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. First 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. I 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! Kevin 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. Ann 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. I 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!