GF Friendly Restaurants, New York City, Vegan

Obstacles to Blogging Vegan and Gluten-Free in the City

42 Comments 26 April 2016

Obstacles to Blogging Vegan and Gluten-Free in the City

It’s been 20 months since my last blog post. This feels a little like Catholic confession. Although I’m not Catholic I’ve seen a lot of confessional scenes on tv. And while my intention isn’t to confess the reasons for my absence I’d like to explain the obstacles, because existing in New York City is a daily obstacle course. Blogger or regular human.

1 The Kitchen

Cooking and preparing food in a 6-square foot corner kitchen just isn’t exciting or easy. While I’ve acquired a butcher block to extend the kitchen into the living room, making it actually possible to make a dish or two, it’s still an ordeal that often makes me crazy and cranky. And how many smoothies and salads do you really want to read about? Because that’s about the extent of my kitchen work.

My NYC Kitchen

My NYC Kitchen

2 The Vegan Restaurants

New York is a gluten-free vegan’s dream. In my neighborhood alone, in a New York minute, I can walk to 4 vegan restaurants and 4 “fast food” vegan counters for a quick bite or fresh juice. If I blogged about the food I eat you’d get really tired of hearing about Blossom’s kale salads and beet burgers, Peacefood’s biscuits and daily soups, and Candle Cafe’s tempeh sandwiches. Because I eat these all the time.

Candle Cafe Tempeh Sandwich

Candle Cafe Tempeh Sandwich

3 Takeout

And then there’s delivery for those blustery winter months or “I don’t want to get out of my pjs” days.

Winter

Winter

Seamless, I love you. I also love the fact that you can get anything delivered to your door within an hour. Meals, groceries, cat food, wine, anything. I could blog about this a grand total of once.

4 Brunch

Brunch in New York is not optional. In the South the question isn’t “do you attend a church?” It’s “where do you go to church?” It’s assumed that you’re a good person and good people are church-goers. In New York brunch trumps church for most people. You roll out of bed on Sunday morning and don’t even have to ask the question. You’re going to brunch. The question becomes “where are we going to brunch today?” With brunch comes eggs, and eggs are obviously not vegan. As a vegan blogger my readers don’t want to hear that I eat eggs at brunch once a week, even if they are organic and locally sourced and served with gluten-free bread. There. I said it.

 Cafe Lalo

Cafe Lalo

5 Gluten-free Goodies

Gluten-free baking is out of the question in my kitchen. For the first two years we lived here my oven didn’t even work. But there are a half dozen options for gf baked goods scattered across the Upper West Side. Plus, picking up a blueberry corn muffin as a treat at By the Way Bakery is probably better for me than having a dozen calling my name from my counter at home. Are their treats vegan? No. But I do enjoy an occasional non-vegan treat. There. I said it. Again.

Gluten-Free Cupcakes

Gluten-Free Cupcakes

6 Gluten-Free Options

Gluten-free menus and options at restaurants are plentiful. Everywhere you eat there are options. I rarely call ahead anymore as I know they’ll be able to accommodate my dietary restrictions. I feel less and less an of an obligation to share my incredible gluten-free finds, because most restaurants have finally figured out how to do it well.

7 New York Experiences

There is so much to experience in the City.

Johnny Swim

I have no idea how I ever had time to create a recipe, cook or bake, set up the perfect photo, edit the photos, and write a colorful description three days a week while working full-time. Seriously, what else did I do? In the City there are parks to be walked, shows to see, friends to meet for happy hour, and gatherings that start too late for a school teacher. And they all seem to a happen last minute. I’m experiencing life. And I’m tired all the time.

8 The black cats who inspired this blog. image

You may remember that we lost Marcy back in 2012. We lost my sweet Max here in the city in 2014. Without these two little rays of light and joy it was a dark world for a long time. Writing about anything is hard in grief. Just last year we did rescue a 20-year-old kitty named Maggie, and we consider each day we have with her a gift.

Maggie

Maggie

So if blogging in the City is such a drag, why am I starting up again?

  1. I miss the blogging community.
  2. I miss connecting with readers.
  3. I miss the process of writing.
  4. I’m hoping you don’t mind if I blog about life instead of food all the time.
  5. There are incredible things about this City I’d love to share with you.
  6. There are annoying things about this City I’d love to share with you.
  7. I’m hoping I can be transparent instead of being afraid to share times I’ve enjoyed a non-vegan experience.

    Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity

    Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity

  8. New York City is eye-opening.

I hope you’ll come back and read!

Your Comments

42 Comments so far

  1. Johnna says:

    So glad you are back! Can’t wait to read about your incredible and annoying finds in the city…and there’s zero judgment here if they are vegan or otherwise. ❤️

    • Heather says:

      Thanks, Johnna! I think I might have taken the Candle Cafe picture above when we had dinner there together with our misters! So good to spend time with you both!

  2. Debi says:

    YAY! You’re back! I can’t wait to read more about all those things you want to share. I still think about those treats you brought us from By The Way! They were perfect treats and I wouldn’t bake either if I could walk to them. I LOVE that you got to see Johnnyswim! Amazing songwriters/musicians/artists!

  3. Sandra says:

    Aloha,
    welcome back :)
    Missed you!

    No need to confess, we’re all human, we all eat Frozen Hot chocolate… me at least haha… my diet has been all over the shop this past year…

    Greetings to Maggie, she is adorable!

    P.S.: I’m tired ALL the time too… must be a blogger thing 😉

    Big hugs from Cornwall

  4. Maggie says:

    Oh how I loved reading this, except for the part about losing your babies. I know how hard that is, it is much harder than I ever expected. Sometimes I feel crazy for grieving over my dog like I am, but grief is grief. Your description of the city makes me want to move there!

    • Heather says:

      Maggie, it’s so hard to lose them! I’m so sorry about your dog. They are just such a huge part of our everyday that when they’re gone it’s life changing. I still can’t put my sneakers on without thinking of how Max would play with the laces EVERY single time I laced up. Hugs to you as you’re grieving. xo

  5. Karen says:

    Yay! Can’t wait to read more. I’ve missed your blogs!

  6. Vicky says:

    So very sorry about your cats but happy to see you’re a family again! I wish I lived in NY, it must be amazing to be able to go and buy food you can eat so easily. So looking forward to reading your posts again.

  7. So happy to see you back, Heather! It seemed like much longer than 20 months that you were gone though! We all missed you so much! I think the longer most people blog, the more they “struggle” with content. There can be many reasons and you’ve shared a lot that most of us can relate to. A non-food blogger friend told me that when she decided to blog for herself and not worry about expectations, how her content has changed, etc., things worked out the best. “If folks come along for the ride, that’s great, if not, no worries,” she said. She has plenty of readers and I’m sure you’ll continue to have plenty of readers, too. Your blog posts could be a single image of city life, repeated write-ups on restaurants you all frequent, pictures of Maggie (such a sweetie!), and I’d happily check them all out. There is no wrong way for you to blog, my dear. Be yourself and share as you see fit!

    xoxo,
    Shirley

    • Heather says:

      Shirley, I think you’re right. It was 20 months since my last post, but the blog has been pretty inactive for over two years. Glad we’ve found other ways to keep in touch! Thank you so much for your encouragement. I do look forward to posting again in any format. It just took me a while to get here after feeling burned out. Thanks for the great ideas too. I really like the idea of city life images.
      xo

  8. Susan Roberts says:

    Yay, you’re back! I’ll read anything you post because you’re a good writer and you have cool things to share. (Still marveling over a 20yo cat. The longest I’ve ever had one has been 14 years. Go Maggie!!)

    • Heather says:

      Thank you so much, Susan. Yes, Maggie is an amazing cat. She has been through a lot, and I’m so grateful that she’s come to NYC in her retirement!

  9. Kristin says:

    YAY! I’d love to hear about your life in NYC! So many tv shows based on that city, from “Friends” to “Sex in the City”, etc. I’d like to hear from YOU! I’m GF but many friends/family are vegan so I like hearing about what vegans are eating.

    • Heather says:

      Kristin, I’m such a NYC tv/movie nerd! I love finding movie locations, watching production set up in my neighborhood, and seeing celebs on the street looking like regular people. So fun! My favorite so far was stopping at a drinking fountain while running in Central Park and realizing Chris Noth was in line right behind me!

  10. Laureen Fox says:

    Yay, yay, yay, glad to hear from you Heather. I just used your Fennel Orange and Sesame Salad recipe yesterday (it was yummy) and wondered what you’re up to these days.

    I know how you feel about blogging. It’s hard work that can bring you and your readers joy but sometimes you just can’t get it done. Sometimes it doesn’t feel right. Sometimes it feels too forced, or phony and who really cares about our halfhearted attempts?

    I haven’t posted anything since last Christmas (2015) and I’m trying to decide whether or not to give up blogging, or change directions or what. I’ve made some pretty cool connections through blogging (including with you) and it would be tough to givie up on those.

    Look forward to hearing from you again soon.

    • Heather says:

      Laureen, so good to hear from you! Thanks so much for the encouragement. I am hoping that blogging this season will be with a more peaceful anything goes attitude. It’s hard to find that balance when we want to keep readers and make others happy. We should make a pact to blog only when it makes us happy!

  11. Melissa Davis says:

    I am so glad you are back. I am from Nashville, but NYC is a favorite of mine and I love to hear about it.i was there last summer and the gluten free safe places were great. It was so great to eat out again and not have to worry so you are lucky!

    So sorry about your kitties, I have 3 and they are precious. One is almost 16 and her kidneys are going and it is definitely tough. Keep us posted please!

    • Heather says:

      Melissa, a fellow Nashville friend! We moved from Nashvile to NYC 3 years ago, and I do miss it! Have you tried Avo on Charlotte? Delicious all raw gf restaurant that I tried while in town last summer.

      Ohhhh I totally understand old kitties and those darn kidneys. Max got an extra healthy year with us because of subcutaneous fluids. No fun, but he was so good and would even let us know it was fluid time and jump on the table! Bless your precious ones!

  12. Hi. I’ve missed you =D I’m glad you are back. I *just* checked your blog randomly a couple of weeks ago to see if you had started up again as I just couldn’t seem to take you off of my feed ;p Good timing as I was about to clean it out and needed to remove some blogs that don’t post anymore.
    “As a vegan blogger my readers don’t want to hear that I eat eggs at brunch once a week, even if they are organic and locally sourced and served with gluten-free bread. There. I said it.”
    That made me laugh out loud! I am a strict vegan, but I don’t strictly follow vegan blogs. I have non-vegan friends and quite enjoy their company. It’s not all black and white.
    Your kitchen (despite it’s size) is completely adorable. I can imagine it would be hard to cook a lot in though. And I understand what you mean about eating out. Living in California, people here look at me like I’m an alien when I say I only eat out once a week (and that’s 2x more a month than I did living in Canada!). It’s just more socially acceptable in some places to eat out more.
    Anyway – glad you’re back and would love to read whatever you write about.

    • Heather says:

      Kimmy, thank you. I’ve missed you! I hadn’t read a single blog post in forever, and as soon as I got re-inspired yours was one of the first I ran to. I love your recipes, your heart, your writing, your photos, and that you still love me even tho I’m not a strict vegan. xo

      • And I meant to also say how sorry I am for the loss of your cat. Losing a member of the family is always very rough and grief takes away our interest in things we normally enjoy.
        *hugs*

  13. Anita says:

    As a New York transplant currently living in Florida, I am so jealous. It is so difficult to find good vegan eateries in my area. Welcome back.

  14. kat says:

    I am so delighted that you are back. I love hearing about your life in NYC and all of the great places to eat. I was so sad to hear about the loss of your beloved kitties. I have a black cat Shanti, soon to be 18, I lost het brother 5 years ago, so devastating. I also have a 3 year old tabby girl, Gabriella.
    Anyway, great to haer from you.
    Hugs,
    Kat

    • Heather says:

      Kat, black cats are so special!!! Yay Shanti for such a long life! Max did not do well without his sister. He was never quite the same as they had a special bond. :( Thanks for commenting and squeeze those babies extra tight!

  15. Betsy says:

    So happy to see you back!! I was on your blog recently to see if you had any posts that I had missed! I would love to read anything about your exciting life in NYC. :)

    • Heather says:

      Thanks, Betsy, it feels really good to be back and connecting with old friends! And if exciting and exhausting are synonymous, I have lots to share!

  16. Tracy says:

    You are awesome, Heather!!

  17. Suzanne says:

    Welcome back! I enjoy reading your posts!

  18. Heather, I’m so glad you’re back! I, for one, am not going to hold your weekly omelet (or whatever) against you, because I’m not a perfect vegan either. (I consider myself 99% vegan, which is why I prefer the term plant-based.) In fact, I think demanding “perfection” can actually turn people away from plant-based eating, which is a shame for their health. (Not to mention the planet and animals!)

    OK, enough about that. I, for one, would love to hear about your salads and smoothies! In fact, I’m all about anything that’s quick, easy, and doesn’t take much space or effort to prepare. So bring it on–can’t wait to see your upcoming posts.

    Also, my condolences on the loss of your cats. Pets really do become members of the family. I lost my Boston Terrier, Tippy, in November 2014, and only in the last few months have I been able to talk about her without getting teary. So I totally understand!

  19. Ricki says:

    Talk about serendipitous–I just popped over and HERE YOU ARE! Thanks for the nudge by commenting on my blog. 😀 I’ve been so crazy busy that I have more or less kept my face planted in my computer screen for the past year or so, so it’s great to read about what’s been happening for you. So sorry about your sweet kitties. And I am still totally envious of New York! Welcome back, Heather. xo

    • Heather says:

      Thank you, Ricki! I’ve been the exact opposite. I had to do a google search to remember how to find the login in page for my blog. It’s good to connect with you again. I’m loving your videos!


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  1. By the Way Bakery | Gluten-Free Cat - 25. Jun, 2016

    […] a neighborhood gem called By the Way Bakery that I’ve mentioned before, and it’s about time I show it off. Unfortunately, or fortunately, it’s not on my […]

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A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, fitness fanatic, gluten-free foodie, high-raw vegan, and Mama Cat living in NYC. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. While I'm not 100% vegan, it's my favorite way to eat, and making and sharing raw foods makes me giddy. Living in the City has its joys and challenges, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

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