Matcha Gracias, New York

After my impromptu Montréal trip, I half-jokingly asked my best friend to take a trip to NYC with me in May. She agreed in a heartbeat and that was that. I’m so glad I decided to skip out on all the tourist attractions. Me, long lines, and large crowds don’t mix. Picture this: 36 hours jam-packed with sharing good eats with good friends. If that isn’t the best way to spend a weekend away, I don’t know what is.

PICK-A-BAGEL • 891 8th Ave

After nearly 12 hours on a bus, we touched down at Port Authority Bus Terminal at 5:30 am. Most shops seemed to be closed, but of course we managed to find a bagel shop nearby. Almost every bagel shop in NYC carries tofu cream cheese alongside all the other spreads with is AMAZING. I opted for tofu scallion on a poppyseed bagel, of course.

PECK’S • 455A Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn

After parting ways with my friends, I hopped on the subway to Brooklyn to meet Anna. In desperate need of a caffeine fix after not being able to sleep on the bus, she took me to a cute little coffee shop to grab almond lattes before brunch. I really liked their coffee and actually ended up going back here on Monday morning!

CHAMPS DINER • 197 Messerole St, Brooklyn | VEGAN SHOP UP (PINE BOX) • 12 Grattan St, Brooklyn

After coffee, we met up with Tim and Rudy for brunch at Champs, an all vegan diner in Brooklyn. I’ve only ever had vegan brunch from one place in Toronto, and Champs completely changed the game for me.

I got the benedict – english muffins topped with ‘ham’, tofu, and hollandaise!!! The sauce was too real and I wish I had ordered some more on the side. It was served with a side salad and the most crispy hashbrowns I have ever had in my life.

After brunch, we headed over to Vegan Shop Up at Pine Box for even more good eats. Fun fact, Rudy is actually a vendor at Vegan Shop up and apparently serves up the best tortas and tacos…which may or may not have been one of my motives for this trip. Although he wasn’t one of the vendors that weekend, I still managed to grab some amazing food.

I couldn’t say no to another bagel (my second of the day) because Orchard Grocer was serving up carrot lox with all the fixings. Anna and I also split a s’mores cookie and lemon bar. They were honestly so good I forgot to snap a photo…sorry!

KONDITORI • 182 Allen St

Between brunch and dinner we decided to take shelter from the rain in a Swedish coffee shop, Konditori which actually means “Traditional Swedish meeting place to enjoy friends over great coffee, fine baked goods, and confections.” Tim got the cutest matcha latte I’ve ever seen, while I opted for an earl grey tea. I’ll have to return to this spot to try their coffee.

BUNNA CAFE • 1084 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn

This was my first time trying Ethiopian food and it was quite the experience. Ethiopian food is served sans-cutlery and instead Injera takes its place. Injera is a sourdough flatbread made with teff and barley. We ordered a feast of 9 different vegetable and lentil/pea dishes. I totally underestimated this feast and had to unbutton my pants at the end. If you’re looking to share a meal with friends but want something a little different than your usual spot, Bunna is definitely the place to go.

My favourite dish out of all of them was the ENGUDAY TIBS: crimini mushrooms, sauteed in peppers, rosemary, garlic, ginger, and onion. I also really enjoyed both yellow spit pea dishes.

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Cha Cha Matcha • 373 Broome St

Do I even need to explain? If you know me, you know I looooove my matcha. Cha Cha Matcha has a variety of plant milks including macadamia. MACADAMIA! I had mine over ice because it was such a gorgeous day out. If you’ve never had macadamia milk, TREAT YO SELF. It’s one of the best plant milks I’ve ever had and I wish it were more widely available.

This place is super insta-worthy for sure, and the drinks are pretty to look at but actually taste good. I’ve had my fair share of horrible clumpy matcha lattes, but everything at Cha Cha Matcha is smooth sailing.

by CHLOE. • 240 Lafayette St, Soho

I ordered the classic burger with half sweet potato fries and half regular fries, both of which are ‘air baked.’ The tempeh-lentil-walnut-chia patty on its own it wasn’t my favourite, but sandwiched between the softest potato bun with house-made pickles and sauces…I couldn’t stop eating. The beet ketchup had the tanginess regular tomato ketchup does, with a slight hint of earthy beet flavour. The chipotle aioli paired with the sweet potato fries was nothing short of amazing.

BOBA GUYS • 11 Waverly Pl

Let me just put this out there – I’m not a bubble tea person. That’s largely due to the fact that Toronto is severely lacking in the dairy-free milk tea department. Boba Guys, comparagble to Cha Time in Toronto, is killing the game right now. Serving up tons of flavours of milk tea, they have the option of dairy milk or Califia farms almond milk. Of course me being me, I opted for the strawberry matcha milk tea. Two days in a row.

Although there was no matcha flavour I could detect, it still had that beautiful green hue. The flavour was very strawberry milkshake-esque. This is the perfect place to stop by to grab something to sip on while you people watch in Washington Square Park. Since the weather is getting a lot warmer, be prepared to wait in line at Boba Guys. The space is small and the line goes out the door, but the service is fairly quick.

BEYOND SUSHI • 229E 14th St

In Montreal when Anna, Tim, and I went to an all vegan sushi place, they told me about Beyond Sushi and how it’s a MUST in NYC. I really appreciate this spot because although avocado and sweet potato rolls are where it’s at, there are SO many other ways to make vegan-friendly sushi.

I got the mighty mushroom roll which was delicious and the green root noodle salad which wasn’t my favourite. I had a bite of Anna’s pickle me roll and wild shroom salad – YUM! I kind of wish I ordered those instead. This is definitely a spot I’m returning to next time I’m in NYC.

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MYRTLE BAGEL • 410 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn

Bagels are my weakness, and after indulging twice on Saturday I knew I had to have one before I left. The tofu cream cheese here had a better texture, but I prefer the bagels from pick-a-bagel.

INDAY • 1133 Broadway Ave

After a quite indulgent weekend, I was ready for something a little lighter for lunch. Inday serves up fresh grain bowls packed with flavour and has tons of options whether you’re vegan or not. I got the green glow bowl and tried a little bit of Cheska’s squash bowl, which had a really interesting and delicious component; charcoal eggplant.

Unfortunately I wasn’t super hungry when we ordered, so I didn’t enjoy the food as much. Needless to say, I’ll definitely be back to explore the rest of this menu.

SCREAMER’S PIZZERIA • 620 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn

Last but not least, Screamer’s. These photos are ugly AF but can you blame me? The lighting was terrible and we all just wanted to eat pizza. There weren’t many options when we went since it was closer to the end of the day, but I can’t wait to go back and get better pictures/try ALL the slices. The crust was so crispy and the “pepperoni” tasted so real! If you’re a pizza lover and haven’t tried this place out yet…what are you doing?

Experiencing New York City for the first time was such a dream. The NYC vegan scene has so much to offer, and I’m looking forward to checking more places off my list this summer.

Until then, I’ll be dreaming about tofu cream cheese bagels and macadamia matcha lattes. Don’t forget to check out my foodie friends on IG! Anna / Tim / Cheska / Rudy

J.F

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