by CHLOE.

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Vegan food. People either cringe at the thought, or, they love it because they feel like they’re eating healthy (Debbie Downer moment, but, just eating “vegan” doesn’t mean it’s healthy, you need to watch out for “fake” ingredients. Just because it’s free of dairy, meat, and animal byproducts, doesn’t mean it’s not full of ingredients that you can’t pronounce and has lots of chemical additives. Ok, sorry, PSA over now). Anyway, I’m not vegan, but I do primarily have a veggie diet, so, I’m always game to check out a new vegan restaurant, especially one gaining lots of popularity for their veggie burger. So, I had to check out by CHLOE. in Greenwich Village. 

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First off, the branding and look of this place is super cool. Good job, guys. It’s basically quick-serve, with first-come-first-serve seating, which means, good luck finding a seat during peak hours. They also have a small outdoor patio, which is lovely, but, seats there get scooped up very quickly too. If you go at a busier time (early evening was jumping when I went), I recommend ordering your food to-go, that way, if something opens up, take a seat. If not, you end up like me and my dining buddy and sit on the stoop next to the restaurant. Which, luckily, has no affect on the taste of the food. It also helped me to avoid looking like one of the girls inside the restaurant waiting for a table (ie, awkwardly hovering over other diners holding her tray of food…I wonder if her arms gave out at any point, since, she was probably waiting for a while). I ordered The Guac Burger and a side of Air Baked Sweet Potato French Fries.

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Let’s start with the Air Baked Sweet Potato French Fries (you actually get a choice of original or sweet potato). What I loved was the fact that they weren’t full of grease, and you really tasted the sweet potato. What I didn’t love, was, because they’re air baked, and not fried, you don’t get that nice crunch on the outside, and they kind of stay limp if you don’t eat them right away. But, what completely saves the entire situation is this miracle known as Beet Ketchup. Sweet baby Jesus, it’s amazing. So, here’s the thing though, if I tried this with a blind fold, and wasn’t told what it was, I would have said it was pureed onion ring sauce. I know that sounds strange, but it tastes like a sauce made out of onion rings. As confusing as that might be, it’s delicious. Don’t ask questions or overthink it, just dunk your fries in it, bathe in it, and be happy. 

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Then, there’s the The Guac Burger (black bean-quinoa-sweet potato patty, corn salsa, onion, guac, tortilla strips, chipotle aioli, whole grain bun). Again, I’ve had my fair share of veggie burgers, so, I can be sort of a tough one. However, this was a great veggie burger, and I really enjoyed it. I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of the patties that are firmer and, no offense, rubbery in texture (I prefer a softer, cakier (not a word) consistency), but this patty had excellent flavor, and was accompanied by such wonderful ingredients and toppings, that it really was delicious. The bun was something that I especially enjoyed. A lot of times, quick-serve places that serve a veggie burger will just slap on a store bought, soft bun. I’m not a complete food snob, so, I generally have no problem with that. But, it makes the biggest difference when you have a hearty, delicious bun to hold in all the ingredients. The level of complexity that’s actually in this burger is really impressive, in terms of flavors and textures, which, I really appreciated and loved. And, if you’re ready to make the best decision of your day with this burger, add the Beet Ketchup to it. Game over. 

The Shorts:
Name: by CHLOE.
Location: 185 Bleecker Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. I really enjoyed this veggie burger, especially that sauce, holy shit. And for quality, fresh food, it’s really affordably priced too. 
Would I recommend it? Yes, vegans and non vegans can really enjoy the food. They also make their sweets in house, daily, so, I’d like to check those out next time I go. 

il laboratorio del gelato

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Well, my Best Ice Cream In NYC Challenge off of Refinery29’s list continues, and my next stop was il laboratorio del gelato in the Lower East Side. Walking by the busy street of Houston, it’s hard to miss this spot. On the corner, you approach a big, white, open spaced shop, with some blue lights luring you in. 

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Inside, they’re making the finest gelato and sorbets, with a growing flavor list of over 200. But, don’t worry, they’re not all available at once, which makes it only slightly easier to decide on a flavor, since they still do have quite a number to choose from. Some flavors are common, but most are unique and unusual, making use of the whole lab concept. 

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I’ve been here before, but there were flavors that I hadn’t tried, and you can choose two flavors in your serving. I was interestingly dreaming of Thanksgiving, and went for Corn and Sweet Potato. Let’s start with the corn flavor. It certainly did taste like corn, but the flavor was very mild, either making it much more accessible to someone more hesitant toward a corn flavored gelato, or, just having a very mild flavor in general. Consistency wise, the gelato was rich and creamy, with a nice, thick and silky texture. The real star of this duo though, was the sweet potato. This was just like eating a sweet potato in gelato form, which, might now be the only way I’d like to consume my sweet potatoes. Well, ok, aside from sweet potato fries and a casserole for Thanksgiving. Aside from those, the only way. 

The Shorts:
Name: il laboratorio del gelato
Location: 188 Ludlow Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, they’re always putting out new and interesting flavors, and the quality of gelato is amazing. 
Would I recommend it? Yes. Be prepared, on a busy evening, you’ll need to take a number and be willing to wait just a little bit to grab your frozen treat. Also, get the Sweet Potato, maybe skip the Corn. You’re still getting your serving of veggies, right?