Our first stop was Rai Rai Ken, a cheap and delicious ramen noodle bar with friendly servers a few blocks from our hostel in the East Village. The miso ramen soup with slices of fried garlic, sprouts, and cabbage was perfect on a chilly day!
Before we took off, I emailed the ever gracious Linda at The Village Vegetable for her suggestions of restaurants in the city, and Rai Rai Ken was one of them. This is the only spot we hit up from her long list (not that I didn't want to hit them all, but things happen...).
The big wrench in our day was the fact that the Kansas basketball game (March Madness, folks!) was moved from early afternoon to early evening, and considering the fact that there were four KU alums in our group, a trip to the KU alumni sports bar to watch the tournament game was a given. Eight hour of drinking and one hummus appetizer that tasted like canned refried beans later, this is what I felt like eating…
For fun, we chose the most disgusting looking slice of pizza – ziti topped – and, you know what? It wasn’t that bad! Perhaps because it was more pasta than pizza? Perhaps because we were wasted? Don’t know where we picked this up from.
The next day was Easter, and, it never fails, every year I delude myself into think I’m gonna wake up to 70 degree days, so I can have a picnic in the park for my birthday (and Easter, this year), but it’s cold as hell in the Northeast in March. Boo. Hiss. No picnic. No Easter. You came too early to fit you in!
We hit up 'sNice Café, a cozy vegetarian and vegan coffee and sandwich shop in the West Village. I wanted one of their many veggie sandwiches, but s'Nice Café is bucking the brunch trend, and doesn’t serve lunch until noon. I had a tofu scramble wrap by default. Not bad, but nothing exciting. The yummy looking platters of veggie and grain salads for lunch that whizzed past me looked good, though.
I finally got to eat a veggie hot dog in NYC – but it wasn’t off a cart like in my original dream. This soy dog comes from Better Burger in Midtown West, one of three Better Burger stores in NYC that offers organic burgers and dogs on whole wheat buns. You know, better for you!
I got a NYC soy dog – kraut and bbq onions. The bbq onions are more like tomato paste onions, and the whole wheat bun is a bit of a chewy clunker. Dog Almighty in
The veggie burger at Better Burger was a little tasteless, but a good effort. The fries are baked, not fried, and they were very good – thick, meaty, and you never would have guessed they were baked. The best part was the curry ketchup and Cajun ketchup for dipping.
Then we hopped on the