Where to Enjoy Meatless Mondays

When the temperature rises, Shake Shack beckons. Thick, juicy burgers with crispy lettuce and fat tomatoes in a light paper wrapping in the middle of Madison Square Park. When the temperature drops, I start to fantasize about Minetta Tavern, sliding up to that cozy bar, getting my lips around that Black Label Burger. Am I a burger-a-holic?

Not in the least, but I am quite romantic about my meat. But like all great loves, it’s an imperfect relationship- a toxic one at times. Read this tale of carbon terrorism about my boyfriend. The major research report found the mass production of meat creates “notable negative impact on human health, the environment and the global economy.” Not a very healthy relationship and if I have access to this information, along with a plethora of awesome vegetarian restaurants around town, why do I keep going back like an abused spouse? Well, enough is enough. If I can’t kick my addiction to Lil’ Frankie’s Meat Ragu entirely, I might as well explore Paul McCartney and Paltrow’s “Meatless Monday” alternative.

Environmental Concerns Related to Eating Meat: ●The livestock sector, including feed production and transport, is responsible for about 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. ●Animal waste is another troubling concern. “Because only a third of the nutrients fed to animals are absorbed, animal waste is a leading factor in the pollution of land and water resources, as observed in case studies in China, India, the United States and Denmark,” the authors of the study wrote. ●One less meat-based meal a week helps the planet and your diet. “It requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. For each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rain-forest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed.” ●Treehugger’s Ready, Set, Green points out to locavores, a meat filled diet affects the planet regardless of how beef is raised since it’s an energy-and water-intensive food to produce. Simply put, diets lower in any kind of meat create a smaller footprint.

Health Concerns Related to Eating Meat ● You’ll save yourself a heart attack! Dr. Esselstyn’s book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease documents his 100 percent success rate for unclogging people’s arteries and reversing heart disease by administering a vegan diet. ● Meat can cause cancer as outlined in The China Study, a book by Dr. T. Colin Campbell that The New York Times called “the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease.” The book’s main supported fact: “No chemical carcinogen is nearly so important in causing human cancer as animal protein.” Scary. ● You’ll be thinner! I think it has to do about paying attention to what you are shoveling into that mouth of yours, but on average, vegans are 10 to 20 percent lighter than meat-eaters.

So as bathing suit season approaches and we begin to make changes in our lifestyle and the way we procure information, why not try out Paul McCartney’s Meatless Monday with a few of these awesome Veggie spots? Have any more suggestions? Email me at Cayte at BBook dot com. Angelica Kitchen (East Village)– Neighborhood veggie powerhouse is the anti-Mickey D’s. Atlas Cafe and Bakery (East Village)– Vaguely Morrocan East Village bakery houses many a tasty vegan treat and heavy hangover. Ayurveda Cafe (Upper West Side)– Low-key vegetarian café designed to soothe your urban stresses. Blossom (Chelsea)– Way more stylish than its culinary kinfolk, the crunchy healthnuts here totally shower on the reg. Chennai Garden (Gramercy)– Top-shelf vegetarian Indian, bottom-rung price. Dirt Candy (East Village)– They’re vegetables. Get it? Dirt. Cand…nevermind. Josie’s (Murray Hill)– Lots of glowing girls fresh from NYSC, nibbling on oven-roasted free-range chicken, tofu duck, and Japanese yams. Life Cafe NINE83 (Bushwick)– Mom and Pop feel with a hipster spin. Pukk (East Village)– Funky East Village vision of an all-vegetarian future. Pure Food and Wine (Flatiron)– Say goodbye to a future of pacemakers and a gut the shape of China. Raw food is real food. Wild Ginger (Williamsburg)– Sedate spot for cruelty-free Asian eats.

New York: Top 10 Bakeries for Red Velvet Cake

For those who would happily eat a pile of dead leaves, were they slathered in cream cheese frosting.

Babycakes (Lower East Side) – For the vegan red velvet lover (they pull it off, in spite of the fact that real cream cheese frosting is key to any successful red velvet cake). ● Crumbs (Greenwich Village) – For the more mainstream experience, and the convenience of multiple locations. ● Solomon’s Porch (Brooklyn South) – Recently renovated soul food spot serves up blues and famous red velvet cake Bed Stuy style.

Billy’s Bakery (Chelsea) – Famous bakery uses family recipes exclusively. ● Atlas Cafe and Bakery (East Village) – Also vegan, with a wide variety of delicious entrées in addition to their extensive baked goods. ● Magnolia Bakery (West Village) – Longtime downtown favorite is known for its cupcakes (coconut cream is a close second to the red velvet). ● Sugar Sweet Sunshine (Lower East Side) – Rivington bakery has great 60’s / 70’s vibe but don’t worry, no armadillo cakes, here. ● Buttercup Bake Shop (Midtown East) – Midtown bakery delivers deliciousness all over the city. ● Cousin John’s Cafe and Bakery (Park Slope) – Brooklyn institution offers delectable cookies and great coffee as well. ● Cake Man Raven (Brooklyn South) – This legendary Fort Greene bakery is billed as “The Official Home of the Red Velvet Cake.”