if you’re looking to take over a vegan business there’s one on the LES.

We started with the Sticky Rice, and I was a little annoyed when the guy told us not to eat the leaves. Don’t eat the leaves? This wasn’t our first time – but on the bright side, it was actually quite tasty.

Sticky Rice

Jordan ordered a curry udon noodle dish, and I had the miso soup. The curry was that standard yellow flavoured curry that walks the line between being oddly compelling and kind of boring, a few veggies here and there. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but first I wanted more – and then I wanted none.

Curry Udon Thing
curry thing

My miso soup was the winner at lunch – full of veggies, noodles, and mushrooms and umami goodness. But I have a feeling it had a lot to do with it’s water base and my consumption of too much salt for breakfast in the form of packaged almond snacks.

Miso Soup
miso soup

There were these cookies on the counter that kept calling to me. I’d look at them and think: mmm. cookies. I could go for some of that – the problem with imagining something is that you can oversell yourself on it, and that’s exactly what I did. Dry brown cookie was dry, but chocolate cookie was magic.

Two Cookies – One Tasty, One Not

I’d potentially go again for the sticky rice, but there are too many great vegan options in the area to go to places that aren’t incredibly exciting, so in reality, I probably wouldn’t. The service was okay, the food was okay, but the rest of our stay in NYC was filled with food that was just amazing.

At this point we went back to our hotel to see if our room was ready, it still wasn’t (since we were really early) so we had to figure out what to do next. Not having things all planned out was strange for me, but we made it work. Deciding to go to the Empire State Building and then play it by ear.

Next post: Our visit to the Empire State Building, and my first visit to Candle 79.