My favorite part about living on the east coast is my close proximity to New York City. I have visited about a dozen times and I still get butterflies every time I get on the train and head to the vivacious city. The reason for this visit? My husband just wanted to treat us to a mini vacation and watch his favorite basketball team play the Knicks at MSG, and he decided to extend this excursion to include a day at the MET.
Naturally when we go into the city we always plan where we are going to eat. As a vegetarian the task was to find places that satisfied the eating habits of both a vegetarian and a meat eater; our first stop was The Pennsy Food Hall. Don’t get turned off by the name “Food Hall”, yes it does sound vaguely like a cafeteria, but the quality and variety of food was great! There are around 6 different food places, two of which are vegan/vegetarian: the Little Beet, and the Cinnamon Snail. I chose the Cinnamon Snail, and was blown away. I got the Smoked Sage Seitan Burger, which included: sage seitan sausage baked ziti, with marinated kale, smoked chili coconut bacon, and roasted garlic aioli on a grilled pretzel bun.
Everything about this “burger” was good, the flavor was superb. The sage with the chili powder, and garlic aioli all paired really well together and adding the sweetness of the coconut made this burger. There was also lots of texture: the meatiness of the “burger”, chewiness of the ziti, crunchiness of the coconut bacon, and the crispness of the kale. Out of the two days I was there, this was my favorite meal. If you a vegetarian, GO TO PENNSY FOOD HALL!!
For dinner we went to Pastai in Chelsea. I got pasta with cauliflower, and my husband got a prosciutto sandwich with a simple salad. Now this dish was not packed with flavor like the burger above, but the quality of this meal was excellent. I am not one to eat a ton of cauliflower and was hesitant to order this dish, but it was one of the cheaper options, if you have ever been to NYC you will know what I mean, so I ventured out of my comfort zone and was not disappointed.
The cauliflower was cooked perfectly, and what seemed like two different ways. The pasta tasted like I had made my own, the texture and flavor really tasted homemade, and with those two aspects of the dish I highly recommend this place. As a side note my husband really enjoyed his meal and said this was his favorite place of the trip. The quality of the bread and mozzarella was so good I really don’t have words to express it, I would go back just for the mozzarella! A side note, there is a nice bakery right next to it and an art cafe that was really cool.
When we went to the MET we stopped at a small bakery called William Greenberg Desserts. I got a croissant, a hamentash, and of course a latte. The croissant was good, but nothing is going to beat the croissant I had in Toronto, Canada, but it was a good decent croissant. Now, I have never had a hamentash, but I have always wanted one, so this was my big chance!A hamentash is a shortbread cookie normally filled with a fruit filling. I took a bite into it and found myself delighted, I craved more! This cookie was phenomenal, the shortbread was moist, yet nice and crumbly, and the filling was nice and sweet. If I am ever on the upper East side again, I am going back for this hamentash.
For lunch by the MET we ate at a place called the The Meatball Shop , they have several locations all over New York. I was a little leery about the vegetarian/vegan options, it being a specialist in meatballs and all, but I was pleasingly surprised. This place had nice atmosphere and selection in music! The menu is very versatile and you can choose what kind of meatball you want with what kind of sauce, or you can choose one of their pre-made options. I went with a pre-made option and ordered the veggieball melt. Again, the quality of this melt was superb. I really enjoyed the pesto on this sandwich and the quality of the cheese was great, creamy and rich. The ball was, I do believe, sweet potato based and that was nice flavor against the savory pesto and cheese. This was another great place with good quality food. A side note, their side salad was really good.
After the Meatball shop I was wanting something sweet so I searched for a bakery, not to my surprise, there was one right around the corner called Orwashers Bakery. I got a chocolate almond croissant and thoroughly enjoyed it. Normally when I buy chocolate croissants there is a whole lot of dry bread and a tiny bit of chocolate, not in this case! The croissant was not as moist as the one I had this morning, but not bone dry, and there was a really nice thick layer of chocolate in the middle and a great layer of almonds on top. This was probably the best chocolate croissant I have ever had. If you are craving something sweet, definitely go there! They also have a great selection of breads that looked delicious.
The last place we ate was The Russian Tea Room, I did not take pictures because I was trying to enjoy the atmosphere of this high end restaurant, since I do not get that experience often. I got the vegetarian ravioli, salad, and their cheesecake. The food here was so great. First, the salad was good, nice dressing, goat cheese, and butternut squash. The ravioli was delicious, texture was great, the veggies were cooked perfectly, and sauce was interesting, something I have never had before, and I enjoyed that. The cheesecake was D-licious! They served it with raspberry sauce and it was very enjoyable. My husband got the beef stroganoff and I tried one of his noodles and the sauce was so great, again, I do not have any words to describe how great the sauce was, and the noodles were great texture. I highly recommend this place, excellent!
Overall, this trip was a success in the food realm. The one take away I got from this culinary experience is that vegetables taste really good when cooked correctly, and they take on a whole other flavor when paired with sauces.