One of the best things about New York is the variety of restaurants. There really is something for everyone, especially vegetarians, vegans, and those who prefer to eat “food,not too much, mostly plants.” In the past week alone, I enjoyed two really great meals out.

On Tuesday night I went to an old favorite, Caravan of Dreams, where I decided to give the macrobiotic platter a try. The roasted tempeh, sea vegetables, shitakes, squash, barley, and miso-tahini sauce quieted the intense umami craving I’ve been having recently. Pardon the blurry iPhone photo—it was dark!

Afterwards, there was dessert at Lulu’s Sweet Apothecary, a vegan ice cream parlor. Of any ice cream I’ve had (not including the gelato I ate in Italy, of course), this may be the best, regardless of the fact that it’s vegan. This cashew-based peanut- butter- chocolate-chip flavor blew me away. For some reason, I was terribly amused to be eating peanut butter ice cream made from cashews. Maybe the biodynamic merlot I’d had earlier had something to do with thinking this was so funny? Either way, go here if you ever find yourself in the East Village.

On Thursday night, I had another chance to satisfy my ridiculous umami craving at Kajitsu, a new vegetarian Japanese restaurant (also in the East Village). Chris and I got a gift card for the place way back at Christmas, and it’s taken us over two months to finally check it out. There are two tasting menu options, which change every month: one has four courses ($50) and the other has eight ($70). Sake pairing for the meal is also available, but being 4’11”, I opted out.

The four-course menu turned out to be the perfect amount of food. I can’t emphasize enough the care and consideration that went into making each dish. I got my umami fix, for sure, with all the mushrooms, miso, and soy. Nappa cabbage featured in rather interesting ways as well (pureed in a soup, used in a sauce for rice). I was also inspired by the soft Japanese-style seitan to try making my own again this week. I only took a couple pictures, but this is of the third course, which included (clockwise, form top right) arugala tempura, bamboo shoots, seitan on white asparagus in fermented tofu sauce, broccoli rabe, and a couple little potatoes. The lemon and sea salt were for enhancing the flavors.

It was really fun to try something different. I would recommend Kajitsu to vegetarians and meat eaters alike—but make your reservations early. They tend to book a month in advance!

Hope everyone has nice weekend plans. I’m looking forward to getting the reading and writing out of the way early and resting…and making more soup. My hip flexors and legs are telling me it’s been a busy week. Living in a big city where you have to be in many, many place and constantly on your feet, I always forget how much you actually move getting to and from those places…until I have a day off.

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