Mystic, Connecticut: Pizza… and So Much More

Mystic, Connecticut: Pizza… and So Much More

Mystic, about the midpoint between NYC and Boston, is a fantastic getaway. In less than a two-hour drive, our family left the sweltering heat of the city for some quiet time in this quaint riverside community. Long before Julia Roberts and Co. made Mystic famous with a little film about a local pizza place (more about that in just a bit), Mystic was a shipbuilding town — there’s a rich history here to enjoy along with a sunset sail and walks along the river. Where To Eat The Engine Room This rustic, romantic spot was the perfect place to celebrate my wedding anniversary. I’m not usually especially jazzed about tofu, but my Smoked Tofu Salad (quinoa, spinach, mint, roasted carrots, toasted peanuts & ginger apricot dressing) was one of the best salads I’ve had in a long time. My husband Seth opted for the Crispy Tofu Burger, and there’s also a Portobello Burger on the menu. Definitely start with the Black-Eyed Pea Hummus, served with crispy sesame flatbread. The Oyster Club Sister restaurant of The Engine Room, a little more upscale and intimate. When we made our reservation, we gave them a heads up the vegans were coming, though there is a salad and entree that are already do-able. When we arrived, however, the chef wanted to surprise us a bit. So, in lieu of the salad on the menu as a starter, we were served fresh blueberries and basil drizzled with olive oil, and then an equally simple but bursting-with-flavor tomato salad. The entree — available on the regular menu — was a delicious mild tofu curry. If you’re up for a cocktail, I recommend a classic martini made with...
Vegan in Boston

Vegan in Boston

On a recent long weekend to Beantown, I had a chance to check out some local spots. So, whether you’re walking the Freedom Trail, heading to the ball park, or just looking for a romantic getaway, here are a few of my favorites. Veggie Galaxy Even if you don’t have a family member named after a famous astronomer as we do, this vegetarian diner/vegan bakery in Cambridge is a great place for brunch or lunch. Inside, the retro diner — complete with booths and tall glass pie case — was bustling with activity; with Galileo, we were able to enjoy patio dining and some people-watching on Massachusetts Ave. Not all the menu items are vegan, but VG is happy to substitute eggs with tofu and cheese with Daiya or its own homemade vegan cheese. Though the Benedict and Stuffed French Toast were tempting, my husband Seth and I went with lunch options. The Reuben came with copious slices of shaved corned “beef” seitan, homemade kraut, and vegan Thousand Island (we ordered it on rye, naturally!) and The Club was a delicious veganized version of what anyone from New Jersey knows is a “#2” on any diner menu in the state — the turkey club.  Here, you’ll get the triple decker with homemade tempeh bacon and smoked tofu, with balsamic tomatoes and red onion providing the perfect finishing touches. When in Rome… save room for a slice of Boston Cream Pie. Or at least, take it to go. Galileo savored his sample (the non-chocolate part of cake and custard) of this veganized version of the local dessert fave. True Bistro For an upscale dining experience, you’ll...
Best Bites of the Big Apple

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...
Fashionable Feet for Fall! by Coral 8

Fashionable Feet for Fall! by Coral 8

  In 2008, I purchased and wrote about my very first pair of vegan shoes: a pair of red Macbeth sneakers. It marked the beginning of an exciting personal journey of incorporating cruelty-free choices into my day-to-day and also the birth of what has become the Cruelty-Free Faves site, a storehouse of information regarding cruelty-free alternatives in everything from food to cosmetics and household products. And let’s not forget about fashion! A quick browse of the Fashion category proves that choosing vegan does not mean having to cramp your own style. Beyond that first pair of sneakers, my closet is now packed with clothes, shoes, and accessories that range from casual everyday to haute couture. As fall is getting into full swing and you’re perhaps looking for that perfect heel, boot, or ballet flat to complement the season’s wardrobe, let me share Coral 8 with you. This shoe design house offers stylish options for your casual day, the workplace, or Friday night’s cocktail party. I love my Zooey pumps — the cream and black combination add the perfect accent when I wear one of my wrap dresses. For the fall, I wanted to find a bootie with a wedge heel, which will go as well with jeans on the weekend as it will with sweater dresses at the office. Hello, Olivia Bootie! Stylish, quality construction (so it won’t fall apart when that rainy/snowy weather hits), and comfortable for all the walking this New Yorker does just going about her day. And, at under $100 a pair, Coral 8’s shoe selection won’t bust the budget. What Are Vegan Shoes Made...
Bathing Beauties: Soaps, Scrubs, and Body Butters

Bathing Beauties: Soaps, Scrubs, and Body Butters

A while back, someone on the CFF Facebook page asked about cruelty-free bar soaps, and there were some great suggestions. Although I’ve already written about bath products that are faves (bunches to explore in the Personal Care & Cosmetics category!), I decided to break away from my tried-and-true to check out some other products so I could share new finds with you… Kiss My Face I’m a big fan of many KMF products: always good quality, relatively inexpensive, and pretty easy to find at local stores and pharmacies. The olive-oil based bar soaps are no exception. The Olive Oil/Aloe is my favorite, but the unscented is a good one, too. LUSH Bubble Bars and Body Melts take soap to a whole new — and fun! — level. So many of my friends, vegan and non-vegan, are huge fans of this Australian-based company that’s taken the US by storm. If you’re lucky enough to have a store nearby, treat yourself to a browse. It’s kind of like a grownup’s candy store. Strawberry Hedgehog Thanks to my lovely friend Kezia for turning me onto this line of handmade soaps! I had to order mine online because my local Whole Foods is not one of the locations that carries them. Bar soaps include Lemongrass-Ginger, Ginger-Peach, Strawberry Basil Lemonade: I’m hardly opposed to using anything on my skin that sounds yummy. That said, some of the other less fruity bar soaps are equally enticing. Among the many choices, I added a Bamboo Detox bar to my online shopping cart. And to smooth on the body after a bath, try SH’s Organic Whipped Creme: a...