The Best I've Ever Had: Vegan Snacks

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An adventurous food-lover scours the city for the best bites

By ElianZach

When I was a little girl, I'd run straight to the kitchen after school, make myself a huge bowl of whipped cream from scratch, and eat it with a spoon. Granted, discovering that I was lactose intolerant in my early twenties really cramped my foodie-style. Since then, I've been forced to make a lot of compromises. With no lattes, cheesecakes or creamed-stuff to call my own, the future didn't seem so bright.

This propelled me to look elsewhere for culinary excitement, knowing that conventional kitchens wouldn't make an effort to change their existing delicious recipes just because some people couldn't stomach them.

Hu Kitchen is a new eatery in Greenwich Village, serving "Food for Humans," as indicated on the large banner welcoming the customers. They specialize in organic, unprocessed ingredients, and also offer many vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options.

I was skeptical. I had given a lot of vegan restaurants a shot at impressing me, but alas, the food was mostly tasteless, had questionable textures, and was ridiculously overpriced. I often felt cheated after finishing a meal, and just couldn't play the "it tastes just like bacon" game.

That was not the case at Hu. The friendly staff offered samples of everything I showed even a hint of interest in, and to my surprise I discovered an array of exciting new concoctions, made with simple, fresh ingredients.

My picks:

Almond Butter + Puffed Quinoa Chocolate Bar

Eating chocolate is an act of passion that should be relished, and never compromised over. It should never taste "just ok" or "good for what it is." This bar is the real deal; with a solid, dark chocolate exterior, creamy almond butter filling, and naughty little pieces of puffed quinoa for a crunchy kick, this little treat is 100 percent vegan and 100 percent addictive. Seriously, I can't stop.

Price: $7

Overall Grade: 97

Rotisserie Pineapple + House-made Cashew Cream

The vegan alternative for a Cinnabon, anyone? This thing is beyond compare; coated with cinnamon, sea salt and coconut sugar, and glazed with decadent cashew cream, the generous chunks of pineapple magically manage to maintain their natural juiciness and sweetness. It's both tangy and comforting, and a true celebration of textures.

Price: $3.50

Overall Grade: 94

Hu Kitchen

78 5th Ave., btwn 13th & 14th St.,212-510-8919,

Hours: M-F 7 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sat 8 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sun 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.

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