ecoRDN caught the D Train in the Bronx and rode it to Manhattan’s Broadway-Lafayette stop for a day of #UrbanHiking and eating, with a little window-shopping on the side. We made our way to the Union Square Greenmarket and it was packed on a perfect day of bright sun and cold-blast Manhattan winds. The veg was amazing! So many colors and varieties, gorgeous! Satisfied with our sightseeing we set out to find lunch in Hell’s Kitchen. Specifically, Two Boots.
Two Boots (located at 625 9th Av) is a standout pizza place among many, many, many pizza places in NYC. The two boots referenced are Italy and New Orleans, for the boot shape of each respective mass, couple them together for a mashup of American-Italian NYC classical and creole/bayou staples. Among their many dynamic and thoughtful pizza homages is also willingness to embrace the plant-based foodie, as with their special during World Vegan Month happening right now. During the month of November Two Boots has offered five vegan pizza options, and after we heard this we had to check it out and support this endeavor.
We strolled our way up through the busy Saturday Manhattan streets, navigating and sidestepping around the clustered many, eager to try those vegan slices. The day was perfect for a walk and the nearly 3 miles it took to get from our start on Houston to Hell’s Kitchen got us ready to eat. It was both our first time eating at Two Boots although we’ve noticed the various locations since we arrived in NYC back in 2012. Two Boots has color and soul through the roof, you can’t miss it.
We decided ahead of time to order the 12″ Night Tripper (named in honor of Louisiana music legend Dr John), a pie with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic and jalapeño pesto on white. The man behind the counter made the pizza fresh and it was on our table in less than 15 minutes, a gorgeous work of art which made us damn stoked to be plant-based! It was the single greatest dairy-free pizza we have ever eaten.
Two Boots pies start with a cornmeal crust, adding that necessary crunch to the chewiness of the thin slice. Although they were out of whole wheat dough at the time it is an option if you fancy that over white flour dough. The jalapeño pesto was perfect, piquant with a fresh bite that was balanced out by the creaminess of the “ricotta” and Daiya white cheese combination. Finished with the deep, lush flavor of the sun-dried tomato and bold-as-love super roasted garlic explosion. (If you love garlic, you will be in for a treat with this pie. If garlic isn’t your ally, you should probably pick another, the garlic is no joke here.)
In our opinion one important key to executing a successful vegan pizza is to make it a specialty pie. A straight up vegan cheese pizza leaves the mouth aware of the three basic ingredients: crust, sauce, vegan-cheese. And in that awareness the mouth mostly will be hung up on the vegan-cheesiness of the cheese, especially cheese such as Daiya. But having all the ingredients of the Night Tripper together, the mouth gets distracted by the sun-dried tomato and the roasted garlic rainbow, and the creaminess and the chewy crunchiness, and the spiciness from the pesto. So much so that it forgets it’s eating “vegan” pizza. And as we were enveloped in the process of savoring some of the smartest pizza we’ve ever tasted we stopped to remind ourselves that this masterpiece on a plate was plant-based and dairy free. Yes indeed.
The 12″ was larger than we expected and filled us up proper like a good pizza binge should, so we decided to continue our walk further north along Central Park then cut through to the East Side and made our way to the 4 Train on Lexington. Back to the Bronx we went. Approximately 11 miles on foot all day, amazing food in our bellies, and a perfect autumn backdrop for it all. Heck yeah, it’s good to be active and plant-based!
If you’ve ever been to Two Boots and tried their dairy-free pizza let us know in the comments below. What’s your favorite? Where else have you tried vegan pizza? Enjoy and be well!