My colleague and mentor recently told me that I should start blogging again because she missed my posts and she’d bet that others felt the same way. I was inspired after her pep talk to start writing again. I’ve always enjoyed blogging and sharing my stories, but as with most things, life had simply gotten in the way of me dedicating time to this blog.
My husband, Kevin, and I had moved 3 times to 3 different cities in 2 states within a 10-month window. It’s no wonder that during the last move, the lady at the DMV seemed skeptical that I wasn’t a fugitive on the run.
After all that moving and travel, we landed back where we started, in Atlanta – home sweet home. The already robust vegan community had grown leaps and bounds in the 3-year period we had been gone. The vegan/vegetarian restaurant scene is booming and the animal rights activists are even more engaged than ever. I feel excited to be back, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves to do some work for the animals.
But first, a little R&R is a must. After spending the last 6 months acclimating to my new role at the university and getting settled in our new place, my husband and I went to New York for vacation and to visit with family. We had an absolute blast and ate a ton of amazing vegan food.
We started the trip by meeting Kevin’s sister at a Hare Krishna Temple in Brooklyn that serves a vegetarian lunch every day. Where else can you get all this food for $9?!
We burned off lunch by walking 9 miles through the Brooklyn Bridge Park, Washington Square Park, the Village and Strands Bookstore, which boasts it has 18 miles worth of books!
For dinner, Kevin’s sister wanted to take us to Avant Garden in the Village because she had heard great things. Apparently others had too because the wait would’ve been at least an hour and a half. We decided to walk around and see what else there was to offer. We stumbled upon V-Spot, an all-vegan restaurant, which was amazingly good!
My sister-in-law did such a great job with planning a fun-filled day in NY. I couldn’t believe how many awnings we passed by that said “vegan” on them or street carts that advertised they had vegan options. New York is such a vegan paradise and it makes me want to go visit again very soon. And, look, a cat cafe!
The next day was spent with my mom’s side of the family out on Long Island, eating veggie burgers, beet salad, and pasta salad. They even had little chocolate desserts for us! I don’t want to skim over the fact that my family on Long Island provided a really great vegan meal for us. I feel grateful to have family that understands our dietary choices and doesn’t tease us for eating differently.
When we left my cousin’s house that evening, we started getting hungry so we stopped at an Indian restaurant in Queens called Jassi’s, near where we were staying. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we wound up ordering way too much food, but it was all really good.
After our day on Long Island, we were back in the Big Apple visiting my dad’s side of the family. We first went to their apartment and had a really nice spread that included delicious NY bagels – nothing compares to the real deal. We topped our bagels with Tofutti cream cheese and avocado slices, one of the best combinations of bagel toppings, in my opinion.
After that we went to see A Bronx Tale, a musical adaptation of one of my all-time favorite movies. The singing, dancing, and acting was all phenomenal! The entire family really enjoyed it.
That evening my aunt and uncle treated us to an amazing dinner at Candle Cafe West, an all-vegan restaurant that I’ve heard so much about over the years. Again, I’m so thankful to have family who suggests trying new places that are completely plant-based for us, and for not alienating us or making us feel like outcasts. My little cousins are adventurous eaters and have quite refined palates, and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy the meal. I thought it was indescribably good, so I’ll just show you photos instead of trying to put it into words.
We wrapped up a wonderful weekend back on Long Island with another aunt and uncle from my mom’s side. We ate at Press 195 in Rockville Center, which had a great vegetarian section on the menu with many items easily adaptable to be made vegan. I got the portobello sandwich without the cheese. My uncle who is an omnivore even ordered a veggie sandwich – and he loved it! I didn’t snap a photo of the food but here’s the veggie section on their menu.
Overall, it was an amazing weekend and I’m so grateful to have had that time away and to be able to spend it with my wonderful family.