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Posted: Nov 08, 2017
By: Holly Lauridsen

How To Test A Vegan Lifestyle With Your Love In NYC

Last week, I ate egg sandwiches for a substantial portion of my meals. I am known to steal the extra crispy parts of bacon from Josh whenever we have it together. When I plan trips, one of my first Google searches is usually for the best ice cream near my destination.

But while I live for buttery croissants and egg-topped avocado toast, and will rarely turn down bacon, I am not an avid meat eater. In fact, before this adventure, I had already checked off beef and seafood from the list of foods I consider too much of an environmental challenge to be worth it.

Josh is a different story entirely. Josh is an avid lover of all meat and dairy products. To put it in perspective, Josh was once Ron Swanson for Halloween so that he could carry around and slowly consume several pounds of bacon during the night.

Needless to say, testing out a vegan lifestyle was not something that I envisioned happening for the two of us anytime soon. Yet, in spite of both of our loves for animal-based food products, here we are, trying to be vegan.

You, like many of our friends, are probably asking, “Why?” After four days of the vegan life, I too have asked myself this question. (Many times.) But there are a few reasons.

No. 1 We are trying to be healthier.

Josh and I are definitely far from having the physiques of runway models. That’s okay! But when you realize you are snacking on a little too much fudge, but also want to avoid that winter pudge, then you have to reassess. Looking at my diet, I realized that a lot of the unhealthy temptations that I was giving into (read: multiple trips to Pies n’ Thighs in a very short period of time) had dairy or meat in them. I thought that embracing a plant-based diet would be a good way to cut out those underlying ingredients.

No. 2 We can do a small part to help the environment.

I had already cut out beef and seafood from my diet for environmental reasons, but doing this together means we can hopefully reduce our impact on the earth even more! Not to be preachy, but those 70-degree days in October in NYC are a good reminder that things around us are changing, and we all need to do our part. (Plus, Josh hates the heat, so we should all help him out a little.)

No. 3 It's a fun challenge.

Josh and I like to push ourselves to try new things! We often set up challenges and goals to help us become better versions of ourselves, so this helps us explore a new lifestyle — and hopefully come out a little wiser on the other side.

So, if this is a challenge, what are the details?

Vegan — all day, every day…until Thanksgiving! We’ve heard reports that going vegan can make you feel amazing. But, that feeling often takes a few weeks to kick in. We originally thought about 6 weeks, but I’m going to Italy for Thanksgiving, and I’ve got one word for you: GELATO. So, in honor of that deliciousness, we’re cutting it off at Thanksgiving.

We are quickly realizing that in NYC, being vegan does not have to be the end of your social life. It is a little annoying to ask your friends to limit their selection to places that can accommodate your diet, but then, there's really no shortage to cool vegan spots! Below, some of the places we are looking forward to trying in our vegan adventure


For When You're Craving... Head To...

A Classy Date Night

Dirt Candy


Dirt Candy was on our “to try” list even before our foray into veganism began because it simply looks amazing! Diners at Dirt Candy (for dinner, at least) can pick between the Vegetable Patch (a five-course menu for $57, including tip) or the luxurious Vegetable Garden (a nine- to ten-course menu for $83, including tip). With treats like Korean-fried broccoli (described as “crack in broccoli form”) and Brussels Sprout Tacos, I see a Garden in our future…

What Holly is most excited for: The Kale Jungle Bird, a cocktail that's a mix of dark rum, kale, spinach, pineapple, and lime.

What Josh is most excited for: The Brussel Sprout Tacos, which are topped with smoked avocado, pickled red onion, radishes, crispy Brussel Sprout leaves, pickled jalapenos, and salsa verde.

Good Asian Food


Murray Hill

Franchia’s vegan twist on Korean classics makes me think that being a temporary vegan is going to be JUST fine. With crispy scallion pancakes, dumplings for days, Bibimbap, and more, we feel reassured that we are not going to miss out on tasty Asian food in the next few weeks.

What Holly is most excited for: Avocado Bibimbap

What Josh is most excited for: Vegetarian Bibimbap

You Want To Be French, But Have To Say “Non” To The “Fromage”

Le Botaniste

Upper East Side

Le Botaniste is a plant-based food and wine bar (that’s right, wine is vegan!) on the Upper East Side that makes me wish I owned a beret. Although we will likely be skipping the filtered UES water (on the menu for a cool $1.50), that leaves more room for plant-based bowls and whatever an “apple volcano” dessert is.

What Holly is most excited for: Tibetan Mama Rice Bowl (and the fact that your cursor becomes a carrot when you are on their online menu).

What Josh is most excited for: Spicy Chili sin Carne Bowl.

Just An Easy Night Out

Lady Bird, A Vegetable Bar.

East Village

Lady Bird is one of a trio of vegan restaurants (Hi Mother of Pearl, Cienfuegos & Avant Garden!) that put a unique spin on plant-based diets. With an impressive smattering of entrées and a dessert flight that includes chocolate and peanut butter mousse, we naturally thought that Lady Bird would be a great place to start.

What Holly is most excited for: Avocado: Seaweed, fried avocado, shiso, and black garlic-ponzu.

What Josh is most excited for: Artichoke Hearts: baby artichoke, ají dulce, saffron aioli, and spiced pumpkin seeds.

Your Sweet Tooth Is Calling

Raaka Chocolate

Red Hook

Not only does Raaka have super-intriguing flavors like Bananas Foster, Ghost Pepper, and Bourbon Cask Aged, they are all vegan! Their factory is in Red Hook, and they offer tours on Saturdays and Sundays (with samples!). Bonus points for being a local company, of course.

What Holly is most excited for: Bananas Foster!

What Josh is most excited for: Bourbon Cask Aged!

We’re quickly realizing that our plant-based diet and adventure does not have to limit our date night options! Follow us along on idk tonight to see what we think of these and other vegan places around the city!

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