Date Night: The Vegan

9 Jan

We’ve all been there: you meet someone, you hit it off, it seems to be going well… but there’s that one quirk, that one character trait that baffles you. Maybe they’re a chocoholic. Maybe they’re high maintenance. Maybe they’re a gamer, or a wine lover, or a metal head, or an out-of-towner. Whatever their proclivities may be, you want to take them into account when you ask your special someone on a date.

In the go-get-’em spirit, BLoGT’s “Date Night” series is an ongoing catalogue of outing ideas for every shape, size and inclination, picked specifically for those quirks that make you love them. Think of us as romantic enablers. Best of luck!


She doesn’t touch meat, and you’re a born carnivore. Where to eat to make sure one of you doesn’t starve?


Dinner: Red Bamboo, 140 West 4th St, between 6th Ave & MacDougal St

Whether you’re vegan or your date is, Red Bamboo, a self-proclaimed “vegetarian soul cafe,” has a wide range of entrees to satisfy you both. Located a block away from Washington Square Park, Red Bamboo is a tiny, below-ground treasure trove that mixes Asian and Creole influences to prepare some awfully tasty food. All the “meat” dishes are soy-based, but even the most die-hard carnivore could be fooled; the texture, flavor, and appearance of Red Bamboo’s tofu and seitan match the real McCoy perfectly. Of the many choices on Red Bamboo’s extensive menu, the chicken dishes shine. Buffalo chicken wings, large teardrops of juicy soy coated in savory sauce and served with vegan bleu cheese for dipping, are a must-have. Mango chicken is a sweetly sauteed mix of soy chicken strips, sliced mango, and red, yellow and green peppers, served in a hollowed-out mango shell. Grilled bourbon chicken and BBQ half-chicken are slathered in sauce and equally delicious. Skip the seafood and beef entrees, which tend to miss the mark: codfish cakes with mango salsa are oppressive, a ginger beef dish tasteless. Arrive a bit early and be prepared to wait; the few tiny tables fill up fast on nights and weekends.

Dessert: Stogo, 159 2nd Ave, at the corner of East 10th St & Stuyvesant St

Walk off your dinner with a brief northeastern jaunt to this vegan ice cream shop and you’ll feel you deserve a treat. Stogo’s “gourmet organic dairy-free ice cream” is heavier and a bit drier than regular ice cream, but again, connoisseurs could be fooled by the similarities between the two. The flavors are inventive, from peach to red velvet to pomegranate chocolate chip. Salty caramel pecan is a snappy stand-out, deliciously chunky with nuts and addictive with a beautiful relationship between its salty and sweet components. Your best bet is a create-your-own ice cream sandwich, made with baked goods from BabyCakes, an adorable East Village vegan bakery which partners with Stogo. Mix and match unlikely ice cream combinations between BabyCakes’ large crispy cookies; compete with your date for the most delectable results.

Afterward: Toy Tokyo, 121 2nd Ave, between 7th St & St. Marks Place

Get your treats to go and head back toward St. Marks Place. Skip the tourist trap vendors (do you really need another cheap Hindi sarong?) and instead explore Toy Tokyo, a treasure trove of knick-knacks, second-hand clothes, collectible toys and who knows what else. The walls, floor and even the ceiling of this hole-in-the-wall store are crowded with vintage clothes and shoes; plastic bins hold broken toys and rubber Halloween masks. From $2 costume jewelry and Princess Di Beanie Babies to rude mint tins and Freddie Mercury figurines, there’s always something to discover in this shop. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even find yourself a second date.


Got a date theme that you’re dying to read about? Tell us at nyublogt@gmail.com.

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