Pre-Bday Celebration at Pure
June 7, 2009

Happy Sunday!

As promised, I’m here with a full recap of what was a lovely pre-birthday celebration yesterday: first, a juice date with my buddy Kristen, and then a full blown dinner extravaganza at Pure!

After waking up to a grayish morning jog, I was delighted when the clouds parted and I was able to meet up with Kristen – who’s in town for a nice long trip, and conveniently staying right near my apartment – for a juice date at one of my favorite vegan joints, Blossom. Blossom has a terrific juice menu, and while the fabulous manager, Craig, is always kind enough to make me my special blend (cucumber, spinach, celery, parsley, green apple and ginger), one wasn’t enough: Kristen and I also got the oh-so-delicious pink lady, which is a combo of apple, pear, pineapple, beet, and ginger. Here we are with our juices:


It was so delightful getting to know Kristen and her husband; I’ve read Kristen’s blog for a while now, and learned a great deal from her, and I’m happy to say that she’s every bit as sunny and sweet as she seems in print.

Later in the day, I headed downtown to my favorite dining destination, Pure Food and Wine, where Kristen was actually having drinks with another one of my favorite raw peeps, the wonderful Dhrumil of We Like it Raw. It was fun to catch up with Dhru, if briefly. Soon, my friends Cassie and Amy arrived, and it was time for us ladies to dig into what is one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

I do not throw superlatives around when it comes to restaurant dining. I’m sort of a kitchen snob: like Heather, I like to make the food I like on my own. As anathema as it may be for a New Yorker to dislike dining out, I really don’t love it. With the exception of a few restaurants, I often find that eating out means paying money to have disappointing, mini-sized salads or dishes that I know I could make more to my liking at home. Eating at Pure, though, is quite the opposite: I could never muster up the patience or time or expertise that goes into a meal prepared in the Pure kitchen, which is why I’m always thrilled to eat there. Last night, with its VIP service and amazing selection of food, was my best Pure experience to date!

We started with three appetizers. Cassie ordered the Caesar salad, which I love and have ordered many times:

Amy got the Spicy Thai Lettuce Wraps, which I also really love, and often make at home:


And I got to sample the incredible chili lime tortilla wraps. As they say in the blogosphere, holy yum! This was my first time tasting these (shockingly, since they’re stuffed with the same guacamole that I often devour at Pure’s takeaway spot), and it will not be my last! This might be habit-forming :):


For our entrees, Cassie had the white corn tamales with raw cacao mole. Oddly, though this is many people’s favorite Pure dish, I have yet to fall in love, but it got rave reviews from Cassie and Amy.


Amy got the beet ravioli with pignoli cheese, which I made for Christmas dinner this year, to rave reviews from my Mom:


And I got my old standby, the asparagus sushi rolls:


Finally, dessert. As you all know, I’m not much of a dessert chef. So when I go out to eat, I tend to let the experts dazzle me. And dazzle they did. My birthday treat was Pure’s new strawberry shortcake Napoleon. It was a-m-a-z-i-n-g: I kid you not when I say that utterances of “this is the best thing I have ever eaten in my life” were being hurled around the table. Here I am, blowing out the candle:


And the staff at Pure was kind enough to bring us yet another incredible dessert: the peach cobbler with aged maple syrup and vanilla ice cream. This was also delicious.


This was one of those meals that reminds one of what restaurant dining at its very best can be. I love to keep it simple most of the time, but there’s nothing quite like a big, intricately and lovingly prepared meal, and I am so grateful to Sarma and her incredible staff of chefs and servers for this night. Here’s a shot of me and Cassie — before we were stuffed to the gills!


On the birthday agenda today:

A run/walk in the park
Movie (yes, I’m seeing The Hangover)
Manicures with friends
Massage for me (my yearly birthday treat to myself)
Birthday Dinner at Candle 79 with my wonderful Mom

I don’t put much stock into birthdays, on the whole: I’m not a person who frets about getting older, and for the most part, and organizing big parties has always struck me as a little stressful (not to mention a little lame at this age). I just use them as an excuse to pamper myself more than usual. But lately I do find myself devoting my birthdays to being grateful for all of the good things in my life, which seem to have accumulated by the year. This year is no exception: it’s brought me many new professional endeavors and many new friends—and I had a pretty rich professional life and incredible friendships already. Long story short? I have a lot to be thankful for.

Have a beautiful day, everyone!


P.S. If you haven’t yet, please check out my guest post at Oh She Glows!

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  1. Happy belated birthday my love! OH wow, your day/night out sound/look amazing. What an awesome restaurant. Nom nom.
    I’m with you. I actually like getting older because I seem to feel more peaceful (on the whole!) each year.

  2. Happy Birthday again! Sounds like a great juice and dinner day.

    No judgments re: the Hangover… I heard it was pretty good!

  3. Happy Birthday again! I was really looking forward to your Pure post and you did not let me down! It’s just all so beautiful and thoughtful, there is such care in each dish and I can truly appreciate that!!!!

  4. Happy Birthday, Gena! 😀 I hope you enjoyed every aspect of your special day!

    I feel like I need to take a special trip up on the train from DC just to go to Pure. The food there looks heavenly!

  5. Happy Birthday, gorgeous!!! I hope you had the best day ever. If I were there we could have had a joint celebration since my birthday is on Thursday! Gotta love us Geminis! 🙂


  6. Everyone!

    Thank you so much for such a terrific outpouring of kindness. I cannot thank you all enough for your sweet bday wishes — you contributed to happy, joyous, and celebratory day. Truly — you guys are the best!


  7. Happy Birthday Gena! I just celebrated mine a few days ago. Amazing pics. Whenever I get to NYC next Pure is first on my agenda.

  8. Happy Birthday Gena! That dinner looks wonderful, and I feel just about the same way about dining out. But when it’s like your night, it is truly fantastic!

  9. Thank you so much for stopping by my site and for your comment. So happy to have now found yours. I love your philosophy on health and nutrition and you clearly have a great following on your blog. Looking forward to reading you! And pre-bday great wishes!

  10. Happy, happy birthday to you! I agree, I think birthdays are a perfect excuse to treat yourself extra special. I hope it has been a good one for you.

  11. What a fantastic birthday. I’m actually on a bus right now, headed home to Boston after a weekend in NYC. haven’t tried Pure yet, but love Blossom! If you are ever in Boston, gotta go to Grezzo 🙂 That’s where my bridal shower was held and it was so great!

  12. happy Birthday Gena! I saw on Kristen’s blog that you met up with her! SO cool! The food looks amazing. Yum that guac!!

  13. Gena,

    Happy Birthday!! I just stumbled upon your blog yesterday and have read the whole thing start to finish! Lot’s of beautiful stuff here!!! I am on day 6 of a mini juice feast and I’m excited to make some of your wonderful, simple creations when I’m done!

    Keep up the great work! And congrats on quitting smoking over a year ago!

  14. Happy Birthday, Gena. Hope you have a wonderful day. All that Raw eating makes you look like you’re not a day over 18! 🙂

  15. Hey Gena! Happy Birthday!!!! Aah, Pure, my favorite place EVER:)
    It was so nice to meet you when Gina and I were in New York, we want to go back so badly!I have some NHI related questions I want to ask you, I’m going to try to get my thoughts together and email you sometime this week:) I’m still slacking on getting a blog started….:-/ Soon!
    Have a wonderful birthday!!!
    love, Megan


    I hope you are out enjoying a spectacular day, while I sit here and drool all over my computer screen for awhile. 😀

    Perhaps next year, we can celebrate both of our June B-days at Pure Food & Wine together.

    Did I tell you I treated myself to a deep-tissue massage for my birthday? Oh, us Gemini girls, we think alike, no?


  17. Happy B-Day! I wished to try out this restaurant, but quite pricey I might add. Have you tried Candle Cafe/Candle 79?

  18. blossom sounds like an amazing place and dinner at pure looks INCREDIBLE! can you believe i’m trying to convince the pilot to take me back for 4th of july weekend? 😉
    hope you have a very happy birthday!

  19. Happy Birthday, Gena! You seem to have such a passion for life and I love your outlook on birthdays….I hate that some people are surprised I am actually not upset about getting older – it should be celebrated! Hope you enjoy the rest of your birthday! 🙂

  20. Happy Birthday Gena!
    Those pics from Pure are quite a tease! My friend and I are going next week to celebrate both of our birthdays (which were in May), and both of us can hardly wait. I am definitely getting the strawberry shortcake! Woohoo! 🙂

  21. Happy Birthday, Gena! I hope you have a wonderful day. It sounds like it will be fabulous!

    All the food looks so beautiful and delicious. I’ll have to go there if I ever visit New York. The desserts seem phenomenal and a definite must try :).

  22. Happy Birthday!!! Your meal last night was absolutely beautiful, and I have to say, I’m curious how raw mole is done, as traditional mole is cooked for HOURS! The guacamole is something that I think I would eat way too much of, because it looks amazing! Have an amazing day!!

    • Oh, Mara. Haven’t you read enough of my blog to know that you cannot each too much guac? (Read my post on healthy fats if you haven’t yet :))

  23. Happy Birthday! What a lovely evening! The food looks so tasty!

    Wishing you many more joyful years!

  24. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU GENA!!!! Wow, I’m BLOWN AWAY by all the delicious eats in this post, Pure Food and Wine is def on my NY to-visit list 😀

    Enjoy your birthday as much as u can….. BEST WISHES!!!!

  25. Kristen is so awesome! I hope I get to meet up with her while she is in NY. So far our schedules haven’t matched up, but maybe next weekend!

    Love those tortilla wraps, I’ve gotten then at One Lucky Duck, but never saw it on the menu at Pure! I hope a Pure dinner is in my future! 🙂

    I love those tamales as well, you are missing out, Gena! Haha!

    Have a wonderful bday! Sounds so great! Stupid me, we over slept (had friends over late last night) and I dont think we are going to make it to NY today! Oh well, hopefully next weekend!

  26. oh, i wish I could have been there, but I am so so excited to see the recap already up! Everything looks delish of course! see you later birthday lady.

  27. Gena,
    What a wonderful birthday celebration! An amazing dinner last night, a day filled with Gena love, and dinner with mom…sounds perfect to me. 🙂

    Oh, and about those chili lime tortilla wraps…Holy Yum for sure! Look at all that gorgeous guac.

    Enjoy this day my sweet friend.

    P.S. – You’re so pretty. 🙂

  28. **singing the birthday song**

    Wishing you nothing but the BEST today, on your special day!!

    And hell yes for meeting Kristen – my two raw gurus unite 😀

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