Jersey Day Trip
Treating my home, and its surrounding cities, like I would an unknown city—subject to the same fine tooth comb in search of vegan options—my list of vegan leads in the neighbor state New Jersey was growing. And preferring a random and mysterious lone vegan option to a well-worn, all-vegan establishment sometimes, a trip to New Jersey offered the intrigue and awe as a trip to, say, Oklahoma City. So we were off, list in tow, to taste what NJ had to offer.
Establishments with prominent v-bombs in their title get a gold star. Like Union, New Jersey’s Killer Vegan Café. They do an all-you-can-eat vegan brunch on Sundays. All-you-can-eat. Vegan brunch. Those details alone are worth the tolls on the Throgs Neck and George Washington Bridges.
The spread was ample enough: buttermilk pancakes, biscuits and gravy, French toast, a tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, rice and beans, steamed kale, hash browns. First the high points—the pancakes were amazing, fluffy and cake-like with the distinguishable tang of buttermilk. Paired with their berry syrup and maple syrup, they were pure heaven. A little pad of e.b. butter was missed however. The French toast rocked too, as did their gravy and anything it touched.
On the other side of the coin, the not-hot temperature and general lack of juiciness drawback of buffet-style serving deemed the other components just okay. Potatoes were depleted and not restocked the entire time of our visit. (Not having ample potatoes is kind of a big deal.) Also, it’s understood that in a buffet you make certain sacrifices. The lack of seasoning, temperature, texture, and supporting vegetables are overlooked for abundance. But for this sacrifice, you expect a good price. And in this case, Killer Vegan overcharges at $22 a head plus tax. For that price or a dime more, I could have a full spread, with sides, at a New York City brunch spot made hot and solely for me. Of course then I’d be in New York City… probably in a place 1/3 of the size and inside the pretentious and annoying conversation of fellow diners. I’d be scowling and I’d probably offer the restaurant gods some ducket to deliver me to the quiet, unassuming corner of Killer Vegan’s space, surrounded by conscientious and considerate eaters. Hmmm…
Thanks to CandyPenny’s reconnaissance, exploring New Jersey was fun. There are cities, like Paterson, that seem right out of the not-so distant past. Like the backdrop of some 1980s video game involving street gangs. It’s rundown and quite fine with itself, unlike other cities that need to have the same box stores dressing them up. In the middle of Paterson is a waterfall, oddly enough. Paterson Great Falls. It’s pretty, in all the ways waterfalls are, but the surrounding area makes it more so. Unfortunately, construction closures made it impossible to access the walkway to view the full front of the falls, however. But Instagram is made for capturing such detail and filtering it quite beautifully.
Also in Paterson, the abandoned Hinchliffe Stadium. Relatively a new national landmark and slated for cleaning up, I am glad I caught it in this state… crumpled and looking right out of a horror movie. Abandoned places are fascinating to many, including myself. It’s like dilapidation a kind of palpable energy. Crumblings as character, the past under the cracked facade kind of oozes out.
As we traveled further we happened to spy another abandoned site to explore. The tremendous complex of buildings we discovered was the Overbrook Asylum, a 325-acre system of buildings built in 1896. After driving about the overgrown winding asphalt driveways and admiring its creepiness, including a stretched out futon, we opted not to venture further in, despite realizing the enormity of the complex. We later learned the site would soon be demolished, there were reportedly hauntings there (with a boiler malfunction in 1917 freezing 30 patients to death one could understand the restless spirits), and the police were very serious about prosecuting trespassers.
We were not apprehended, thankfully. We managed to move onward to try another of New Jersey’s vegan options.
The count of bakeries I’ve visited that have been featured on Cupcakes Wars keeps increasing. I guess that is because more and more bakeries are attempting vegan options. It’s a wonderful thing. This time, it was House of Cupcakes, and their vegan vanilla options.
It was a very delicious vegan option with an impressively light and delicate cake. Though the vanilla flavor wasn’t that detectable, the texture knocked our socks off. Truly a great base to run many directions with other options, hint hint. The frosting, which serves its purpose as sweet and creamy, was a bit too plentiful. But this is a comment I often have with bakery cupcakes. Having held a piping bag in my hand, I know it’s easy to let presentation disrupt the delicate balanced sugar ratio.
Our next stop, Positivitea, was an all-vegan beverage bar with a menu of some unique eats and their own soft serve that has the nostalgic punch of the McDonalds sundaes of my youth. We opted to split one of their pressed waffle sandwich. And we opted for sweet, even though the cupcake had been more than enough. The things you do for your vegan blog!
The stuffed waffle sandwich was named S’MÖREGÅSBORD. It had chocolate drizzle under and upon it and mini-marshmallows on top and inside of it. Further, it also had a side of vanilla soft serve and a side of… chocolate ship cookies, which went untouched. Along with pure maple syrup. I should probably check to see if I got the Diabetes after this.
After our many stops in New Jersey, it was time to remember why my visits are far and few between. NY-NJ crossings always seem to be a nightmare. Until the vegan options outweigh this opportunity cost again, New Jersey!