long island is my life
Part two of my beautiful trip to New York. After a few days of gallivanting through the city, I ventured to Long Island for the weekend to see my roommates from Phoenix. Both of the lovely girls I live with are Long Island natives and we all coordinated a visit so I could check out their hometown. It was my first time seeing Long Island and I was ready for some beach and some guidos. The last names I hear when they are reminiscing about high school are truly absurd. They are all so Italian and lengthy, yet the girls blurt them out with ease and don't even think twice about it. Anyway, I hopped on the Long Island Railroad and was wowed by all the green on the island and the beautiful architecture of all the homes. Some were quaint and homey while others were quite large, but all of them had this old world, east coast style that was very unique.
Our first activity was attending the Belmont Stakes. I had never been to the horse races and this was a great one for my first time. Although the weather was not ideal for racing it was fun to watch all the horses, their jockeys, and of course the hats.
As far as the food goes, the girls were worried about accommodating my diet, as Long Island is known for its epic bagels and great delis. We did find some really good spots though. One cute lunch cafe was called Tigerlilies and had a bunch of vegetarian/vegan wraps and sandwiches. The juice bar was great and I even got a vegan chocolate chip peanut butter cookie. The best meal I had though was at a popular cafe called Toast. The wait for brunch was a bit long but we sauntered around Port Jefferson and the pier. After downing a delicious soy latte I ordered a tofu scramble (so glad to see that they had a vegan option). It had zucchini, spinach and some other veggies and came with a side of whole wheat toast and sweet potato fries. I ate every last bite and asked if we could come back the next morning, which we did! I thought I needed to try a different item on the menu even though the tofu scramble was calling my name. I opted for the baked oatmeal with cinnamon, apples and dried cranberries. They substituted soy milk for me :) It was very good and perfect for the chilly weather outside.
Long Island proved itself and I would love to go back when its a bit warmer. We were able to go to the beach but not enjoy laying out or putting our feet in the water. It was still gorgeous sitting by the water all bundled up.
After my brief stint on Long Island, it was back to the city. I was meeting my good friend Jennifer, who had flown in over the weekend. Being the huge foodie that she is, she picked a restaurant and was very considerate with my dietary requests. We went to Eataly, which is a large market full of produce, kitchen gadgets, books, and about 10 different restaurants and cafes. I arrived early and decided to start with dessert and wander around while I waited. The market was incredible and I was lured in by the gelateria. There were three non-dairy flavors and I settled on the banana chocolate after sampling them all. Amazing! When Jen arrived we found a table at Le Verdure, the vegetable restaurant within Eataly. The menu clearly indicated the vegan items and after careful consideration I settled on a raw vegetable salad with a lemon vinaigrette, and a couple of glasses of wine...obviously. I actually copied Jen (I trust her wine judgement) and ordered a rose that was very light and tasty. After dinner we headed to the coffee counter to get some espresso. At the waiters suggestion I got a shot of espresso with a shot of amaretto liquor. It definitely warmed me up and was the perfect dessert.
The following day I met Jennifer on the Upper East side near the apartment she was staying in to go to the Met and have lunch. The Alexander McQueen exhibit was featured and we both were dying to see it. Seeing his designs up close was incredible and although some of the exhibit was eery, I loved every minute of it. The clothes, the music, the projections...all very awe-inspiring. After the museum and since we were in the area I took Jen to this vegan restaurant that my sister found for me called Candle 79. I had gone a few days earlier by myself for lunch and had such a fabulous meal, I had to share the glory of their food with someone who would truly appreciate it. It is a bit pricey but the upscale environment and the delicious food combinations are worth treating yourself! My first visit I tried one of their many elixirs. It was a fizzy antioxidant drink with pomegranate juice, blueberries and mint...among other magical ingredients I'm sure. For my meal I ordered a plate that was huge and incredible. The pita bread was flaky and dense at the same time. The humus was topped with red pepper oil and olives. It came with a variety of vegetables for dipping as well. My favorite part of the plate, however was the roasted garlic. They roasted the entire head of garlic to perfection and each clove melted in my mouth!
On my second visit to this glorious vegan heaven, I got the black bean burger with a house salad. The burger was served on a whole wheat bun with polenta fries (amazing) and chipotle ketchup. The meal was even better than the first and I ate every bite! It was shocking that I still had room for dessert because it was quite a hefty portion, but I had to try something on the menu. I was having difficulty deciding between a strawberry rhubarb crisp and a chocolate sundae. The waitress suggested the sundae which was a huge, warm brownie, topped with marble sorbet, dark chocolate sauce, caramelized banana and candied pecans. Quite the combination! And yes all vegan! It was seriously out of this world but I had to look to my friends to help me finish the masterpiece. Jennifer loved her meal as well which was a stuffed avocado, quinoa salad. She took her mom back the next day I think. I spot everyone should check out!!
And that concludes the summary of my trip and all the wonderful food I ate. A true vacation of indulgence and deliciousness! New York truly touches all of my senses and makes me feel very alive. I cannot wait to return and have a whole different experience in the city! And hopefully some better weather on Long Island! New York-I love you.