i’ve always been picky. i have very specific ideas about what i like or don’t like, especially when it comes to food. this was problematic for my parents when i was little and was only amplified when i went vegetarian and eventually vegan. i’ve grown up a little since then, and because of my restricted diet i’ve forced myself to become more adventurous with food and eat whatever i can. i rarely pass up a vegan dish because it contains an ingredient i don’t like. i really hate mushrooms, but when a friend of mine cooked up some woodears i ate them. very slowly.

that said, i’m still pretty picky. i’ll try anything if it’s vegan, but i definitely know what’s good and what’s not. there is very little room for bullshit in new jersey and i’ve embraced my slightly bad attitude. i no longer feel bad about thinking “it’s not me, it’s you. sorry this sucks because i have great taste.” for example, i have a mega sweet tooth and there is one vegan bakery in new york that really gets under my skin because it’s pretty highly regarded and it SUCKS. i won’t name the place because i’m not trying to talk shit, but the pastries are dry and bland and it’s annoying that people give it so much praise because they have such low expectations for vegan desserts. it’s insulting really. there are plenty of amazing vegan places that are more worthy of your tastebuds and money. here are some of them.

vegan treats – bethlehem, pa – website
you should probably just read the bio on their website, because i cannot do this place justice. vegan treats has hands down the best cake i’ve ever had. not vegan cake. cake cake. what’s most refreshing about this place is that they don’t even make cupcakes. they make full size cakes, donuts, vegan versions of popular candy and MINI CAKES. they’re slightly larger than cupcakes but are shaped, layered and decorated like tiny cakes, making them infinitely more precious than any cupcake you’ve ever had. it doesn’t hurt that in 2012 american express’s departure magazine named vegan treats one of the ten best bakeries in the world. not one of the best vegan bakeries in the world. one of the world’s ten best bakeries PERIOD. danielle konya, the owner, is also an ethical vegan and a badass punk so, ya know, bonus. ps: you cannot touch their tiramisu. it is ridiculous.

this is what red velvet cake looks like at vegan treats on halloween

this is what red velvet cake looks like at vegan treats on halloween

papa ganache – matawan, nj – website
this place makes cupcakes, but i won’t hold it against them because they’re freaking great. every dessert i’ve had from papa ganache has been awesome, especially the drenched elvis (banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache glaze). the owner, lisa siroti, is a social worker and psychotherapist and opened the bakery a few years ago to provide behaviorally challenged and at risk youths a place to work with mental health professionals in a constructive, creative environment. i don’t believe she was a vegan when she opened papa ganache and i have no clue about it now, but she had the foresight to know opening a vegan bakery was a brilliant business decision. respekt. i haven’t been there since they started serving food or SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM, but i’m sure its all awesome. ps: they won cupcake wars last year. won it. against regular cruelty-filled cupcakes. hell yeah.

gluten-free very lemon cupcake @ papa ganache

sweet avenue bake shop – rutherford, nj – website
i had my first really delicious vegan chocolate cupcake here, so sweet ave holds a very special place in my stomach. they also have a rotating menu of specialty flavors that are pretty awesome. there are the standard specials like boston creme and old skool hostess swirls, and then there are the special celebratory cupcakes for holidays, events, tv shows and other fun stuff and they are SO CUTE on top of being really really tasty. it’s also next to a costume shop called “the fun ghoul.” i’ve never been inside, but i laugh for minutes every time i read the name and for that reason i love it.

sweet avenue's "blue sky" cupcake in honor of the breaking bad season premiere last year

sweet avenue’s “blue sky” cupcake in honor of the breaking bad season premiere last year


stay tuned for more vegan hotspots as i blog on..

ps: none of the photos above are mine. all were found on their respective bakeries’ social media whatevers.

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