When I lived in Brooklyn, I had better access to vegan food options. Living on Long Island, I make my food more often. This is a good thing. But on occasion I’ll hunt down food leads, determinedly, like I would if I was staying for just a day. I like the hunt–and more so on Long Island than in the New York City area, because it happens via car.
Here’s what I found: First, Bellmore’s Lil Left Coast, lil sister to Merrick’s Left Coast Kitchen. They have interesting eats with a few vegan options. I got the spicy roasted eggplant & tofu banh mi mostly because I would love to have a place near home to get the sandwich perfection that is a banh mi. Unfortunately, this didn’t really make the cut. But I ate it all up. Proof that bread is the staff of life–that my mom might have been onto something when she wrapped two slices of bread with nothing in between for my 3rd grade lunch that one time. That or she knew I was a budding vegan. Or it might have been that whole working nights thing. Either way, I will have to return to the Lil Left Coast to try some of their other veg options.
Hicksville is Long Island’s Little India. I love hitting up Hicksville’s huge Indian grocers to stock up on pantry items that seem to be triple the price elsewhere (seasonings, unique rice, coconut oil, flax) and experiment with their selection of imported produce. Then, there is the awesome selection of authentic Indian cuisine. A Yelp search for Indian restaurants in the 7 square miles of Hicksville brings up 63 eateries. (!!) Lucky for me, many are exclusively vegetarian and are very clear about vegan options. My sister and I visited the all-vegetarian Rajbhog Cafe, a counter spot with an exclusively vegan menu, for some lunchtime sustenance.
I got the lunch platter, a sampling of all their vegan selections of the day along with paratha, a deliciously oily flatbread. What is so satisfying about eating these small but varied portions (eating ayurvedically) is that it fulfills all emotional and physical requirements of food–hitting sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Well ok, my dish was missing the sweet. Ayurvedic eats means balanced doshas, a personal inherit mind/body principle. Hey baby, what’s your dosha? I took the dosha quiz (teehee) and learned I was Pitta. I’m reading about this stuff because I am hoping to visit India next year to celebrate two decades of being vegan. I mean, it is the birthplace of vegetarianism.
Feeling the urge to cruise, I knocked the very non-Ayurvedic Queen City Cupcakes off my list. Queen City is not a bakery, per se. It’s like a cupcake depot. They get cupcakes from bakeries and house them in a pretty shop and showcase. They get a few standard vegan cupcakes from somewhere. The vegan flavors never seem to be as interesting as the rest of the cupcakes. I got the lone vegan vanilla cupcake and ate in the car impatiently, sloppily like an opportunistic, fumbly tryst. Alas, I was not fulfilled by this tryst. The cake seemed frozen for an indefinite period of time and then thawed. The mile high frosting, however, had a different melting point and remained rock hard and wax-like. Gosh, I’m hard to please. No, not really.
It is such a delight to see winter’s umber turning a bice green. These happy daffodils in the backyard share my wide-eyed enthusiasm for the expanse of blue above. They seem like an assembladge excitedly whispering encouraging words to each other in the shifts of the wind. And it may be evident that I am currently writing a poetry unit for my 5th graders.
And finally–Three words: Frank Sobatka selfie.