Monday, March 18, 2013

Savvy NYC Vegan Livin'

NYC is partly a magical land filled with some of the most delicious and creative vegan food in the world and partly an intensely expensive place that is alienating and exclusionary towards anyone that isn't making at least a six-figure salary. Navigating this city and earnestly trying to enjoy it for its positive qualities is not a simple task, especially because simply sustaining a life here can be utterly exhausting or near-impossible.

Much of my excitement about being here is to learn that balance - to  appreciate what this city has to offer without idealizing it while remaining conscious and supportive of the struggles of so many inhabitants of these five boroughs. 

Okay, so with all that being said, let's get back to being vegan in NYC. THERE IS AWESOME VEGAN FOOD EVERYWHERE! Like, seriously, everywhere! That bagel store over there? It's got like six flavors of vegan cream cheese! That little bakery across the street? It's got two different kinds of vegan donuts. Oh, that seedy looking diner? Yea they have totally awesome veggie burgers!

However, as a new New Yorker, I find that I don't have the time or money to waste on crummy vegan food. I'm super stoked about trying all the tasty vegan-friendly fare NYC has to offer, while weeding out the rip-offs and spreading the word about the best deals. I'm Italian, I love to cook, and I've been (mostly) vegan for over 10 years. You can definitely trust my judgement. 

This past Sunday evening we were completely pooped after a busy day of sight-seeing and sale-shopping. On our trek home, we decided to hop off the subway at Grand Central (our favorite!) and take a trip down to the snack area on the lower level. They have a Two Boots pizza shop tucked all the way into the back left corner. Two Boots is a local pizza chain that's been serving yummy pizza in decidedly eclectic settings in neighborhoods all over NYC for decades (and now has actually spread to other cities including LA and Baltimore). It features two different kinds of vegan pies on a daily basis, plus you can customize your own if you order a whole pie.

The two vegan standards are the Earth Mother and the V for Vegan. The Earth Mother has a marinara base and is piled up with fresh veggies. There's no vegan cheese, just veggie-tastic. Our favorite slice is the V for Vegan. I may be swayed because of my deep love for the Alan Moore comic "V for Vendetta" but really it's because this pie is unbelievably delicious. This pie's got it all: marinara base, artichoke hearts, red onion slices, mushrooms, gobs of melty gooey Daiya cheese, and criss-crossed lines of red-pepper pesto and basil pesto. WHAT?! I am not the biggest fan of onions and my partner could do without mushrooms, but we both gobble up every crumb of this pizza - onions and mushrooms be damned. EAT IT! 

The V for Vegan is not a cheap pie, at about $24 for a large pie and about $4 for a slice. However, it is VERY delicious and quite filling. Perfect for an under $5 pre-dinner snack if you're out and about, or as a nice delivery-treat if you've had a long day and can't bear thought of cooking. Make a cheap salad at home, drink water from your Brita filter, and you've got a reasonably priced meal for sure.


  1. oh my goodness! i had never thought to look in the grand central snack area for vegan pizza! i find myself in the station once every 2 months or so, to go visit my parents in westchester county. i can't wait to get a slice of heaven before my next visit!

    1. There are actually quite a few vegan options in Grand Central. All of the coffeeshops on the main concourse level have soy milk. Also, in the Dining Concourse on the lower level there's Two Boots, an Italian place with veggie paninis, and a kiosk that sometimes has veggie hot dogs.

      Grand Central is so magical! I'll probably write more about it in the future, because I really do have a love affair with the place. If you're visiting anytime soon, check out the free exhibition about Grand Central's over 100 year history in the Main Concourse. It's actually interesting and has awesome old photos!