Thank goodness such a choice is never the case and moreover, the two pastimes go hand in hand, as was the case with my recent visit to downtown Brooklyn last week to the Vegan Market, which I'm certain will be my trio's go-to destination every thirty days, for amazing vegan food and products!!
A must-visit for any foodie is this monthly Vegan Market at the Market Hotel on Myrtle Avenue. A bit non-descript and not the easiest place to find, The Market Hotel is not really a hotel, but instead, a renovated loft midway between Broadway and Jefferson Street.
Being totally honest about my lack of directional skills (or maybe it's my worsening vision) but I must have passed the building four times, even though the GPS said we had reached our destination lol.
In any case, I finally spotted the number and sign with ten minutes to spare before it officially opened.
Not certain about what we were going to find, we moved full speed ahead, motivated by our ravenous hunger. Kelsey, 12, was a bit skeptical since the building looked "sketchy" in her words, but as soon as we entered and started up the steps, we could hear the music and see the people and our certainty that we made a good choice began to set in.
The space is intimate and seating is as well, with family-style tables spread out throughout - very eclectic! Dim lighting, funky painted walls and industrial styling, further ads to the hip atmosphere .
I loved it and so did Gianna. More pressing, however, was our need to begin eating! We approached the small vendor area methodically, making the rounds first to create a plan of attack. Savory or sweet to start? Savory won out.
I do not lie, when I tell you that Gianna and I were like two eating machines! While Kelsey indulged in a few things, it was me and G who could not say no to any booth we passed! We managed to try something from almost every vendor. The only reason we left out purchasing from a few stands, was twofold: a) we could not fit one more thing in our bellies; and b) we ran out of cash lol.
And speaking of eating, there is nothing better than knowing that the food you are savoring has been prepared with the kindest of ingredients. Indulging in vegan prepared edibles, whether sweet or savory is quickly becoming part of mainstream eating, even for those who have not as yet embraced a full vegan lifestyle. And, since gone are the days when being a vegan meant that a few raw vegetables and beans defined your diet, the abundance of options in every ethnic cuisine, whether main courses or desserts, has exploded. The result? Vegan food is not just for vegans to enjoy anymore!!
I think the best way to tell you about our few hours is to just let the food speak for itself with a bit of narrative...
Growing up in a traditional Italian household in the midwest, working in the family restaurant in Kansas City, Anthony later embraced the vegan lifestyle and began working in numerous vegan and plant-based restaurants around the country. After moving to New York, he decided to go back to his roots, making those traditional Italian recipes in a whole new untraditional way, using plant-based ingredients.
Being Italian, we were drawn to try these "veganized" Italian specialties. Gianna and I decided to order the Baked Pasta (shells with his original tomato sauce and Almond Ricotta) and the Muffaletta sandwich with seitan. Both were incredible!
I had never had almond ricotta and all I can say is Wow! Anthony's preparation was incredible and for those who are trying to cut out or lessen their dairy intake, it is so light and tasty. YUM!!!
Owner, Amanda has created some amazing vegan deli meats! It was love at first sight when I spied the "bacon", lettuce, tomato and "pepperoni" sandwich on display and Gianna and I knew we had to split one!!
This sandwich was soooo good! But, we were now beginning to fill up! (Oh no!!) Still More vendors to try!
We knew we had to sit down to eat our "BLT" sandwich, but Kelsey wanted a little something as well, and decided on a "calzone" from Pisces Rising, which had both sweet and savory offerings.
Of course, I had a bite (did you doubt that!) and it was mighty tasty!!
This vegan pastry shop is based in NYC with all items baked by Laura Varley.
Sorry, no pics because as I was chatting with owner, Katerina, we gladly took a sample of her chocolate peanut butter cup - which was huge - and the three of us shared it, getting our fingers all messy with the chocolately goodness.
Her raw vegan desserts are made from natural pure ingredients which are good for you and the vital and essential nutrients are not destroyed by cooking and baking. Katerina's vegan offerings are available throughout New York City and Long Island retailers and restaurants.
Jac & Jess Brand
We stopped to chat with one of the non-food vendors about her lovely compassion statement apparel. Jess, who owns the company with her sister Jaclyn, offer their line of t-shirts and sweatshirts online at their Etsy shop.
Jess was kind enough to pose for us!!
It was dessert time, so we had a few things that we needed to get, to take home. We were pretty well stuffed at this point.
Peaceful Provisions is a collaborative effort of twin sisters Brittany and Justine crafting compassionately crafted vegan donuts and treats.
Although they do not have a storefront, they offer their vegan doughnuts on Tuesdays and Thursdays at First Village Coffee (FVC) at 123 Main Street, Ossining, NY and at various pop-up events.
We brought these home, but of course, Gianna started picking on them on the way.
Gianna had eyed the cakes at How Delish, pretty much as soon as we arrived. So, this was a must-visit booth.
It was chocolate cake time for my girls and we walked off with a nice size piece!
It was Kelsey's turn to make the selection, and she went right for the cookies at Vegan Brooklyn Foodie.
Owner, Ashley, established her online bakery this year, and from the "taste" of things, I'm sure she's in for some great success. VBF is an 100% vegan online bakery and her hope is to reach as many VEGANS and NON VEGANS to show them that transitioning to a VEGAN diet doesn't mean saying goodbye to decadent foods. She believe it is possible to treat yourself while still leading a cruelty free and plant-based diet - in Ashley's words "with a cookie in each hand of course!"
Last but not least...
Second visit to Pisces Rising
During our second visit, we walked away with two yummy delights - A blueberry pop-tart for Kelsey and Pumpkin "Ice Cream" sundae (colored black for Halloween!) for Gianna. Kelsey polished off her pop tart in the car and the ice cream was gone before we even got to the car as Gianna and I passed it back and forth!
Absolutely one of the best vegan food markets I've ever visited! With food preparation like this, more people are sure to change to a vegan lifestyle!!
1140 Myrtle Avenue
Next Vegan Market:
Sunday, November 18, 2016 at 12 PM – 6 PM