07 December 2010

Pure Food and Wine in NYC offers fabulous vegan food and a hopping atmosphere

As a new vegan, with a meat-eating husband, dining out can be a challenge. I try to find places that cater to both of us, but what I really try to do is find vegan restaurants that will dazzle him so much that he will want to dine there. Candle 79 is one of those places.

I recently enjoyed a solo, fall lunch at Pure Food and Wine where I sat outside and enjoyed a delicious taco salad. I knew I wanted to try dinner so I purchased a $40 Groupon and we made a date night out of it.

The restaurant is dimly lit, beautiful and hopping. There was a diverse group of people enjoying drinks, starters or a full meal.

Feeling sassy with that $40 coupon we ordered a bottle of DeLoach Zinfandel and, rather than being forced to make tough decisions, the Five Course Chef's Tasting Menu.

As our wine was opened we were offered a small bite of picked mushroom and onion which was quite tasty.

The great thing about a vegan and omni dining together at a vegan restaurant is that we can actually taste each others dishes (or, share, if the vegan wife insists!)

The salads arrived.

Salad of Winter Greens with Medjool Dates, Pignoli and Saffron Meyer Lemon Confit

and Salad of Arugula, Endive, Candied Pecans, Lavender Shallot Vinaigrette

Both salads were delicious but my favorite was the second salad with nut cheese and huckleberries.

Next we each got a bowl of the Delicata Sqaush Soup with Maple Bourbon.

As I was about to say "This is freakin' awesome!" my husband said "This soup is cold." Um, oops. Did I forget to tell him we were dining at a raw establishment? My bad! I loved the soup and he was not impressed. Not because it was cold (once he understood we were eating raw, he was game) but he didn't like the maple flavor with the soup. So I ate his, too!

Soup was followed by an Heirloom Tomato, Onion and Olive on toast

and a Chili-Lime, Avocado Taco

We both loved these dishes and shared them 50/50 (upon my insistence!)

The food kept coming!

Spanikopita with Spinach, Almond Feta, Cucumber Yogurt

and a Pate with Kelp, Oyster Mushrooms, Carrots in a Tamarind Sauce

My apologies for this lousy picture, but I did want you to see that even blurred, it was beautiful. Both dishes were good but the Spanikopita was our favorite.

To transition from savory to sweet we were offered a Passion Fruit Soda with Orange Peel and Cranberries.

Mmm Mmm.

And then it was dessert time!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfait with Brown Ale Caramel, Vanilla Cream and Candied Pecans

and a Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart with Vanilla Creme.

Both desserts were delicious and, hand's down, the Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfait was the winner. I was completely stingy and did not share 50/50 (I did give Dave a few bites.)

I loved this meal. The food was fresh, flavorful and creative. My omni husband was not as impressed but he enjoyed it.

This was an expensive meal (well over $200 with tip, and that was after the Groupon.) You can eat at Pure Food and Wine for much less but do plan on spending $13- $15 for a glass of wine (or $60+ for a bottle), $14-$19 for the first course, around $25 for the second course and $15 - $17 for dessert.

Pure Food and Wine
54 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 477-1010

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: JL and cc:flickr.com/photos/rchamorro