Lan Cafe, Mamoun's Falafel and Stogo
I would like to share with you 3 reviews of restaurants in the East Village. Starting with Lan Cafe, this is a Vietnamese vegetarian restaurant with mostly vegan items (the only dairy ingredient is the condensed milk in the Vietnamese coffee, but you can substitute soymilk). The food here is affordable, fresh and mostly authentic. On my first and second visit (sorry no pics), I tried their seitan vermicelli (bun) and seitan baguette (banh mi). The vermicelli was mediocre at best. The rice noodles were bigger than the usual vermicelli used in traditional Vietnamese (bun) dishes, which made it a little less authentic. However, the use of fresh basil, cilantro, crushed peanuts, pickled daikon and carrot reminded me of eating traditional vermicelli in Vietnam. Next, the seitan baguette. This warm, delicious sandwich was a winner. Hopefully when I return to Lan Cafe, I'll be sure to take pictures of this delectable sandwich.
When I did have my camera in tow, I managed to take a couple of pictures. As you can see, the restaurant was empty (I arrived as soon as they opened) and pretty small. I think there were 12 tables of 2.
Photo of Lan Cafe (interior)
For my lunch, I ordered the Vegan Pho. Pho is a traditional noodle soup dish made with rice noodles. The dish is normally garnished with mung bean sprouts, fresh lime, red hot chile peppers, fresh basil and cilantro. The soup was excellent. The vegetarian broth had subtle flavors of star anise and cloves. The vegetables in this pho consisted of carrots, straw mushrooms, tofu, baby corn and baby bok choy.
Lan Cafe's Vegan Pho
342 East 6th St.
New York, NY. 10003
Website: None, but their menu can be found here.
Next up, Mamoun's Falafel. Mamoun's was first established in 1971. They have three locations, which are located in the East Village, Greenwich Village and in New Haven CT. I've only ever been to the East Village location, but hope to visit the Greenwich Village location soon (there's a bigger selection there). This has got to be my favorite falafel sandwich in all of New York so far. The service here is very fast and the falafels are made fresh to order. Here is a picture of their famous falafel sandwich.
Mamoun's Falafel Sandwich
You can't go to Mamoun's without trying their lentil soup. Always piping hot, this soup had fresh bits of carrots, onions and lentils. Also at an affordable $2.50 for each item, you'll be sure to come back for more.
Mamoun's Lentil Soup
Other vegan-friendly items on their chalkboard menu include a hummus sandwich, falafel platter and many sides such as baba ghannouj (eggplant with sesame sauce), hummus, stuffed grape leaves, falafel balls and tabbouleh (cracked wheat parsley).
22 Saint Marks Place
New York, NY 10003
Last, but certainly not least is Stogo, a gourmet organic dairy-free ice cream shop.
Photo of Stogo
They offer soy and soft serve flavors some of which include chocolate hazelnut, mango berry, Mexican spiced chocolate, toasted almond joy and pomegranate chocolate chip. They have many toppings such as cookie bits, dark chocolate chips, coconut and goji berries. On a recent visit I tried the peanut butter fudge and cinnamon banana cookie.
Stogo's Vegan Ice Cream
I have to say that Stogo is very good, but not as good as Lula's Sweet Apothecary. I'm compiling my pictures for a full review of Lula's coming soon.
159 2nd Ave.
New York, NY. 10003
Gourmet Organic Dairy-Free Ice Cream
Phew! End of a very long post. Thanks for sticking with me.