There are vegan sandwiches, and then there is the Sexy Devil, a vegan sandwich from
Seitan’s Helper. Seitan’s Helper is a proudly queer-owned vegan deli, with a dozen or more sandwiches made with slices of vegan “meat”. A warm sandwich, filled with
ham, spicy turkey, Violife cheddar, dill pickles, pickled jalapenos, sauerkraut, and seitanic sauce, the Sexy Devil was a symphony of salty, spicy, funky flavors. Followed up with a delicious cookie from Bunny’s Vegan Bakery, it makes a compelling case for repeat trips to Bushwick.
Seitan’s Helper — 2 Morgan Ave
I never ate at Gloria’s, the much-loved Caribbean restaurant in Crown Heights. But some former Gloria’s employees recently opened Gee’s, and I ordered a vegetarian dinner from them to check it out. I chose peas & rice as the base of the plate, topped with a variety of veggie dishes. I chose bhaji (spinach with coconut milk), calalloo (a leafy green that cooks down softer and silkier than spinach), fried plantains, and best of all the intriguingly sweet and salty pumpkin (I suspect it’s calabaza rather than the orange squash we are familiar with). It was far too much food for one person, but I tried my best anyway.
Gee’s Caribbean Restaurant — 70 Nostrand Ave
Last year when I wrote about vegan Haitian food at Lakou Cafe I mentioned I wanted more of it. It’s taken several months, but finally I got another fix. This time I ordered from Zanmi, who also offers a vegan dish called Legumes D’Aubergine. It’s a flavorful stew of eggplant and veggies – unlike Lakou, at Zanmi the vegetables are left in larger chunks. It was a little sweeter than the previous version I had but still good, particularly when mixed with the acidic pikliz and scooped up with some fried plantains.
Zanmi – 1206 Nostrand Ave
I love the Bam DanceAfrica festival; I am so happy to live in a place where there is such a vibrant celebration of different cultures. I hadn’t been in a few years, but this past weekend I quite literally accidentally walked into it. I sampled the vegan “chicken” pasta salad from Lady M Vegelicious, which was quite good. But my favorite was the plate I got from Nyota’s Ting, a vegan Caribbean stall that shows up at festivals around the city. I chose a tofu “chicken” curry, curried vegan “goat”, and collard greens, all over a scoop of West African jollof rice. The curries were very different but both delicious; the tofu chicken was pleasantly dense and coated in a thick yellow curry paste, while the “goat” was chewy and heavily spiced. The collards and rice made a nice counterpoint to both. I’m not sure how to find out where Nyota’s Ting will show up, but if you see it at a street fair do yourself a favor and get a plate.
This year’s BAM DanceAfrica Bazaar was held from May 28-30th. Be sure to check their schedule for next year’s festival.
BAM DanceAfrica Bazaar — Ashland Pl / Lafayette Ave