Vegan in Westchester County!

Vegan in Westchester County!

DSC_0004Even though this born and raised New Yorker has travel to the far reaches of the Us of A to sample vegan eats, I haven’t really explored the vegan options in Westchester County, New York City’s northern suburb. I am usually passing through early in the morning  on the way upstate… or coming back south from upstate and eager to get home. But just like I get a little antsy about food items lingering in the pantry too long, I don’t like having a vegan lead bookmarked. So I hit the road to sample the goods on the way to a very special dinner in New Paltz, NY… more about that in my next post. Here are the hot spots:

Lunch was at New Rochelle’s Jolo’s Kitchen, an all-vegan Caribbean casual kitchen rich with positive energy and flavorful food lovingly made by Haitian chef Jolo.

The small kitchen was just opening up when we arrived. So we had time to study the ital menu. Jolo’s offers the standard fare–patties, ackee, tender veggie meats cooked in all the flavors of the Caribbean, as well as daily veggies, starches, and a potent juice bar of ginger-infused options.

DSC_0001Because we had caught Chef Jolo amidst lunch preparations, he gave us a sample plate of buffet options for the day, rewarding our patience. Now that is service. The kitchen had a constant stream of people coming in for juice and take-out. It is always nice to uncover a spot that plays such an important role in its community. We ordered off the menu from the welcoming waiter who guided us though lunch choices, confirming availability in the kitchen several times.

DSC_0002We opted for American-style sandwiches. It was two Spare “Ribs” Philly Steak Style sammies for us! The sandwich was flavorful and satisfying. Comforting. Loaded with a ton of melty Daiya and texturized mock meat, it’d be great to see Chef Jolo experiment with more natural and less processed vegetable-based meals. I would definitely return for an occasional hearty bite, however. Jolo’s beats the favor and vibe of many of the ital eateries I’ve dined in.

DSC_0008What comes after a quick lunch? Sometimes on a VeganVictuals roadtrip another lunch! We headed to Tarrytown to check out the delicious vegan and “vp (vegan possible)”menu offerings at the darling Sweet Grass Grill. I needed to try their Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, a lush and creamy layering of cooked lentil, Jaca Lata (jackfruit), creamy cashew truffle cream.

DSC_0010And one cannot by-pass a Jenga-piled of polenta fries.

DSC_0013Back to the Shepherd’s Pie: Combined, the creamy layers had a magical texture. I wanted to feel the popping and taste the sweetness of some additional veggies, like sweet corn or taunt peas. But this longing lingered only briefly as I celebrated the texture enthusiastically with each bite.

DSC_0015Let’s look at that creamy cashew truffle cream. Heavenly. I would love to try Sweet Grass Grill’s other vegan and vegan-possible items. It may be helpful for servers to understand the components of these options on the menu a bit better. I overheard a couple of customer questions about vegan ingredients incorrectly answered. As the growing interest in healthful and satisfying vegan options spread, it’s important to represent the new-to-many cuisine accurately.  I offer my VeganVictual Consulting Services to anyone who needs it!

DSC_0019Cross River’s Bluebird Homemade Ice Cream shop, the brainchild of a local high school Spanish teacher, offers a couple of vegan coconut milk-based ice creams along with their extensive list of dairy ice creams. It is no coincidence that one of the two vegan flavors was sold out before our arrival in the afternoon… and that there was a rush on the other vegan option. The vegan market is stronger than many shop owners and restaurateurs presume.  

So, please, give us more options! (And lose the whey in your house-made waffle cones, pretty please!)

DSC_0018What a perfect summer endeavor for a school teacher! The chalkboard wall is full of messages to the beloved teacher… and the beloved ice cream.

IMG_4478Put your ice cream dukes up! The sugar cones are graced with scoops of their only vegan option: Horchata! Creamy and delicious. I want to try all Bluebird’s vegan options. Next time!