V.V. Does A.C.
It seems the world gets more and more vegan-friendly everyday. As a vegan food blogger, the surge in vegan options near, kinda near, far and very far is overwhelming. From big cities to small locales, I can’t keep up. But I try… And I looove trying. It’s very delicious.
My most recent mission: New Jersey. A neighboring state with a lot of vegan activity teeming under a guise of… whatever it is New Jersey is known for. I’m on a mission to fine-tooth comb the state for vegan options. Partly because, there it is right next door, partly because I’m inspired by what I am discovering at each step, and partly because under the radar is way more exciting than the obvious.
So I headed south to continue he hunt. But distance from point A to point B has many in-betweens. The first was Papa Ganache, an all-vegan bakery in Matawan I first visited back in 2013. Ha, “Back in 2013” makes me chuckle.
Papa Ganache has an extensive spread of vegan delights. Eye candy in glass cases. I swooned for their rainbow cookie cupcake, topped with an equally bright and colorful cookie bite. It tasted just like rainbow cookies of yesteryear, which means, unfortunately, they kind of look better than they taste. But the vivid, pleasing aesthetic of those colorful layers compensate for a bit of chemically-tinged flavor.
I brought a bunch of flavors home for sampling later. In each, the cake was impressive but the tremendous solid mound of shortening was best taken off. And you could take it off cleanly with your hands with minimal mess, which was the weird part.
A quick stop at the beautiful historic home along that same stretch of road, and we were ready to continue south.
Can I just have this house?
But wait! A proper breakfast along the way and we had another in-between: Local Urban Kitchen, a warm and welcoming café in Point Pleasant that surely loads ’em in during the peak season. But at the time of our visit, it was peaceful.
We were there for their vegan option: The Vegan Boy. I love vegan breakfast so, I love a dish like this: tofu scramble, sausage, pancakes, and hash browns. Though we were not blown away by execution, we appreciated the option.
We made it to Atlantic City, our destination, with plenty of time to explore a few of the roadside attractions, like Lucy the Elephant in Margate City, a city fixture since 1881 with a fascinating history.
Ain’t she cute? Again, off-season is ideal so you don’t have to share with anyone.
The Jersey Shore’s Atlantic City, with her casinos in the distance.
Another water tower I wanted to go Gilbert Grape on.
So we made it to our destination, now it was time for the reason for this trek, as if water towers and boardwalk shenanigans was not enough. Los Amigos, a Mexican restaurant in Berlin and Atlantic City, has been hosting all-vegan 4 course tasting dinners in both of their locations. !! We were excited to experience vegan Mexican from Atlantic City. Because it’s vegan… it’s in Atlantic City… and this random discovery and ensuing adventure is the reason I love vegan travel blogging.
We started with a substantial Amuse—our own pile of chips with Spicy Salsa Macha, a ground peanut and sesame seed paste with chili “arbol,” and tequila. This had a welcome kick, but along with my cocktail and the shot of tequila it was served with, maybe too much? The sweet Horchata Aqua Fresca, made with coconut milk and not the traditional almond (I think), helped me keep going back for more.
The first course was my favorite, Smoked Eggplant Tostada. This handheld delight hit all the right notes: meaty eggplant, a fresh cilantro cabbage slaw, pickled onions, creamy avocado, and a smoky coconut queso on a housemade plantain tortilla. The sweetness from the plantain along with the other components was spot-on. I wanted another. Or two.
Next, the Mole Coconut Queso Enchilada. This was a very dessert-y tasting plate, with a very chocolate-y mole and a thick, sweet piping of coconut “crema,” which was custard-like. With a few fresh berries, you have the start of a great dessert. I craved savory, salty, and protein.
Intermezzo! A delicious cilantro mint mango margarita. Refreshing, bright and palate-cleansing.
The 3rd course was the Tamale Al Pastor, braised jackfruit in pineapple masa with a vanilla verde salsa. Inventive… and sweet.
Lastly, the Dark Chocolate Chili Orange Mousse–a true mousse that was creamy and set, loaded with chocolate orange flavor. A sweet end to a sweet dinner from two sweet vegans.
Here are the vegans responsible for spreading delicious vegan eats across Southern New Jersey. They are making New Jersey vegan-er, and this vegan delighted. Follow Trent on Instagram and be on the look out for their next tasting event.