Queens is more often an in-between. But once my bookmarked leads were a bit brimming, it was time to purge with a vegan tour of Queens, starting at Richmond Hill’s Veggie Castle, the Queens version of the long defunct Veggie Castle on Flatbush avenue in Brooklyn.
I feel lucky to have experienced the original Veggie Castle in Brooklyn in the years before food blogging. This Queens version lacks the special charm of the original. The narrow counter spot was a bit unwelcoming. A far cry from the positive vibes the places (er, the captions of pictures) oozes on Instagram.
There were customers waiting for take-out… maybe? When we got the attention of the impatient and unamused server, there was an uneasy pressure to only select what was recognizable. It was hard to communicate over the deli–and there was that whole impatient and unamused things.
The case had some cakes, maybe supplied by the bakery we hit afterwards?
We ate in the car. Spicy tofu & taro, quinoa pilaf and mashed potatoes topped with plantains. Dear starch, I love you. Though this was the “small,” this was a dense pile of food!
The next stop was just down the block, Rose Valley Cakes. I love seeing the V-word in random, unassuming storefronts off the beaten path!
This coconut pastry cookie thing didn’t have the most natural looking color but it was a delightful treat, a layered cookie was a great texture and flavor. The flaky pastry-ish exterior was most impressive. Go Richmond Hill!
And individual vegan chocolate mousse cake: bam!
Car dining at its best. Did I mention the bakery’s proprietor was a gem. He pointed out all of the vegan items in the showcase. I will definitely have to stop by again when I’m in the area.
Next up, Ridgewood. Word is that Norma’s, an area coffee shop, has a rotating selection of vegan baked good options. The place is kind of hipstery, in a sit in the coffee shop all day with a Macbook type way. The counterhelp is goodfolk, however, in un-hipster fashion.
There wasn’t much vegan when we arrived. We split the glazed berry bread, which was moister and more flavorful than I expected. I sometimes associate brown vegan baked goods with 90s vegan baked goods.
The next stop blew mw away. It was already mind blowing for me to see the v-bomb on a random bakery in Richmond Hill. But now a truly old school pastry shop, like one that has been around for decades, with “vegan” on the window? Pinch me. These are my favorite spots to hit. A “holy smokes why on Earth does this place have vegan options” kind of place in a “normal” locale not inundated with hip types.
The shop had many relics still in use. The red/white twine from these dispensers…. and an old showcase, around since the start.
The vegan options: a “real” brownie, as CandyPenny kept raving about. And a vegan Carrot Cupcake with a spectacular twirl of cream cheese frosting. Both were absolutely delicious. So impressive.
Till next time, Queens!