Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rock, Rock, Rockaway Taco

I'm not really a beach person, so Rockaway was never on my radar until I started hearing rumors about the stupendous vegan-friendliness of Rockaway Taco.  Beach?  Meh.  Tacos?  Yes, please!


In fact, when a new friend mentioned he lived in Rockaway, one of the first things I asked was if I could visit for tacos.  True story.

And then it happened.


In my mind, Rockaway Taco was a clapboard building built directly on the beach (as I said, I'm not a beach person).  Luckily, in reality it's a few blocks further inland.

gracious pals

As promised, there were a lot of veganizable options.


89-approved!


I started off with a watermelon juice because A) it's my fave and B) it's hella expensive in Manhattan.


My pals went for the pineapple mint (note: the cups were served full, I was just late taking the photo).


Because there were so many choices I did a "I'll have what she's having." Pictured here are a black bean taco and a tofu taco: both with added guacamole.  They come with purple cabbage and radishes, which really hit the perfect notes of fresh crunch paired with the soft tortillas and savory fillings.  The spicy pickled onions on the side were added from their complimentary condiment bar where you can also add a brown sauce that I assumed was mole and in which I did not partake.  Be aware that the tacos are in a state of slight disarray here only because I forgot to say no cilantro and had to scrape it off before capturing the meal for all eternity.


I had the black bean taco first and it reminded me of creamy, refried black beans: very good.  However, the tofu taco was so stupendous that I think I'd go all tofu next time.  Check it out: pressed and marinated for the win.


We also shared an order of sweet plantains which I'm told aren't usually this well done.  However, we all really liked them this way and agreed we'd order them well-done on future visits.  They were the best I've ever had- by a mile; crisp on the outside and sweet, melt-in-your-mouth on the inside.


FYI: there's no indoor seating at Rockaway Taco, so you can sit at picnic tables across the street to enjoy your delicious grub.


Animal-friendly decor in the picnic area: "Sharks need their fins more than you."


By the time we left, the line was down the block and around the corner, which I'm told is normal and I'm not in the least bit surprised; everything was ridiculously good.  Rockaway Taco is a MUST-VISIT for sure and would be particularly ideal for anyone embarking on a taco cleanse.

no dog tacos, I'm afraid

Friday, July 25, 2014

Handmade Vegan Ice Cream Pops! Some Dreams Do Come True...

It shouldn't be news that the vegan ice cream shop on E Sixth Street between Avenues A & B- what I refer to as The Best Ice Cream Shop in the Universe (#TBICSITU), is someplace I visit on the regularAnd now I have a new reason to do so.


But, before I get to the glorious confection above, here's a quick recap in case you're new here.  What better place to start than with one of my favorites: a sundae.  This one was toasted coconut and peanut butter fudge ice creams with hot fudge, graham crackers, whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry.  It's kind of my thing.  And, of course: all vegan, all the time. 

 

At TBICSITU you can have cups, cones, sundaes, brownie sundaes, shakes, flurries, floats- the possibilities are seemingly endless.   And then, one day, this popped up.  A novelty freezer!  A freezer just for novelties!  A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF ICE CREAM POSSIBILITIES WERE PENDING!  It was empty on this day, but I knew it wouldn't be for long.


I stalked it and stalked it and stalked it and then one day it was finally on, full, and glowing like a vegan beacon: drawing me towards it.


You'll notice that it is mostly filled with hand-packed pints, which is great news since- in the case of an ice cream emergency (been there), you can just run in and grab one or twenty without waiting for them to be packed while you wait.


But, if you look closer, you'll see the glorious pops referenced above: all adorably packaged and waiting for their forever home (in your belly).


YOU GUYS, I had just eaten a pretty enormous lunch including dessert, but I still couldn't resist. 


Peanut butter ice cream pop in a dark chocolate shell adorned with peanuts.
front:


back:


Interior:


As much as I'd been anticipating the TBICSITU novelties, this pop exceeded all of my expectations by eons and miles and knots.  I thought about it the rest of the day and then returned that evening for more so my friends could have some too.  Because I may or may not have eaten all of the peanut butter pops, one friend chose mint ice cream in a chocolate shell, while the other chose pistachioWith nuts.  Are you picking up what I'm putting down?  NO CHOCOLATE.  I mean, it looked great with all of those pistachios packed on and she really enjoyed it, but a chocolate-less pop is kind of... worthless, no?  I suppose there are people who eschew chocolate, but who are they?  And why?  More importantly, where can I thank them for leaving more for me?
 
foreground: mint, background: pistachio (being overshadowed in so many ways)

You may have noticed a freezer bag in the last picture.  This may or may not be because I was sent home with a stash to share with the Esteemed Tasting Panel (for real: I was under explicit orders not to eat them all myself).

Just look at all of that extraordinary chocolate (ahem).


safety first:


The chocolate-encased vanilla and chocolate pops were terrific (I only had a bite!), but the peanut butter is still the bomb.


Just look at those salty peanuts nestled into the rich chocolate; who can resist?


Yep, no one.

just a taste of the ice cream, no chocolate for dogs!

For the record, the ETP has made some specific requests for future variations.  To start, VM has asked for signature flavors to be poppified, such as chicken leg (drumstick) and chocolate chocolate chip.  I was also advised that there will be extra credit for adorning the chocolate with assorted shop toppings (sundae on a stick anyone? the apple doesn't fall far).  As for me, I think they're just perfect, but would be willing to taste test any and all possibilities.

AND, as if all of this isn't enough, now there are rumors of a Gone Pie collaboration!  Are you thinking what I'm thinking?  Hint: it would involve some kind of ice cream...nestled between two cookies...sort of like: a sandwich.

Moreover, I've suggested my own novelty that will hopefully be developed soon and may or may not (it won't) be named the Abby Beaner! Feel free to start a petition on my behalf.

Stay tuned; I'M ON THIS.