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Best Bites of the Big Apple
Oct08

Best Bites of the Big Apple

Over the past six years, I’ve had such fun exploring, sampling, and sharing with you all the amazing cruelty-free alternatives I’ve discovered. What better way to wrap things up — my 283rd and final piece! — than with an updated list of my faves here in my home of the Big Apple. As many of you know, I returned to the city a little over a year ago after spending the last nine years in Tucson. It’s been a remarkable homecoming in so many ways, not the least of which is having so many fantastic vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants just a quick walk or subway ride away. Though lengthy, this list is by no means exhaustive of all the delectables available in NYC; and I don’t venture much into the outer boroughs, so I encourage you to explore options in these areas on your own. I’ll start with my absolute favorites, but I’m also including a long list of other possibilities, all places I visit and recommend. Places marked with an asterisk * are expressly vegetarian or vegan. My New York City Faves Dinner Blossom on Columbus (Upper West Side)* Thank goodness, our favorite neighborhood place reopened in its new UWS location last month. Since moving back to New York, my husband Seth and I have made this Blossom “our place” to celebrate the personal family moments: closing on the co-op, finishing the bar exam, etc. Alas, the spinach salad is no longer on the menu, but there’s a nice arugala dish; I also love the Southern Seitan Sandwich, which I usually have for dinner rather than one of the fancier entree options. Candle Cafe (Upper East Side)* Candle Cafe, located on the Upper East Side was the very first of the Candle restaurants opened in NYC. It’s the most casual of the trio (Candle 79, Candle Cafe West and itself), but it’s my favorite. The Seitan Chimichurri starter is available here, and a must-have: there’s something so perfect about the bite-size chunks of seitan with the slightly tangy sauce. Couple this with one of the cafe’s awesome salads — I love the Crispy Cajun, which features oyster mushrooms along with roasted peppers and hearts of palm. I also love the Cajun Seitan Sandwich. Pure Food and Wine (Union Square)* Especially during the summertime when you can enjoy the patio dining in the backyard garden, this raw restaurant is the perfect setting for an evening out: white lights strewn overhead and the surrounding brick buildings create the perfect “tucked away”  feeling from the hustle and bustle of nearby Union Square. And the food is just as heavenly. Also, check...

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Faux-Fur Design Competition at Parsons
Oct11

Faux-Fur Design Competition at Parsons

Several months ago, I was thrilled to attend the Cool vs. Cruel Competition Awards held at the TriBeCa Grand Hotel. The event was the culmination of  the creative efforts of both the Humane Society of the United States and students of the Art Institutes. The designs on display (and on models looking gorgeous as they mingled with the rest of us) were all so fantastic — proof that, even when there is a resurgence of fur on the runways,  it is possible to be fur-free and cutting edge at the same time. I especially love the HSUS Fur-Free Campaign for its work with fashion students; these budding designers are the future trendsetters of the fashion world. Giving them this kind of incentive early on, and helping them become more mindful in their design process of the potential impact on animals, is simply AWESOME! Since 2009, The HSUS has been presenting at the prestigious design school to educate students about the problems associated with animal fur. Now, more exciting news in the realm of cruelty-free fashion: The Humane Society of the United States and Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs have launched a faux-fur design competition at Parsons The New School for Design. Parsons alumni include Donna Karen, Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, Tom Ford, Isaac Mizrahi, Anna Sui, Mark Badgley and James Mischka. So the winner of this competition will be in good company. The contest challenges students to create faux fur designs within the categories of women’s wear, menswear, children’s wear, or accessories, to be developed for inclusion in their senior thesis or other major studio project. Later this year, six finalists will be selected by a panel of industry experts to receive sponsored material from Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs. The finalists will be judged for inclusion in future exhibitions at Parsons and will compete to win cash prizes awarded by The HSUS. I can’t wait to see what they come up...

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Dog Days of Summer in the Hamptons
Aug19

Dog Days of Summer in the Hamptons

Our companion animals Otis and Galileo deserve a respite from the city as much as we do. Lucky for us, c/o The Maidstone in East Hampton offers the perfect family getaway for all of us. This boutique hotel’s rooms are named after various Swedish authors and artists, and come with a nice supply of bath and body products by Malin + Goetz.  The Maidstone makes every aspect of one’s stay relaxing and dog-friendly, including suggestions about where to enjoy some beach time with the pups or places to explore in East Hampton and the neighboring towns with them. Late afternoons, it’s time for “Yappy Hour” in the cozy lounge or on the patio; sip one of Leandro’s amazing Strawberry Mojitos while the pups enjoy something off the Woof Menu. And, in the evening, the four-legged guests are invited to dine along with you in The Living Room Restaurant. The Living Room embraces the slow-food philosophy and is vegan-friendly, with plenty of fresh, local produce at work in the kitchen. Beach time! In the mornings and early evenings, we enjoyed long family walks on Main Beach, just three minutes from the hotel. (During summer season, dogs are allowed on the beach before 9am and after 6pm.) Other great spots for some beach time with the pups: the area surrounding Montauk Lighthouse, undeveloped coastline with pretty views into the horizon, and Maidstone Park Beach, secluded and serene. The Faves List The Hamptons has so much to offer when it comes to dining, wining, and relaxing. Here are some of my favorites — from the upscale dining experience to the super-casual neighborhood coffee joint. Nick & Toni’s (East Hampton) The fine dining experience you won’t want to miss. Great atmosphere, food, and wine. Reservation is a must during the summer season. Seth and I ordered the same thing: Seared Herb Polenta served over an array of roasted vegetables. To start, try the Watermelon Salad: a beautiful combination of melon, spearmint, red onion, and Kalamata olives (hold the pecorino romano cheese!) Babette’s (East Hampton) Babette’s is hugely popular for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s a great place to dine outside and people watch, too. You can go for something simple and classic like Bucatini Pomodoro with shitake mushrooms and basil (add pan-crisped tofu); or, get adventurous like I did and order the Creole Casserole. Definitely a culinary experience outside of my usual focus on whole foods, this dish is an insane (indulgent, gooey, delicious) combination: garlic mashed potato, layered with kale, succotash, roasted garlic pecan, bbq tofu, salsa, and baked-on soy cheddar. On a healthier note, my usual pick would be the Pistachio-crusted...

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Hoe Down at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen
Aug08

Hoe Down at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen

It was a special treat to visit Farm Sanctuary and participate in the annual Hoe Down weekend. Farm Sanctuary has been doing amazing work on behalf of farm animals for more than 25 years — rescuing animals who often have been left to die in stockyards, working to educate the public and promote the plant-based diet, and contributing to legal efforts on farm animals’ behalf. The hoe down is a celebration that brings advocates together to discuss what’s happening, celebrate recent milestones in animal rescue and protection, and spend time with the animals that call the sanctuary their home. What Came Before In addition to all the wonderful activities of the weekend, my husband Seth was honored with this year’s “Friend of Farm Animals” award for his work as producer of the short film What Came Before. The number of viewers is now in the millions, and the film is currently being translated into several languages. Over and over, we’re hearing from people that say this film was what made them decide to go vegan. WOW. While visiting the sanctuary this weekend, we were able to meet two of the three animals featured in the film — Fanny the dairy cow and Nikki the pig (and three of Nikki’s piglets!). If you haven’t watched the film yet, I encourage you to do so and please share: the stories of these three animals are so extraordinary, and they’re also a reminder that each animal has a story all her own. Turkey Time! Which brings me to to the highlight of all the highlights of the weekend: meeting Victoria, my little girl! Each November, we adopt a turkey through Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey program. Our Kima is no longer in Watkins Glen, and our Raphael lives at the California sanctuary; but what a treat to hold out my hand and offer my little one a clump of grass. Loved loved loved my “mama” time with her. Watkins Glen travel tips: Although most of our time was spent on the sanctuary premises, and lots of delicious vegan food was provided for everyone throughout the event, we did venture out into the surrounding area towards the end of our stay. Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake are absolutely gorgeous country, and we discovered a couple of great little local spots: House of Hong is a Chinese and Sushi place with lots of vegan options. We were pleasantly surprised that such a quaint little town could have such a happening place. Our table of friends enjoyed the steamed vegetable dumplings, edamame, and a couple of specialty rolls before our entrees. Glen Mountain Market is...

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Animal Law Committees, and current issues in New York
Apr12

Animal Law Committees, and current issues in New York

One of the ways law students and practicing attorneys can stay current on the issues and contribute to the local animal law community is by joining an animal law committee or animal law section of the state or local bar association. It’s also a wonderful way of connecting with other like-minded individuals. While in Tucson, I served as student representative on the Executive Council of the State Bar of Arizona Animal Law Section. During that time, the section organized everything from social happy hours to animal law-focused CLEs and presentations at the annual State Bar convention. When it came time to organize my family’s return to Manhattan, I joined the New York City Bar Association as a recent law school graduate, specifically to connect with its Committee on Animal Law. I’ve already marked April 25th on my calendar: there will be a presentation and discussion at the House of the Association on 44th Street entitled “Sunset for Elephants and Rhinos in the Wild? Illegal Trafficking, Inadequate Enforcement, and Lack of Political Will.” This program is free of charge, open to all members and the general public. In addition, anyone interested in Animal Law can join the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, which includes animal law topics. To get a further glimpse into the kinds of issues such a committee tackles — and a look at what is currently happening in New York — here’s an excerpt from the March issue of the NYC Bar newsletter: Consolidated Animal Crimes Bill The Committee on Animal Law expressed support for A.775/S.1776 (the Consolidated Animal Crimes Bill), which would relocate many of the criminal provisions currently found in the Agriculture and Markets Law to a new Title Q in the Penal Law. The bill also re-defines statutory terms, creates new statutory terms, re-titles animal crimes offenses, reclassifies existing animal crimes, delineates sentencing provisions, and introduces various new animal crimes offenses and creates a hierarchy of offenses for charging, plea-bargaining, and sentencing purposes. The Committee believes such a change would clarify, modernize, and restructure the animal crimes law of New York State and promote greater enforcement and consistent interpretation of animal crimes. Humane Education In a joint report the Committees on Animal Law, Children and the Law, and Education and the Law expressed support for A.2484, which would require the Commissioner of Education to notify every school district of the existing requirement that elementary schools provide instruction in the humane treatment of animals, their importance in the environment, and the importance of spaying and neutering programs. The amendment also authorizes the Commissioner to appropriate grants to teachers for training, workshops, videos, and other...

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Vegan Mac n Cheese at S’MAC
Feb25

Vegan Mac n Cheese at S’MAC

When S’Mac first opened its doors in New York’s East Village, I was among its fans. With a variety of cheeses and “mixins” to choose from, you could have a hand in your own comfort food creation, served up in a personal skillet straight out of the oven. Alas, S’Mac fell off my radar when I went from vegetarian to vegan. Until. A little over a week ago, a Facebook friend of a friend shared a picture from S’Mac. Oh — if only! I thought. So I posted a message to S’Mac’s Facebook page: “I would LOVE it if you would offer a vegan option… pretty please?” How elated was I when I received an almost immediate response with a link to S’Mac’s vegan section of the menu. YES! So here’s the deal: once you choose your skillet size, you’ll decide whether to fill it with traditional elbow macaroni, multi-grain, or gluten-free. Then you’ll select up to three ingredients from S’Mac’s vegetable and herb lists. I went with shitake mushrooms, broccoli, and roasted garlic; my husband Seth added jalapenos to his mix. Maybe your creation will include fresh rosemary or basil, or spinach with garlic. Once you place your order, the S’Mac crew works their magic. The velvety vegan cheese melts to perfection. And a fine layer of bread crumbs tops off all that smooth deliciousness with a delicate crust. Just feast your eyes on my dinner from last night: S’Mac Locations 345 E. 12th St. (between First & Second Ave.) 157 E. 33rd St. (between Lexington and Third Ave.) Kiosk at the corner of First Ave. and...

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