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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vegan MoFo in NYC, Day 16: Caribbean Culture, Part 2

Glad you guys enjoyed the schizophrenic world travels of yesterday's Caribbean jerk (tofu) post. Today is a little less jumpy. My near to me, dear to me Bed-Stuy abuts Crown Heights, so I went for a bit of a stroll the other day to show you the Caribbean goods offered in this neighborhood that I don't often see elsewhere:


Plus ackee, almost an entire aisle of Caribbean sauces, sweetbreads, tamarind, chutneys, etc.  Please, no photos of the buckets of oxtails and the like.
Crown Heights is also the same area in which I used to work the food pantry. Clients I met there would tell me amazing stories of their family's farms in Haiti and Costa Rica of plantains, mango, papaya, collards, etc. Most had a passion for vegetables and a lot of them are Rastafarian and therefore don't eat meat. Delicious spices and vegetarian food? Perfect.
Imhotep is a rad veggie Carib place on Nostrand avenue near one of my old apartments:

It says restaurant on the sign but there is really very little seating inside. I took my "small" dish to go and went to sit on the beautiful walkway along Eastern Parkway:

Stewed okra (first time!), kabocha (I believe?) squash, kale and collards, chickpeas. The flavorings all sort of melded together, but I was able to pick out curry and coconut in the chickpeas, and a same curry flavor in the squash. The collards were smoky and mellow. Everything was stewed super soft and was SO GOOD. Also, this plate was so much food. Definitely enough for two meals, and this "small" was only $8.50!
There are a lot of these types of health food stores around the area (Imhotep is similar):

Where, more than a food market, the health food store sells tons of herbs, dried teas, medicinal blends, and spices. I should have taken a picture of the wall of elixirs inside Imhotep.
And, finally a couple cool neighborhood shots of things that caught my eye:

American and West Indian icons: Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Bob Marley, Huey Newton, Rosa Parks, Fredrick Douglass among others.
                                                        Iconic Bed-Stuy brownstones.
I thought this was a nice touch: it's a bad picture, but they are seashells lining the flowerbeds outside of some of the houses. I love this neighborhood. I hope some of you come out to visit if you can! It's also very close to the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park, and the Brooklyn library. Fun times.
Take a walk along Reggae Boulevard:

15 comments:

  1. What a fun tour!! I love all of the fruit at that store and thanks for sparing us of the oxtails :) Your dish looks and sounds so delicious! How was the okra? I hear such mixed opinions about it. Don't you love finding great meals at low prices?

    I love that you are covering so many different cultures and neighborhoods and not just vegan restaurants in Manhattan. I think you are providing such a really great representation of how diverse and amazing NYC is. Awesome job!

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    1. Oh man, when I saw the oxtails I wanted to run away! Yeck. The okra was great! It *was* kinda slimy but more delicious than off putting.

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  2. Great tour, thank you! I see I'm missing a lot by not living in NYC. Maybe in my next life. :)

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    1. This is my feeling too! I love family owned businesses with simple and hearty vegan fare. Having this at my fingertips sounds like a dream!

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  3. I'm loving these posts! I often reference blogs before we travel anywhere, so it's always great to see stuff like this. :)

    I worked with someone who was from Haiti for a while and he would tell me about all of the fresh fruit they could pick off their trees.

    The neighborhood shots are awesome. That stuff would have caught my eye, too, especially the mural!

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    1. Drive yr future airstream on down! The Caribbean sounds like an Eden of fresh fruits. I'm jealous. Was definitely thinking of you while admiring the murals!

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  4. Hey girl, nice coconuts! I've been catching up on your tour here. That plate of food looks delish. I like the way Imhotep says that they have vegan food right on their sign. There is some Caribbean population in Hartford, and there is a restaurant (Fire-n-Spice) that serves yummy, vegan plates like the one you got. Eastern Parkway looks like a nice place to enjoy your lunch. Happy Wednesday!

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  5. Imhotep is my kind of restaurant - delicious giant portions for cheap! :) The neighbourhood looks so exciting, one of my favorite things to do when I travel is check out foreign-to-me stores, markets and restaurants!

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    1. Yeah screw travel guides; I just look up vegan blogs these days... I could definitely do a day tour of just new grocery stores!

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  6. The only time I ever find Caribbean food up here is at festivals (one of the vendors) & they usually only server meat-laden dishes. Which is so baffling. That big ol' plate of food looks incredible! And those shells! What a cute idea.

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    1. I am anti-meat at any festivals just because I hate the scent that pervades the air for a 10 block radius. :(

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  7. Wasn't there a Spike Lee movie set in 'Bed-Stuy'? This doesn't look like the same place.

    Really bold vegan eats coverage going on here. From Mom & Dad's House to Imhotep. Were you a journalism major perhaps?

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    1. Yeah, all of them! my favorite is Crooklyn....But he also just did one called Red Hook Summer that I kind of want to see. Are you a fan?
      Not a journalism major. Just a kind of spastic weirdo running all around a borough for the sake of a stupid blog. Eh.

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