It was a Saturday morning, my alarm was blaring, and in a disoriented state I almost forgot why I was waking up at 10 a.m. after an all-nighter at 1OAK. That’s right, I had agreed to meet five of my girlfriends for a boxing class at Equinox 74th Street and then a healthy brunch in the neighboring Upper East Side neighborhood.
This seemed like a great idea earlier in the week, now not so much with a pounding headache. However, duty calls so I sucked it up, grabbed my boxing gloves, and hopped on the 6 train to meet the girls.
Sweating it out was a lifesaver for all of us and by the time class concluded, my friends Andrada, Jaime, and Christelle had all worked up an appetite. We headed to V-Note Café, a neighborhood go-to for Andrada and Christelle who live nearby. It’s a relatively upscale vegan restaurant and we pretty much had the place to ourselves for brunch in the airy café.
Not wanting to undo our hard work at the gym, we all stuck with waters and coffee, although V-Note does have a noteworthy organic wine menu. As this is a vegan café, I was happy to have non-dairy milk options and my almond milk latte hit the spot, although the presentation was a little messy.
V-Note’s brunch menu has vegan spins on classic American brunch fare such as a tofu Benedict and French toast with tempeh bacon. I ultimately tried the tofu scramble, which was a medley of veggies (onion, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes) and soy sausage with the choice of field greens, fresh cut fries, or sweet potato fries. The scramble was hearty and filling, perfect after our long cardio session.
Christelle had raved about the sweet potato fries during our entire walk from the gym to the restaurant so this side was a no brainer. She has excellent taste in both food and designer clothes so I wasn’t surprised that the fries were delicious. They weren’t too crisp, were very lightly salted, and seemed baked rather than fried, so they were a guilt-free indulgence.
She ordered a side of the fries herself to accompany her Caesar salad. The salad contained standard Caesar ingredients and was topped with soy chicken. It was fresh and well dressed so she was pleased with her order.
Jaime also ordered from the lunch side of the menu and paired a beet salad with the soup du jour, which was a creamy cauliflower soup sans cream. What the soup lacked in aesthetics, it made up for in flavor. I stole a few spoonfuls and was instantly comforted by the rich taste and creamy texture.
Her beet salad contained an assortment of gorgeous beets, avocado, beans, red onion, and tofu. This was a light entrée and she liked that she wasn’t weighed down after brunch.
Andrada selected the burrito, one of her go-to orders at V-Note. This veggie burrito was filled with a healthy balance of beans, rice, avocado, and fresh salsa with a choice between seitan and tofu. The serving size was healthy and reasonable, but still extremely filling.
After our healthy morning, we rewarded ourselves with a few bottles of Whispering Angel on a friend’s downtown rooftop to enjoy the lingering summer sun. Because it’s all about balance, right?
The Bitches say: B. Simple, no-fuss vegan fare; don’t miss the sweet potato fries. This is a great healthy neighborhood option in the Upper East Side.
1522 1st Ave
New York, NY
(Upper East Side)
V-Note Café serves brunch on Saturdays from 12 until 4:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.