Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sunday in NYC - Central Park, Soy and Sake, and Lula's - Memorial Day Weekend

On Sunday, I went to New York City with Pat. We started off in Central Park near a lake in which people were rowing boats. People of all ages and shapes were scattered around on the grass picnicking, reading, throwing balls, and talking. A grizzled man with a long, unruly beard yelled praise for John Lennon near Strawberry Fields while another man in his fifties with a white hat cluttered by John Lennon pins tried to sell laminated pictures of John Lennon for a dollar. A jazz band played improvisational music and I enjoyed wandering.

From Central Park, Pat and I went to the East Village and walked around St. Mark's. Tattooed hipsters loitered on the corner and we walked past sidewalk vendors heckling over prices with potential customers. I love the energy and movement of the area. We stumbled upon some sales. Pat bought a pair of tennis shoes and I got a clingy black dress from Trash Vaudeville that was still more money than I should've spent despite the sale.

For dinner, Pat and I went to Soy and Sake, which is a mostly vegan cafe on 7th Avenue. We had only eaten a few donuts from Vegan Treats for lunch and, after walking for several hours, we were both hungry. The Soy and Sake menu offers an array of pan-Asian mock meat and tofu dishes. We ordered scallion pancakes and sushi as appetizers. At many restaurants, vegetarian sushi is limited to simple and uninspired cucumber or carrot rolls. At Soy and Sake, however, we relished the spider web roll - sushi that is filled with asparagus and mock crab meat and topped with a layer of minced spicy tuna - as well as the smoked salmon sushi. I appreciated the textures, flavor combinations and even the colors of the sushi. The scallion pancakes were thinner than the ones from Kingdom of Vegetarian in Philly, which is where I typically order scallion pancakes. They were delicious, but I didn't like the green curry sauce that they came with as much as the soy-and-vinegar-based dipping sauce at Kingdom.

For my entree at Soy and Sake, I ordered the Thai grilled salmon, which was pan seared soy fish that came with a spicy Thai sauce that seemed almost like a gazpacho - tiny bits of green and red pepper, pineapple and cucumber combined in a tomato broth with Thai seasonings and pepper flakes. The salmon was served with rice;and crispy, fresh, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, carrots, and peppers. Pat ordered a grilled chicken dish that came with rice; a mild, brown curry sauce; and sauteed onions and peppers. I ate so much that I still felt full the next morning. I want to go back to New York so I can eat at this restaurant again.

After eating at Soy and Sake, Pat and I ambled over to Lula's, which is a vegan ice cream shop. The ice cream is made out of cashews and tastes rich, creamy, and delicious. We ordered a scoop of peanut butter-chocolate and of mint chocolate chip ice cream. The peanut butter-chocolate ice cream was rich, containing intense flavors. I love peanut butter and, in some spoonfuls, the peanut butter was so thick that it seemed like it had actually been stirred in. The peanut butter was well distributed throughout the scoop, though, and complimented, instead of overwhelming, the chocolate. The mint ice cream, however, could've used more chocolate to offset the mint flavor. If I'm ever at Lula's when I'm more hungry, I'll order a brownie sundae. So many options... Pat and I sat on a shady bench outside of Lula's and savored our ice cream, which was an amazing way to cool off. I enjoyed myself.

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