22 December 2010

New York City's Candle 79 a 'premiere vegan oasis'

Four omnivores and a vegan walk into a bar…well, they walk to the bar at Candle79, “NYC’s premiere vegan oasis,” to wait for their table.

I have been to Candle 79 on several occasions, most recently a summer dinner with my niece and a fall dinner with my husband, Dave, during Vegan MoFo. Both my niece and husband, I might add, are not vegan or vegetarian—not even close.

On this occasion, celebrating the holidays, Dave and I enjoyed dinner with three friends who had never dined at Candle 79. They, too, are not vegetarian or vegan.

We enjoyed cocktails before dinner. I started with the Ginger Rush (sake, plum nectar, ginger, lemon, agave.) We were about to order a bottle of wine when our server told us that the bartender had created a new drink for the evening, in honor of Prince (as in the the artist formerly and currently known as Prince) who was in NYC that night. So we had a round of Purple Rain.

Blueberry juice, muddled blueberries, sage and vodka.

This drink was dangerously good!

We ordered appetizers for the table.

Smoked Hummus

Grilled paratha bread, olives, roasted garlic bulb, red pepper oil

I insisted we order the Polenta Fries, which are a side, not a starter, because they are so good!

The third starter was the Guacamole Timbale.

Chipotle black beans, caramelized onions, cucumber-jicama salsa, tortilla chips, ranchero sauce.

Everyone was immensely satisfied with the starters but that didn’t stop us from ordering a bottle of Lolonis Zinfandel, salads and entrees!

The Grilled Kale Salad

Haricots verts, figs, red onions, turnips, avocado, sunflower seeds, speltberries, chive vinaigrette

The Live Harvest Salad

Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, almonds, asian pear, dried cranberries, crunchy sprouts, nori, pine nut-horseradish dressing

The entrees included the Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Cake

Seasonal vegetables, red pepper-coconut curry, ginger-apricot-date chutney, toasted almonds

Spaghetti & Wheat Balls

Truffled tomato sauce, roasted garlic, spinach, cashew parmesan

Butternut Squash-Wild Mushroom Risotto

Cashew cream, pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, frizzled leeks

Seitan Piccata

Creamed spinach, grilled potato cake, oyster mushrooms, lemon-caper sauce

We were stuffed and oh-so-pleased with our entrees but we couldn’t help ourselves. We ordered dessert.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bliss

Chocolate mousse, peanut butter mousse, chocolate shell, berry coulis

Live Pumpkin Cream Parfait

Nut granola, pumpkin cashew cream, candied ginger ice cream

Mexican Chocolate Brownie

Caramelized banana, vanilla mole ice cream, toasted pecans, chocolate-ancho sauce

And, finally, the Cannoli.

Vanilla cream filling, vanilla chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate drizzle

This was my fourth meal at Candle 79 and I was as blown away as ever. But I really wanted to understand how the omnivores enjoyed the meal, so I’ll share some of their thoughts
Ryan: That is not Heinz Ketchup! (Polenta Fries)
Dave: All of the appetizers are full of win.
Ryan: That tastes like it has a billion calories in it. It’s that good. (Seitan Piccata)
Dave: It’s all really f*cking good.
Erin: Even my boobs like it. (when she dropped a piece of salad down her shirt)
Ryan: This is outstanding. (Live Harvest Salad)
Dave: This was worth the price of admission. (Mexican Chocolate Brownie)
Ryan: This is smooth, subtle, not overpowering at all. (Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bliss)
Kari: It’s gone. Amazing. (Live Pumpkin Cream Parfait)

There you have it. The four omnivores love Candle 79 as much as this vegan does! This dinner (drinks, wine, entire meal and tip) ran each of us just over $100. We went into this for an “over the top” experience and we had one. You can walk out spending much less. It’s up to you.

154 East 79th Street (at Lexington Avenue)
New York, NY 10021
(212) 537-7179

Originally posted on JL goes Vegan: Food & Fitness with a side of Kale.

JL | @JLgoesvegan
Post-40 JL became a marathoner and triathlete, changed careers and transitioned from vegetarian to vegan. She now blogs about vegan cooking (and wine!) and fitness. JL is a community college administrator and teaches nonprofit management at a local university. Follow JL on her blog and Facebook.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/zagatbuzz, JL