In “Heaven,” Everything Is Fine

Here’s a bit of trivia for you: David Lynch and Macaroon share the same birthday! He’s one of my favorite filmmakers of all time. Of course, this fact has nothing to do with food and today’s post, but as I write this, I have “In Heaven” from the film, “Erasehead” running through my mind.

Speaking of being “In Heaven,” for my birthday dinner, Artichoke and Mommy Macaroon took me to a wonderful Asian vegetarian restaurant called Veggie Heaven in New City, New York (about 30-40 minutes from NYC). Veggie Heaven is actually a small local chain which started in New Jersey with a total of 4 locations; the one in New City being their most recent addition. Artichoke and I had been to their Teaneck location a few times and always had a great meal. I had no concern about the food. However, I was worried about Mommy Macaroon, because she always makes a skunk face at the mention of anything vegetarian.
Veggie Heaven specializes in mock meats made from tofu, soy and wheat gluten. Their place mats actually explain their purpose and food, which is great for novices. Everything from their chicken to seafood is “fake,” getting as close to the real deal with texture and flavor as possible. The hungriest of carnivore would be surprised.
The decor at the New City location is more contemporary than the Teaneck location, which has more of an Asian cultural feel to it. That’s about the only difference between the two. The service is superb and friendly. The food is delicious, though I think New City has one up on Teaneck in that area.
As we were seated, we were offered hot tea, which hit the spot, and a Chinese cabbage salad with a nice touch of garlic for us to share. Mommy was all about the salad and couldn’t get enough. For appetizers, we went a little crazy sharing yam fries, cold noodles with sesame sauce, spring rolls and barbecue boneless “ribs.” All tasted great and had nice flavor. However, the sesame sauce could have used a tinge of garlic for the noodles. Otherwise, no complaints.
Clockwise from the top: Barbecue “Ribs,” Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce, Spring Roll and Yam Fries
For our entrées, we agreed to split three dishes. Mommy ordered Creaky Chicken, which was lightly breaded and fried slices of soy chicken served with ginger-chili sauce. Artichoke got the Ting Ting Two Flavors, which had cubes of tofu and soy beef prepared in a light yet flavorful brown sauce. I requested the Double Delight with Eggplant which was sliced eggplant with soy chicken and soy shrimp in a spicy sauce. All were served with brown rice.
We all agreed that the Creaky Chicken was the best. However, the other 2 dishes were yummy. We kept picking away at each other’s plates. When we realized we needed to leave room for dessert, we found that there was there was so much food between the three of us that we couldn’t finish it all. So naturally, we asked for it to be packed up for someone’s (being my) lunch the next day!me
Clockwise from the top: Creaky Chicken, Ting Ting Two Flavor and Double Delight with Eggplant
We ended our meal with dessert. After speaking with our waiter, we found out that all desserts were vegan. That brought a major smile to my face, especially since the chocolate cake was calling my name. Artichoke went for the coconut cake. Mommy was a little taken aback by how good dinner was that she was actually nervous about ordering dessert. She wanted ice cream, but they only offer soy ice cream. So the skunk face made its reappearance. After a few hems and haws, she definitely decide on the almond bark ice cream.
The chocolate cake was so rich and decadent. It was almost like a German chocolate cake sans coconut with a heaping amount of pudding on top. The slice was so big that I had to take half of it home. Needless to say, it didn’t last 10 minutes once we walked through the door.
The coconut cake was light, but flavor was standard. It tasted like how you would expect it to taste, like coconut cake. I will say that if they mixed the chocolate cake with the coconut cake, it would have been to die for, just like a yummy tummy German chocolate cake (can you tell that I like that?).
The almond bark ice cream was pretty darn good. It was a vanilla soy with bits of chocolate almond bark in it. Mommy really liked it and said that it was just like ice cream! What shocked me was how quickly she devoured it. She always takes her time eating. So I know she really enjoyed this.
The meal ended with some fresh orange slices which acted as a nice palate cleanser.
Yeah, that was gone lickity-split!
Veggie Heaven has an extensive menu with traditional Chinese-American dishes and specialities. The prices are pretty reasonable. Appetizers range from around $3.00 to $7.00 (not including any platters). Entrees range from around $8.00 to approximately $20.00. Portions are large and filling. I think if we cut back on the appetizers, we would have finished our dishes. The dessert prices are across the board. Customers actually have an option of ordering an entire cake, rather than just a slice.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, Veggie Heaven is worth the trip to either Rockland County, NY or out to New Jersey. Bring some of your carnivore or omnivore friends along. They’ll be pleasantly surprised!

McNulty’s Tea & Coffee Co.

Carmella loves the fact that McNulty’s does not use generic labels of their coffee bags, but instead, they use an individualized rubber stamps for each type of product they sell.

In an age of homogenized coffee shops and retro-stores, McNulty’s Tea & Coffee Co. is an oasis, proudly stuck in the late 19th century. This unpretentious landmark is nestled in the middle of neon Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, NYC, and shows no signs of folding despite the horrible financial crunch we are all experiencing.

McNulty’s offers an astounding range of exotic coffees and teas to the discerning tea and coffee drinking faithful. Even if you’re not a fan of coffee or tea, I suggest stopping by to peer at their window which displays coffee artifacts such as a 1930 Russian samovar and West Village bohemian-aged tea tins. The tiny and knowledgeable staff could not be more helpful or friendly. When you pop inside you’ll swear that you’ve stepped back in time when the country’s few coffee purveyors took pride in their products.

Recently I swung by and purchased a pound of Bavarian Cherry Chocolate. This was one of the most flavorful coffees I’ve had in eons. Subtle hints of chocolate and cherry were present with neither canceling the other out. This is just one of their many flavors of goodness that they offer. Now, don’t you think that McNulty’s is worth the schlep?

McNulty’s is located at 109 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014, USA