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Posts tagged ‘Vegan-Friendly’

Candle Cafe: Vegan Farm to Table on the Upper East Side

Soba Noodle Salad with sprouts, shiitakes, edamame, carrots, daikon, snap peas, red cabbage, and sesame seeds with a creamy wasabi dressing

Sandwiched between Le Steak on one end of the block, and J.G. Melon (home to arguably the best burgers in Manhattan) on the other, is the Candle Cafe one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the city. The cafe is always very crowded, and pretty noisy (the constantly running juicer in front of the restaurant accounts for most of this), but the healthy, tasty dishes in this casual dining spot are well worth a few minute wait.

There is one menu for both lunch and dinner that changes seasonally at this farm-to-table restaurant, but some items are staples year round like the delicious Mezze Plate with hummus, quinoa tabouli, olives, warm parata bread and homemade wonderfully tart and sweet lemon-date chutney. Daily specials are always offered, including one or more soups, a salad, and a wrap (these specials are updated everyday on the website if you’re ordering take-out or delivery).

BBQ Tempeh & Sweet Potato Sandwich with wilted kale, grilled red onion, and a shallot sage aioli

There is a great selection of salads ranging from a vegan take on the classic caesar salad, to Asian-inspired flavors in the Soba Noodle Salad pictured at the beginning of the post. There are also several sandwiches, including my favorite, the BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potato Sandwich. This savory sandwich is served warm, and has a great blend of texture and flavor. The shallot sage aioli complements without overpowering, and I always find myself using all of it, probably counteracting anything that was healthy about the dish.

Heartier entrees such as a stir fry, veggie lasagna, and pomegranate Grilled Tofu with garlic-shallot-potato mash, sautéed greens and crispy sage with roasted vegetable gravy and parsley oil are available and are all priced under $20.

The juice bar also serves up several different varieties of fresh juices and smoothies which are available to-go. Wine and beer is served at the cafe as well.

While this type of cuisine is not for everyone, even many skeptical friends of mine have really enjoyed the creative use of vegetarian proteins. The chefs have done an amazing job of giving the soy products on the menu texture and flavor beyond your average tofu– but the veggie-centric selection may be a bit daunting for a date with your burger-loving boyfriend (right Annie and Billy?) The smell of wheat-grass and ginger when you enter may turn some off from the start.

If you are interested in the Candle Cafe’s cuisine but are looking for a more upscale dining experience, try their sister restaurant Candle 79 just around the corner. Worlds apart from the bright lights, chatter, close tables, and hum of the juicer, Candle 79 offers a quiet, elegant atmosphere, with many more menu choices (still 100% vegan).

Candle Cafe
1307 Third Ave (Between 74th & 75th st)
(212) 472-0970

Candle 79
154 e. 79th st (at Lexington)
(212) 537-7179

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Food For Thought…

Vegetables are the New Meat?

Photo: NYMag

Sunchokes are everywhere, black kale is all the rage, and even plain old broccoli—never mind boutique brassicas like spigarello and Romanesco—is hot. Vegetables, you see, are newly and increasingly fashionable, at least among a certain segment of fine-dining, CSA-belonging, Michael Pollan–reading, rooftop-garden-crazed New Yorkers.

Read the article here at New York Magazine.

Father’s Day Granola

Jay enjoying his granola Sunday morning

My dad is a big eater. He really likes just about anything when it comes to food, but there are a few things he has said he couldn’t live without. The first is peanut butter. When there was a salmonella scare last year, and peanut butter was declared the source, he could only go three days without it. Crunchy is his favorite, and he usually buys it in bulk. The second is walnuts, which he also buys in bulk. He usually eats walnuts and blueberries over yogurt as a snack everyday. Anything like granola, trail mix, or any sort of nuts and berries, he considers “bird food,” and thinks it doesn’t matter how much he eats because it’s so healthy. Needless to say, he eats quite a bit of it.

So, I thought for Father’s Day, I’d keep him prepared for the next couple weeks of kayaking in the summer heat (my dad is the owner of a kayak touring company on Shelter Island, Shelter Island Kayak), I would make him a few batches of granola using his favorite ingredients. I made a Maple Walnut Cinnamon Blueberry batch, and a sweeter Peanut Butter Banana Honey batch for a great grab-and-go snack.

My dad loved both, and I’m guessing both 1.25 gallon bags will be empty in about two weeks tops. We’ll see. But the granola is easy to make and absolutely delicious, here are my recipes so you can make them for your dad, friends, family, or just yourself! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and especially you dad! Love you!

Maple-Walnut-Cinnamon-Blueberry Granola

3 cups oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup grade A Vermont maple syrup
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 container dried Michigan blueberries (I got mine from Whole Foods)
1/2 cup flax seed oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds

Peanut Butter-Banana-Honey Granola

3 cups oats
6 to 8 heaping tablespoons crunchy natural peanut butter
1 package banana chips
1/2 cup honey (I used local honey from the Hamptons Honey Co.)
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup flax oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

for both recipes, preheat oven at 300 degrees, and cook for approximately 45 minutes, stirring about every 10-15 minutes to ensure it’s equally toasted.

Upper East Green Eats

Vegan Friendly Steam-Table and Mezze Buffet at the Green Bean Cafe

Every morning on my walk to work, I pass Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and even Subway (now offering a breakfast menu). I walk into my healthcare job and see co-workers and patients with pastries, bacon egg and cheeses, buttered rolls, and sugar-filled juices and drinks. What ever happened to breakfast being the most important meal of the day?

For those of us in the neighborhood, who are starved for time, and something nutritious for breakfast, check out the Green Bean Cafe on 75th and York. Opening at 7am and delivering free of charge (within a 7 block radius) this tiny eatery offers a great variety of healthy breakfast (and lunch) options.

The Green Bean Cafe (75th and York Ave) photo:beangonegreen.com

Organic smoothies ($4.50-$7.00) like the Jolly Green Giant (Apple, Banana, Pineapple, Kale, and Spinach–blended) to the Golden Ticket (Banana, Pineapple, Peach, Mango, Coconut water, Raw chocolate powder) there are delicious combos full of fresh fruit and other add-ins (bee pollen, spirulina, flax seed, whey or hemp protein, and many more) that will keep your energy level up for hours.

Organic Juices are also offered, and they have a great variety of both fruit and vegetable blends, as well as pre-bottled fresh squeezed OJ for those who need something to grab-and-go.

Also ready-made are Brown Egg Wraps with organic eggs, peppers, potato, onion, diaya cheddar, and salsa– a nutritious alternative to that Egg McMuffin, or Sausage Egg and Cheese, and just as fast.

My favorite are the amazing Fresh Baked Muffins, most are gluten-free, dairy-free, or completely vegan. Just $2.50 each, there is a great selection (Banana Choc. Chip, Carrot Raisin, Blueberry Crumb, Raspberry Almond), and if you get there early enough they will still be warm.

They also have house-made Raw Maple Granola served with fruit and nut milk for $5.50 and Organic Hot Oatmeal ($2.00).

The space is very small, and often crowded, but cozy, warm and welcoming even in a rush. I love getting a muffin and coffee there in the morning, or grabbing a Avocado and Tempeh BLT ($6.75) for lunch.

View the entire menu here. And make sure you stop in the Green Bean Cafe next time you’re on the Upper East Side for fresh healthy food, and something a little more unique for breakfast and lunch in a neighborhood of bagels and toss-your-own salad bars.

Inside the Green Bean Cafe (photo:yelp.com)