For one of our first dinners in New York we stopped at Spring Natural Kitchen located in the Upper West Side. I’ve heard of many good things coming from Spring and was ecstatic to try it while in the city! Spring Natural Kitchen is a beautiful open space that has a rustic vibe, while still being well refined and modern.
Going for a lighter dinner we started out the meal with the curried chickpea fava bean fritters with caramelized onions and a vegan jalapeno mayonnaise. These guys are a must order. They’re light and crispy, yet deliciously creamy on the inside, while the flavors of sweet onion and the spicy jalapeno are perfectly complimentary to each other. I was so in love with these fritters that I ordered the Asian Salad that comes with them on top! This salad had an amazing diversity of textures from the fresh mesclun and napa cabbage greens, edamame, carrots, and haricot verts, to the sweet pineapple, crispy bean sprouts, crunchy rice noodles, and nutty cashews all tied together in a creamy Thai peanut dressing. This salad was light, and definitely filling and presented all the flavors of sweet, salty, savory, and nutty.
Another staple on the menu at Spring Natural Kitchen is the House-made veggie burger composed of beans, peppers, onions and assorted vegetables served on a whole-wheat bun with vegan chipotle mayonnaise (pictured first). This burger was surprisingly on the sweeter side, which allowed the spicy and smoky chipotle mayo to really shine through. Being paired with sweet potato fries created a really cohesive plate for this burger. Spring Natural Kitchen was a wonderful dining experience with an urban farm feel while presenting creative new dishes with a healthy twist.
TaÏm Falafels and Smoothie Bar, located in the West Village on Waverly Place (with another location in the Lower Manhattan area), was one of my must hit lunch spots on the list before I left the Big Apple. Known for their incredibly fresh ingredients, innovative and seasonal specials, and knock out falafels; TaÏm is one you cannot miss. A small and almost intimate experience, you place your order at the bar and watch the cooks prepare your food right in front of you, while trying your very best not to drool over the glass bar divider.
While at TaÏm, I was lucky enough to be there for the November Chef Special created by Bobby Flay. This was a black bean falafel with avocado smoked chile relish, pomegranate seeds, yogurt crema, and goat cheese (oops not vegan!). IF YOU ARE THERE IN NOVEMBER YOU HAVE TO ORDER THIS! This combination is absolutely incredible from the smoky spice of the chile relish to the sweet pop of pomegranate seeds, w3th a little bit of tart and creaminess from the goat cheese and yogurt crema, these flavors played together magically and kept you coming back for more each bite.
But, if you’re looking for something more traditional, TaÏm offers that and much more. For a more classic take, order the falafel sandwich with the green flavored falafel (parsley, cilantro, and mint), which comes served in a massive pita pocket layered with homemade hummus, Israeli salad of tomatoes and cucumbers, a pickled cabbage slaw, and creamy tahini sauce.
If you’ve come with a friend, I’d suggest sharing a platter. Pictured here is the falafel platter with all three flavors of green, Harissa spiced, and olive falafels next to Israeli and tabouli salad, along with a generous serving of hummus and pita bread. If you still have room after that, don’t miss out on ordering a side of French fries with the bright yellow, saffron aioli (pictured first). This saffron aioli is basically work of art, as you won’t regret pouring it on anything and everything you order.
Overall, TaÏm was everything and more than I expected. Healthy, yet hearty food that is made fast and insanely fresh. With bold and fresh Middle Eastern flavors, these dishes are something you will not feel guilty for cleaning up every last bite.
One of the biggest up and coming all-vegan restaurants is the By CHLOE. chain with multiple locations in New York, two coming soon to Boston, and one in Los Angeles. My mom and I stopped at the Flatiron District location on 22nd street for a quick snack before we took off on our flight back to Chicago. This location is one of their smaller restaurants, yet it’s still charming and trendy. For our little bite to eat we ordered the Quinoa Taco salad with spicy seitan chorizo, black beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes, tortilla strips, crema, and agave lime vinaigrette. This salad hit the spot for us; a citrusy and sweet dressing brought these fresh ingredients together while allowing the chorizo-spiced seitan to really steal the show. The chorizo-spiced seitan was definitely the star of this salad, so smoky and spicy that a meat eater wouldn’t even think twice about trying it. If you go to any by CHLOE. location there is one thing you are not allowed to leave before trying and that’s the beet ketchup. That’s right, I said beet ketchup. Tangy and sweet while so earthy from those hearty beets, this is the perfect dip for your air baked French fries. You’ll forget tomato ketchup was even a thing.
Besides dining in, by CHLOE. offers grab n go snacks like their fresh pressed juices, all vegan baked goods, as well as take out salads and snacks like their green hummus and veggies! By CHLOE. pioneers a trendsetting, yet sophisticated approach to vegan and gluten free dining in a cool and casual way, making way for many vegan and healthy restaurants to do the same.