Sunday, March 20, 2011

Taking NY by Storm: A Vegan's Tale

Check out that view! I also have in hand the BEST smoothie I've ever had: Squaw Valley!!

Last summer I was lucky enough to have volunteered for and attended an amazing four-day Yoga & Music festival in the middle of beautiful Tahoe. Wanderlust was such an enlightening experience and I hope to return again soon; being among such spiritual power and creativity was inspiring, advocating everything environmental protection to compassionate eating.

Among the many big names to play the music scene among the looming majestic mountains was old school DJ Moby. His DJ set was epic, totally killed it (in a good way!) and his afternoon acoustic set was harmonizing. But it is his speaking event that was of utmost interest for purposes of this blog: on vegan living.

Moby was promoting a new book he has out and spoke briefly on it, taking questions and engaging people on the real issues of vegan living. Imagine my delight when, after a few internet clicks, I find out he owns a vegetarian restaurant in NYC.

Delicious cakes, almost 100 different types of free leaf teas to choose from, and owned by a techno god? Yes, please!

Teany Cafe can only be described as cozy. At 10pm the lighting was dim, all but blinding bar the gently flicking tea candles. Sleek, modern, and white, it reminds me of vegan cafes of Brighton (UK). And what could go better with this English feel than plenty of properly prepared teas and homely sweets (think whoopie pies and coconut cake).

T & I actually discovered Teany after looking for a gift for my Brother for Christmas; we just got back from London and thought the tea-for-two deal at Teany was appropriate for him & his girlfriend. Him having raved about the club--and me being the sandwich fiend I am--my choice was probably already made before arrival (as tempting as the lasagna sounded).

I opted for the blt, even though I *always* get the blt as T reminds me. On the side a cup of honey roobios with steamed almond milk (again, England had entranced me with their London Fog). T & Adam both got the half chili/half "turkey" club.

The drink was fantastic, as it ought to be, creamy and with just a hint of sweetness. The salad greens crisp and dressed with a lovely thick balsamic. But it was the sandwich that stole my heart. Not the biggest around for its price, nothing too fancy, but simple and classic, and perfectly toasted (a must!).

The chili, sadly, was just a bit lacking. I think T & I may be biased from our constant chili making contests but I had made a better lentil chili days earlier (thicker, more robust). But still, tasty.

Our biggest mistake, which I beg none of you to make!, is to have left without dessert. I guess I felt the impulse to explore, being in NY and all (I have a list of about 30 possible vegan havens to check out). But for the rest of that weekend, I could get those luscious looking cakes and pastries out of mind and I'm still sure that I had made the wrong choice and that those desserts (as Adam also told us they would be) was what I was searching for.

In conclusion, if you're in NYC, please visit Teany, sip some tea, and don't let the city rush you out... get that slice of cake you're eyeing!

Oh yeah, and go to Wanderlust if you get the chance... besides amazing music, great people, fun vendors, beautiful artwork, breathtaking views, and tons of yoga... we get free pool & spa access at the site of the Olympic Village :) Do it (and let's meet up there!)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cookies for Charity: Carrot Cake Cookies & Boloco Vegan Fare

It seems like time just escapes us sometimes. Particularly around midterms, I really think my subjectively based movement in space-time are shorter than usual (or maybe my Quantum Mechanics class is just taking over my imagination).

Yet, even in what feels like a few seconds we accomplish a lot; lots to update on!

For one, I start selling my homemade, vegan cookies at a local Boston chain, Boloco in Harvard Square! It's a fun project, being able to experiment with new recipes and hearing feedback. Plus, ALL proceeds go to charity! Its been a great way so fa to raise awareness about vegan issues.

Originally the money went to Farm Sanctuary, but light of the recent events, the next batches are going to Red Cross Japan.

We could talk endlessly about the atrocities, but now, more than ever, it seems our earth on all fronts is in the midst of a crisis, from environmental degradation to financial corruption (PS. everyone check out Inside Job, the 2011 Oscar-wining documentary narrated by Matt Damon): positive vibes and good intentions are short and well needed, and I applaud the innumerable people I meet each day online who try to become educated on the issues and do immense good in this world.

And to give you just a little taste (literally!) of what I tried to put together, here's one of the sample cookies being sold at Boloco:

Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies



1/3 C, Sugar
1/3 C, Brown sugar
1/2 C, Canola oil
1/2 C, Soy milk
2 T, Arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
2 t, Vanilla extract
1 t, Ground cinnamon
1/2 t, Ground cloves
1/2 t, Ground nutmeg
1/2 t, Ground allspice
1/2 t, Salt
1/2 t, Baking soda
1/2 C, Grated peeled carrots
2 C, Whole wheat flour
1/2 C, Raisins


* I used the cream cheese frosting recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World but this one is similar. In Vegan Cupcakes they suggest adding chopped, toasted walnuts to the cream cheese which sounds amazing; I think I'll try this next time, let me know if you try it how it turns out!



1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with either parchment paper, silicone mat, or lightly grease (the first two are more recommended).
2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugars and oil until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add in soy milk and arrowroot; mix together well. Add in vanilla and mix.
3. Add in all the spices, baking soda, and carrots and mix. Slowly add in the flour, about 1/3 at a time and mix well. Fold in the raisins.
4. Drop tablespoon sized balls onto the baking sheets just under 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball with the end of a spatula. Bake for 10 minutes; allow to cool on the sheets for about 2 minutes and then remove and allow to cool on a metal rack.


1. Take two cookies of approximately the same size. Place a tablespoon size dollop of the cream cheeze frosting on the flat back of one cookie and spread; place the other cookie on top. Enjoy!