NYC’s Best Food Truck…

The Cinnamon Snail

The Cinnamon Snail

This past weekend was the 10th annual Vendy Awards in NYC.  The Vendy Awards is a celebration of the city’s best food vendors, and it helps raise money for their cause. From their website:

There are more than 10,000 street vendors in New York City — hot dog vendors, book vendors, street artists, and many others. They’re small businesspeople struggling to make ends meet by working long hours in often harsh conditions.  Most street vendors are immigrants and people of color and often face discrimination though unjust legislation supported by established business interests. In recent years, vendors have become victims of New York’s aggressive “quality of life” crackdown. Denied access to vending licenses, they receive $1,000 tickets for minor violations like vending too close to a crosswalk — more than any big business is required to pay for similar violations.

The event was held on Governer’s Island, and it was the perfect place for it. I’d never been there before and it was beautiful. We took the 11 am ferry, so it was free (it’s only $2 round trip if you catch an afternoon one). The amount of bees was a little alarming though. I don’t think they bothered any people, but the way they were attacking donuts was like a scene out of a cheesy horror movie. I got a picture of a donut with like 5 bees on it, but there were others that were totally covered and you could barely see any donut. #beesTakeManhattan

Bees enjoying the Dough donuts

Bees enjoying the Dough donuts

The very first thing I had was a Maple cucumber-mint slushy from Snowday. It sounds weird, but they were little samples so I figured why not. I’m glad I did because it was really light and tasty. My dad also tried the maple grilled cheese and said it was good. Snowday won the Rookie of the Year award, and what’s really neat about their truck, is that they are operated by Drive Change, a non profit that builds and operates locally sourced food trucks that hire, teach and empower formerly incarcerated youth.

Maple Cucumber Mint Slushy from Snowday

Maple Cucumber Mint Slushy from Snowday

A few steps later we were handed falafels from King of Falafel & Shawarma. They were seasoned perfectly with a crisp outside and soft chewy center. I may have had 2…

King of Falafel

King of Falafel

Chickpea and Olive was the first vegan vendor that we saw and their beet burger blew me away. My dad (very much not vegetarian) liked it so much that when we got home he tried to recreate it. I know I didn’t try the other Best of Market nominees, but I thought that Olive and Chickpea was a guaranteed win because the burger was amazing.

Phatty Beet Slider and Carolina Southern Slaw

Phatty Beet Slider and Carolina Southern Slaw

Somewhere in between the beet slider and getting drinks, we grabbed some ice cream samples from Alchemy Creamery. First I grabbed the Almond Marzipan, and then I tried the Salted Peanut Butter. Both were really, really tasty. As we were leaving I kind of wanted to grab another peanut butter one, but I was afraid if I ate anymore I might sink the ferry. =/ The other (non vegan) ice cream vendor had 3 different really funky/delicious sounding flavors and they won the best dessert category. I think maybe if Alchemy Creamery jazzed up their presentation if they could’ve won.

Alchemy Creamery

Alchemy Creamery

Not going to lie, I was a little biased knowing that the Cinnamon Snail was going to be competing, but it was amazing that there were 3 other exclusively vegan vendors and others that had vegan/vegetarian options. And luckily they were all in separate categories, so they all got my vote!

I mean how could you not think that this Vanilla Bourbon Creme Bruelee Donut isn’t the best thing ever. (Sidenote: I forgive you Cinnamon Snail for my temporary bout of diabetes.)

Vanilla Bourbon Creme Brulee Donut with Maker's Mark Custard filling

Vanilla Bourbon Creme Brulee Donut with Maker’s Mark Custard filling from Cinnamon Snail

The VIP tickets were totally worth it. We only waited about 5 minutes to get checked in and then got to eat for a whole hour before general admission was opened up. This was kind of a good and a bad thing. It was wonderful being able to walk around with no lines and not many people, but at the same time, I wanted to stuff my face before the lines got long and I felt like I was going to explode in that first hour. I almost held off on getting food from NY Dosas, but I made a vow (to myself) to try all of the vegan offerings, and I’m so glad I did because the flavors were out of this world. I even got an explanation of how they’re made and got to take pictures (see gallery below) of the process.

Dosa with coconut and mint sauces and veg soup

Dosa with coconut and mint sauces and vegetable soup

The rain held off for a good portion of the day, but we decided to leave when it really picked up. We took a little break to let our food digest and explored the island a bit (a post of the art galleries coming soon), so by the time it started pouring we were a bit cold and tired. We missed the awards, but we in the car home I was ecstatic that the Cinnamon Snail won the Vendy Cup! Sorry if this post is sounding a little fan girl-ish, but well, they totally deserved it. It might not be fair for me to judge considering the fact that I didn’t try the meat dishes, but it makes me so happy that a panel of judges found a vegan dish to be the best. Whenever people say “I don’t like vegan food” (cue my inner eye roll) or other things about how boring it is I just want to explain that it doesn’t have to be boring and bland. The Cinnamon Snail has proved that vegan food can beat out some of the best meat dishes based on taste alone.

Winning Snail Platter

Habanero Buffalo Cauliflower – Beer battered cauliflower florest grilled with habanero sauce, served on a toasted baquette with roasted garlic ranch, arugula, and dill pickles
Korean BBQ Seitan Tacos – Smoked chili grilled seitan with homemade kimchi, marinated greens, and sriracha cream on soft corn tortillas
Sage Tempeh Sausage Slider – Served with lavender roasted leeks, kalamata olive tapenafe, truffled cashew cheese, fried sage leaves, and arugula

I heard some people outside of the gate saying there’s no way they could eat enough food truck food to justify buying a ticket. Well, there was also All You Can Drink beer, wine, soda, water, tea, coconut water, juice, etc… And besides walking around eating all day, you’re supporting a cause and helping people. This was my first year going, but I’m already looking forward to next year!

Brooklyn Brewery Pale Ale

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Balance Basics Yoga Challenge Week 1

Day 1:

Tree and Cat

Tree and Cat

Ardha baddha padottanasana

Ardha baddha padottanasana

Day 2:

Adho Mukha Svanasana. Downward Facing Dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana. Downward Facing Dog

Day 3:

Warrior III. Virabhadrasana III

Warrior III. Virabhadrasana III

Day 4:

Crescent Lunge. Anjanayasana.

Crescent Lunge. Anjanayasana.

Day 5:

Bound Revolved Side Angle. Baddha Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

Bound Revolved Side Angle. Baddha Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

Day 6:

Chair Pose. Utkatasana

Chair Pose. Utkatasana

Day 7:

Warrior I. Virabhadrasana I

Warrior I. Virabhadrasana I

Related Links:

September Yoga Challenge – Balance Basics

August Yoga Challenge – She’s Got Legs

July Yoga Challenge – Independence ARMy Challenge

June Yoga Challenge – Summer Splits

Leave me a comment on Instagram if you’re doing the challenge too!

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Bethlehem VegFest 2014

vegFest

It’s been a week since this year’s Bethlehem VegFest and I’m already excited about next year. Just like last year, being in a place where you know everything is vegan and nothing is off limits is an amazing feeling. There was no walking around looking for a place that sold only salads or veggies, or possibly a tofu dish. There was real, delicious food, and it was all vegan.

Aside from the food, they also had speakers, cooking demos, yoga, music, and activities for kids. I was really impressed with the speaker line up, but unfortunately we didn’t really sit and listen to anyone since the kids wanted to walk/run around. We also missed the yoga flash mob, which I was a little bummed about, but we totally lost track of time and I realized it after it was over. I’m already planning a better game plan for next year.

The biggest thing I was looking forward to was eating from the Cinnamon Snail. They were going to cater our wedding, but the logistics didn’t end up working out, so when it was confirmed they were going to be at VegFest I knew we were eating there. The line was always long, but it moved fast.

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We ordered two Gouchujang Burger Deluxes and two Ancho Chili Seitan Burgers:

  • Ancho Chili Seitan Burger
    With beer simmered onions and garlic, arugula, piri piri pepper sauce, and horseradish cream on grilled herb focaccia
  • Gouchujang Burger Deluxe
    with sautéed kimchi, arugula, pickled red onions, black sesame gomasio and sriracha mayonnaise on herb grilled focaccia
Gouchujang Burger Deluxe

Gouchujang Burger Deluxe

Both burgers were humongous and so incredibly delicious. Seriously folks, if you’re ever in NYC and looking for lunch, hunt these guys down. This was the most filling, gourmet vegan food I’ve ever had.

Gouchujang Burger Deluxe

Gouchujang Burger Deluxe

My only regret was not getting donuts to take home. Sigh.
DSC_0693Right after we had lunch we grabbed some kombucha. I’ve gotten my mom hooked and we both drink it just about every day. The kombucha they were selling was pineapple ginger, and it was sooo good.

DSC_0715 We did a take a small pause to listen to some live music, and pet some of the dogs that were there. By the Catskill Animal Sanctuary table, we met a beagle named Max, who is looking for a home. He stole both of my parents’ hearts and they were seriously considering it for a while. We also stopped by the Pig Placement Network again and pet some pigs. How could anyone want to kill one of those sweeties??

 

Music Pavillion

The Veggie Kid’s Zone had a face painting, coloring, and a neat veggie quiz where we won a few apples.

Veggie Kid's Zone

Here is the section of this post with all the picture spam of the Vegan Treats desserts. 

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My mom and I did all the ordering and picked a few things that jumped out at us. Honestly, it’s so hard to choose at Vegan Treats. This year, I got a Raspberry Mousse Chocolate Mousse cake (the one with the purple flower), the Dulce De Leche Cake, and a Chocolate Cannoli.

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My mom ordered the Peanut Butter Bomb, Raspberry Cheesecake, and a Chocolate Cannoli also.

DessertsDSC_0748editI totally missed the Chicken and Waffles donut that was down at the other end, and I’m kicking myself for not getting the Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk Cake (bottom left corner). There’s always a huge crowd of people around their table, but they’re super quick about helping people.

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We got the Vegan Treats to go, and I was really hoping to eat some other food there, but I was still stuffed from the burger. I also wanted to try the ice cream from Alchemy Creamery, but I felt like I might puke if I tried to eat anything else. 

DSC_0763editMy mom really wanted to grab a vegan hot dog, but she was stuffed too.


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I didn’t end up shopping at much as last year, but I did grab a few bottles of wine from Franklin Hill Vineyards before we left. I think I got the Sir Walter’s Red last year too, it’s one of my favorites. I also got the Fainting Goat, which is a black cherry wine, and gave it to my mom.

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I should’ve taken pictures of our treats before we left since they got a little smashed on the way home. It’s okay though, they still tasted wonderful. I didn’t realize the Dulce De Leche cake had so much coconut, but that’s the one my husband ate and he really liked it despite not really liking coconut.

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The raspberry mousse was so rich and decadent. I felt like I was going to go into diabetic shock after all the fondant and ganache, but it was so worth it.

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There were layers of raspberry mousse, vanilla mousse, chocolate mousse, and chocolate cake, all covered in chocolate ganache. DSC_0691EditWe had a great time at the Bethlehem VegFest. It’s one of the few events that I look forward to every year, and I hope it continues to grow!

Check them out on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date for announcements for next year!

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