Scenes from the City, Part II
February 20, 2012

I’m glad you’re all enjoying the NYC recaps! I sometimes worry that my home/travel posts are pretty boring in comparison to recipes or musings. Glad to know that’s not true.

So when we left off, I was on my way to meet my friend Gabi for dinner/catch up, and all fingers and toes were crossed for Candle Cafe. This plan was shifted when dinner out turned into takeout, and the Candle Cafe delivery time was an hour. Too ravenous to wait (next time, beloved Candle!), I decided to order in from Gobo, which is also right near Gabi’s home, and another fantastic veg dining destination in the city. I’ve never blogged about it before, but you can check out the menu here.

My first introduction to Gobo was when a friend of mine got married in the West Village, and kindly enlisted the restaurant to provide me with a vegan meal. It was tamari brown rice, steamed farm vegetables, sauteed kale, roasted beets, and some kind of salad that blew me away. Needless to say, Gobo quickly became a favorite! Last night, I began with a dragon roll — all raw vegetable rolls stuffed with cabbage, carrot, pine nuts, basil, and served with a balsamic dressing. Absolutely fantastic!

I’m not entirely sure what the outer layer was. It tasted like daikon, but where did the crimson color come from? Hmm. I’ll have to figure this one out, so that I can make my own rendition.

For my entree, I got the steamed farm veggies (lotus root, parsnip, carrot, broccoli, butternut squash) with brown rice and tamari sauce, along with a fresh romaine and avocado salad. A lot of food, but I was hangry!

That’s my kind of takeout. How lucky Gabi is to live within ordering distance of both Candle and Gobo! And now she’s also got V-Note nearby. Sometimes I’m not sure how I ever lived in New York without going entirely broke on food.

Earlier that day, I had made my way to Yoga Works on the UWS for a class with Rama Nina Patella. Yoga Works, if you’ve never been, is a studio that features its own signature style/flow, as well as vinyasa, astanga, and pilates classes.

One of my very first yoga instructors was a very handsome Frenchman named Johan Montijano. In addition to being a great teacher, he was incredibly tolerant of the fact that all of the women at New York Sports Club batted their eyelashes at him (he was and is very happily married). Johan was always talking about his inspiring teacher and mentor, Rama. It has taken me years to get to one of her classes, and I”m so glad I finally did!

As soon as Rama began chanting yesterday, I knew why she inspires so much devotion. She’s a tough teacher, and demands total fearlessness, but she’s also warm and encourages a thoughtful practice. In all, I found the class to be a little limited by the Yoga Works signature style–not enough flow for this energetic yogi–but I did appreciate the deep stretches, the long holds, the thoughtful words, and the handstand practice (against the wall, with a partner, and lots of whining from me–I fight inversions tooth and nail!). I woke up seriously sore, and continued to be grateful that trips home afford me a chance to vary my practice. Thank you to Yoga Works for a complimentary class–I truly enjoyed it!

Today and yesterday afternoon, it was straight back to my other practice: Orgo practice. Class resumes as usual on Wednesday, and it’s time to focus up. I did manage to take a quick study break today to visit the new Organic Avenue outpost, which is conveniantly located a few blocks away from my Mom’s!

Wowza. This place is impressive! I snapped as many photos as I could before they yelled at me for it. (Sorry, OA.)

Organic Avenue is famous for raw juices, smoothies, soups, snacks, beauty products, and for its LOVE “cleanse” (which can either be food or liquids). I am an enormous fan of the food and soups, but I will confess that I don’t often shop there because I find the prices a bit prohibitive. Still, I appreciate that they provide consumers with readily available raw, organic, and vegan foods. And the coconut yogurt sure is delicious.

Now that Candle Cafe is opening a location on the Upper West Side, I may not venture out of the 10023 zipcode when I’m visiting my mother at all. I love what’s happening to my hood!

Speaking of my hood, my mother and I dined at Josie’s tonight. The lighting was too dim for photos, but I had the organic vegetable plate, which is grilled organic veggies, tamari brown rice, acorn squash, tamari dressing (I’m apparently on a rice and tamari kick), and steamed bok choy. Totally scrumptious. My typical reaction to dinner at Josie’s is this kind of smile:

Especially since my Mom loves it as much as I do!

While we were there, a very sweet CR reader named Natalie came over to the table. We chatted for a bit, and I thanked her for taking the time to introduce herself (I love meeting readers!). She says she’s soon moving from Cambridge, where she’s been finishing up her studies, to San Francisco. I told her she must eat at Millennium for me. Many, many times.

If you’re wondering about the Times Square photo up top, that was from today. I caught a 10 am hot vinyasa class at Yoga to the People, which is another favorite studio, not only because it reminds me of my beloved Down Dog, but also because the classes are only $5. I love the idea of making yoga financially accessible to everyone, and appreciate that this studio makes it possible. The studio is on 38th street, so I walked home via Times Square, soaking up the sights and sounds.

Many native New Yorkers hate Times Square: they say it’s nothing but an overcrowded tourist trap. It’s crowded alright, but I happen to love Times Square. To me, it embodies all of New York’s hustle and bustle, as well as the excitement of Broadway. And I love the tourists, who remind me that people from all over the world enjoy their time in NYC as much as I do.

Speaking of that, the hours are creeping away, and I’ve got an early bus to catch. Talk to you all from D.C. tomorrow!


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  1. I’ve been thinking of planning a “vegan tour” of the US for my next big holiday, and the more I read these posts the more I feel like I should forget about Portland altogether and just stick to NYC! Gobo’s menu looks incredible – I’m bookmarking it for recipe inspiration.

  2. I’m not a native NYer but I spend PLENTY of time there and still get a rush every time I visit Times Square. For me, its the pure energy and vitality that pulses through the area. Glad I’m not the only one!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this…=) I miss NYC…so many awesom vegan restaurants/stores/options there…we moved to GA and we have some but not like that, currently exploring to find more! Went to Candle 79 for my 7 yr wedding anni last Nov and got the picatta…love that place…def gotta a date with my husband when we go back north to visit family…

    and wow that johan is spicy 😉

    have a great day =)



  4. The slower vinyasa classes feel easy because you’re not really getting a cardio work out and you’re not building up a sweat. Yet those are the classes you feel the next day, especially if you don’t have a consistent yoga practice. Power yoga (the Baptiste variety) is more of a workout, sure, but if you’re relatively fit, you can plow through them, work up a sweat, and not feel anything the next day. I find the Lotus Flow classes a nice balance. Lots of vinyasas, but a slower paced class overall. Even if I don’t hold a pose, I like to at least achieve the full expression of it, and I like the opportunity the slower flow gives me to work on graceful transitions (my yoga challenge off the mat as well!).

  5. I just spent the weekend in NYC (I’m from SF) after my boyfriend surprised me with a trip (and a proposal! 🙂 )

    Thanks to your blog – we visited Angelica’s Kitchen, Pure Food and Wine, and One Lucky Duck. We couldn’t make it to Candle Cafe and Candle 79 didn’t have any reservations.

    We also ate at Cafe Viva for pizza – have you ever been there? It’s AMAZING! They had so many vegan options, it was incredible.

    And I’m with you on Times Square – I love the hustle and bustle!

  6. Longtime reader de-lurking to say I *love* the NY posts, in fact they give me the possibly insane desire to move there!

    The red might also be from umeboshi plums, perhaps they marinate the wrap in them or they’re in the filling?

  7. This post made me miss NYC so much! I can’t wait to get back there. I always love your restaurant breakdowns…you help me decide where I am going to eat (or NOT) when I travel!

    Hope you have a safe, easy trip back to DC.

  8. I have made rolls with mandolined jicama before and they bled red when I put red sauerkraut in them! I bet the same thing happened here since yours were filled with red cabbage.

    It’s a delicious take on sushi 😉

  9. Gena, yoga, NYC and great fresh juice certainly suits you – that photo is absolutely stunning. It made me so happy to see your smiling face.

    I hope the trip back to D.C. was safe and smooth.

    One day I’ll let you show me around NYC!


  10. I love your posts from NYC, for me it brings back so many good memories of my treasured visits to what is a truly amazing place. Your photo’s from One Lucky Duck always get me as I can recall so clearly sitting in just the same place as you!

  11. I live in NY (near gobo! yumm) and I love falling in love with it all over again through someone else’s perspective. Thank you for the ideas for new walks, restaurants, and classes!

  12. I totally know what you are talking about with Yogaworks, I did my training with them! I do really love their focus on alignment however, I think it is a really important component that we are starting to loose with all the flow based classes that are currently saturating the yoga market. So happy to see you had a good time at home girl!

    • Yeah. I left thinking, “OK, this wasn’t my usual preference, but it was really, really good for me.” Power yoga can be amazing, but it also sometimes feels as though integrity is sacrificed for sweat.

  13. I think that pinkish veg that tasted like daikon is probably aka kabu (red turnip). The skin is red and when it is pickled the color bleeds to the middle. I would imagine they did a quick Japanese salt pickling to make it more pliable.

  14. When you come back, we’re definitely going to go on a yoga adventure! Love this review of Rama, I would love to find one of her classes and check her out.

    I seriously don’t know how I keep any cash in my bank account in this city. In my normal teaching day I am between Union Sq area, Hell’s Kitchen, and the UES every day. I pass TWO Organic Avenues, a Juice Press, TWO Juice Generations, Candle Cafe (oh and just the general UES vegan goodness, there are so many hidden gems!), Zen Palate, and I’m within an arm’s reach of everything in Union Square. Oh temptation. It’s painful.

  15. Loved reading about your trip! I went to undergrad in DC and lived there after graduation, so I was there for a total of about 5 years. I’m going to stay with a friend in DC during my spring break (I’m in law school now) and today we just decided to take a short trip to NYC while I’m visiting her. So I’m basically planning a very full itinerary for DC and NYC to make the most of both cities while I’m there!!

  16. Hey Gena! I’m about to email you but it was so great seeing you today at Josie’s =) Glad you enjoyed your time back at home! Your mother was great, loved meeting both of you!

  17. Awwww I love your last paragraph (well, second to last one, technically!)! It does seem that a lot of New Yorkers hate Time Square for the very reason you like it – the tourists and the hustle and bustle. As a tourist, I do love it, and I can imagine it to be stressful though. But your perspective is so refreshing and welcoming.

  18. Candle cafe on the uws is the best news I’ve heard all day! And thanks for the yoga recap-very helpful for thinking about where to go. I’ve had a great class at yoga works and have been wanting to try yoga for the people. Good luck studying!

  19. Don’t think my first comment worked. If so, excuse the repeats.

    So many places in NYC, jealous!

    I think the wrap could be watermelon radish? I saw some on Blythe Raw Live, they are larger than regular radishes. Looks yummy.

    • I don’t know why my system tortures you thus! I never see your comments in spam, so I can’t figure it out. Anyway, yes, that could be it — I’ll scour Whole Foods 🙂

      • I’ve never seen them at Whole Foods, but maybe in NYC there are more options at Whole Foods. I’ll ask Blythe where she got them.

        I would appreciate any more insight into the comment problem. I can’t be the only one. I know I have ad blocker on my computer, it often mentions than I don’t have cookies enabled or something. I often lose 3-4 times the same comment. It’s frustrating.

  20. Really nice recap of your NYC visit!! sounds like an amazing weekend!!

    Rama is a great teacher!!! She was my meditation teacher when I did the 300-hr teacher training at YogaWorks and she was just amazing!

    Is that the Org. Ave on the UWS? I have to stop by on my way to Columbia!
    Love all your posts!! 😀
    Have a wonderful week!!

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