|The famous Grandma Slice from Prince Street Pizza–-credit|
“For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.” – Romans 14:2
That is a quote from the Holy Bible, though this ancient bestseller would have a hard time explaining the
popularity of vegan restaurants in New York City. On that note, it would probably have a hard time explaining New York City.
I am not a religious person. In fact, the closest I come to praying is when Macbar is taking too long to prepare my order. The closest I come to being grateful for my daily bread is when I bite into a Pepperoni Grandma Slice at Prince Street Pizza. It is these cravings that led me to make that dreaded decision that I have to make every few months: it’s time for a health kick.
I raided Trader Joes for quinoa, faro and barley. I pulled ambitious recipes from Foodgawker, knowing that they wouldn’t taste as good as they looked. Still, I was going forward with the difficult mission of eating healthily in a city so laden with cupcakes and macarons. No, I wasn’t cutting out gluten. I could never live without dairy. But an overwhelming amount of the recipes I was finding were of that terrifying cuisine I had refused to understand for so long: vegan.
Actually, I seem to be surrounded by vegans. One of my writing partners at UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) was a “freegan” (or, a self-proclaimed “trash vegan”). His ethical beliefs stood firmly in place, unless someone offered him a free chunk of beef or a coworker was about to throw away a half-eaten Chipotle chicken bowl. My other writing partner was a vegetarian with a vegan girlfriend. They seemed to be everywhere. Alongside homeless people and gay Canadians, vegans fell into the category of people I became highly exposed to after moving to New York, one of the most diverse places on the planet.
So I decided that in honor of my health kick, I would peer into their world. One Sunday morning I asked my boyfriend if he would accompany me to a vegan restaurant, Caravan of Dreams. The restaurant’s boast about filtering their tap water seven times had left me to note this spot almost a year ago. We were due a date night anyway.
|Outside Caravan of Dreams –credit|
We arrived at Caravan of Dreams on a rainy afternoon. We were starving, which would make it easier to be enthused about “unprocessed ingredients that have never risen to 118 degrees Fahrenheit.”
|Spaghetti at Caravan of Dreams–credit|
I ordered the raw zucchini spaghetti with cold marinara sauce and sesame “meatballs.” My boyfriend wanted the taquitos. He did not know how to pronounce “Seitan.” I’m still not sure if I know. Every time I see the word, I hear Dana Carvey’s Church Lady screaming in my head.
|Seitan? Sei-tan? Satan? Here it is, pre-recipe! — credit|
We powered through the meal, smiling and complimenting every bite of cold, unprocessed goodness. Itwas the dinner equivalent of a flu shot or phone bill. You know it needs to happen, and it’s a good idea in theory, but that doesn’t help it feel good. “Health kick, health kick, health kick!” I thought to myself.
After the meal, it was about six minutes until we admitted we were both still hungry. There was only
one thing we could do. Before we knew it, we were biting into fat and salty pepperoni Grandma slices at Prince Street Pizza. It was warm, unhealthy, gluten-full joy. Sorry, health kick. There’s a time for quinoa, and there’s a time for mozzarella. And as long as I fit into my little black dress, I think I’ll be fine.
|My LBD still fits, despite the Grandma slice.-credit|