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Sunday 25 October 2015

New York - The Food Post!

Hello everyone!

You might have already seen my makeup post the other day, but if not, I got back from New York on Wednesday morning, after the most amazing trip. Simon* and I were celebrating our 1 year anniversary (*that's "Mr A", I figure I should probably just tell you his name now!)

OK strap in folks, this post is a long one!

We started off at Heathrow Airport. We had booked the airport lounge but as I wasn't sure if I'd be able to eat in there, I stopped in Pret first and grabbed a sneaky sandwich. Which came in handy as pretty much all I could eat in the lounge was crackers and fruit.

This sandwich was pretty good and it made a nice change to get a pre-packed sandwich that wasn't hummus. It was avocado and red pepper tapenade I think. I also nabbed one of the free fizzy drinks from the lounge and a glass (or 2) of prosecco.

We flew out with Virgin, which I was pretty excited about, as everyone always raves about them. Gotta say I was underwhelmed! We flew economy and the seats were SO cramped that even 5"2' me felt shoved up against the seat in front. You can only imagine how 6"3' Simon felt!! Also, his screen wasn't working so he had to watch films off an iPad, which was ok but as it was on his tray table, it mean a crooked neck! Really I think they should have offered to move or upgrade us but nothing was forthcoming.

Anyway onto the food. For airplane food, it wasn't actually bad. I got gnocchi with a spicy sauce and veggies on it. I like gnocchi, so I was happy. The bread was ok too and they even gave me a little pack of margarine that had the vegan society logo on. I didn't eat the salad, it was just leaves and no dressing. The fruit salad also had devil fruit in it (kiwi) so I picked around it. When will companies figure out something vegan that ISN'T fruit salad for pudding? GAH.

Tasted better than it looks, I swear!

As it's a 7 hour flight, you get fed twice. Second meal was a snack box that had a Nakd bar (yum!) and a little pack of crisps and a mint, which was random.

And a wrap that had guacamole and veggies in.

More avocado, although it was tricky to actually FIND the avo in there, but it was there. Just not very much of it. Tasted ok though.

And then we were in NYC! Our hotel was a brilliant location, the hotel was on 31st & 7th Avenue, which is just over the road pretty much from Madison Square Garden. Loads of stuff to do within walking distance and NY is really easy to navigate by foot anyway because of the grid system.

The first vegan snacks Simon picked up (while I was makeup shopping) was Nutter Butters and Twizzlers!

We left England at 9am UK time and arrived in New York around 11.30 am US time. So we were 5 hours ahead and we decided to try and stay awake as long as possible to make sure we weren't wide awake at 3am.

We chilled in our room for a bit and then decided to get takeout. A bit of Happy Cowing revealed a little place called V Life (on 7th Avenue, between 29th & 30th Street) was just a few mins walk from our hotel. Happily for Simon, there was a Five Guys burger place opposite, so that was him happy too.

V Life is a really cute little place. It's teeny, it only has about 3 tables in there but they do loads of sandwiches, wraps, cakes and brown rice bowls. The staff are really friendly too and it was reasonably priced. If you're in that area ever, I'd definitely recommend you check it out!

I grabbed a Po' Boy sandwich, mainly out of sheer curiosity. Look at the size of it!!

Then i freaked out a bit about how lifelike the fake shrimp were! I used to hate the texture of prawns when I still ate meat and these were frighteningly similar to what I remember. However, they were great. The whole sandwich was. But we got fries to share too, so I could only eat half of it! (Don't worry, I ate the rest the next day.)

I also picked us up dessert. We got a peanut butter bomb which was the best dessert we ate out there. Fudgy chocolate cake, with smooth fluffy peanut butter mousse on top, coated in chocolate! ARGH, so great.

I also grabbed us a white chocolate pretzel brownie, which we ate for breakfast the next day. It also had some of that peanut butter mousse on top of the brownie and the pretzel was on top. It was awesome.

I also got a coconut bubble tea, as I love bubble tea. I didn't love this though and kind of wished I'd gone for a fruity one, as this was WAY too sweet for me.

The next morning for breakfast, we decided on a bagel. Happily, a few minutes walk from our hotel was the Bagel Maven Cafe (I can't find a website for them but they're on 7th Avenue as well, very near to our hotel on 31st Street and 7th avenue). They had an array of bagels and non-vegan breakfast foods, but they also had vegan cream cheese (plain and scallion versions). So I got a sesame bagel and scallion cream cheese.

They put absolutely tonnes on, it was awesome!

Later that day, after some sight-seeing, we wondered into Times Square. I got super excited about Sephora....

And Simon went for a walk so that he didn't have to suffer through makeup shopping. Whilst he was gone, he discovered an Empanada Stand that had a vegan option! Winner.

It was delicious, the coconut milk made it really creamy and it wasn't too spicy. I only wish it was a bit bigger haha.

Then I got chased by the stay puft marshmallow man! AHHHH

Erm yeah, moving on.

Saturday night was mine and Simon's 1 year anniversary. We went for a lovely fancy dinner at Blossom Chelsea, which I booked months ago. It was about a 20-25 minute walk from our hotel. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of the food as it was just way too dark in there to take them.

Here's a link to the menu though. I had the Seitan in Port Wine Sauce, which weirdly doesn't seem to be on the online menu and I don't think it was a special! The mash won me over. It was brilliant; the sauce was rich and delicious, the seitan was a great texture and the mash was perfect.

Simon had the Rigatoni in Porcini Cream. Aside from it having broccoli in, which he doesn't like/can't eat, he loved it. I had a taste and it was really delicious! We also got a side of truffle mash which I would have happily rolled around it - so tasty.

After our romantic dinner, we had planned to go up to the top of the Empire State Building, to see the view at night (well the 86th floor Observation Deck anyway).

Here's the view...

About 10 seconds after I took that picture, Simon pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him! I just about managed to splutter yes before bursting into tears!

We took a couple of (terrible) selfies, before having to go inside as it was SO freezing and windy up there.

After leaving the Empire State building, we ran into the Duane Reade drugs next door, as we had seen peanut chews in there earlier in the day. We grabbed a bag and some toffee apple twizzlers* for later snacks. (*so yummy!)

After that we jumped in a cab to the hotel to call our families, who were waiting up as they knew the call was coming! At 3am the nutters.

I was the only one with absolutely no clue this was going to happen! Simon had been planning it since June and had sworn everyone to secrecy.

The next morning, we headed off to find Simon his dreamt of New York Diner breakfast. It was a tiny place with counter space only and had a line out the door so we decided to give it a miss (we did end up going back there though on our last morning). However, we then spotted next door a little place called the Perpetuum Cafe that had a sign saying they also sold vegan food! So we went in.

The guy saw my hat and said that it was cute and if I ordered a latte, he'd draw it for me! haha. So here's the latte:

and here is said hat!

I can't find a website for these guys but they're located next to Johny's Luncheonette (the place we were originally looking for) on W. 25th Street between 6th & 7th avenues.

That night, we were exhausted after a day of sightseeing and freezing our arses off on the Liberty Ferry / Grey Line Bus. So we got take out. Again, back to V Life for me, Burgers for Simon.

This time, I went for Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich. There was a choice of mild or spicy sauce, I went spicy. It was perfect. My picture doesn't do it justice but this one was my favourite of the 3 (yep there's another to come!) sandwiches that I got at this place.

I also grabbed us a brownie to share, which we actually didn't eat until we got home and it was still amazing!

The next morning, we had a quick look in Whole Foods and I bought a piece of underwhelming carrot cake. I thought there'd be WAY more vegan baked goods, but there were about 3!

For Monday's breakfast, we stopped Fresh & Co. They have a bunch of these in Manhattan and they're supposed to be a bit of a healthier option for fast food. I got the Pueblo Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich, which is a tonne of avocado, black bean/sweetcorn salsa and daiya cheese. It was pretty good, I liked the bread. They do quite a few vegan options (MENU). Simon was underwhelmed with his omelet though and the staff were SO miserable. Every one of them. So we decided not to bother going back there.

After breakfast we decided to hop on the subway to the Museum of Natural History. After a walk around, we took a stroll across Central Park to go to The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met). It was the most beautiful day and it was fun to walk through the park and see some squirrels.

One of my favourite things we saw was this sculpture of Alice in Wonderland. My favourite cartoon as a kid!

After the Met, we did some more Happy Cowin' and discovered that Candle Cafe (East Side) was not too far away, it was a bit of a walk but doable. I was really excited to try this place, as it was originally where I suggested for our anniversary dinner, before I discovered Blossom was closer. (MENU)

We started off with some sodas. Simon got Kola, I got ginger.

I picked a pasta dish off the specials menu. It had spinach, peas, carrots and mushrooms in a cashew cream sauce. It was lovely. I thought the carrots were a bit of an odd addition, that I probably would leave out, but they were still good.

We got a side of truffle fries to share - OMG these were so good!

Simon got the Avocado BLT (tempeh) and sweet potato fries. It was really tasty.

For dessert I picked the peanut butter/chocolate cake. It was insanely dense and fudgy. It was amazing, but too rich for me to finish it all!

Simon got carrot cake and I tried a bit. It was amazing. The frosting was completely perfect!

On our last night in NY, I was still wanting proper NY pizza! So we hopped on the subway again and went off to Brooklyn to find Vinnie's Pizzeria (the Williamsburg location), which was a way shorter journey than I thought it'd be.

I gotta say it looked like a bit of a dive, but I thought the inside was really cute.

I knew that they have vegan options, this was the vegan special of the day I believe.

I really liked the decor, especially these (click on the pic to see a bigger version, hopefully you can read some of them).

And the Ninja Turtles stuff!

I especially loved this one

Here's a pic of the menu

And the inside

Vegan appetisers too, peeps!

SO excited for pizza!

Here's what I chose, the Mac's Reprise: Macaroni, Ground 'beef' cheese and Frank's Hot Sauce. This pizza was AH-MAY-ZING! Brilliant crust, great toppings and HUGE.

So huge, I only managed half and that was a struggle.

Simon had a non-vegan pizza so I didn't take a pic but he said it's the best pizza he's ever had and that all other pizza is now ruined for him. He said the mozzarella they used was amazing and I think even if he hadn't liked New York, he'd be willing to go back with me just to make a trip to Vinnie's haha.

After that, jumped back on the subway all the way back to Rockerfeller Plaza and took a trip up to the 'Top of the Rock'. This view is even better than the Empire State and way less windy too. And look, there's the Empire State Building... I wanted a picture of it looking all pretty as that's where we got engaged!

Tuesday was the day we went home :(  We went back to Johny's Luncheonette so Simon could get him NY diner breakfast, which he said was brilliant. I had some home fries in the diner and then I grabbed a bagel with scallion cream cheese on from Bagel Maven again. We ate that in our hotel before going out to get all our gifts to take home for people.

For lunch, we grabbed one last takeout from my fave place - V Life. I got the Paradise Protein. She asked me which sauce I wanted and I didn't really hear properly and didn't get any. Durr, either way it was still good, dunked in a bit of ketchup. It had mock chicken and beef or rib style pieces in and what I think is Daiya cheese. I love their bread too.

We also shared some Cajun fries from Five Guys, as Simon got a last burger from there.

Then it was time to leave. We paid a bit extra to get comfort plus seats on our Delta Flight, with emergency exit seats for extra legroom. So glad we did as it was WAY better. Where they did fall down though was the food.

Sad airline food! They brought mine over and said 'vegetarian?', I said 'vegan?'. They said 'vegetarian?', I said 'vegan!?'. She said 'DID YOU ORDER A VEGETARIAN MEAL??' I said no, I ordered a vegan meal. She said yes here you go and gave me this tray of sadness.

It was as grim as it looks. The thing in the middle was some sort of potato concoction, which was edible. The green stuff on the left? No clue, but it was evil. The carrots were not much better. I ignored the sad looking salad.

Then about an hour before landing was snackbox time. Um, Airline Snack Box Fail!! It wasn't even hidden honey, it's right there on the front of the bar, Delta!! That banana too, tiny and still green, barf! And frozen orange juice. I'll pass thanks.

Here is my sad 'leaving NY' face!

Followed quickly with, but yay we're engaged face!

On the last morning before we flew home, we also made a stop to Whole Foods, which was a block or two from our hotel, so I could stock up on American vegan goodness.

I picked up Tofurky Kielbasa and Andouille sausages, Italian Deli & Bologna style slices, daiya mozz, gimme lean sausage and some tofutti cream cheese (I also took home some awesome bagels from the bakery department).

Also the sweet stuff, some from Whole Foods, some from Duane Reed: Pumpkin Spice and Winter Oreos, Sour Patch Kids (UK ones are not vegan), peanut chews, 2 types of cocomels and 3 types of nut butter cups, which I'm super excited about.

A pack of Chex Mix, because Simon and I are Lonely Island fans and if you are too, you'll get this!

And I almost forgot... a jar of vegenaise - never tried it and figured it was time I did.

So there it is, my trip to NY! It was brilliant, emotional and so much fun. I came home with a shitload of makeup, food, probably a half stone of excess body weight and a fiance!

Best trip ever.

Sal xXx

ps: if you're still awake/reading, thank you! :)


  1. Congratulations on your engagement! Sounds like a fun trip...lots of good eats!

  2. Such a beautiful engagement story - congratulations. :)
    The food sounds amazing, except for that sad Delta fail. The last few times I have gone to the US I have flown in an airline that doesn't do special meals so I cater for myself, which is somewhat safer. But even if they do do meals I always take a million snacks because I have low trust.
    That pizza looks phenomenal. I want pizza!

    1. Thank you :)

      I usually take plane snacks too. In fact I did have a sandwich in my hand luggage, I just didn't bother eating it.

  3. Wow! Congratulations, great news and what a fab trip. Love New York. You found some great food places. The only one of those I've been to is Candle Cafe. I remember how good that carrot cake is! I have their cookery book too and use it quite a bit.

  4. Hahaha, I can't deal with that pic of you running away from the mallow man. It's too funny! You're too adorable in all of these pictures! Obviously I've been eagerly awaiting this post because NYC food is uh-mazing. The PB bomb is one of my go-to NYC desserts, I love it. Also, that pretzel brownie! Yum! Everything from Candle Cafe looks super delish' too, I like that place a lot. And OMG VINNIE'S!! It's TOO GOOD! I can't even handle looking at the picture of your pizza because I loooove that one (minus the hot sauce for me obvs) and it makes me sad that the best pizza ever is so far away! High five on your choices of snacks to take home too, Veganaise is the best (you'll never be able to go back to Plamil!) and I heart those Theo PB cups and you know how I feel about Cocomels!! Boo at Delta though, what the hell even is that meal?! And, as you said, that isn't even sneaky honey - get a grip Delta!

    Congrats again to you both, beyond excited for ya <3

    1. Vegenaise is SO good. It's tastes like how I remember proper mayo tasting. Plamil is so vinegary, I'd already stopped buying it. Vegenaise has now ruined uk vegan mayo for me! haha

  5. Congratulations on your engagement! What a beautiful thing to happen on your trip! I've never heard of pizza with macaroni on it. It looked strange, but good! Awesome treats to bring home!

    1. Thank you. Yeah I'd never had macaroni on pizza either but it was amazing.

  6. That was too much awesomeness to put in one post! Epic!!

    Congratulations Sal and Simon! Yay! <3 :D

  7. congrats on the ring.

    all that food looks amazing! i want mac & cheeze pizza now.the white chocolate pretzel looks really good too!

    i now have an appreciation for US vegan candy like sour patch kids - knowing they are a sugar luxury to some. the watermelon ones are really good!

    1. Thank you. Yeah that pretzel brownie was insanely good!!

  8. What happy news! Congratulations, Sal! You guys always look so happy together and I am so happy for you. OK, I've used the word happy three times now. Time to move on to other words. Oh, your wedding food! It's going to be epic! Sorry my brain always goes straight to the food!:D

    All the NY food looks so yummy! Except for that sad tray of Delta food. They weren't even trying with that one.

    Did I mention I'm so happy for you? :)

    1. hehe thanks :)

      My brain also goes to food first. I'm sure there'll be some wedding food awesomeness happening when the day comes!

  9. Congrats on your engagement! I'm not usually around that area of Manhattan so all the places you mentioned are new to me. I love seeing what non-American vegans get excited about with out food! Like peanut chews, they are kind-of an "old people" candy, which is probably why it is vegan, no messing around with a classic recipe and adding whey or milk fat. Plus looking at some of the things you got it was a nice "Yeah, that's how we do it here" but where did you get a New York pizza with pasta on it! Slightly sacrilegious! But it looks really good!

  10. Aww! Love this happy post!
    and I want that pizza!!!

  11. Ahhhhh,massive congrats! So exciting x

  12. Congratulations!

    This post really makes me want to visit New York, everything looks amazing. I was ready to leave an outraged comment about the fruit salad on your flight out there (it's not even a dessert!), but then the return flight derailed that. Why would they imagine anyone wanted to eat that? It's just as well you'd had all the other good food beforehand.

    1. hahaha yeah the fruit salad thing does really irritate me. Although for a fruit salad, it was pretty nice. Coming home though, that was an abomination! This is why I always take plane snacks, just in case! :)


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