Cinnamon Snail started as the first vegan organic food truck in the US, in 2010, and has since then become well known. They have now two locations in NYC in addition to the food truck (in Fidi and in the Pennsy food hall). I initially searched for the food truck, but couldn’t find it. So I went to the nearby Pennsy food hall instead. I actually visited Cinnamon Snail a few times during my stay in NYC, to try several different foods. Choosing is hard with such great options!
Of course the Cinnamon Snail is mostly known for their sweets: cinnamon rolls and doughnuts. But they also have very nice savoury foods like sandwiches and burgers. You can order take-out and delivery from the food truck and the Fidi location, I believe all locations have slightly different foods.
There are is space to sit in the Pennsy food hall, though it gets very busy. For my first visit of Cinnamon Snail I wanted to try some pastries! I had a cinnamon roll (of course), a peanut butter cookie party and a raspberry danish. All sweets are quite big and sugary, as expected!
I later went back to try some of the savoury foods; a Memphis BBQ Deluxe burger (lentil burger on a pretzel bun, of which I have no picture), chilli cheese tater tots and a creole grilled tofu sandwich.
Unfortunately it is quite difficult to make a nice pictures since the food is more prepared for take-out. Of course we mostly care about the taste, and it that department there are no complaints! The place itself is also pretty busy, so I guess other people agree with me 😀
Vegan crêpes? Yes please! Before going to New York I had read about the Little Choc Apothecary and I knew I had to visit. It had been a while since I had a crêpe since the standard version is unfortunately not vegan.
Crêpes are quite different from pancakes, in that they are much thinner and larger. They tend to be made on a large round stove, where the batter is spread using a small T-shaped wooden stick, whereas pancakes are made in … pans (what’s in a name…). Savoury crêpes are sometimes made from buckwheat flour, and are then often folded in a square shape. Sweet crêpes on the other hand tend to be made of wheat flour and are usually folded in a triangle. It is all in the details!
Little Choc Apothecary serves both savoury and sweet crêpes. They also serve açaí bowls and sweets like cookies and scones. For drinks they sell juices, smoothies, coffee and tea, beer and wine. The teas are special home-made blends (this is the apothecary part!) and you can also buy your favourite tea blend to take home. Apart from being vegan, all the food is also gluten-free, with a focus on local, organic and fair-trade ingredients where possible.
The interior of Little Choc Apothecary is very cute, and the visitors are mostly younger people. It was quite busy when we visited. There is some space downstairs, where the crêpes are made and a larger room upstairs.
We started by ordering drinks and some savoury crêpes. For drinks I wanted to try the Blue Haze smoothie (blueberry, banana, almond milk and home-made ‘nutella’) and my husband took an Orange Tan (carrot, orange, apple, pineapple, ginger).
With the drinks we ordered our savoury crêpes. The savoury crêpes have pre-defined fillings and you can get some additional toppings for a small surcharge like cashew cheese, scrambled tofu, etc. We decided to try the ‘Room for Mushroom’ (roasted mushrooms, spinach, walnuts and tahin-basil sauce) with extra coconut bacon and a ‘Garden of Eatin’ (apple, avocado, fresh kale, mint-basil pesto and lemon juice).
We got the Orange Tan juice quite quickly, but we had to wait quite a while for the crêpes. The crêpes were a bit thicker than usual crêpes and they were folded triangularly (heresy!). The Mushroom crêpe was a bit more creamy, and of course mushroom and spinach is just a great combination. The ‘Garden of Eatin’ was very nice, I really like the sweetness the apple brought and the pesto was very tasty as well.
At that point we still didn’t get the other drink. Because it was so busy I felt bad asking about it too soon, but as I still didn’t have my drink once the food arrived, I decided it was time. As expected, the drink was forgotten. The server apologised and the drink was removed from the bill, so that was nice. And the drink was very tasty, albeit very cold.
Of course we also had to try the sweet crêpes! Unlike for the savoury version you pick what you want on it, with the first 2 toppings included and all additional for additional cost. Toppings include fruits, jams, nuts, ice cream, etc. There was a special that day: a banana split crêpe, with banana, chocolate, ice cream and cake pieces. We tried the special and a crêpe with banana, home-made nutella and clotted cream. The special was nice, though the cake pieces were not so interesting. The ice cream was very good though. For the custom-picked crêpe the combination is quite classic 🙂 (except for the clotted cream). The clotted cream did give a nice salty taste against the sweetness of the crêpe.
After that we had no more stomach space to try any of the other sweets! I do have to say the food was a bit more pricey, but on the other hand: vegan crêpes, nice atmosphere and great food.
A short post, but I think this place needs more recognition! Planty is a new small company bringing delicious plant-based pastries! They do catering, and have a food stall “Que de Bonheur”, which can be found at PlainPalais market in Geneva, on Tuesday and Friday (from 8:30 to 14:00). Planty is zero-waste, so you can bring your own container!
At their food stall I tried a piece of quiche and a seitan wrap, the latter being assembled at the spot! Can recommend! Of course I also tried a piece of lemon pie and some chocolate chip cookies. And yes, they are tasty as they look!
Occasionally the food stall is present at festivals, which are announced on their Facebook. They will be at Geneva’s vegan festival which is the 20 and 21 October, http://urbanvge.ch/festival-vegan-2018/ ! I went to the festival last year, and it was a HUGE success. It was so busy that it was almost impossible to enter the room in which it was held 😀 This year the festival will be 2 days, and I will definitively pop by!
New York City has several great vegan places ! I already mentioned the 100% vegan bakery By Chloe on this blog, today, let’s talk about a very different 100% vegan place : VLife! I was walking around New York when I saw a sign promoting 100% vegan food. Well that is too good an opportunity to pass up! I visited VLife several times during my stay in the city, but I only made pictures of one meal… Mostly because take-out doesn’t photograph so nicely 😀
So as mentioned VLife is 100% vegan, they serve burgers, wraps, rice bowls, vegan quasadillas, salads, juices, bubble teas and more! It is possible to customize the wraps, burgers, smoothies etc. And of course they have desserts! Apart from being vegan, they are Kosher-certified and do not use GMO soy nor MSG. All items on the menu that are also Soy-free or Gluten-free are marked. Additionally Vlife does both take-out and delivery.
The first time I visited I tried a bubble tea and a vegan quasadilla, which was made with avocado and tapioca ‘cheese’ (VLife uses a lot of ‘cheese’ made of tapioca) It was delicious!
The second time there were some spaces to sit so I could actually made some pictures. We ordered an Easy V-cheesy wrap, Cajun fries, crispy mushrooms and a BLT Bliss burger. We could choose our own sauces, there is quite some choice! We tried the Mustard Aioli and the Avocado Mayo, both are nice! For drinks we had a ginger black ice tea and home-made lemonade.
The mushrooms are nice and spicy. I liked the cajun fries, they were nicely seasoned and crispy. Also slightly spicy as expected. The burger was good, but not very special. I did really like the wrap, it had quite some salad, a tasty ‘cheesy’ sauce, and the soy protein had an interesting texture.
It is unfortunate the place is so tiny, but the food they serve is very nice … I went back there several times even though NYC is full of choices for vegan food!
I must confess this post is partially driven by the love for falafel and hummus. These are not specific for the Lebanese cuisine, since they can also be found in e.g. Israeli cuisine, but Lebanese eateries are more common here (in Western Europe) I really enjoy Lebanese food, with its different textures and flavours.
As someone that likes to eat and to travel, I have always been interested in the food eaten in other countries and regions. (Of course, as a vegan there will be many dishes I will not eat, and that is okay) The food in restaurants here has often been “Westernised” to a certain degree. This is partially due to availability of ingredients and adaptation to local tastes, creating a fusion rather than the authentic experience. That is not a bad thing! But that does makes it more difficult to experience the real deal. Especially when it comes to Middle-Eastern food, so often it is just fast-food-type places, serving kebab sandwiches and shawarma with fries. While those are for sure elements of Middle-Eastern cuisine, it is just a part of this amazingly rich cuisines. There are several common elements in Middle-Eastern foods, but all the different countries and regions have their own specialties, ingredients, spices, etc. However, access to authentic food from all these regions here is limited.
I found that Lebanese restaurants do in fact offer actual Lebanese food, and a wide variety of dishes. At a market in my city, a Lebanese family sells authentic, home-made food, and it is actually similar the stuff you get in restaurants like Le Cèdres du Liban and Homous & co. Therefore I decided to focus on Lebanese cuisine. Many of the dishes that are found in Lebanon are also in nearby countries, such as Israel, Syria and even Cyprus. Of course, I haven’t traveled to Lebanon (yet!), so I cannot completely vouch for authenticity.
So that was quite a story! But I find it important to give a bit of background when talking about these things and to acknowledge my Western-European point of view:)
The history of Lebanese cuisine is a rich and ancient; Western civilisation is said to have started here! The roots of some dishes can be traced back thousands of years. Due to its geographical location, it has been influenced by, and influenced the Middle East and the Mediterranean, which can be seen in the overlap with certain Greek dishes.
There have also been some specific influences from occupiers, such as the Ottomans, who occupied Lebanon for 400 years. They brought strong coffee and baklava. After the First World War the French came, and introduced specific pastries such as flan. When the French left after the Second World War, times of turmoil and stability have alternated in Lebanon, but the country is once again rising as a tourist destination.
The ingredients used in Lebanese cuisine are diverse; grains such as rice and bulgur, fresh fruit like melons, grapes and figs, vegetables such as eggplant and cauliflower, lentils, chick peas, onions, and fish. Red meat is not very common, except for lamb (due to the Ottoman influence), poultry is used more often. The national food is kibbeh, a paté of lamb and bulgur wheat.
When it comes to dairy products, cheese and yogurt (labneh) are used often. Butter however, is rarely used, except in desserts. Garlic and olive oil are ubiquitous. (Good to know for vegans, for grilling or sautéing food, olive oil is used rather than butter)
Sauces are not commonly used, for flavour the Lebanese dishes depend on a variety of spices and herbs. A typical spice mix used in Lebanese food is za’atar (thyme, sesame and sumac) Other herbs that are used a lot are parsley, nutmeg, cinnamon and mint.
A very important part of the meal is the bread, or pita, a type of flatbread, which is used to scoop up food instead of cutlery. For dessert baklava or fresh fruit such as melons are served. Baklava in Lebanon often contains pistachio nuts and rose-water syrup, rather than the honey-walnut variety found in Greece.
Food is often served as several small dishes to accompany drinks. This style is called mezze, and is similar to Italian antipasti or Spanish tapas. Mezze can be a meal in its own right. It is such a great way to have a meal if you are a person that cannot choose!
When it comes to beverages, there is of course coffee (strong, and sometimes spiced with cardamom), but also jalab (a fruit syrup with rose water), ayran (a yogurt drink) and wine ( Lebanon is a large exporter of wine). The national liquor is arak, an anise-flavoured distilled drink. This drink apparently came into existence to replace the illegalized absinthe.
Likely vegan dishes
In the places where I have eaten Lebanese food, the following dishes were almost always vegan. (Still it won’t hurt to check, I once saw a place that used milk to prepare their hummus)
Pita – flatbread, served with every meal. The standard version is vegan
Hummus – chickpea and tahini (sesame paste) dip
Baba ganoush – roasted eggplant and tahini dip
Moutabal – similar to baba ganoush, but slightly differently spiced
Tabbouleh – bulgur and parsley salad
Dolmas (can be vegan) – grape leaves stuffed with rice
Fatoush (sometimes) – Bread salad made with pita bread
Falafel – chick pea balls
Foul Mudamas – fava beans (also eaten as breakfast)
Maghmour – eggplant, tomato and chick pea stew (sometimes called musaka)
Fatayer (sometimes) – dough triangles with stuffing, e.g. spinach
Mudardara – lentils with rice, sometimes served with yogurt
Loubiah Bzeit – Green beans with tomatoes
Shakshuka – Bell pepper stew (not to be confused with the egg dish!)
Strong coffee, fresh fruits. Baklava is usually not vegan (butter and/or honey is used) but sometimes there are some vegan ones.
From B12 in Kyiv to By Chloe in New York. Let’s talk about another vegan bakery today! Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I was in New York lately. I had visited NYC before, and I was happy to visit again. The energy from the city is just great! While I was there for my day job, of course I took some time to check out some cool vegan places. So let’s get to it!
By Chloe is from completely vegan, certified kosher (US locations) and they offer gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free options. There are several locations in the US and in the UK. I visited one of the New York locations, and to get a good idea of their food I went a few times (#struggles)
By Chloe serves breakfast/brunch (oats, pancakes, etc), lunch (sandwiches, burgers, salads, …), warm drinks, juices, smoothies, cakes, and more! Some of the items are pre-made and pre-packaged, such as the salads and juices. All the food is prepared from scratch, including sauces and patties. By Chloe use organic local-sourced ingredients (when possible), with an accent on whole foods and healthy ingredients. They do take-out and delivery as well.
The interior is cute and welcoming. The location I visited was quite spacious (for New York:)) and initially it was not very busy. I do have to mention that the music was very loud. This might be a New York thing, I noticed it in other eateries as well but it kinda didn’t match the nice chill vibe that by Chloe has going on. During lunch time it got very busy. It was great to see a completely vegan place being so successful!
I tried the daily pancakes with a coffee (and I got a piece of banana bread for later, it was a lot but it was also very, very tasty) The pancakes were very soft and fluffy, topped with chocolate sauce, matcha powder and some strawberries. They were served with syrup and coconut butter to the side. The pancakes were served on a styrofoam plate which was a bit inconvenient for cutting. The utensils available were plastic. On their web site they do mention eco-friendly packaging, so I guess it is bio-degradable?
I went back a few days later to try one of their sandwiches and the ‘air-baked’ sweet fries. The pesto ‘meatball’ sandwich was great, the fries were alright but very soft. Personally I am more into crispy fries. Unfortunately it is all served in loads of wrapping paper, which soaked up the (tasty) sauce, so it was not possible to make a nice picture 😦 Think of the bloggers people!! It is a shame, because I got some pretty delicious and cool-looking beet ketchup on the fries. It makes for a messy eating experience. Again, I was eating in the cafe itself, so it was also very unnecessary to use so much paper even if it is eco-friendly. In this case though,since it was very busy it is possible that the person that served me thought I wanted take-out.
In summary: the food is good, I especially liked the sandwiches and the cakes. Can recommend !
Type of place: Vegan bakery / fast-casual lunch
Completely vegan: yes !
Website ( English ) : https://eatbychloe.com/
Did I already mention that Kyiv is a good place for vegans? Somehow people are surprised by this, but I had a lot of great vegan food in Kyiv ! This is partially due to religious reasons as I explained in a previous blogpost but also because veganism is on the rise in general.
B12 is a vegan bakery, with a small shop attached. They sell for example vegan nut cheese and products like peanut butter and super foods. It is a bit tricky to find. It is in a basement, in the historic centre of Kyiv.
The place itself is quite small and a bit cave like, with exposed stone walls. The interior is a bit hipster, with wooden furniture. Also there are e.g. card games and some books. The atmosphere is chill and quiet, with relaxed music. The menu card is partially in English as well, which is also nice.
They serve a variety of hot drinks, such as coffee, and cold drinks like milk shakes, lemonades etc. Now the nice thing is of course the pastries!
We tried the Oreo cake and a cinnamon roll. The cake is chocolaty, of course, and very nicely fluffy. It reminded me a bit of the cake at Veganopolis. Pretty intense, but not as heavy as some chocolate cakes are. I personally preferred the cinnamon roll, which was so good, sticky and sugary as it should be!
For drinks we had an almond latte and a piña colada milk shake. The coffee was strangely a bit lukewarm, so maybe it was made with cold milk? The piña colada milk shake was nice, though I personally prefer other more traditional flavours!