NYC VEGAN; CREATIVE AND COMPASSIONATE CUISINE

September 15, 2015
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New York city, in my opinion, is the city. I don’t need to go through the typical “list” of why people are drawn to NYC- if you’ve been (and aren’t by nature a “city hater”) you get it.

That said, I personally love NYC simply because it’s easy to be “free” there. Those who dislike NYC have said to me “No one gives a f*ck about you in NY.” And I say “EXACTLY! Yay! My perfect world! No one cares what I’m wearing, what I’m doing OR what I’m eating!”blossom 2

On eating.

I’m vegan.

I’m saying it out loud.

Saying that “I’m saying out loud” doesn’t mean I’m ashamed. I’m actually proud to be vegan. I’m simply ready. Ready for the questions, comments and judgements. 

This is a subject that is dear to my heart. This is a subject I’ve struggled with for many, many, years. This is a subject that has caused me to endure a lot of judgments and criticism- from both vegans and non-vegans. But I’m going to give you the cliff notes on that story; if you want to “judge” after reading, this may not be the blog for you. The Salted Rim Chronicle strives to be a “judgement free zone.” This blog is dedicated to the human experience – the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly. That said, let me simply “clarify” a few things- things that I believe are reasonable for people to question.

I believe in veganism wholeheartedly. Period. End of discussion. But yes, I did have periods of time when I went back to eating animals and animal products (call it what it is). There is even evidence of my non-plant based indulgences on this blog. And I viscerally hated every minute of it.

The only reason I abandoned my vegan lifestyle over the last 10 years (after becoming aware and choosing to live vegan) was because a**hole doctors told me to. Again, the short version – I had some pretty serious stomach issues and doctors couldn’t find any organic disease- nothing was “wrong” with my stomach. Each doctor tried to “fix it” by suggesting I had food intolerance problems. When I’d discuss my diet with the physicians, they’d beg me to change my diet.

One said don’t eat gluten. One said don’t eat soy. One said don’t eat veggies. Yes,  one said “don’t eat veggies.”

Anyhow, every doctor I saw suggested something different – cut out  this, that, the other thing… AND  eat animal protein. Because of the pain I was in, I listened. Anyone who knows me, knows my struggle with doing so. And eating animals and animal products still caused me to feel sick- sick emotionally and physically.

Recently, I went back to vegan eating/living. I recorded what I was eating in a food journal. I paid attention to the relationship between what I was eating and when my  stomach had “issues.” And guess what?  I’m not having issues anymore. I don’t have answers to the “why.” It’s a mystery. Perhaps it’s because I’m not stressed out working in finance anymore. Maybe I’m okay because I’m finally living authentically, thus reducing stress. Who knows. I guess it really doesn’t matter “why.” I simply wanted to table the discussion, to help everyone understand my journey in veganism.

I think there’s probably room for me to discuss two more important issues (because of judgments). First, my clothes and shoes that aren’t vegan are “old clothes.” I choose not to throw them away. They are already in my closet and I’m not going to waste – another part of my belief system. I’ll wear them out before throwing them out. Second, I make mistakes. I check all of my ingredients (including spirits) when I make my cocktail creations and prepare food. Yet, the other day I made a margarita and used honey to rim the glass- I didn’t “think.” I am flawed. I’m okay with that. Live and learn.

I hope this helps you better understand my journey with food/veganism. I hope this highlights why we should always ask questions instead of making judgments. I also hope my discussion helps others, who may be struggling with food issues or are trying to transition into a plant based lifestyle. I’m here for you if you want to talk!

Now that we’ve tabled that discussion ~  let’s get back to today’s exploration!blossom

NYC and food;  there are vegan restaurants popping up everywhere! Because there are so many dining options for vegans in NYC, I am able to enjoy amazing culinary delights and cocktails in my favorite city, without compromising my belief system. A couple things you’ll learn about me on the blog- I have an extraordinarily difficult time compromising my beliefs and I love food n’ drink! If I’m not writing, eating, or drinking…. I’m probably sleeping.

Eating and drinking is my sport, frankly.

Today’s game was held at “Blossom NYC” – holy deliciousness!

Blossom NYC has four locations in the city, but today I ate at Blossom on Carmine in the West Village (my favorite part of the city). The West Village is brilliant- it is filled with captivating people, gathering rooms, architecture, food, cocktails and art.

Blossom is no exception.

Walking into Blossom, I received a laid back yet attentive greeting. The space has a vibe that resonates with mine – it’s all about balance. Interestingly, the room takes a while to absorb; I looked up and saw the modern lighting hanging from a distressed hardwood ceiling – it was simultaneously refreshing and warming. Gazing across the room, I watched shadows dance behind a wall of geometrically shaped glass, seemingly choreographed to the flicker of candlelight- hypnotic to the senses.

In like, the service is subliminal perfection. It’s only because I’ve done time in the restaurant industry, that I’m aware of the art-  servers who are “invisibly there.” Several times my peripheral vision caught my server gently making a detour while heading to our table, as he could tell I was in deep conversation. However, when we were ready for a next course or another cocktail, he was right there. Folks, that is an art.

Now that I’ve pointed that out to you, notice how many times you’re interrupted at the wrong time when dining- it’s classless. I was beyond pleased to enjoy my conversation/food unobstructed and yet not have our service compromised. They nailed it.

One of the reasons I point this out, is because dining isn’t just about the food- it’s  about the experience. The vibe of the room and the service sets the tone for how we experience our food. I was beyond grateful for the service at Blossom, because the food was deserving of my undivided attention- it was outstanding.

Our dining adventure began with cocktails (of course). We had  the “Jaguar Ride” –  made with jalapeño tequila, sriracha bitters, fresh lemon and lime juice, orange liquor (yes of course it had “a salted rim”- I always dine with one) and the “Blueberry Mojito,” amazingness!blossom drinks

It took me a while (lord, our server was patient) to decide on the “warm-up” selections (remember eating is my sport)- I wanted every appetizer on the menu! In the end, we settled on the “Taco Trio,” consisting of roasted adobo-spiced mushrooms, corn tortilla, cabbage, guacamole, carrot/poblano escabeche, micro cilantro and “Nachos” topped with  beans, guacamole, “sour cream”, jalapeños, “cheese.” Both were simply divine. The “cheese” on the nachos was refreshingly creamy, unlike other vegan “cheese” dishes I’ve had before. The tacos were both aesthetically pleasing and utterly delicious; cooling cilantro and spicy marinated mushrooms gave the dish perfect balance.taco trio

My “warm- up,” for dining felt more like a work out! I couldn’t stop eating, even thought I was getting quite full. But like any good athlete I pressed on, for sake of the game!

Dinner choices were as follows; the “Pasta” selection- comprised of orecchiette, ground seitan chorizo, cashew alfredo, sautéed broccolini, artichoke hearts and soy parmesan and a “Seitan Steak au Poivre” peppercorn gravy,  served with grilled asparagus, horseradish créme fraîche and garlic french fries. You can read more about Blossom’s dinner menu, locations and such here.

Both dinners were absolutely incredible- the pasta dish was creamy and the chorizo was abundantly flavorful without taking over the creation. And the seitan steak- wow!  The texture of the seitan steak held up beautifully in the peppercorn gravy and the hand cut fries gave the dish a truly “meat n’ potatoes” feel. I couldn’t be more impressed with everything we had- no room for improvement, whatsoever.

Unfortunately I lost wind by the end of my dining game- I didn’t have room for desert. There is no doubt in my mind that it would have been incredible. I guess my inability leave room for desert leaves me no choice but to visit again. (like I needed an excuse)

But for all of you foodies who haven’t tried Blossom- get it on your adventure list! No excuses! Blossom appeals to both veg and non-veg foodies; my partner in crime is not vegan and was equally impressed with the entire experience.

If you’re looking for some compassion in the city- Blossom is where you’ll find it. We all need compassion. Feel the love of NYC and the love of vegan dining ~ I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Are you vegan?

Have you been to a vegan restaurant?

Ever struggle with judgments about your food choices?

What are your thoughts?

Leave a comment ~ I’d love to hear your voice!

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Journey on,

JD

 

 

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