Brunch at AbcV by Ace Pai

Brunch at abcV, chia bowl, steamed tofu, dosa

AbcV is, hands-down, my favourite spot to have brunch in Manhattan. It's a trendy place, so it's somewhat difficult to get a reservation on Saturday/Sunday if you don't book a couple of days ahead. However, lots of people still come in to wait for a spot at the bar (aka me). Every non-vegan friend that I've brought to this place has loved it and told me that it had transformed the way that they think of veg food. 

But this is how plant-based food should be, not processed faux meat or artificial cheeses but rather fruits and vegetables that nourishes and energizes the body. The menu at abcV is diverse, and there are lots of options to choose from savoury or sweet, but the dosa with coconut yogurt, avocados and sprouts is something I can't help but order every time I return. If it's your first time at AbcV, my two must haves are the Dosa mentioned previously and the fresh steamed tofu

** If you are vegan, make sure to mention that to your waiter because some dishes contain dairy and/or eggs but many dishes can be veganized (e.g. the dosa and steamed tofu both contain yogurt but can be made vegan by replacing with Coconut yogurt)


The sweet potato brunch bowl is also a warm and filling savory dish that is exclusive to the brunch menu. If you're craving something spicy, the beluga lentils drizzled in a special home-made chili oil is a great choice. For something flavourful and aromatic, try the fried wild rice with winter veggies. On the other hand, if you're looking to try something more 'uncommon' go for the slow roasted beets that seems to be a vegan version of 'carpaccio.' These dishes, however, are also available on the lunch and dinner menu. 

My must haves for the sweet brunch items are the vanilla chia bowl and the wild blueberry bowl. The vanilla chia bowl is very fresh and light but also filling because of the chia seeds. The wild blueberry bowl is equally tasty but more dense due to the peanut butter. Unless you're reaaally craving pancakes that day, I would pass on the vegan einkorn pancakes

“In America, breakfast is always too sweet, too heavy, too much bacon. We wanted to create much more savory recipes. When I was in Asia, I tried congee, dosa, and these things blew my mind. So we decided to offer something really new." 

For dessert, the matcha creme brûlée is divine; so creamy and rich. The salted caramel chocolate tart was good but the tart crust was too hard to cut into. The one item the I would say to avoid ordering from the brunch menu is the vegan pastry basket. As tempting as it sounds, the mini croissants are just too small to work and the muffins are a bit too sweet for my personal tastes. If you would like to try those items, a much better alternative would be to come for breakfast on Monday to Fridays where they have full sized plain and chocolate vegan croissants

Have you ever brunched here? What are your favourite dishes that you think I should try? Let me know in the comments below! 


My Must Haves & Must Avoids

Savory must haves: Dosa with coconut yogurt, Fresh steamed tofu.

Sweet must haves: Vanilla Chia Bowl 

Items to avoid: Vegan pastry basket


NYC | In Search of: Vegan Icecream - Van Leeuwen by Ace Pai

One cold January day, a friend and I decided to go for some icecream. We had both studied in Italy half a year ago and I had just gotten back from Florence (without getting the chance to eat gelato) so the icecream craving was strong. I suggested Van Leeuwen, a name I know of from the non-dairy icecream shelves of Wholefoods and a video I once saw on Facebook. 

I have tried their pistacchio pints before and I absolutely love the creaminess and the strong flavour of the pistacchio but I had heard that they offered special vegan flavours in their shops so I knew that I had to go and taste them for myself!

The new vegan flavour out at the time (available at all locations) was Planet Earth. The blue “ocean” is made of spirulina and has an almond flavour while the chunks of matcha cakes make up the green “land.” It was an interesting combination that I’ve never seen elsewhere. In my opinion, the almond flavouring was a bit artificial tasting but I enjoyed the matcha chunks. I didn’t quite like it at first taste but it grew on me and now I occasionally crave this weird flavour while studying.

This definitely is something that I don’t think is for everyone. It’s probably a flavour that kids won’t love either. However, I think you should be the judge of that yourself ;) as it is apparently pretty popular and has been sold out at certain locations that I’ve been to.


The other new vegan flavour that came out around the end of March was Dark Matter, a homage to Stephen Hawkings who had passed away on the 14th. The beautiful black colour comes from blending activated charcoal with its cashew milk and coconut cream base, chucks of vegan honeycomb candy are then folded in to add a nice crunch. The result is a wonderful flavour that is, in my opinion, similar to toasted coconut. 

Since my last visit, Van Leeuwen has come out with another new vegan flavour (horchata, I believe) that I have yet to try. When I do get a chance to, I will make sure to update this post! In the mean time, you should head on over to Van Leeuwen to try these vegan flavours for yourself!