Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2013: I Eat Plants at Haven in Pleasantville

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The concept of Restaurant Week is a little daunting for a vegan- I’ve shied away from it in the past, because I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to get a fully vegan meal from a prix-fixe menu. However, when I went to write my column this week I realized that it was restaurant week, and well, as the vegan columnist, I really should give it a try. Plus one of my friends wanted to go out to dinner, so all the signs were pointing to “go!”

So, I decided to try out one of my predecessor’s favorites (and I believe what she first blogged about here on Small Bites): Haven in Pleasantville.

Haven is a small restaurant right by the train station in Pleasantville. The staff were friendly and I got prompt responses to my neurotic emails asking if I’d be able to get a fully vegan meal. Bonus points for anyone who can put up with that!

Bean dip and chips.

This is much nicer than starting a meal off with bread. These were quite tasty and my non-vegan friend seemed to enjoy them quite a bit!

Sweet potato and scallion empanadas.

I am fairly new to eating empenadas in general, and these were very different than any I’ve had before. I loved the combination of the sweet potatoes and scallion, and the black cherry “cream” sauce was delicious. I would definitely get this again! The sweet potatoes were unbelievably creamy. This is one of those things that makes me stop and ask myself “is this really vegan?” It would seem so!

Black bean “meatballs” with soba noodles.

This was one of the dishes that JL had ordered when she wrote about Haven on Small Bites for the first time, and it did not disappoint. The “meatballs” were crunchy on the outside, softer on the inside, and stayed together well (I have serious trouble with that when I make vegan “meatballs” at home). The sauce tasted so fresh, and the spinach, which was fried on the top and sauteed on the bottom, was garlicy and peppery- two flavors I happen to love.

Apple crisp with Tofutti vanilla ice cream.

It makes me so happy when I can go to a restaurant and order dessert! Now, I’m a fan of apple crips in general, but this was nice and crunchy, and it’s so nice that Haven keeps vegan ice cream around! I felt like a regular person getting to order dessert- not something that happens often when I dine out at non-veg restaurants.

Now, if we’re playing along with the scavenger hunt, I did spot a Hudson Valley wine on the menu- a Toaci friulano from Millbrook Winery. I wasn’t able to verify vegan-ness of any of the wines, so I did not try any of them. I may sit down with google, Barnivore and Haven’s menu one of these days to prepare for my next visit!

I’d also never been here before, so all dishes are new! :-)

I’m pretty pleased with my initiation into Restaurant Week, and I think I’ve identified at least one more on the list where I can get a fully vegan prix-fixe meal. If you’ve had or seen a vegan meal at one of the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week participating restaurants, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

I Eat Plants columnist Jodie Deignan went vegetarian in 2004 and fully committed to veganism in 2007. By day she’s a psychiatric nurse practitioner and by night she spends a lot of time cooking delicious vegan food for herself and her friends. She’s a bit of a picky eater, with a special distaste for mushrooms, seaweed, raw tomatoes, and eggplant, though she’s discovered along the way she’s a little more open-minded than she once thought. She blogs at The Picky Vegan. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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I Eat Plants columnist Jodie Deignan went vegetarian in 2004 and fully committed to veganism in 2007. By day she’s a psychiatric nurse practitioner and by night she spends a lot of time cooking delicious vegan food for herself and her friends. She’s a bit of a picky eater, with a special distaste for mushrooms, seaweed, raw tomatoes, and eggplant, though she’s discovered along the way she’s a little more open-minded than she once thought. She blogs at The Picky Vegan.

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