Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Urban Vegan Kitchen- Quick Review

It wasn't until I was in an Uber headed for Urban Vegan Kitchen that I realized it was located in the former Blossom on Carmine space. I thought it surprisingly fortuitous for one vegan restaurant to replace another until I arrived and my friend told me she thought they were still affiliated. I glanced around and the similar decor seemed to support that theory. A quick Google search brought up results from places like Seamless and Open Table that referred to UVK as, "formerly known as Blossom on Carmine," and,  "a.k.a. Blossom on Carmine-" seemingly suggesting definitively that she was correct. This article confirmed the association.

Unlike, say, Peacefood Cafe's severely limited brunch, the UVK brunch menu lists an impressive amount of offerings. As it happened, my friend and I both chose the same: breakfast sandwich: crispy tofu rounds, avocado, kala namak, shiitake bacon, hollandaise aioli, arugula, red onion, multi-grain english muffin served with garlic sauteed kale, homefries, ketchup. A note about the homefries: you can order them separately and they are described as seasoned potatoes with chives. I was very excited; potatoes can sometimes be the star of the show and I'm okay with that.

The dishes and mugs that UVK uses are beautiful pottery pieces that really lend themselves to the presentation, but I found the components of the meal to be considerably less stellar. The homefries for which I'd had such high hopes were under-salted and seemed "seasoned" with only pepper- nary a chive to be found. As my friend pointed out, the sauteed kale looked like the decorative or ornamental variety you see planted around strip malls in the fall. It was wilted and chewy and I began to wonder if it was meant to be edible. Another Google search does not recommend:

"...there is ornamental kale, and there is culinary kale. Both are members of the brassica family, but they're not quite the same...Ornamental kale is still edible, but you probably wouldn't enjoy it much, as the plant is fairly tough and chewy."

The sandwich, although in desperate need of hot sauce, was good- albeit oily. Curiously, it consisted of three, thin, fried, stacked, rounds of tofu along with the aforementioned accoutrements, but even the English muffin was soaked with oil- presumably from the grill? Again, the overall taste was relatively yummy, but rather underwhelming. Coincidentally, this has also been the issue in the past with Blossom on Carmine. Tastewise: way better than Blossom du Jour's messy egg, cheese, and bacon muffin...nowhere near as good as Terri's simple but delicious bacon, egg, and cheese muffin with hollandaise.

All this to say that I think UVK is simply a new concept for Blossom and it's not necessarily one I'd care to revisit. Coming in at $16 for the plate (one of the less expensive menu items), this turned into a $25+ brunch with OJ, tax, and tip. I guess brunch isn't one of the meals I tend to splurge on (ahem, dessert), but just speaking in terms of good food for the price, this falls skewed towards not-really-for-me as opposed to would-go-again. I guess I should just be happy they didn't charge a brunch surcharge.

Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year's Birthday

VM is lucky that her birthday falls on a holiday because that means there's always plenty of time to celebrate (sorry, OD; that's just the way the cookie crumbles).


This year we did a Boston Creme-esque pancake breakfast to celebrate.


Our family's favorite pancake recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance schmeared with Rigoni di Asiago's Nocciolata Dairy Free Hazelnut & Cocoa Spread (vegan nutella) and dolloped with So Delicious coco whip and ample maple syrup.


89 helped with setting the table.

Then ate more than her fair share of pancakes.

THREE (#pancakegate)

This put us in a food coma until dinner, which was takeout Ethiopian food because VM refuses to cook for her own birthday. This is kind of a downer because she's the best cook in the family, but who can complain about Ethiopian food? Not us.


Certainly not her.

For dessert, Peaceful Provisions donuts in our current fave flaves: rainbow and cannoli because I masterfully plan ahead for all contingencies.

Happy Bday, VM! And happy new year to all; let's get ready to stand up for ourselves and those around us...beginning now!

As Jeannette Rankin told to a journalist re: if she had her life to relive, she said she'd, "do it all again,” adding, “But this time, I'd be nastier.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Well, another Chrismukkah has come and gone for my Christmas and Hanukkah- celebrating family. Since I've eaten nothing but white carbs for weeks, I'd say it's just in the nick of time.


Some highlights of our merriment:

Early on, there was Hanukkah gelt from Gone Pie, Italian cookies from Sweet Maresa's, and dinner at Garguilo's. I went to see some of my favorite, NYC, holiday lights with a friend.

Columbus Circle (OD tells me it's no longer called the Time Warner bldg)

Saks Fifth Avenue light show- worth the (short) wait

This experience warmed my heart in early December:
When I got on the C train at 59th there was a young woman playing the electric violin whilst hula-hooping in half a Santa suit. I got on the train smiling, as did a father with two kids, who all sat next to me. Another man sat across from us and, as we rode, he asked the father if he could have his phone to take a photo of the family. The father handed his phone over and the man took a couple of photos moving, then a couple more when the train stopped. When he handed the phone back to the father, he said, "Sometimes we get caught up in our lives and we don't see ourselves how others see us. I wanted you to see." 

When the man got off the train he wished the father and his sons a Merry Christmas and they shook hands. The younger son said to the father, "That was nice." The father then explained to the kids that if they had done anything even the slightest bit differently in their day- stayed or left the party they were coming from just a minute more or less, that they would have missed meeting the man.

The father then showed me the photos on his phone, which had perfectly captured his beautiful family. Then he showed me the video he'd taken of the violinist, and then another video of a group of subway performers from earlier in the day, who were inspired when someone randomly started dancing with them- thus causing them all to dance long after she'd left to catch her train.

When my stop came I was too choked up to say much more than happy holidays, but with all that's going on in the world, it was nice to see so much goodness spreading with the slightest provocation.

I took 89 to see Santa, but it did not go nearly as well as it has in years past- both with Mr. Claus and the Easter Bunny. I blame Santa.

 This is where her skirt is supposed to fall; it's not a collar. Seen best on home territory.

 Saw the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

I was pretty adamant that I wasn't going to get a tree this year because I was behind on everything. At what I thought was the last minute, I dragged a friend around NYC until I found this gem.

I tried decorating it, but when I saw my feelings reflected in my Hello Kitty ornament's despondent profile, I knew I had to get a real tree at what really was the last minute.

So, I took the Hanukkah half of my family and got me one.

89 was as surprised as everyone else that I caved.

 It was worth it.


VM did an amazing job with Christmas Eve/First Night of Hanukkah dinner, which was repeated on Christmas.

Her famous stuffed artichokes with a stalker.

And her infamous eggplant unrollatini.


There were lots of presents, of course; it happens when you're celebrating two holidays concurrently.

Some of us received more than others. 89 even overtook my stocking this year.

And was receiving gifts in the mail every time I turned around. Lucky duck!

Yep: Hanukkah...

 and Christmas.

Christmas morning we had Vegan with a Vengeance pancakes with maple syrup, So Delicious coco whip, and pickled pumpkin from a friend. Don't worry; she got plenty.

Of course, the requisite mid-day snax.

And, for dessert...the one and only rainbow cookie from Sweet Maresa's.

89 did very well this year.

But I think we can all agree on the best present she received. Expect warm ears and lots of Instagrams of this gem.

Here's hoping your holidays were happy ones.