54 days + the best vegan meal ever

It’s been almost two months since I’ve been a full-on vegetarian.
It’s been 54 days or 1,296 hours since I last ate meat, to be exact.

It has become easier to seek out the vegetable or fish dishes at restaurants, and I’ve stopped drooling over meat pictures from the foodies I follow on Instagram (for the most part), though I still suffer from occasional bouts of “boredetarian” when it comes to cooking for the fella, Girl Child and myself.

So when my former coworker (and forever “work wife”) suggested that we hit a vegan restaurant she loved in the West Village on our date night, I was more than game. And after stalking the menu beforehand, I couldn’t wait to get to Red Bamboo.
In my excitement, I even read the entire menu, separately, to the fella and GC, and now they can’t wait to go there, either.

Red Bamboo is a quaint little restaurant below street level, and there’s not a lot of tables, so it has a very cozy vibe. The music selection was fantastic, MGMT, my beloved Flaming Lips and similar added to the chill atmosphere. The service was attentive and friendly, and the prices are really fantastic compared to some of the other vegan restaurants in town.

So, what about the food, Nikki?
Oh, yeah, then there’s that. He he.

How many ways can one say amazing??

It was hard to pick an appetizer because they all sounded amazing, but we did agree immediately on the wings, which were marinated in spiced citrus barbecue sauce and came with a side of sesame garlic dressing. The wing sauce was so flavorful, and while they weren’t crispy like those wings I’d loved in The Time Before, they hit the spot.

We also got the almond coconut chicken as a starter, and those were the balls and gave me that crispy, crunchy deliciousness I had so been craving. Because they were so yummy on their own, I hardly needed the sweet chili sauce they came with, even though it, too, was tasty.

For dinner, she went with the BLT, which tasted exactly like a real BLT and might be what I get next time (which may be a lot soon than later, like next week!), and the fries were top-notch. I ordered Dante’s cuisine, which was black pepper soy beef medallions sautéed in Red Bamboo’s fresh mushroom gravy. It came with a simple side of steamed asparagus spears, yellow squash and zucchini and sweet corn mashed potatoes. Thanks to its smattering of biting peppercorns, the sauce reminded me of au poivre, which had always been my go-to steak accompaniment in The Time Before. Though the medallions tasted like the wings in a different shape and sauce, the sauce did provide a beefy flavor.

For dessert, since I dubbed our date “Friendsgiving,” we split a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, and I don’t know how Red Bamboo did it, but it tasted exactly like the real creamy, dreamy pumpkiny deal. Even the two big dollops of whipped cream were heavenly.

I can’t wait to have my leftovers for lunch in a little bit — in fact, I cannot tell a lie: Having them was the first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning.

Red Bamboo, I have a feeling we’re going to be very, very good friends.