Eastern Island Retreat

Eastern Island Retreat

I spent the week at an island retreat. Not an exotic island by any means. I have lived on this geographic island for 97% of my life [fraction to decimal conversion: 32/33 = 0.96969697], the latter 9 in Brooklyn proper, its western tip. But with a warm and cozy home to station at, time and possibilities were bountiful. I spent the week traversing all major highways fulfilling whims, mainly related to food and thriftshopping. Days began with coffee, hearty breakfasts and WQXR, which soothes the kitties in The Electrician‘s absence.

Long Island is home to some good thriftshopping. As long as I can remember it has been the only shopping I can really get into. I try to shop retail but find no pleasure in it. Given my pledge of quality items in 2011 [Thing #6], I must treat thrifting as supplemental. After a lifetime of bag sales and whim-based thrift purchases, I am more discerning as a thrifter now. So though I appreciate the crushed pink velvet chair I don’t buy it. Grudgingly. A day of LI thrifting usually includes: Island Thrift, Selden Thrift and Babylon’s Salvation Army. These are my go-to’s.
Being “with car”, I knew I needed to check off some items off my “To Go & Eat” list. Knish Nosh, in Forest Hills, Queens, was one such destination. I have wanted to check out their hand-rolled knishes out for some time now, especially after reading this post by the now-defunct blog Veganfriendly.com. I got the sweet potato knish and found it good considering the following… it presented poorly, the thin knish skin was very moist from being microwaved and the wax paper it was wrapped in while it was microwaved peeled off much of the skin when I took it off. Yes, it was good–sweet and spiced sweet potato saved the day. I can only imagine how much better it would be fresh, but I doubt I’d make it back there any time soon.

My island excursion had me all the way east, back into the NYC area in Queens and around the western perimeter of the island to wrap me into Red Hook, Brooklyn for … Fairway: the must-stop when you have a car at your disposal. This market truly is like no other. And this location is truly like no other of Fairway‘s locations. The hype is justified. I love this place. Thinking ahead, I purchased my groceries for the coming week–local wild greens, organic rainbow carrots, organic daikon, Minneola tangelos, Bosc pears, crimson raisins, handmade tofu, etc…

Stopping at my neglected apartment to freshen up the place and drop off my goodies, I just had to snap a picture of the beautiful bouquet of produce. Just gorgeous. As a young vegan I often spoke whimsically of a bouquet of root vegetables instead of flowers come that special day. [Just like the teenager dreams of Doc Marten-ed bridesmaids. Ah what society does to the little girl and, later, the woman] Though this is by no means an innovative idea– I’ve silently grunted others sharing their view of the same– it has real functional merit: the veggie bouquets being used for the dinner contributes to the zero waste impact.

Ok, brace for some seriously delicious eats. A bit off the beaten path, near Middle Village, Queens, is a gem of vegan eatery… a delicious discovery of fresh and live food that rivals raw fare from that outer-borough Manhattan. Organic Village has been open for about a year but lived only a few weeks on my radar. Again, with the car, I knew I had to check it out. I was so glad I dropped in. I got the royal treatment from Erin, the sister of the creator, who gave me decadent samples and free-range with my camera. I knew I had stumbled upon something special [like that place in Oklahoma] after trying my first sample [above], their wonderful chili.
Their fridge was stocked with yummy desserts. Raw chocolate bars, three kinds of pie and chia seed and chocolate mousse puddings. Erin let me sample the puddings and they were absolutely mind-blowing. Superb texture and amazing taste–no graininess, not chalkiness–just smooth, clean pleasure in a scoop. I also sampled the coconut cream pie, pictured in the rear right. But allow me to build up to that…

There were also some nutty bon-bon-y type balls I did not try… but will. I am planning to return with CandyPenny soon to relive the magic. So, until then you bon-bons. It is really important to spread the word about a place like this: amazing food, stellar service, no pretention and a commitment to ethical and healthful food values.

How lovely! My lunch! The burrito: Macadamia nuts, Serrano chili, sun-dried tomatoes, Pine nuts, chipotle powder, cashew wrapped in Collard Greens with sunflower sprouts, lime, green cabbage and red cabbage, avocado and a vibrant pico de gallo. The burrito floored me. Fresh and alive, it made you feel the same. I also loved the spiced flax crackers. Next time I have to try their burger.

The final sample Erin bestowed upon me was the kicker. Their coconut cream pie. All raw but no nuts! This is exciting to me because I find nut-based raw desserts very heavy. This piece of pie was unbelievable… smooth, creamy, delicate like a dessert should be. It’s sweetened only by dates and has minimal ingredients. Two words: coconut meat. The difference is their coconut meat is imported from Thailand, shipped frozen. This is a must-taste. And I’ll now be dreaming about often. Organic Village is superb. Get there soon!

Call me nutty but I went ahead and bought myself baby food as a snack, Happy Baby Food. It was 75 cents! And it is 100% pureed mango! I want to eat that too. It’s a great buy for roadtrips: wholesome, nonperishable and easy to suck down while driving. Next time I hit the road I will stock up. Plus, it’s all organic, uses non-GMO fruits and veggies, works directly with farmers and gives back to communities with children in need. That works for me. Call me a big baby.