Wedding Weekend: Part I

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Happy Tuesday. Glad that I got you all excited about raw broc! (Everyone, that is, except for Jen!)

So as promised, I’m here to recap the weekend wedding I attended, which was one of the most glamorous yet tasteful affairs I’m sure I’ll ever go to. I was a friend of the groom, my good friend Jesse, whom I worked with for years at FSG (and interviewed when he applied for his job!). Over time, Jesse and I became friends and confidantes: we compared notes on our then dating lives, griped about work when we needed to, read each other’s manuscripts and pushed each other to acquire books, and, most of all, spent a very unprofessional amount of time laughing together. The day I left my job, Jesse was the person who walked me and my boxes downstairs, put me in a cab, and told me that I was doing the right thing.

I can still remember when Jesse was scheduled to go on his first date with his witty, generous, and beautiful wife, Sarah, and his glowing excitement the day after he met her. I wasn’t surprised at all by their engagement, and I was thrilled to celebrate their union with them this weekend. That they’d planned what seemed to me to be the ultimate NYC wedding was all the more reason to hop on the ‘ole Boltbus and get myself back to New York for the festivities.

The day before the wedding, I scurried downtown to see my friend Cassie for a while. On the way home, an inner debate was raging: do I spend $20 (+/-) on what will surely be a delicious salad at One Lucky Duck, or do I behave frugally and eat at home? Realizing that I’m not in NYC often, and that I miss its vegan restaurants terribly, I decided to heed the call. I don’t do a lot of frivolous spending in life, but I’m almost always happy to put money toward great vegan and raw food.

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Home away from home. My selection was a “build your own” salad with basil, greens, dulse, tomato, beets, jicama, carrots, and a sweet miso dressing. And for all of that organic goodness, it wasn’t even $20. Even if it were, that wouldn’t be the point: the food at Pure is so high quality and so environment- and animal-conscious that I would gladly pay premium for it anytime.

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The sweet miso dressing at Pure is so good, I could cry. Or drink it, as people claim to be occasionally drinking my outstanding miso sesame dressing these days.

I paired the salad with some leftover tofu ricotta from a dish I cooked for my cousin last week. That dish is to come!

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Just moments later, it was time for the pre-wedding cocktail party at NYC’s swanky Standard Hotel in the meatpacking district. Aside from the fact that I can never walk  through this part of town without being beset by memories of awkwardly “going out” on Saturday nights in college, I enjoyed snapping some shots of the West Village scenery:

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The hotel itself juts out over NYC’s highline, as if it were emerging from the Hudson River itself:

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Inside, we were treated to specialty cocktails (“the Sarah” and “the Jesse”), a patio, and spectacular views:

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The cocktails looked fabulous, but with the rare exception of a half glass of wine over a fine dinner, I’m not a drinker. This is a personal decision, and not a health one (nor, in this day and age of really great Vegan wine, is it an ethics decision). As a veteran non-drinker of four or five years, however, I am a fountain of tips on how to navigate parties and events without hitting the sauce OR feeling conspicuous. The most important thing you should do is order a mocktail:

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I asked for lemon, lime, a dash of ginger beer, and soda water, all topped off with an orange slice. You can get anything you like—cranberry and soda is fabulous, too, and so are virgin mojitos. The fresher the better: I wouldn’t opt for juices from concentrate, which often have HFCS in them. But at a fine bar with really good, fresh juices, you ought to be safe.

Another note: I try to avoid simple syrup, not because refined sugar freaks me out beyond repair (I have it so rarely that I can afford to have a teaspoon here and there) but because the plain white sugar used is often processed with bone char from animals. If you happen to be lucky enough to be at a party where they use dermarara or another sort of vegan-friendly, coarse sugar to mix drinks with, that can add some pizazz to the mocktail.

Or, if you’re a purist, go with lemon, soda, and a twist of lime. It’s my personal favorite refresher, and almost always travels the room with me at cocktail parties.

No matter what, don’t be ashamed or feel awkward about having a non-drinking evening! If you carry anything in your hand, it’s highly unlikely that other guests will notice. And even if they do, you can always just shrug and say you weren’t in the mood. There is tremendous social pressure to drink alcohol at each and every gathering we go to, and while it’s fine to enjoy some drinks if you want to, I think a lot of people drink without any real desire to. This can add needless morning fatigue to your life, and if you happen to be watching your weight, it’s a lot of unnecessary calories, too. Before you go out, take stock of your mood and cravings: if you want a cocktail, enjoy a great one, or a good glass of wine. If you’re really not in the mood, but are planning on drinking purely out of habit, why not test the waters and go virgin for a night? You’d be surprised how much clarity, energy, and fun can ensue.

I spent the evening catching up with a lot of very dear former coworkers. The FSG bonds go deep, and this was like a mini-homecoming for me:

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Most of all, I soaked up a little NYC glitz and glamour. In these reclusive student days, I rarely go out, which is generally fine with me. Every now and then, though, it’s fun to enjoy a summer evening of dressed up socializing, all to the spectacular views of downtown Manhattan and the Hudson.

Sadly, school is an ever-present tug, and at 8:45, it was time for this girl to go home and do some Orgo. I knew the next day would be special, and I wanted to be well rested and productive for it. I’m glad I made that choice, because it was a special day indeed, and tomorrow I’ll tell you all about the fabulous wedding party at Blue Hill Stone Barns, complete with vegan food porn. Till then, friends, happy back-to-work week!


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  1. My mocktail is always a glass of Pom b/c most bars have in and I cut it with soda water and an orange slice. Most people assume it is wine or sangria. Most don’t ask.

  2. I am totally with you regarding Pure’s sweet miso dressing! That restaurant will always have a special place in my heart. Such beautiful, delicious, and consciously created food. The salad you chose is so similar to what I get whenever I’m in the city (only I get EXTRA parmesan)! <3

    I'm going to have to try your sesame miso dressing, if it's anything close to Pure's sweet miso, I'll be totally overjoyed!

  3. Thanks so much for the alcohol tips. This is an area that I’m really struggling with at the mo. More often than not I find myself having a glass of wine out of social pressure, and then because I feel guilty for not being strong enough I end up drinking more (self-destructive, or what!). If you have any more tips and guidance with this, I’d love to hear about it. Tonight I’m meeting a friend for dinner, and historically we always have happy hour drinks before going on for dinner. I’d like to be alcohol free though. We shall see xxx

  4. I’m so glad that you got to hang with people from your publishing life, and such precious people too.

    Great points about the no alcohol thing. I also don’t drink, (also never go out, except I did at my MFA residency!) and I never notice that I’m having a less good time as a result, although there were definitely some fun times (and not so fun) drinking during undergrad years…

  5. oh la la la. Looks like a fancy evening in the city. The highline has really been a great edition to the energy and green space of NY!

  6. Haha, Gena, only you would want to be well rested and PRODUCTIVE for a wedding! But I loved your non-drinkers tips. I also choose not to drink, and it can be really awkward if you don’t know how to navigate the situation properly. Also, I loved your salad beast, I don’t think I could go to NYC without a big organic salad from OLD myself…

  7. I stopped drinking 2.5 years ago and gosh, my thoughts on it are the same as Genas, word for word! I agree, having a drink in your hand (soda water w/ cranberry & lime, kombucha, and virgin mojitos are my favorite) definitely helps. It takes the spotlight off you which then keeps people from becoming defensive about their own drinking. I stopped drinking when I was training for a marathon and that was a “tangible” reason people could understand. You could be on a prescription medication, need to drive, have to get up early tomorrow, have a drinking problem, etc. All reasons that the people in your life should respect and understand!

    One thing I noticed is that it took a little time and practice to get comfortable & confident about not drinking, but now it’s never a big deal and I truly never feel conspicuous. Also – friends and family surprised me with how supportive they were .. people may pleasantly surprise you too! And people came out of the woodwork who also didn’t want to drink, so that made things more fun. good luck to all!

  8. I want to see what you wore! 🙂
    In college I could handle drinking but now my body doesn’t tolerate it very well. I hate how socially unacceptable it is to abstain from alcohol at events… I think that’s a personal choice that shouldn’t have to be explained or defended. I LOVE your mocktail tip- thank you!

  9. would definitely love to hear more tips on how to navigate parties and events without hitting the sauce OR feeling conspicuous. 🙂

  10. Thanks for the tips on dining out without drinking. Sometimes, I feel myself drinking from peer pressure or force of habit and its good to know that there are others who don’t think that this is necessary.

  11. I am OBsessed with The High Line. My site for my architecture thesis was on THL and I came to NYC twice, for research, etc. Have we ever talked about this before? Whenever we finally meet, I’ll have to tell you a little about it. I think you would find it interesting. 🙂 I can’t believe the wedding was at that hotel. So cool! I only got on it once…illegally…when it was under construction. hehe

  12. I have been a practicing vegan in NYC for the past 6 years. Just a couple months ago City Maps came out and it has introduced me to new restaurants and markets I didn’t even know existed. It’s a virtual map of the city block by block and has a lot to offer someone on a specialized diet. It’s been a great resource for me so I wanted to share.

  13. good for you not drinking! it is pretty hard to abstain, although I find easier as my peer group is getting into their 30s and some women are trying to have a baby, pregnant, or are nursing, it’s less unusual. around my family, i am still the weird one (“can’t you just have ONE sip of wine?”). i usually just go for club soda and lemon or lime and keep it simple. a smart drinker should alternate drinks with regular water or club soda too to keep hydrated.

    looks like a classic NYC party. fun.

  14. Beautiful recap! I’m not a big drinker at all, and can happily go months and months without a single drop of alcohol. I remember finding America very confronting in that regard when I spent a year at UVA on exchange. There was absolutely no concept (and I do understand that this was college, not the whole country, but at the same time I never experienced this at university in Australia) of drinking one glass of wine or beer for pleasure and then stopping. Very quickly, I learned that it was far easier to just tell people I didn’t drink, rather than try to get people to understand that I’d happily drink on glass of something and then stop. It was like once people saw you touch alcohol to your lips, the only possible outcome was to get trashed.

    Very, very concerning, and I do know that binge drinking is becoming more and more of an issue here too. It makes me sadface. //end tangential ramble.

  15. What a fun party. Thanks for the mocktail advice! I’m not much of a drinker, I don’t like the way it makes me feel (save this weekend, and my stomach is still paying dearly for it). I usually just refuse, but I hate the questions involved. Mocktails seem like the perfect solution! Provided I can get past my friends offering to buy drinks, of course.

  16. Yeah, I ALWAYS have that debate about spending at Pure Food & Wine. But then I’m not there all the time either-it’s just pricier than some of the other raw places and I always get sticker shock!
    Wedding looks Fab.!
    If you aren’t drinking, people always might think you are prego!
    LOVE that. I could just go along with it. Or if i don’t get a drink sometime, people ask if I even do drink!! Because it’s so “unusual” I guess to “pass” up the bowl!
    Funny. I do drink sometimes, but I just don’t metabolize it that well so it’s a bummer that I can’t be a full blown Lush!

  17. re: socializing without drinking, I’m always surprised by how if I tell myself that I’m feeling warm, relaxed, outgoing or other feelings that I associate with drinking, I will often start to actually feel that way, even if I’ve only had a few sips of wine or been carrying around a seltzer all night!

  18. How nice! Beautiful photos! Can’t wait to hear more!

    My signature “cocktail” is sparkling water with lemon and lime. I always ask for it in a wine glass to feel fancy. Sometimes I even bring my own kombucha! My bro in law had 5 of them for me at his wedding. Lol, think I drank 1! Haha!

  19. I didn’t know that about the refined sugar! I had completely eliminated it a while ago, for health reasons, and lately I’ve been allowing myself to have a bit here and there. But now I feel bad! Is it just white table sugar that does this?

    • I believe so, Emily, and not ALL white sugar. No organic white sugar, so far as I understand, does this. It’s really the old fashioned white bleached stuff, which you probably rarely eat. Now, there are no direct animal products IN the sugar, so some vegans are cool with it (especially since it lets them eat candy once in a while, allow their kids to trick-or-treat, etc.) but some stricter vegans are not. It’s not unlike the wine issue: if you draw the line at animal products IN your food, you can probably drink non-vegan wine. I personally don’t want any animal products used in the processing of my food either, so whenever possible and practical I’ll opt for vegan wines and sugars.

      • Please excuse my naivete, but what animal products are used in wine production? We get many vegan wedding questions, so when I saw your post, I just had to dive in here. Thanks for all of the great info (and the photos too), which I’ll surely pass along to our new brides.

  20. Oh yes, my relationship with raw broc is not an exciting one, like it is with others. Oh well!

    My fiance and I both don’t drink. He’s been sober for over two years now (he had a problem with drinking), and I haven’t had a sip of alcohol since I started dating him. I never had a problem with over-drinking. I’ve just never had much of a taste for alcohol, or the feeling of being completely wasted. I think it might stem from my tendency to be a control freak, and I don’t like the idea of anything impairing my ability to act with a clear mind. Hah! However, I do turn 21 this December, and Chad says if I want to get smashed, he’ll take care of me. With him not being a drinker, I don’t even have a desire to do that! I think I’lll opt for an overly expensive glass of wine at dinner, or a super girly cocktail to celebrate. 🙂

    By the way, I think you accidentally started saying Pure instead of One Lucky Duck partway through the post. Unless there were two separate meals?

  21. I love this post and that you went out, celebrated, and were in the company of good friends. Also the trips down memory lane from how you met Jesse to your previous days of stomping around the meatpacking district…I love the little tidbits you wove in.

    And not drinking. Since becoming a mother, I rarely drink anymore. A few times a year is about all I drink any more, if that. And yes, it’s possible to go out and not drink but you’re right, people seem to be overly concerned if the others in the group are drinking or not. It’s always the most intoxicated people who tend to “peer pressure” others into having a drink. It’s like why don’t I just get you another one and pretty soon you’ll forget all about me 🙂

    Great tips for navigating parties without boozing it up.

  22. what a fabulous venue!
    i loved blue hill and always wanted to get upstate to the actual farms when i was in NYC. never made it, so im looking forward to part 2 of the wedding post.
    any chance youll be back in nyc next weekend?? (because i will be there)

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