New York City: Candle 79, Vegan Dining

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My husband Rob and I are fortunate to be able to travel. We have been traveling around the U.S. this last year, making our way to parts of the country we both haven’t seen before. Much of that has involved eating at absolutely incredible places.  I am a typical type A planner and I crazily research places for months before we go, all so that we can have that one perfect bite. I’ll usually book all our dinner reservations a month in advance. For lunches we tend to just pick whatever is near us at the time and wing it. I think we get the best of both worlds this way- wonderful fine dining and spur of the moment holes in the walls. That being said sometimes our best laid dinner plans fall through (thank you midtown traffic!) and we have also had some of our great finds from improvising this way- the now standard post theatre dinner at Toloache, for one.

We started off this NYC trip with my idea of heaven, and Robbie graciously played along. The vegan restaurant Candle 79 is one of my favorites. I also have their cookbook and it also is full of varied and impressive recipes. They will be gracing these pages in weeks to come, I’m sure. It’s on the fancy schmancy UES near all the museums, so we ate here before we went to the Frick.  It is on a nice wide street just off Lex- 79 street. The inside space is really cute. 2 stories and the top story is filled with light from a large window over looking the street . We have always eaten lunch here and it is always busy, many people have reservations, but you can get in without one.  When we are traveling, and especially if it is our first time eating somewhere, we tend to order lots of courses and variety to sample the menu (and in case something isn’t so good!).

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We started with some delicious fresh juices and smoothies, of which there are ample selection. Acai berry banana and carrot, beet, ginger- so yummy. The fresh ginger ale has its own cult following, that’s how good it is. All the freshly made cocktails are scrumptious, too.

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The appetizer course is the least inventive course here. We had a delicious guacamole timbale. It has a lot of cucumbers in it, so for my personal tastes it suffered a bit. Those plantain chips are the best! Absolutely light, grease-less perfection!

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The salad course is my favorite here. I could have eaten every last one!!! This beautiful little devil had brussels, apples, celeriac, pistachios, tofu, grapes. Ahhhhh. I need to figure out a version of this for my house!

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Again the entree course was overwhelming to me with options. When you are vegetarian you get used to having only a few options at most places, so my brain was on circuitry overload here!!!  They have a fresh pasta special everyday, which is always good. Today I was feeling a more protein driven choice, so I chose the seitan burrito.  I had to dismantle it a little as there was too much rice and tortilla for my liking, but the filling of seitan, greens, beans, onions then topped with salsa and guac was really homey and good.

Robbie through this all had a very hearty lentil soup and the seitan burger with polenta fries. Perplexingly his seitan burger did come on toasted bread not a bun- totally the wrong vehicle, I think. But the patty itself and the polenta fries were really good. He was a trooper but didn’t really care for it much, he kept insistenting it was “fine.” He made out better with his dinner, so it turns out ok!

Bottom line if you get to NYC and vegetarian food is one of your passions, you have to go to Candle 79 when you are in the city!

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