To say “vegan” or not to say “vegan,” that is sometimes the question. Slowly but surely I believe hesitant proprietors are seeing the light. When you say it, they will come. By say, I mean signage outside and on the website. And by they, I mean me. Especially if you’re 9 minutes away and have a parking lot. IMG_5361

Though Bare Naked Bakery & Cafe is a dedicated gluten-free bakery, they have an ample selection of egg & dairy free options. I came by on a bright Sunday morning looking to sample them all. IMG_5359

At home, I ripped into the bakery box. IMG_5363

I picked up some Easter sugar cookies, adorned in their pastel piping. They had a soft texture that was slightly grainy in that gluten-free fashion, nice flavor overall. IMG_5376

The Linzer tart, freshly dusted with powdered sugar. IMG_5373

Bakery standard Black & White cookie. Yummy icing, cookie was a bit too moist. I know, I know–gluten free is tough. Did I mention I am eating fresh vegan options from a real-life bakery on the South shore of Long Island, where I grew up? That kind of trumps all.
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And another bakery standard: the chocolate chip cookie. IMG_5377

I am excited that there are vegan options so close by. I’ll be back Bare Naked!

A Rocky Point strip mall is an unlikely place for vegan option to surface. But they did at the lively B.B.D.’s (Beers, Burgers, & Desserts). CP and I trekked to this eastern point of Long Island to sample their vegan seitan wings, confident in their menu listing them officially as “Vegan Seitan Wings.”
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The place is a fairly typical bar and bar food spot: thick coated wood about; dark; a thick, palpable buzz in the air. Disclaimer: We were visiting during a St. Patty’s day party. We ordered the vegan wings and some tater tots… and were brought our plastic fork, knife, and ketchup packets. (Huh?) The wings arrive and were very delicious. They didn’t seem to of frozen origin, they were certainly seitan (as some may know that eateries can sometimes use tofu, seitan, and what is really packaged texturized soy protein products interchangeable.)  Sauce was sweet with a subtle kick. Vegan ranch dipping sauce was guiltily delectable. IMG_5174

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After some shenanigans, we were ready for more food. We headed towards Bay Shore’s Tula Kitchen. I visited this place once years ago and had never returned. To my experienced veg palate, they offer meh vegan options, the kind you can make at home easily. But the posh space asks a pretty penny for these dishes. So although I welcome the option given the dearth of choices in the surrounding area, I won’t likely make the trek to Bay Shore when I can get Candle 79 for the same price if I head west.  IMG_5180

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IMG_5159Finally, perfect marshmallow fluff using Versawhip and this recipe!

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Beautiful snow striations.IMG_5039

Winter’s last word.IMG_5069

Dumping peaks.IMG_5071

Blackstrap yolk.IMG_5074

Who dun it?IMG_5082

M.O.B.‘s California burger in Brooklyn.IMG_5112

Carrot poker chips.IMG_5168

Connecticut, New York’s northern neighbor, has plenty of vegan eats to feast upon. It’s an ideal destination for a day trip. I can get to Connecticut without heading far into the New York City area and her more messy crossings. The Throgs Neck Bridge is an easy breeze. A couple of hours later on the I-95 and you feel like you’re very far away, with billboards of diners advertising vegan options. How wonderful. But today, it was Middletown’s ION (It’s Only Natural) for their Southern Plate.DSC_0005

The dish hits all the marks with Southern fried tofu, sauteed garlicky greens, black beans, and a warm piece of cornbread with an aioli. The texture of the tofu was divine. The breading didn’t all fall off the tofu after a bite–they had the perfect texture. But I wished the tofu hadn’t been marinated. The taste of the marinated tofu inside the breading, along with a ton of garlic in the greens, had me seeking refuge in the black beans! It needed something to balance the assertive flavors.DSC_0002

But boy, was it a gorgeous dish!IMG_4874

Next, I got baked. I mean, I went to Get Baked in Windsor, housed in a great, tucked away space that hosts an antiques auction and seasonal pop-ups.  IMG_4876

They have a ton of rotating vegan options. And a very sweet counter woman. IMG_4879

I got a red velvet cupcake, a chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream, and a chocolate shortbread cookie. To go! I ate the red velvet when I got home and thought it spectacular. Sturdy texture but not dry or dense. It was exceptional, texture-wise and taste-wise! Boy, vegan cupcakes have come so far. IMG_4885

The last stop: The Sweet Beet in Granby, a carry-out spot with clean eats and sweet treats. IMG_4888

I picked an assortment of their one-bite cupcakes: chocolate chip, Mexican hot chocolate, toasted coconut, lemon, snicker doodle, and chocolate. Of course the intention was to get them home and share them, but the ride home had me popping open the box several times. I loved that the chocolate had beet in it… and the vanilla tasted like it also had natural goodness inside, not overly sweet in a compensatory fashion. Texture was a bit dry though, as if they weren’t made recently. IMG_4886

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They have a selection of pre-made eats. I choose a version of their Mac No Cheese with a cashew cheese sauce. IMG_4890

Thanks for the eats, Connecticut! I’ll be back soon.

For more hearty winter cravings, I met with CP for a Brooklyn pizza dinner. After a tremendous wait time thwarting our dinner plans a few weeks back, I couldn’t get Paulie Gee’s out of my head. It had been several years since we had been there, and there were plenty of new vegan pizza options to sample. We door-busted on a school night to ensure the best seat in the house. IMG_4848

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The Red, White & Greenpeace: Baby arugula, olive oil, house pickled red onions and cashew ricotta dollops. Very delicious! I loved how the wood-fired crust complemented the tastes of the red, white and green. One tip to the sweet Paulie, who checked on us twice, a quick chop of the greens might ensure a bite doesn’t drag off all the toppings. IMG_4850

The Jackie Green: vegan tomato sauce, almond milk & onion cream and meatballs made with green jackfruit. Another delicious daiya-free and all-housemade delight! The meatballs had the soft texture of bean balls. IMG_4854

See you next time, Paulie! I’m sure there will be even more vegan options to come.

In these frigid days and nights, a coveted sunspot is boardwalk real estate. To Frankenstein, a concentrated dose of sun is well worth a bit of awkward positioning. IMG_4763

It’s chili weather once again! These cold days have me craving a big bowl of hearty chili with a nice kick of heat. Bell peppers, sweet peppers, and jalapeno? This was going to take a lot of prep time.IMG_4755

Do mix the colors.IMG_4759

And top with some freshness. Green onions, because lots of white onions just ain’t enough. And cilantro. Add homemade cornbread with a big fat slice of jalapeno with the seeds baked right on top. IMG_4805

The cold morning had the Big Galoot returning a week after his disappearance. We feared the worst, the harsh circle of life for homeless cats. It was a shock to see him yelping on the driveway. Oh, what adventures he must of had.IMG_4813

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