Oasis On Orchard Street
When I became vegan, I had already assumed that there were just certain things that I wouldn't be able to eat anymore. I said my goodbyes to cheese and eggs, to milk and meat, and of course, to fish, much to my Filipino parents' dismay. It was definitely hard but somehow I was able to move past all of these things that I was supposedly giving up and marched on ahead, blindly hoping that somehow eating Trader Joe's Black Bean Enchiladas were enough.
Of course, living in Los Angeles at the time, it didn't take me long to realize the vast options that vegans have at our fingertips. When I moved to New York, I was met with an incredible array of options, not entirely different from LA, but the food here has its own flavor and heritage, just like how LA has theirs.
When we visited Orchard Grocer, which, as their website states, was inspired by "delicatessens of New York's past," there was a certain charm that we felt inside the store. As we were talking to Nora, the friendly cashier behind the counter, I couldn't help but feel that this deli was a neighborhood establishment, especially since it's right next door to MooShoes, the all-vegan shoe and clothing store started by the same people who opened Orchard Grocer. (Talk about a one-stop shop!)
Taking a bite of the "Edith" sandwich (pictured above), which was filled with their ingenious version of lox - carrots that were sliced thin, pickled and cured with various spices, made to look like smoked salmon - and smothered with homemade cashew cream cheese, you start to wonder, "Can vegans really have it all?"
Judging from their selection, the answer is a resounding yes. From hard to find nut cheeses (Dr. Cow? Check. Cheezehound? Check. Vtopia? Check.) to incredibly looking meat-free meats (Hello Herbivorous Butcher!), Orchard Grocer offers everything you need and stuff that you didn't even realize you needed until you saw it!
Even though we came the day after their grand opening (we're not big fans of crowds, vegan or otherwise), there were still a lot to choose from. What's more, the deli at Orchard Grocer is gluten-free friendly and all products carried in store are palm-oil free. Isn't it comforting to know that now there's at least one place in New York City where you don't have to worry about reading the label?
Let's not forget what arguably is the most important part of the store: they have soft-serve! Perfect for the coming spring season, where (hopefully) the weather starts warming up a little. They even have a punch card so you know I'll be a regular during those humid New York summers.
Orchard Grocer is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm. and is located on 78 Orchard Street between Broome and Grand.
Interested for some more? Check out our post on Orchard Grocer's next door neighbor, MooShoes, here.