Brooklyn Food Tour

Happy Monday everyone. I know there's plenty of sad news coming out of the US right now, so before I start the post I'll just let everyone know that I'm safe. While some protests have been happening, along with some tense police vs. protesters altercations, I haven't been anywhere near them. Walking around today I saw a few windows that had been smashed overnight, but for the most part, the protests have been non-violent, and there has been significant police and helicopter presence all weekend.

While I realize there are ways to get involved, protest, and help out in the community, I was more than relieved to take my mind away from all of the unrest this weekend and enjoy a food tour (created by me) with my friend from work. Shoutout to Lynn for coming along for the journey (more than 30k steps with no subway) and allowing me to drag her along to mostly vegan places.

Our tour was centered in Williamsburg in Brooklyn which is traditionally a super hipster area and as such, has some of the best vegan/plant-based food around. With the rise of its popularity, Williamsburg has now become extremely expensive with high-end clothing stores, Whole Foods, Equinox, and tech startups on every corner arriving to enjoy the neighborhood vibes and beautiful views of Manhattan's skyline. Of course when this happens it prices many of the hipsters out of the area, but luckily, the vegan establishments are still holding down their forts and most of them have been able to create a to-go service style during the pandemic.

Stop 1: Pauli Gee's Slice Shop

Serving up vegan and non-vegan slices, they cook their homemade crust perfectly and have a nice variety of toppings. I had been once before so this time I went with the vegan sausage pizza on their sicillian sesame-seed crust. Sicilian style is much thicker, but extremely light, and the (vegan) cheese is layered underneath the tomato sauce. For those wondering, the sausage crumbles were made of seitan. This crust was unbelievable and resulted in one of the best slices I've had in NYC.

Thick Sicilian style

We also grabbed a "Mystery Beer" which allows me to drink a beer on the side of the road for $3, and the restaurant gets to pick which beer (no send backs) to help manage inventory.

Stop 2: Screamer's Pizzeria

This is an all-vegan joint serving up traditional mushroom white pies to more exotic slices like the mac and cheese pizza, buffalo cauliflower, or the Clean Slide which I ordered. A combination of pesto sauce and tomato sauce, split down the middle, vegan cheese, brocolini, and more vegan chorizo. Very good, with a ton of different flavors jumping around at once.

Screamers Clean Slide

Stop 3: Champs Diner

This was about a 30-minute walk which allowed us to work up an appetite for their vegan diner fare. Think diner food ranging from pancakes to clubhouses to omelettes to burgers. Lynn got pancakes (at 4pm on a very hot day) and I went for the vegan reuban - this is a common attempt at vegan restaurants so I'm always looking to see how they stack up.

This was extremly rich, but very delicious. Definitely would recommend sharing the dish, but the seitan "corned beef" was very nicely shaved and had a very meaty texture.

Vegan Reuben for the win

One fun sidenote about adventures around the city right now - there is a severe lack of publicly available restrooms. No hotels open, no restaurants, and most starbucks or quick-service places aren't letting you use the washroom.

As we waited for the diner food, we walked to a nearby pub serving to-go beers, and Lynn punched in by asking the guy to use the washroom in exchange for buying a beer. We used the facilities, grabbed pints to go, then picked up our food to crush it in McCarren Park.

Stop 4: Vinnie's Pizzeria

This is a counter-serve slice joint during normal times, so Covid isn't affecting it too much. Definitely a solid Brooklyn feel, but with the limited Covid menu, they were really only serving up (for plant-based options) vegan cheese pizza or vegan vodka pizza. Neither sounded great, and I was already so full, but I figured I'd get a slice of the vegan vodka. It's exactly what it sounds like - basically vodka pasta sauce on the pizza. Not the greatest flavour and very thick and rich, which was a bit disappointing because the crust had a beautiful crunch to it. Lynn was smart and passed on Vinnie's - I wish I had done the same as I was quite sluggish hauling my butt back over the Williamsburg bridge to Manhattan

Vinnie’s vegan vodka... more pizza

All in all, a super fun day in the sunshine. The temperatures hit 28C, we hit up four restaurants, two parks, had three beers, saw nice views of the city and the East River, and walked thousands of steps.

View from Williamsburg back to Manhattan

Thanks for reading,

Mike