Vegan Journey: I think New York City is the most vegan-friendly city there is!

I arrived in New York City on Wednesday afternoon to move my youngest daughter Sophia into college, and quickly learned there was no need to worry about vegan options in New York.

First of all, our hotel was across the street from a Whole Foods Market! After settling in our room, we walked over to get something for dinner and I was quite surprised at the large amount of vegan choices in the prepared foods section. I honestly think there were more vegan options than non-vegan.

Thursday night, my eldest daughter Alex and I had dinner with some business colleagues at Fig and Olive® in the Meatpacking District. There are six locations, two being in California, and the chef was quite accommodating when I mentioned I was vegan. I had scrumptious penne pasta (no egg!) with mushrooms and garlic. And thank goodness martinis are vegan!

Friday night, Alex went online looking for true vegan restaurants in the city. She found Candle 79 in the Upper East Side, one of the top vegan restaurants in the country. The fresh fruit sangria was a great way to toast our dinner, and the vegan cannoli and carrot cake were tasty desserts with a great mouth-feel. You couldn’t tell they were vegan! You can check out the dinner menu here.

Our final culinary experience was in Brooklyn on Saturday evening to check out Do or Dine. This restaurant increased in popularity when the chef-owner Justin Warner, 27, was voted The Next Food Network Star during the television show’s eighth season. Alex was a fan of Justin’s throughout the show, so we HAD to go to his restaurant. It was refreshing to learn that he is a self-taught chef and built Do or Dine from the ground up with two friends. Justin’s approach to food reflects his personality: edgy, rebellious, passionate and witty.

Justin Warner of Do or Dine. Photo courtesy of The Food Network.

While Alex had the Foie Gras Doughnut that is unique to the restaurant, I opted for everything vegan on the menu, including Shishito Quatre Sel, (fried, but not battered, shishito peppers with four salts), and the Xacuti Chimichanga.

I am excited about my next trip to New York City as one of my blog followers, Shaleen, told me I need to check out this vegan food truck next time I am there.

I have realized that becoming vegan actually opens doors to new culinary experiences.

Bon Appétit!