…when I didn’t know how to cook, I’d find Long Island’s vegan options much more appetizing. But, once in awhile, “90’s vegan” serves as a nostalgic reminder of my history. Take The Witches Brew in West Hempstead…
Last time I was there, I looked like above. Baby fat. Straightedge. Snapcase t-shirt. Etc.
It felt weird to be there again, to look at their xeroxed zine-like coffee menu, to sit in the crushed velvet thrift store chairs, to be within the apathetic gaze of alterna-servers. Like visiting your old elementary school twenty years later. And it really was like twenty years since I had been there. The feeling was a mix of amusement, slight pity and nostalgia. I could analyze further if I wasn’t so hungry. And today, thanks to the invention of the internet, I knew they had a vegan menu I’d have to report on.
My sister and I split two of their sandwiches: the Is Real Lite (housemade hummus with avocado, tomato, lettuce and red onion.) It was a simple sandwich, but delicious. Nothing I couldn’t make at home easily, but hey, I wasn’t home. I enjoyed the vegan potato salad, but thought it was a bit skimpy.
We also got the BBQ Tempeh sandwich. Another pretty straight-forward offering I can more deliciously prepare at home. I know, I know, at a place like Witches Brew, you’re paying for the ambiance, supporting a local business with progressive values, monkey-wrenching the corporate agenda, man. Keeping West Hempstead weird. Or something. But I’ve been out of this small pond, and I don’t like paying for atmosphere that I don’t want. I like paying for good food.
Because they had some vegan sweet treats, I had to. Vegan s’mores. It reminded me of the microwave s’mores I made with my childhood friend. A great ending to a meal steeped in memories.
Similarly, 3 Brothers in Farmingdale has that 90’s vibe, too. Though it was not around in the 90’s, it is the eatery I craved most back then. And because I crave a veggie burger with the works, I got their bacon cheeseburger minus the cheese. And a slice of Vegan Treats‘ red velvet cake.
To time, and how much she teaches.