Welp! After our last vegan article, many of you pointed out (rightly so) that Northeast Kingdom, although they are dedicated to local sourcing and organic food and have a lot of cauliflower on their menu, is not really a vegan-friendly establishment. So, to redeem ourselves we hit the pavement and taste-tested a whole slew of definitely vegan dishes in Bushwick.
#1 Saturday Brunch: Vegan Scramble at Cafe Ghia (24 Irving Ave)
Cafe Ghia, home of the Laura Palmer, is committed to offering as many vegan options as possible, so, for example, at least one of their daily soups is always vegan. But for a hearty brunch meal, check out the Vegan Scramble ($10). The Scramble consists of a medley of tofu, sweet potato, kale, scallion, and spicy black bean sauce. Ginger-lime tofu ‘cream’ is served on the side, along with toast, and it’s got a strange, compelling bite to it that kept me coming back for more. Additional Vegan Options: VLT Panino (Marinated tempeh, baby spinach, oven-dried tomato, and vegan tofu aioli on ciabatta) and Potato Bowl (without cheese.)
#2 Sunday Brunch: Vegan Rancheros at 983 Bushwick Living Room (983 Flushing Ave)
A humane take on the classic huevos rancheros ($8), 983 does without the eggs, but still manages to keep it, somehow, tasting eggy and cheesy. beans and rice are served on the side. The rancheros comes to you on a delicious, crispy tortilla, and it’s extremely rewarding to scoop up beans and rice and schmush the whole smorgasbord into your grateful, watering mouth. Also, a five dollar Bloody Mary is a pretty awesome deal. Additional Vegan Options: Vegan Meatloaf, Vegan Scramble, Quinoa and Summer Salad.
#3 Lazy Weekend Tasty Treat: Dunwell Donuts (222 Montrose Ave)
Although I probably don’t need to draw your attention to the existence of an all-vegan donut shop, it doesn’t hurt to remind you that they are, in fact, still serving a multitude of amazing donuts, from Peanut Butter and Jelly (the classic) to seasonal stuff, like Pumpkin ‘Cheese’ cake ($2-3). So make the trek over to Montrose and Bushwick, get some of their iced tea and a half dozen donuts, and then call your grandma and tell her you’re eating at a place that was on the Canadian Food Network.
#4 Enjoying-the-Last-Death-Rattle-of-an-Indian-Summer Dinner: Lemongrass Tofu at Falansai (112 Harrison Pl)
Drinking a tasty Vietnamese beer between the blue walls of Falansai always makes me feel like it’s the middle of summer, even as the winter air presses down and the breeze bites just a little bit deeper. Savor these final sunny days, and enjoy the lemongrass tofu ($9) at Falansai. Then welcome the brisk autumn nights with a 33 or a Saigon. Additional Vegan Options: Vegan Crepe with Three Mushrooms, Pumpkin Curry, Rice Pasta Rolls. Plus, Falansai is planning on expanding their vegan options in the near future!
#5 Spaceship Food: Handmade Vegan Gyoza at Momo Sushi Shack (43 Bogart Street)
Momo has a wide variety of vegan and gluten-free food, including many of their rolls. But if you can only pick one appetizer, go for the gyoza ($8). It looks like an edible UFO just landed on your plate, and it tastes like the work of a highly skilled sushi samurai. A cruelty-free samurai, that is. The gyoza is filled with oyster mushroom, napa, and chive. Additional Vegan Options: Almost a third of their menu is vegan, including vegan tempura, tofu salad, and a vegan eel bomb.
#6 Comfort Food: Anything at Brooklyn Mac can be made vegan or gluten free for 1 Dollar (173 Montrose Ave)
Mac and cheese (~$6 for a small, ~$12 for a large) the world around has been known to dry the tears of a weak, hungover undergraduate, fresh from the countryside, looking for something to remind her of home. Well, thanks to Brooklyn Mac’s deft use of Daiya dairy products, now she can enjoy the tastes of home without all the cheese-y guilt. Additional Vegan Options: Literally, everything on their menu can be made vegan.
#7 Late night Snack: Roasted sage, pine nut and squash rice balls at Arancini Bros (940 Flushing Ave)
Go into the night. Be free and young and fine. Leave your worries at the doorstep; dance suggestively near strangers; shed the past like a snake shedding its skin. And then, like the snake ingests the mouse, pop a rice ball ($4) into your mouth at three in the morning. But unlike the snake, who has just taken the life of an innocent and unsuspecting mouse, you can pop that rice ball without a smidgen of remorse. Additional Vegan Options: Roasted cauliflower with Lemon, Capers, and Parsley, Pistachio Pesto, and White Bean and Escarole.
#8 Sandwich: The Aladdin at Little Skips (941 Willoughby Ave)
The Aladdin ($6) boasts a plethora of veggies betwixt its bread: spinach, tomatoes, red onions, and avocado. Hummus smooths them all out, and salt/pepper/olive oil make it melty and flavorful. Served on whole wheat toast, with chips. The perfect sandwich to spend a mere six dollars on. Additional Vegan Options: VLT sandwich. Also, inquire about modifying other sandwiches to render them vegan.
#9 Start-your-day-off-right: Peanut Butter Cookies at Kave (1087 Flushing Ave )
Cookies! Kave is the perfect place to start a busy Monday morning. Before you hop on the L and start the rat race, relax for a few minutes with a delicious vegan pastry (~$3), enjoying the low-key, easy atmosphere of this coffee shop. Peanut butter cookies ain’t yo thang? They usually have a pretty great selection of vegan treats, and they’re never short on friendly baristas and chill music.
#10 Get-the-hell-outta-Dodge: Ananda Ashram (13 Sapphire Road, Monroe NY 10950)
Okay, it’s not Bushwick, but it’s close-ish. Sometimes it’s hard to stick to a diet in the city, and if that diet is the vegan diet, you’ve really got your work cut out for you. Maybe you need to recharge, or learn some new recipes, or just take a few deep breaths that aren’t filled with car exhaust. For $80 dollars and a bus ticket, you can spend a night or two at the Ashram in Monroe, NY. Yoga classes are held all day; exclusively vegan and vegetarian food are served, and there’s bi-daily meditation and chanting. And if $80 is a little steep, look into their work exchange program!