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Candle Cafe West, Upper West Side

One of the things I love most about NYC is how people from different parts of my life end up visiting or moving here at some point. We’ve only been here for a year, but I’ve already had the opportunity to reconnect with more friends during this first year than the three years we spent in the Bay Area. Yeah, NYC!

Recently, Ann and her husband Kevin visited NY for a few days. I met Ann during my summer abroad at DIS in Copenhagen. I’m don’t think we were ever in studio or on study tours together, but we both lived at the kollegium in Albertslund. We lived in the suburbs of Copenhagen, and it took about an hour to get to classes/studio. The shared kitchen in our block was disgusting, and we suffered through that together. Can’t believe my summer in Copenhagen was 5 years ago. We’re all grown up now!

Candle Cafe West at 7:45pm on a Tuesday. Glad I made a reservation. I was not expecting them to so busy on a weeknight, especially as I’ve never had to wait to be seated at a restaurant on the UWS. Candle Cafe WestFirst impression: Candle Cafe is clearly a hot spot on the UWS. Significantly more upscale than their website suggests. One of the things I don’t like about NYC is how vegan restaurants tend to fall into one of two categories: vegan fast/junk/comfort food and fancy spancy gourmet vegan cuisine. What about the in between?! I was hoping Candle Cafe would be one of the rare in between restaurants. Nope. That said, almost every item on the menu sounds extra yummy. I’d say Candle Cafe is a special occasion restaurant. Their prices are a little higher than average.

Candle Cafe’s cocktail and wine list are pretty solid. Prices are a little steep, but they serve organic wines and spirits. I ordered the Rojito with spiced Papagayo rum, mint, lime juice, agave, raspberries ($15). Very refreshing and yummy, but unfortunately, on the small side and not very strong. If you order wine, they’ll bring out a single serving wine decanter. The cutest decanter I’ve ever seen.

Ordered the Candle Nachos to share. Corn chips, tapioca cheese, salsa, chili-grilled seitan, guacamole, tofu sour cream and romaine lettuce ($16). The seitan had such great flavors and texture. Seriously cannot tell that it’s not meat. Good stuff. Candle Cafe West - Candle NachosI decided to splurge and ordered the Lemon Seitan. Sautéed spinach, mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes and crispy capers with a white wine lemon sauce ($23). Not bad. This seitan was more chewy than the seitan over the nachos. It could use a bit more seasoning. Pretty tasty dish, but I would have enjoyed it more if it were served hot. It was just barely warm when it was brought it. I need hot food! Candle Cafe West - Lemon SeitanKevin ordered the Chipotle Grilled Tofu ($19) with Quinoa-vegetable pilaf, sautéed greens served with a black bean sauce; topped with an avocado mango salad. I was tempted to order this, but decided to go for something else since I cook tofu at home pretty regularly. Apparently this dish was good, but was missing a little something. The waitress brought out a jalapeno chive (I think) sauce in a refreshing minty green, which gave it just the right kick. Pretty tasty sauce. Light, subtle spiciness. Candle Cafe West - Chipotle Grilled TofuAnn made the right choice with her entree: Southern Plate ($21) with barbequed seitan, macaroni & cheese, chili, sautéed greens, and corn on the cob. I am so getting this next time I visit Candle Cafe! Much larger than the other 2 entrees and looks fantastic. Look at that BBQ seitan! If I ever convince John to come here, I’m sure he’ll order this. Candle Cafe West - Southern PlateI enjoy eating slowly and chatting over a long dinner. We talked about our summer in Copenhagen, adorable cats and dogs, veggie/vegan cooking, toaster ovens catching on fire, and what exactly makes one a foodie. Fun evening with great conversation!

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Mitzie Mee
    August 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Wow, you’ve studied in Copenhagen:) Besides staying in Albertslund, did you enjoy your time in Denmark?

    • Reply
      wazwu
      August 18, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Denmark was great! One of my favorite cities even though it got a bit pricey at times. I spent that summer traveling through Europe, both on my own and as part of the summer program. Looking forward to returning someday!

      Mitzie, you’ve spent quite some time in Denmark as well, right? Just saw your recent entry about heading back there for a Danish wedding! Congrats!

      • Reply
        Mitzie Mee
        August 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm

        Yep, I grew up in Denmark and still have an apartment in Copenhagen. Copenhagen is a good starting point for exploring Europe, though the weather can be a bit depressing in the autumn and winter months (especially if you are commuting from a far away suburb such as Albertslund). After visiting Copenhagen, most other European cities will seem very inexpensive (except for Oslo and Zürich maybe). I’m glad you liked it there:)

        • Reply
          wazwu
          August 19, 2012 at 8:52 am

          Ooh! Where in Copenhagen is your apartment? Looks like you’ve been all over the place. So much traveling! :D

          • Mitzie Mee
            August 19, 2012 at 9:39 am

            It’s in Frederiksberg near the lakes. A quiet area but at the same time close to downtown:)

          • wazwu
            August 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm

            Sounds really nice! :D I always appreciate quiet areas, but need to be close to busy downtown city areas.

  • Reply
    Blossom, Upper West Side | Let's Nom Nom!
    December 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    […] a feeling it might get too noisy when they’re crowded. If you want something fancier, try Candle Cafe. Blossom for brunch/lunch, Candle Cafe for […]

  • Reply
    Candle Cafe West | Let's Nom Nom!
    April 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    […] from packing and get away from our apartment for a little bit. I’ve visited Candle Cafe West once and have been wanting to come back for date night. Grilled BBQ Quesadilla ($14): whole wheat […]

  • Reply
    Cafe Blossom, West Village | Let's Nom Nom!
    January 26, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    […] it as a vegan take on turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy. Reminded me of the seitan piccata at Candle Cafe.I ordered the Cakes ($12), which were blackened cakes of roasted oyster mushrooms and wakame with […]

  • Reply
    Candle Cafe West, Upper West Side | Let's Nom Nom!
    May 28, 2014 at 10:17 am

    […] specials, but changed my mind at the last minute and ordered the Seitan Piccata ($23) instead. I’ve had this before, but it is a Candle Cafe signature dish and it makes me quite happy. Sauvignon Blanc went nicely […]

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