When your life and career are based around cooking, it's understandable that sometimes you don't want to make your own meal after a long day. But that begs the question: Where do cooks go when they don't want to cook? For vegan food star and cookbook author Priyanka Naik, the question gets even more complicated as she keeps a vegan diet. Luckily, though, this lifelong New Yorker was able to give us her go-to spots in an exclusive interview.
Naik's first pick is the completely vegan Italian restaurant Coletta. "I've tried almost all of the dishes, and they're really elevated," says Naik. "The quality is amazing. I've taken up all my non-vegan friends there, and they were like, 'Wow, this is so good.'" It says a lot when a totally vegan restaurant can get even non-vegan eaters happily on board.
Of course, not every restaurant has to be completely vegan to win her affection. "Another restaurant that I really like that's not 100% vegan, but they have vegan options very prominently available, is MáLà Project," Naik explained, adding, "MáLà Project is a Sichuan dry pot restaurant. Instead of hot pot, which is you have the broth and they bring you the food, and you dip it, dry pot actually has a similar base or this masala mix that they sauté all of the food in."
What To Order At Coletta And MáLà Project
If you happen to find yourself at either restaurant, Priyanka Naik has some suggestions. For Coletta, Naik raved about the pizza dough. But one pizza in particular stands out. "I like the buffalo chicken pizza. They put shaved celery on it. It's just a very elevated take on ... buffalo chicken pizza, obviously vegan." Finding quality vegan meat alternative options can be difficult, so such an endorsement for a vegan buffalo chicken pizza from a professional vegan cook really says something. And as a bonus, Coletta is also one of NYC's kosher restaurants.
Since MáLà Project is so customizable, Naik says the restaurant is "really accessible to everyone with any sort of dietary restrictions." For Naik, that means creating a vegan dish. "My bowl is usually five-spiced tofu, cauliflowers, sweet potato, glutinous rice balls, broccoli, basically a whole bunch of vegetables, and peanuts," she explained. "Then I get it extra spicy and I order the purple rice on the side. I get purple rice because the texture is a little bit different than white. It's smoother. It's a little bit more like al dente, so it changes the experience when you eat it." MáLà Project also offers a host of interesting mix-ins, including things such as lotus. For those looking for a delicious customizable meal, MáLà Project is the way to go.
The South Beach Wine and Food Festival will be February 22-25, 2024. Purchase tickets at SOBEWFF.org
Read the original article on Tasting Table.