If you can't beat 'em... (NYC restaurants)

It would be too much to hope that my family would happily accompany me to a vegan restaurant, even in a town as packed full of them as New York City. But, every so often we come across a place that has as many delicious vegan options as meaty ones- so that I don't end up munching on french fries. Little Havana is just such a place.

It's a cute little restaurant in the Village that is so small, the bathroom is literally in the kitchen. But its authentic, the service is great and the small menu packs a punch with plenty of diverse and flavorful dishes. I got the fantastic lentil, kale, and butternut squash soup. Spiked with spicy ginger and big chunks of butternut squash, I'm dying to make this at home. (And so I shall... soon.) I also got sweet plantains (known as Maduros) and a salad with avocado and a house-made vinagrette. I also helped myself to some of my Mom's beans and rice. Having been to Cuba, its safe to say that Little Havana beats the Big Havana (with its state-run restaurants) in everything except location.

The fam also headed to little Italy to take in some fine cuisine at Angelo, a real institution (and Little Italy's oldest restaurant!). Its definitely the place to go if you've watched too many mafia movies. My brothers were convinced that the blinged-out old men at the table nearby were mob bosses. (I'm not so sure...) My parents munched on calamari and lobster ravioli, and I had homemade pasta with mushrooms, garlic, and tomatoes (no butter please). It was simple and fabulous- and so wonderfully garlicky. (And you know how I love that stuff.)

So while I wish I could have visited all the vegan hotspots, its nice to know that if you keep your eyes peeled you can find places that make everyone happy.

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