We at The Infatuation are equal opportunity food lovers. We range from eating highly unhealthy all the way to moderately unhealthy, and we give it all a fair shot. Which is why I feel I have license to say that one of my favorite lunch spots on the Upper West Side is a vegan one. Yes, the girl who worships fried chicken and has a bacon bowl on her Christmas list is pretty much in love with Blossom du Jour.
Context is important here. Unlike the East Villages and NoHos of the world, the Upper West is a challenging place to find a good, quick, and not completely overpriced lunch outside of the Chipotle and Lenny's rotation. I’m not proud of those being in my mix, but if you work or live up here, you know how hard it can be to find variety. And variety is where Blossom du Jour excels.
Stating the obvious, but nearly everything on the menu at Blossom du Jour is pretty good for you and 100% vegan friendly. And no matter what you're in the mood for - a funky smoothie, a savory sandwich, or a super fresh salad - Blossom has you covered. Even non-vegan folks like myself who occasionally dabble in the dark art of consuming meatless meals will be satisfied by their “tuna” melt, “meatball” sub, and burrito.
Know that only some of the locations - Blossom is also in Chelsea and Midtown West - have counter space where you can sit, and this particular location is take-out only. But it's a highly dependable option if you’re planning to take a lunch into work or Central Park or wherever people hang out during the day in this part of town.
This review could have also been properly summed up by saying, “Hey, here’s a place that’s not Lenny’s.” You’re welcome.
Tuna Salad is one of my favorite sandwich selections, but sometimes I'm not in the mood to let the smell take over my entire cube/body's scent. So discovering this fish-less, garbanzo bean-based take on the tuna melt has been pretty life-changing for me. The texture feels very familiar, but the chickpeas give it a unique taste that you'll love, assuming you love chickpeas. The melted "cheddar" is just the icing on the cake. Sh*t now I kind of want cake.
The Little Italy
I would be lying if I said I've never walked 20 blocks for a hoagie from The Meatball Shop during the work day in a moment of quite memorable desperation. And while I wouldn't dare say anything vegan could possibly rival anything I got there, I have been pretty happy with the hole The Little Italy has filled on my lazier lunch breaks. The bread is fresh and fluffy. The meatballs taste like meatballs, which is exciting for a vegan spot. And the sautéed veggies, cheese and marinara round out what I'd argue is my second favorite option here.
If you have had avocado toast for breakfast more than three times in the past month, you'll dig this wrap. You should also probably lay off the avocado.
Karmic Kale Salad and Wrap
Everyone loves to complain about the bitterness of kale and in turn, restaurants love to dump a Paula Deen serving of ranch on it and call it a salad. But Blossom du Jour demonstrates there's another way to dress your kale: with other flavorful things like dried cranberries, sweet potatoes and tahini dressing. The salad and wrap aren't the exact same, but I'm lumping them together because I enjoy the illusion that there's a kale wrap option for days when I don't feel like completely punishing myself.
If Chipotle is an option, get the f*cking Chipotle burrito. You're worth it. Unless you're vegan, in which case I think you'll find this to be a decent alternative. This is not my favorite thing on the menu though. It's not because of a lack of flavor. Like everything at Blossom du Jour, they do a lot more without soy and meat than you might anticipate. But sometimes this option lacks that burrito-like cohesion, which is disappointing when you've got rice, beans and tortillas on the brain.