NYXStrong Hearts Cafe
Strong Hearts Cafe is an all-vegan cafe in Syracuse, New York. I’ve been eying their menu for some time, attempted a trip once but fell ill enroute. Since, it has sat in my bookmarks in the folder To Do, subfolder To Go & Eat. Here, finally, I get a taste of Syracuse’s only exclusively vegan eatery.
Strong Hearts Cafe has full menu of sandwich favorites, breakfast bites available all day and a slew of other goodies–salads, baked goods and a mouth-watering list of shakes named after a cast of social and animal activists. Try the homage to the hardline straightedgers Earth Crisis (peanut butter & chocolate), a band I hadn’t thought of since I last saw them at Wetlands in 1996, or The Sea Shepherds (coconut), marking owner Joel‘s Arctic stint with Sea Shepherds in 2005. Beyond their amazing menu, it is great to support the passionate causes that founded the cafe.
On to the food! Growing up on Long Island a local ma-n-pa delicatessen was never more than a few blocks away. I loved the potato salad, watching the big silver spoon dish out a huge portion for me, hoping for a piece of the upper layer’s garnish… Not many vegan eateries include potato salad on their menus. I knew Strong Hearts would do it right. Perfectly cooked potatoes, plenty of fresh dill, creamy with celery for texture. Yum.
I have problems with considering any other sandwich on the menu when a Reuben is offered. This one was delicious. The rye was grilled to a golden brown, there was perfect cabbage-to-seitan proportion and a tangy thousand islands dressing drizzled about. Next time I’d opt for none of the Daiya and add some pickles for some crunchy texture.
Of course, dessert. After a 5 hour ride and a bad case of Driver’s Knee (I’m getting old!), I think I earned it. The huge cupcake was their take on a creamsicle: vanilla cake (VCTOTW if I had to guess) and a sweet orange buttercream. Hubba hubba. Some serious piping up top. I’m curious about their sprinkles as I’ve never seen a vegan version (without the confectioners’ glaze) meet the texture and brightness of the non-vegan variety.