ecoRDN loves to take walks that end in plant-based foods being shoved in our gobs. One of our favorite walks has always been from the city of Pittsburgh, crossing the Highland Park bridge to get to the quaint little town of Aspinwall. Before 2012, living in Pittsburgh, the walk would take us to the Waterworks Mall. There we often read or drew in Barnes & Noble while getting jacked on coffee with no vegan fare around but a lowly protein bar or snack from Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. My how times have changed! Aspinwall now has an amazing all vegan restaurant, Randita’s, offering lunches Monday through Saturday and weekend dinners Friday and Saturday. They also have a food truck located at Aspinall Riverfront Park.
The excitement of one’s change of environment often takes a backseat to the actual move itself, because anybody who has ever moved knows moving is the work of grotesque, nefarious forces. In perfectly illustrated irony we at ecoRDN realized we took more gear than was necessary to NYC when we left Pittsburgh in late-August 2012, the unfortunate realization of this happened while packing to move back to Pittsburgh three years later.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity (none of it blogging) as our followers may have noticed. ecoRDN picked up and moved back to our home city of Pittsburgh, PA after 3 1/2 years of big-apple living. It’s been bittersweet as we love both places equally, but differently. Let me discuss some of the New York highlights since our last post…
ecoRDN first heard about Sweetgrass Grill‘s plant-based brunch offerings after a cool post by We Bike NYC‘s riders who planned a bike & foodie trip from Manhattan to Chappaqua along the S County Trail (with a rest stop in Tarrytown for brunch). With plans already made that weekend ecoRDN was unable to attend and decided to map out an alternative trip on a nearby trail system, The Old Croton Aqueduct, and go on foot instead of bike.
Since 2002 midtown’s famous Bryant Park has hosted New York City’s annual holiday bazaar Winter Village, a seasonal outdoor marketplace stuffed to the eyes with cocoa-craving holiday awesomeness, free ice-skating and ample attention paid to plant-based peoples.
If you’ve ever seen the Palisades loom over the Hudson in the late fall bright afternoon sun you’ve seen a living work of art. That view from the window of a Metro-North train instilled both a sense of reverie and adventure as ecoRDN hit the northern rails toward Kingston, NY with hopes of uncovering an abundance of plant-based foods worthy of their stunning backdrop.
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.
ecoRDN takes the D-Train south to Harlem 125th Street / St Nicholas Avenue.
After misreading the map and going in the wrong direction we discovered St Nicholas Park and some amazing park steps that led to St Nicholas Terrace, exploration for another day! Back on track, we made our way to Seasoned Vegan at 55 St Nicholas Avenue in Harlem. Seasoned Vegan as stated on their website is a family business owned an operated by Mother and Son, Brenda and Aaron Beener.
Chalk & Cheese is an English expression suggesting two things are quite different from one another. There may be a southern expression meaning the same thing but I don’t know what it is. Downtown Nashville and East Nashville are perfectly illustrated examples of this idiom. Nashville’s Broadway is a tourist haven crammed with cowboy boot stores, gift shops and neon honky-tonk bars, whereas East Nashville is both a vessel for overpriced hipster trinkets (representing the crummier side of gentrification) and a soulful, laid back vegan-friendly oasis.