Category Archives: NYC

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

My Dinner at Candle 79

I never had dreams of a big elaborate wedding, but the one detail I was set on was vegan food. Delicious vegan food that omnivores could say, “wow that was really good!” My first plan was to get lunch from The Cinnamon Snail. I’ve been dying to try this gourmet food truck but our paths never seem to cross. I contacted them, and we had everything all set, until we realized they wouldn’t be running the truck that day, and a delivery charge from Jersey was more than the food order itself. I was disappointed it didn’t work out, but we opted for a sit down dinner after the ceremony instead.

Candle 79 was the perfect choice because it is vegan (and organic, and sources local ingredients), reasonably priced for NYC, and was only 3 blocks away from where we were in the park. I called them two weeks in advance and they were great with getting my reservations all set.

We ordered Guacamole Timbale and Vegetable Nori Rolls for the table, and they also brought us Crostini with nut cheese. These were all really, really good. I loved the ginger sauce that came with the nori rolls so much that I’m going to try to make it this weekend.

enchiladas
Live Zucchini Enchiladas (cashew cheese, crunchy sprouts, guacamole, cashew sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds, cucumber-jicama salsa, mole sauce)

For my main course I ordered the Live Zucchini Enchiladas (cashew cheese, crunchy sprouts, guacamole, cashew sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds, cucumber-jicama salsa, mole sauce). And wow, the cashew cheese inside the zucchini was SO good. I kind of figured it would be good, but it blew my mind. I devoured every bite, literally getting all the sauce off my plate (with my fork of course). My mom had the same thing and said she really liked it, she only wished it had been bigger because she could’ve eaten four of them.

I also tried the Cornmeal Poppers (fall vegetables, ancho chili aioli), and they were great too. The crunchy texture and mixed with the really tasty sauce was delicious.

Also ordered that I didn’t try were the Spaghetti and Wheatballs, Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Cake, Chanterelle Crusted Tofu, Rosemary-Balsamic Grilled Seitan, Tri-color Beet Salad, and the Apple Cranberry Pie. Everyone said their meals were great.

cannoli
Cannoli (chocolate chip-vanilla cream filling, coconut ice cream, chocolate drizzle)

For dessert I got the Cannoli (chocolate chip-vanilla cream filling, coconut ice cream, chocolate drizzle) and shared with the 6yo (he ate 90% of the ice cream before I got a chance to fight for it). It was delicious…the filling tasted so much like cannoli filling I used to love in my pre-vegan years. I also tried my mom’s Chocolate Peanut-Butter Bliss, and my husband’s (sounds so weird to say “husband”) Mexican Chocolate Brownie. They were both super rich and awesome.

Mexican
Mexican Chocolate Brownie (caramelized bananas, french vanilla ice cream, candied pecans, chocolate-ancho sauce)

My mom told me if I can recreate the chocolate peanut butter dessert that she had, that I will be her hero.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bliss (chocolate & peanut butter mousse, salted peanut-caramel crust, berry coulis)
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bliss (chocolate & peanut butter mousse, salted peanut-caramel crust, berry coulis)

My only regret from dinner is skimming over the non-alcoholic menu way too fast. I really don’t drink (like, at all), but I wanted something fun so I went straight for the cocktails and ordered the Hudson Valley Sangria (Whitecliff Vineyard Red Trail, Santa Theresa Rum, Fruitlab Orange Liqueur, clove, cinnamon, pomegranate, star anise, ginger-agave, fall fruit). It was strong, but very tasty. A few people ordered the housemade ginger ale and said it was really good, and I tried the Mango-Pomegranate Fresca which was fizzy and awesome. I looked the menu over after coming home and noticed a Pumpkin Chai (pumpkin, vanilla ice cream, soy milk, chai) that I would’ve loved.

sangria
Hudson Valley Sangria (Whitecliff Vineyard Red Trail, Santa Theresa Rum, Fruitlab Orange Liqueur, clove, cinnamon, pomegranate, star anise, ginger-agave, fall fruit)

My husband (yep, still sounds weird) ordered the Schneider Edel-Weiss Organic Hefeweizen. It was really citrusy and had a really full flavor.

Schneider Edel-Weiss Organic Hefeweizen  (crisp mountain herbs, lemon, banana notes, 16.9 oz, 6.7% abv )
Schneider Edel-Weiss Organic Hefeweizen
(crisp mountain herbs, lemon, banana notes, 16.9 oz, 6.7% abv)

I got a cookbook and I plan on cooking my way through it, preparing a three-ish course meal every two weeks.

candle 79 cookbook

Two of the people with us are vegetarian, and we were talking about how wonderful it was to be able to have a whole menu to choose from, instead of being stuck the salad menu or reading through the list of ingredients.

Thank you Candle 79 for making my wedding dinner so special! I’m already thinking of coming back for our anniversary.

(I’ve already hit Quintessence, and we’ve been to One Lucky Duck several times. Next is Pure Food and Wine, and I definitely have to track down The Cinnamon Snail.)