Welcome to NYC, by Chloe! Our Review of Chloe Coscarelli’s Restaurant

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Everything’s coming vegan in NYC! After a rough Spring of restaurant losses (Pukk, Lan Cafe, Tiengarden, etc), Summer is the season for foodie blossoms! An exciting addition to the mix is by CHLOE by none other than vegan chef/cookbook author and Cupcake Wars winner, Chloe Coscarelli!  

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Having just opened on July 28th, by CHLOE is already taking the city by storm. So, you know we had to go and try the eats and treats ourselves! There we were 2 days after the Grand Opening in one of the cutest places I’ve ever been. I have to say it really does seem to be a reflection of Chloe and who she is as a person and as chef: fun, lighthearted, sweet and exciting! From the bright, light and airy decor to illustrated details of the shop and its menu, this woman is onto something BIG!

Of course, like any hot spot in NYC, the place was packed. We placed your order at the counter, and waited until Carlo’s name was called. With a “farmhouse” style table in the middle and smaller cafe tables along the wall, plus outdoor seating, real estate was at a minimum. However, we managed to seat ourselves at the big table after placing our order. 

Here’s a rundown for what we tried:

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Pesto Meatball: Italian meatballs, marinara, sweet peppers, basil, cashew mozzarella, almond parmesean on a potato sub roll

The sub roll was PERFECT for this sandwich. The pesto and cheese were on point! Neither of us really tasted the marinara. Sadly, the meatballs were a little on the mushy side for us. Overall, it was a pretty solid sandwich.

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Whiskey BBQ: Smoky Portobello mushrooms & seitan, sauteed kale, onion marmalade, grilled pineapple, bourbon barbecue sauce on a potato bun

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The burger sleeve was too cute! Again, another great choice with the bread. Carm liked the “meaty” texture of the mushrooms and seitan. The grilled pineapple was a nice pick-me-up with its sweetness. What would have been taken it further was more that barbecue sauce with a little heat. It needed a push to get it into high gear.

NOTE: Carlo dislikes mushrooms. So, the combination with the seitan didn’t work for him.

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Air Baked French Fries with beet ketchup and chipotle aioli

The fries were good. Nice crunch with the air baking. However, what WOW’d us were the condiments. The beet ketchup needs to be sold by the bottle! It was EVERYTHING you could want in a pairing with fries. That aioli, which we thought was cheese sauce, was like no other chipotle aioli we ever tried! Thick yet smooth and creamy. Mix that with the ketchup, it’s a real winner!

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Mac N’ Cheese: Sweet potato, cheese sauce and shiitake bacon.

Winner! Winner! Vegan Dinner! O-M-G! O-M-G! So nice, we had to write it twice, right? 

Good thing this comes in 2 portion sizes. We went with the small on this outing. We probably should have gotten the large as there was a mini spoon fight! Instead, Carm ordered a second portion for home.

The comforts of fall made perfect for the summer! That sweet potato with the cheese sauce was pure velvet! The bacon gave a little crunch with smoke. It broke up the texture nicely. The dish wasn’t too heavy. Oh, if Chloe switches this up to PUMPKIN in the fall, we are so on it!

AND OF COURSE THERE WAS DESSERT!!!! How can you go to this place and not try the desserts?!?

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Chlostess Cupcake 

This may be the perfect chocolate cupcake. It looked and tasted like a Hostess cupcake from childhood. So nailed right, the vegan way. No omnivore will be able to tell the difference, nor should they!

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Cinnamon Espresso Cookie

Whoa! That’s one big ole cookie! It covered Carm’s hand!

We disagreed on this one. Carlo felt the espresso flavor was flat, like the cookie. All he tasted was cinnamon. Carm thought the espresso gave a nice finish at the end. It was not a pop, but it was there. 

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Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookie

Back to childhood again. Nice, soft cookie. Carm said it should have had a little more crisp to it, because that’s how she’d like them. 

Overall, we enjoyed our meal at by CHLOE. We’ll be there again…for sure! We already have our list ready, plus getting more of that Mac ‘n Cheese.

What do we have our eyes on for our next visit?

  • The Guac Burger
  • Spicy Thai Salad
  • Juices
  • Dairy Free Ice Cream
  • BRUNCH!

Whether you live in NYC or stopping by for a visit, put by CHLOE on your list of eateries to grub at!

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by CHLOE
185 Bleeker Street
New York, New York
www.bychefchloe.com

Do you own any of Chloe’s cookbooks? NO?!?! Click on the photos and get to shopping!

If Chloe is a part of your cookbook collection, which one is your fave? Share in the comments!

Getting Our Waffle on at Waffle Frolic in Ithaca, NY

Source: wafflefrolic.tumblr.com
Source: wafflefrolic.tumblr.com

How vegans found restaurants with vegan options before the advent of the internet is beyond  me. Praise Seitan that sites like HappyCow exist, for that’s how we found a wonderful eatery known as Waffle Frolic.

2014 marked the second year in a row that we went to the annual NY County Hoe Down at Farm Sanctuary, an event we plan to go to every year, forever. Because dinner was not included for Friday arrivals, Mac & I took the 45 minute slog to cozy Ithaca to check out a place that that serves vegan waffles (a rarity even in NYC). Nestled in the middle of Ithaca Common, Waffle Frolic has been making locals and visitors happy for over four years. As you walk into this popular local haunt, the aroma of fresh waffles waft through its two floors and smacks you silly. After perusing the handwritten menu on the wall, Mac and I placed our order and plopped our tired behinds down. While waiting for our order, I checked out some of Waffle Frolic’s walls which are adorned with outsider art from a local artist.

Had I enough dough on hand, I probably would have purchased this one.
Had I enough dough on hand, I probably would have purchased this one.

When my name was announced I darted downstairs and eagerly picked up our grub. We ending up ordering the Double Waffle with ice cream and compote of the day, a Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Daiya vegan cheese, artichoke and red pepper and of course the “Waffle Dog!” The Double Waffle with ice cream and compote was enough to feed 4 people. The waffle was nice and crispy with a fluffy middle, the compote was pleasantly sweet and the ice cream proved the perfect topping. The Grilled Cheese was perfectly grilled (they use an imported panini press) to a golden perfection and the artichoke with red peppers melded a sweet contrast to the Daiya cheddar. And then there was the Waffle Dog. Yep. Oh yeah. Uh huh. I could eat one every day. I’ve never been a huge fan or corn dogs but this was bold. The crispy texture contrasted nicely with the soft and savory vegan dog. This wonder on a stick came with a maple mustard dipping sauce that made it all the better.

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As it’s my tradition when going on vacation to check out a local indie bookstore, I met a woman who our dining choice while at Autumn Leaves Used Books. She pointed out that Ithaca is an “epic city”, for a variety of reasons,  one being that there’s lots of restaurants with vegan options. When she asked me where I ate, I pointed out that I just dined at Waffle Frolic to which she enthusiastically said “you made a great choice!”

Waffle Frolic is just one more example of an omni establishment that recognizes our community and is willing to include wonderful vegan options.Next time we’e in Ithaca a stop at Waffle Frolic is guaranteed. And as I explore the rest of town, I’ll be sure to wear a vegan shirt so another random person gives me a tip. Maybe HappyCow isn’t necessary in Ithaca!

Me staring down a Waffle Dog.
Staring down a Waffle Dog.

To learn more about Waffle Frolic, make sure to check out the website at wafflefrolicking.com.

Table In A Bag. A Picnic Game Changer

Source: wantlist.com
Source: wantlist.com

As much as anybody, vegans love outdoor activities, especially picnics. We’re among the elite for dining al fresco and can throw down with the best of them. You need only go to your local vegan Meetup picnic to see the proof in the chia pudding! We bring grills, chairs, canopies, coolers, uninvited friends,  and sometimes our pets. Heck, our friend Walnut even brings his bicycle-powered mixer that runs a Vitamix!

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At the last Westchester Meetup at Ossining’s Louis Engel Waterfront Park, our friends Seitan and Legume pulled a curious collection of poles and slats out of a mesh pouch. Within two minutes, they suddenly put together a very cool, low wood table. When asked what magic they just performed, our friendly couple pointed out that they just assembled a wedding gift they received called “Table In A Bag.”

The Table In A Bag Manufacturing Corporation has been around since 1998 and has been gaining popularity every year. And why wouldn’t they? These attractive tables are portable, lightweight, VERY easy to assemble/disassemble, require no tools, are made with eco-friendly water-resistant materials and are sturdy (we put a lot of stuff on the table and a couple of toddlers crawled on it). This innovative company also sells aluminum tables as well as accessories such as tablecloths and special totes. The table that they brought measured about 15” X 27” X 16” and came in a “natural wood” color. They sell other sized models with different colors.

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Table In A Bag is perfect for picnics, sporting events, outdoor concerts, or to peddle your wares.  As a couple who live in an apartment with no backyard to speak of, this is the perfect  table to use when throwing a little party behind our building or on our rooftop (Fun Fact: Papa Choke calls rooftops “tar beaches.”) We were so impressed with its performance we ended up ordering one and used it at this past Farm Sanctuary NY Country Hoe Down (More details on that to come…).

To find out more about Table In A Bag, check out their website at tableinabag.com.

 

Late Night Philly-Style: Foobooz After Dark at Vegan Commissary

Foobooz at Vegan Commissary

Can two chefs from vastly different cooking backgrounds, one vegan and the other steakhouse, coexist and put together a memorable meal for a SOLD OUT crowd of vegans, vegetarian and omnivores alike? The answer is “Yes! Yes, they can!” Macaroon and I decided to make a late, quixotic trip to Philly for the first ever vegan Foobooz After Dark event.

If you’re not from Philly or don’t know what Foobooz is, let me explain. Philadelphia Magazine has a featured section called Foobooz that lists all things groovy and hip in the food and wine world of Philly. Through Foobooz, the magazine has just started to host a dining series called “Foobooz After Dark.” On the Foobooz website (www.foobooz.com), the Foobooz After Dark series is described as “A late night, pop-up dinner series in Philadelphia” which is rather self-explanatory. Basically 25 people share a space for unique, one-off dining experiences at select dining spots throughout the city.

Now back onto our trip. Some may consider us “locos” to travel to Philly for a 11:30pm dinner, especially since we needed to get up early the next day to march in the Veggie Pride Parade! However, since we had such a memorable experience at newly opened Vegan Commissary during our Philly Food Crawl in Philadelphia, it was worth the effort, gas, tolls and lack of sleep. Meeting a restaurant owner so passionate about his food and business, like Steve Lawrence, we couldn’t NOT go, when Mac saw that tickets were on sale.

The chefs paired up for the night were Vegan Commissary’s own chef de cuisine Leigh Needham and Jeff Froehler, chef of Philly’s “luxury” steakhouse Barclay Prime. Having a vegan meal prepared by a steakhouse chef would catch people off-guard, especially with a dinner theme labeled as “Vegan Steakhouse.” However, as Foobooz even acknowledged, the theme title was purely in name only due to Jeff’s presence.

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Upon entering Vegan Commissary, we felt welcomed by the low-light ambiance and wonderful aromas wafting throughout one of our new favorite vegan spots. We ended up sitting at one of the communal tables set up especially for this event. Albeit I’m not a huge fan of communal tables, on this particular night I didn’t mind. After all, it’s not every day that you are lucky enough to sample offerings from a vegan steakhouse dinner. If I had to describe a vegan steakhouse I would say that it’s an eclectic

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After one of the servers was kind enough to chill our bottle of wine (it was a BYOB event) we spoke to a very nice couple (a lifelong Philadelphian who edits a cooking show and a gentleman who… well, I forgot what he does , but he was pleasant despite being a rabid Eagles fan!) about this and that. After we had a few glasses of crisp, dry chardonnay from Eyre Vineyards, the food started to come out, all beautifully plated and ready for us to consume, devour and relish.

And although this evening was a “Vegan Steakhouse” theme, it was more of an Asian fusion, but impressive nonetheless.  The menu arrived as follows:

Nori “Oyster” Shooter
sea vegetable “oyster”, broth, belgian endive, caviar

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This one creeped me out a bit because I LOATHE fish. This would work well for someone who likes the taste of fish. It’s eerily close! I admit that I was a tad nervous about trying  further mock-fish dishes that were on the menu this evening, but that soon ended.

Soup Dumpling
edamame, spicy miso broth

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The dumpling was excellent.  It was perfectly seasoned, savory and had just the right give when you bit into it (I can’t stand overcooked or mushy dumplings). I only wish there were more. If this was a product that was sold at Whole Foods or a local co-op I would buy it often.

Seared Eggplant Scallops
cauliflower couscous, sea foam

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This tasty course helped me get past my phobia of vegan foods that resemble fish.   As a big fan of cauliflower, this light and aromatic dish rang up the taste buds and didn’t disappoint. The searing wasn’t overdone and lent the dish an extra dimension.

Heirloom Radishes, Golden Beets
caper and golden raisin puree, pea tendrils

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This may have been the best dish of the evening. The beets were sweet and IMPECCABLY cooked to tender perfection. The golden raisin puree lent a sweet note to an already amazing dish and I would order this again if it becomes available. Oh, and to give credit where credit is due, the steakhouse chef made this dish.

Green Tea Lentil Cakes
green tea, micro shiso

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Earthy and a wee bit gritty. We weren’t overwhelmed by this dish, as it had a more standard flavor and didn’t stand out. I will give the chef(s) a pass on this one , as there aren’t too many decent flavored lentil cakes out there.

Handcrafted Live Cheese
traditional accompaniments

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Miyoko Schinner would be proud of this cheesy comestible. This garam masala cheese had a nutty, mild flavor that reminded me a little of Tree Line’s Herb-Garlic cheese. This is one of the better raw “cheeses” I’ve tasted. Accompanying this amazing faux-fromage were two odd bedfellows, wonton chips and pickles shallots, neither of which belonged on the same plate with the “cheese”. The wonton chips and pickled shallots would fare better with a dip or soup. 

Dessert Sushi
candied fruit, chocolate seaweed, green tea ice cream wasabi, caramel shoyu
maki and nigiri “sushi”
edible chopsticks

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This dessert course was outstanding and very clever. The ice cream portions really resembled sushi and the chopsticks were edible, tasting a bit like almond biscotti. All three flavors of ice cream were distinct and creamy, with no aftertaste as some vegan ice creams leave you with. The filling in the sushi was rice pudding. I wanted more!

The Foobooz After Dark event was a rousing success, as the whole room gave a well-deserved round of applause to the two talented chefs. This is a highly recommended event that’s worth the schlep for those outside of the Quaker City, and we will definitely keep our vegan radar on high alert whenever this or any other special event is planned at Vegan Commissary.

Over the last 6 months or so, we’ve become aware that Philly is a burgeoning city for vegan options. From high quality vegan restaurants, to vegan-friendly spots, to excellent, well-stocked food co-ops, Philly has grown up overnight.  New York better watch its tuchus because the Philly is catching up and may one day surpass us! Then again, maybe we need a good scare from the city down the Turnpike.

To learn more about Foobooz and future Foobooz After Dark future events,  visit www.phillymag.com.

Check out a slideshow from our late night festivities:

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