I haven't had an "adventure" in the city in quite some time so when my best friend, Brittany, called me and said she would be visiting from Tampa and could we meet up in the city, I was thrilled! She moved down there last summer for a change of scenery and career and this is the second time I've seen her since then but it doesn't matter how long it's been or how far we are because she is one of my dearest friends. She is so loving and fun and she brings out my girly side - she shares my love of social media, introduced me to the beauty of Papyrus cards, is my go-to fashionista, and got me my first Kate Spade bag :-)
I met her and her boyfriend, Greg, at a vegan soul cafe in Greenwich Village called Red Bamboo. While the concept of "vegan soul food" seems a little odd, wait until you try this place because it is FANTASTIC! They use a special kind of vegetable and soy-based protein to make "meat" dishes that, I promise you, taste and feel exactly like the real thing. As a 5-year-strong vegetarian, it often throws me for a loop and I have to remind myself that, no, it actually isn't animal-based meat! My personal favorite are their buffalo wings and "Bamboo Nuggets" with a ginger-carrot dipping sauce. This time, I got a roti canais, which is an Indian crepe with a coconut, potato, and "chicken" based curry and that was excellent! I love curry and this wasn't a strong one so it made for a good appetizer. I forgot to take a picture in my excitement, though… Next, I had a teriyaki chicken salad over mixed greens, mushrooms, carrots, and cucumbers which was a satisfying and light meal. Brittany and Greg both got the "Bamburger" which is a soy-based burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, house-style mayo, and either dairy or nondairy cheese. Mind you, my mom used to make the best, juicy, tender burgers, so this one doesn't have me fooled as much, but it comes very close. For dessert, we had a peanut butter cheesecake (the "cheese" is cashew and avocado based) with chocolate ice cream (it was probably soy or rice-based- I couldn't tell). The three of us split it but it was every man for himself to get as much as possible of the rich decadence that was that creation:
After one of the best meals I've had in quite some time, we walked through Chelsea Market where we poked around a few shops, and finally went to "The Filling Station." This little place in the market is my personal favorite and sells gourmet olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and salts that you can sample as much as you want. The foodie in me went to town! My personal favorites were the peach balsamic, the chocolate balsamic, pomegranate balsamic, and blood orange olive oils.
It was so beautiful out today so we headed over to the High Line which, though I am on it almost every day since it's near where I work, remains one of my favorite places in the city. It used to be an old light rail aboveground, but it's been converted to a park and path that lets you observe the city from higher up. You can still see some of the old tracks and they've planted wildflowers, and put in benches so it's a little sanctuary for me.
It stretches from West 12th street to about 28th street so it's also a way to get uptown a little faster, as well!
It was time to start heading back so, after an iced tea break at Starbucks, we headed back to where they had parked. Greg and I both share a love for bubble tea so ended up driving around the city a bit until we came across the cutest little place in Midtown called CoCo Tea. Bubble tea is an Asian creation and is iced tea with tapioca pearls at the bottom that are sweet and chewy and incredibly fun to sip! Greg and Brittany each got a milk-based caramel tea with tapioca pearls, and I opted for a passionfruit black tea with the tapioca as well:
Brittany and Greg and I had a lot of fun chewing obnoxiously on the pearls while they were driving me back to Fordham….
Also, check out the Papyrus card she gave me!
All I can say is that I am so lucky to have such special people in my life and this city at my fingertips. I am constantly inspired by both :-)
Inspired to be,