You can find the details of the planning, first day, second day, and third day of my family’s vegan Thanksgiving extravaganza in New York City in the previous posts to which I’ve linked earlier in this very sentence.
After three nights, two full days, and five unforgettable meals provided by a mere handful of NYC’s impressive slew of vegan restaurants, my family awoke on the final morning of our Thanksgiving adventure with deep regret that we had to depart later that afternoon, though we remained dedicated to making the most of our last eight hours in the city.
To do so, we strolled into Union Square to visit the 18th annual Holiday Market, which featured a wide variety of vendors boasting diverse wares spanning from brew-your-own kombucha kits (right up my alley), handmade jewelry made out of antique maps, bags and purses made from recycled plastic, and a colorful array of spices and teas from the aptly named company Spices and Tease. Their Wellness Infusion teas (listed at the bottom of the page) in partiucular appeal immensely to me. Rooibos, mate, rosemary, stinging nettles, rosehips, ginger, cassia, fennel, clove and cardamom blended into one tea deemed “Tonic Detox“? Yes, please!
A short walk away from Union Square, Beyond Sushi constituted our final eatery destination of our four-day visit to NYC. The small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant launched by Hell’s Kitchen finalist Guy Vaknin provided my second-favorite meal of our trip (right behind that of Candle Cafe), due to its completely vegan menu of nine thoughtfully crafted, creative, and veggie-loaded sushi rolls, accompanied by individual nigari-inspired pieces of fresh veggies atop rice beds, noodle-stuffed rice paper wraps, hearty salads that I interpreted as deconstructed versions of their rolls, and housemade juices. My family decided that we each would choose one roll and split the three rolls between us, though eliminating six of the tantalizing rainbow-colored rolls proved immensely difficult, if not rather painful. In the end, we decided to partake in the Sweet Tree roll, the Mighty Mushroom roll, and the Green Machine roll, as well as a couple comforting bowls of miso soup.
The ingredients in each roll are as follows: Sweet Tree—six-grain rice blend, avocado, and sweet potato, topped with alfalfa sprouts and a spicy cayenne sauce. Mighty Mushroom—six-grain rice blend, enoki mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and baked tofu, topped with microgreens and a creamy shiitake-teriyaki sauce. Green Machine—six-grain rice blend, cucumber, and asparagus, topped with basil-marinated veggies and a jalapeno wasabi mayo.
Wowza! We could easily detect the care and time devoted to creating these three impeccably and distinctly flavored sushi rolls, each harboring a pleasing textural contrast and an energizing spicy component. I would probably have to choose the Green Machine as my favorite of the rolls, most likely due to the intriguing mash of freshly flavored basil-marinated veggies sitting atop it. Both of my parents ardently agreed upon the stunning quality of our meal and neither of them mentioned anything about the supposed illegitimacy of fish-free sushi (though they both have enough tact to not articulate that ridiculous point).
Meal Checklist: Protein—tofu. Whole Grain—six-grain blend. Vegetables—avocado, sweet potato, mushrooms, cucumber, asparagus, basil-marinated veggies, jalapeno, scallions. Leafy Greens—microgreens, alfalfa sprouts, seaweed in miso soup.
As my family bade goodbye to the two incredibly friendly Japanese men responsible for our sushi epiphany and descended the stairs of Beyond Sushi, I verbally expressed my deep lamentation that I would have to return to the decidedly average-quality fare provided at Vassar’s dining hall that night. Without missing a beat, my mother suggested turning right back around and ordering takeout from Beyond Sushi to provide one last meal from the finest quality vegan restaurants NYC has to offer. Needless to say, I readily accepted her offer and bounded through the sushi hut’s glass doors to excitedly order one of their salads to-go, which I enjoyed upon returning to my dorm room later that night.
Meal Checklist: Protein—tofu, cashews. Whole Grain—black rice. Vegetables—asparagus, avocado, carrots. Leafy Greens—romaine lettuce, seaweed salad, nori.
Ay yi yi, I wholeheartedly wish I could revel in this exact same salad every single night…perhaps I’ll rent an apartment in NYC specifically to do so. Sadly, logistics and the necessity of completing my college education render this plan of action impossible, but one can dream, no? For now, I’ll simply relive my indescribably enjoyable experience in the city with my parents by drooling over all of the post-trip blog posts I’ve accumulated, eagerly anticipating my return to the City That Never Runs Out of Amazing Vegan Food…or rather, more officially, the City That Never Sleeps. Next time, I intended to patronize celebrated vegan eateries such as Gingersnaps Organic, Kajitsu, Quintessence, Pure Food and Wine, Cafe Blossom, Rawlicious, Franchia, Peacefood Cafe, and Sacred Chow. Whoof, I’ve got quite the list to cover!
Until next time, Ali.