Adventures in Brooklyn, and a Vegan Mushroom Melt

by amanda

I love Saturdays. And I especially love Saturdays with no formal plans during the day, like today. I went for a run, met up with Matt at our community garden, where we had to trim our mutant cherry tomato plants that have grown as tall as me and are literally eating the garden alive, and then we headed over to Smorgasburg for lunch, Brooklyn’s flea food market in Williamsburg. Which also happens to be rife with amazing vegan vendors. I had been saying for the past 24 hours that at some point this weekend I needed to have a veggie burger and fries, so I was on the prowl for some sort of decadent sandwich.

cherry tomatoes

Guess which plot is ours?

I ended up at Chickpea & Olive, a booth that serves vegan, organic, locally sourced fare. Their big-seller was a “Phatty Beet Slider,” which was a slider made with beets, mushrooms, lentils and brown rice. But I went to town on a Chipotle Cheddar Mushroom Melt and a side of potato salad. It was decadent and awesome and Matt had to publicly wipe lots of cheese off my face because my hands were full, and I couldn’t help but to start eating before we’d found a spot to sit. The biggest criticism of vegan cheese is that it doesn’t melt the way normal cheese does. But the way they were able to make the Daiya melt was perfect. It was so rich and gooey – precisely what you want when you’re looking for a sandwich that oozes everything when you take a bite. The tang of the pickled ramps and mustard with the potato salad brought a unique kick with a delicious, vinegary spiciness.




Mmmm. So good.

Mmmm. So good.

I grabbed a couple of their blood orange and hibiscus iced teas and then we headed over to the Queen Majesty booth, where we picked up a bottle of Scotch Bonnet & Ginger hot sauce. I love hot sauce, but have gotten rid of a few of my favorites because they’re just all chemicals. This sauce is so hot (seriously, really hot) and has such a different flavor profile than the traditional hot sauce. It’s completely vegan, gluten and preservative free, and it’s locally made, so it’s become a new household staple. We use it every time we want whatever we’re eating to kick us in the face.


We stopped by Jungle, my very favorite garden store, which also moonlights as my dream home. Every time we go I always joke (it’s not a joke) that being there overwhelms me because it’s so filled with beautiful things that I just want to move in and make it my home. That I cannot actually do that causes me great distress.




Then we went to the Kent Street Ale House for a couple of cocktails, and then came home so I could make a batch of cookie dough freezer fudge (another new household staple) from Oh She Glows for a garden dinner we’re going to tonight.

*Update on the dinner (as I’ve not gotten around to posting this until Sunday evening): it was awesome. A good friend of ours and her husband are vegan and gluten-free, and are always cooking up something amazing for us to eat. Last night it was a delicious salad with red peppers, avocado and garbanzo beans and a homemade cilantro dressing, and then Jamaican style rice and beans with a pineapple chutney. So good. And all from the Forks Over Knives cookbook! Which I bought this afternoon and going to furiously bookmark this evening.

A perfect, food-filled Saturday.