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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Day 3 of My Wild Weekend Up North

On Sunday, Elizabeth and I woke up in a brisk hotel room that we shared with 4 other people, one of whom insisted on keeping the thermostat at 60 degrees (!!). We hit up the free breakfast (not much for wheat-free vegans, like yours truly, but bananas are all one really needs first thing in the morning), made ourselves presentable, and got a ride to the Farmington bus stop, the same one we were dropped off at the day before. What happened next is a long story, one that I will share at length on another day, but in a nutshell, Greyhound sold us bus tickets for a bus that “doesn’t run on Sundays,” (but they never said that until Sunday) and we weren’t the only ones with tickets for this apparently-non-existent bus. Thankfully, our ride stayed with us, and after E’s verbal battle with a Greyhound representative in Springfield (the only human being she could track down) didn’t lead to any resolution, we high-tailed it to Hartford to try our luck at Union Station. It got a little hairy, but we ended up on a non-stop bus to NYC, two frustrating hours behind schedule.

Once we got back into the city, we made our way to Central Park. Since this was a short trip to NYC, I only had two goals: visit the MOMA and Strawberry Fields. I was never a huge Beatles fan, but John Lennon and I share a birthday and I remembered reading many times about birthday celebrations at Strawberry Fields and always thinking that sounded pretty cool. I wasn’t at Strawberry Fields on our actual birthday, but a week early is close enough.

We made it to the Imagine circle just in time to take some pictures before the rain started, which caused us to not explore the massive park much further, as the rain just fell steadier and steadier. We had been through enough already that day, so when it seemed like the rain wasn’t going to let up anytime soon, we decided it was time for some food. We headed to Peacefood Café in the upper west side on E’s boss’ recommendation.

I typically never order hot drinks at cafés or coffee shops because I have what I consider to be a highly-sensitive tongue. The few times that I have purchased a hot beverage, it took probably 15-20 minutes before it cooled down enough for me to drink it. No matter what the weather is like outside, there is a 99% chance that I will be ordering an iced drink. However, on this rainy early autumn day in New York, I decided to embrace that 1%. Seeing a Brazilian nut chai on the menu sounded too good to pass up, and as night fell outside the café’s windows, a warm drink sounded so cozy. Besides, I figured I would just order it right off the bat and give it 15-20 minutes to cool off.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that just 5 or 6 minutes of waiting cooled this drink down to perfection. And oh, it was perfection. See, I’m a sucker for a good chai, always. This one was not a disappointment. Foamy steamed soy milk on top, smooth and creamy and slightly-nutty chai underneath.

E went with a hot drink, too: an apple ginger soy, which sounds a bit peculiar, but it was really great! The ginger really hits you first, but all in all, I’ve never had such a refreshing HOT drink.

E ordered the roasted Japanese pumpkin sandwich, which looked really nice. I was especially intrigued by the walnut crusting. The pumpkin was warm and soft on crisp brown bread.

I originally ordered the veggie tamale, but was told they ran out, so I went with the pan-seared Japanese pot stickers. I wanted something light because I knew there would be dessert happening (if you saw their dessert cases, you’d be eating light beforehand, too!). These were pleasant little pockets of crisp diced veggies and hearty tofu and shitake mushrooms.

But let’s get to dessert.

Never in my life have I tried tiramisu. Not when I was a meat-eating child, not when I was vegetarian tween & teen, and not in my years of veganhood. When I spotted tiramisu on Peacefoods’ dessert menu, I figured it was a sign: the time to try it was now. What was brought to the table was this big, beautiful specimen.

Maybe I got myself too hyped up, but at first bite, I was a bit disappointed. For starters, I was completely thrown off by the texture. It was ultra-soft, where I was expecting there to be a layer of fluffy cake and a layer of soft cream. Second, the cake was chilled, where I was expecting it to be room temperature. And thirdly, all of the flavors were so muted, I could barely detect the coffee, nor the chocolate, nor the vanilla flavors. Still, the presentation was lovely and that kind of made up for it. Later, I ate the rest of the slice, which had warmed up to room temperature, and I liked it much more and could finally taste the coffee and chocolate. I guess I’m just a weirdo when it comes to tiramisu.

E ordered a chocolate cookie sandwich, which was delightfully chocolaty.

From there, we made it over to Highline Park in the lower-west side, which is this really cool walking path/park place that used to be an old railroad track. Parts of the track were incorporated into the design, and there were tons of plants. Lots of big windowed apartments run alongside the trail and it was kind of funny to look into the windows, like looking into stacks of hamster cages or an ant farm or something. (I’m telling you, NYC is THE BEST for people-watching.) Since it was later in the evening and dark outside, I didn’t take very many pictures, but trust me when I say that this is a cool place within the city and you should check it out if you have the time.

And now I leave you with this warm & fuzzy sign.

And that's it! My last day in NYC for this trip. There's so much to see and do in New York City. I can't wait to go back soon and spend more time exploring (and eating!).

Up next, I'll be highlighting some yummy vegan eats around the Tampa Bay area until we get to VEGFEST DAY! (And stick around, because there will be a VegFest-y giveaway next week.)


  1. Apple ginger soy sounds amazing!

  2. Woah, this post totally creeps me out! My BF and I were going to head to Peace Food for dinner tonight, and then walk through High Line Park - no kidding! I realize you weren't there tonight (obviously!), but it's so weird that we were gonna do the same exact thing! LOL!