I’m all for eating more vegetables and I’m all for spreading the word that vegetarian cooking can add a lot to your kitchen repertoire. But I was thrown for quite a loop when our dear friend, the doctor, informed us that she was now a Yogic Vegan. Vegans, in case you have never had the pleasure, are a tough lot to cook for. They not only eschew any kind of meat, poultry, or fish, they also restrict themselves to not eating any animal products at all. I mean any. The ramifications? Eggs? Animal Product. Cheese? Animal Product. But layer on Yogic to the vegan equation and here’s what else you can add to (or actually subtract from) your shopping list: Gelatin, rennet, garlic, onions, and mushrooms. I must admit I have no reasonable difficulty cooking without gelatin or rennet but the rest of the list gave me pause. However, there seemed to be a loophole because I’d very recently seen the good doctor devour a piece of ice cream cake at her child’s birthday party. Chink, chink. I contacted her and got a funny message back: “Oh sh*t”, she wrote. “ I just meant a kind of “quiet” vegan thing- and without the internet you would never have known-- nor would I have known, that there was actually such a thing. Bottom line: I am flexible and will eat anything other than a cow…….:). You can imagine my relief as I zeroed in on Eggplant Parmigiano as the centerpiece of an otherwise Vegetarian, though not vegan, meal.
We’ve always had a soft spot for The Harrison, (355 Greenwich St. at Harrison (212) 274-9310 http://www.theharrison.com/ ). The restaurant was set to open the week of 9/11 2001. The World Trade Center stood at the end of Greenwich St. just 6 blocks south. Needless to say, the area was cordoned off and pretty much inaccessible for weeks and weeks afterwards. Fire trucks lined Greenwich St. You needed ID to go anywhere. But The Harrison’s two partners, Jimmy Bradley and Danny Abrams, hung in there and much to the amazement of pretty much everyone opened for business on October 26th, just 6 weeks after the cataclysm.