Saturday, March 07, 2009

I AM A WINNAH!!!!! (and in New York)

DEAR VEGAN BLOGSPHERE: I take it all back. You ROCK!

I'm pretty excited to return to my e-mail for the news that I am a winner of a Lexan Juicer from the Legally Vegan blog giveaway. I can't wait to get this juicer - it's going to be so much fun to make fresh juice with leafy greens and wheatgrass. My cats are going to be so excited. I wonder if I could grow enough wheatgrass (ha!) and juice it to make kitty cat wine... stay tuned.

Right now, I am in New York, just for the weekend fresh on the heels of Thursday night's preview dinner for Eric Tucker's new wine bar, Encuentro, which he is opening near Jack London Square with partners Linda Braz & Lacey.

Thursday night's Encuentro preview dinner menu:
  • socca with two toppings: pesto w/tempeh sausage & carmelized onions with smoked gouda, cauliflower bisque, little gems with avocaodo smoked almond & citrus mushroom ceviche;
  • carrot & quinoa polenta topped garlic braised broccolini, kale, gigante white beans served with a syrah black chanterelle reduction and a sundried tomato gremolata;
  • a cheese & chocolate plate from Vice chocolate

Ahh - New York City. Yes, I know it's crazy. It's only like a 5 hour flight and I promise to investigate carbon offsets. My friend who is showing me around lives in the Flatiron District over Madison Square Park.

I arrived in NYC on Friday night, we went straight to Counter Restaurant. We had an amazing dinner - all vegan - at 1AM IN THE FREAKING MORNING! I love this freaking town! Here's what we had:
  • frites with catsup & harissa mayo (vegan)
  • corn beignets with remoulade
  • hand made papardelle pasta puttanesca
  • house made seitan tournadoes with pureed potatoes & garlic seared arugula
Our server/bartender, Catherine (I think!) from Portland was a real gem - personable, dynamic and super on top of everything. We had a fantastic Paul Dolan biodynamic Chardonnay from Mendocino which was just my style of chardonnay (though not so much my friend's preference). We met some of the kitchen crew who were warm, personable and engaging. We had a thoroughly good time!

This morning, we headed to his favorite neighborhood starbucks where my friend read the paper and after finishing my latest National Geo in 30 minutes, went outside to talk to my mother and practice standing up on one leg on some pipes sticking out of the ground next to a fireplug and admiring the human traffic.

We went to brunch at Souen near Union Square - my friend had fruit pancakes and I had a delicious seitan shwarma in a bit of a soggy pita (I had to eat it with a fork & knife) and a yummy salad with the most amazing pickles.

From there, we had a long gorgeous walk through the Lower East Side and the Bowery, stopping for a 40 minute visit in ABC Home Furnishings on Broadway (love love LOVE that freaking place!) . We stopped at the Farmer's Market at Union Square Park and I saw the biggest freaking carrots I have ever seen in my life.

We set out for the Lower East Side and saw the tenement museum, crossed Delancey (ha!) and met two cranky cats at MooShoes - one of whom thought he was a guard dog and tried to threaten a pug wearing a shirt collar and tie through the plate glass window. I ended up with a cute small wallet by Queenbee Creations that will fit in the inside pocket of my borrowed motorcycle jacket which says "yes" on one side and "no" on the other and has snaps (looks like this wallet) as well as two new pairs of shoes: Lola heels from Novaca and Garmont high-top hiking boots.

We went back out the neighborhood to "Organic Avenue" which was a charming raw food restaurant & shop - but terribly pricey, even compared to Cafe Gratitude.

HELLA AWESOME WEATHER: I need to note: the weather was AMAZING today. It was like 70 degrees, and I was warm in my brown organic cords and short sleeve t-shirt which reads "I Hella ::heart:: Oakland."

Do I need to tell you guys that "hella" is apparently a very "West Coast" term? I had about 6 different people ask me what "hella" meant and "does that mean 'I love Oakland' - what language is 'hella'?" Seriously. "Hella" is West Coast. I thought my sister's girls were really cute for saying "heck-a" but... seriously. I did find one 70 year old guy who said he liked my shirt and knew what "hella" meant - "It's a cultural expression for 'very'" and laughed.

After a stroll about the Lower East side where we explored some natural grocery stores, chatted with a Seoul restaurant owner - interesting my friend in the possibility of a really Americanized banh mi (I promise, Eric - you will have real banh mi in Oakland!) - we ended up at his neighborhood where I got frites and he got a falafel and we had them with some killer beer at the "Burp Castle."

Time to go out to dinner now.... yum!

I am now going to head out to Pranna with my friend...


Ricki said...

Congrats! How lucky for you--and maybe even more so that you're in NYC!! I am totally envious. ;)

Oh, and re: the last line of the post, are you going to end the suspense??

Jenni (aka Vegyogini) said...

I love Counter and I love the Union Square farmers' market!

I think "hella" might be even more specifically from Fresno and north thereof. Coming from LA, I'd never heard that word until going to UCSB for college and having a bunch of friends there that were from the Bay Area. They said it all the time!

Jenn said...

LOL - Ricki - I may end the suspense or ... not! ha ha!

Vegyogini - my sister's girls always have said "hecka" instead of "hella" - and I thought it was also an LA thing a a result. BIG around the Bay Area... esp East Bay.