I had started planning the trip about a month or two ago, and I managed (somehow) to keep the destination a secret for that long (despite some near slip-ups). Needless to say, I figured he'd quickly figure out our destination, seeing as about 370 miles are spent on I-80, driving beneath very large signs announcing NYC. So to add a bit more fun to the game, I created a Mystery-Trip-mix on my Ipod which I queued up as we started our road-trip and which very slowly (through hints and clues the likes of Mike Doughty and PJ Harvey, among others) revealed where we were headed.
E had never been to NYC before, and although I've been there a handful of times myself, I've never played tour-guide there before--I've just basically been carted around by New Yorkers to all their favorite places--so clearly I had to do a lot of planning, especially since we were only gonna be spending two nights there (and one full day).
I am very pleased to say that we managed to hit-up a vast-wealth of tourist-sites as well as a plethora of not-so-touristy sites as well, despite the very short amount of time we had to deal with.
Places We Visited:
- Washington Square Park
- Greenwich Village
- The Museum of Sex
- Times Square
- Tom's Restaurant (E's a big Seinfeld fan)
- NBC Studios
- Rockefeller Center
- Central Park
- Strawberry Fields
- The Dakota
- Mars Bar (apparently one of the best dive-bars in NYC)
- Burp Castle (where the bar is supposed to be monastically quiet and the bartender shushes the crowd whenever voices get too far above whisper-levels)
And of course of course of course we ate at WAY too many RIDICULOUSLY fricking good vegan restaurants while we were there. I planned these out ahead of time as well, but chose to pick out a bunch of options (from the cheap to the expensive) in order to give us some flexibility as to what we were in the mood for.
I didn't take pics at *ALL* of the restaurants though, so today and tomorrow I'll post pics and reviews of two of the places we ate. And Thursday I'll post reviews of the remaining (pictureless) places. So prepare yourself for a veritable orgy of New-Yorkerness!
For lunch on Saturday, we checked out Viva Cafe Natural Pizza. I was pumped to have a nice greasy soy-cheese pizza, as there's only one place in Cleveland (Web of Life) where I'm able to get one dripping with ooey gooey cheezy goodness. I was a bit disappointed when we arrived and found out that their menu had a little disclaimer on it noting that all their soy cheese "contains casein." Poop, I said to myself, especially since their on-line menu didn't note this anywhere.
Disappointing, yes. But not a vegan disaster by any means. They still have a RIDICULOUS amount of vegan-options, many of which were sitting in their display-case for us to gawk at. Their slices range about $5 (for all the gloriously-heaping vegan pizzas, including a delectable-looking pesto one), so since we are both *pigs* when it comes to pizza, in the interest of not going bankrupt, we ended up creating our own small pizza.
We didn't get too crazy with it, but we *did* want to try out their fake-meat options, so we ended up getting a cornmeal crust pizza with soy-pepperoni and soy-sausage. It was delish. I still think Cleveland's Mama Santa's is much better in the world of cheeseless pizzas, but E begged to differ--he dug the pizza far above and beyond Mama Santa's. At $14 a pop for a relatively small pizza, it's not exactly cheap. But hell, if you're in the area, I would definitely order a slice of some kind--you'll have plenty to choose from...
That's my plan next time around.
Viva Cafe Natural Pizza
179 2nd Ave (bet. 11th & 12th St)
Stay tuned tomorrow for another review and WAY more pictures.
Oh, and you can check out my NYC pics at my photoblog if you're interested--I'll be posting them once-a-day or so for the next few weeks.
(And a hearty thank you to VeganFriendly.com, since much of my restaurant choices were based on your sparklingly-good reviews. So *hats off*.)