Recently Remarkable Raw Eats


Thanks for the comments on yesterday’s post, friends. It’s a good dialog to be having, so keep your thoughts coming!

Whenever I come home, I tell myself I’ll be disciplined about not eating out too often. I’ve realized that this goal is nearly impossible—for one thing, being home means seeing friends, and since my mom doesn’t appreciate me making kitchen messes, this means dining out. For another, there are so many great vegan and raw restaurants here, multiplying every day, that I just can’t help myself. So this year, I picked up a few freelance jobs and decided to eat out freely while home, as a Christmas gift to myself, so you can expect a bunch of restaurant recaps in the next few days.

Pure Food and Wine is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s the place where my love for raw cuisine was cemented, and I have the most utmost respect for Sarma Melngailis, Pure’s passionate, strong-minded, and beautiful founder. My meals at Pure are always memorable, and the restaurant itself is always a sexy, elegant place to eat. This week, I ate at Pure with my dear friend Melissa, with whom I’ve had many delicious Pure dinners. It was so great to catch up on life, love, and work, and to chat about Melissa’s upcoming wedding!

We began with a little amuse bouche courtesy of the house (thanks Sarma!). They were—and I’m sure I’m butchering this—truffled nut cheese tartlets with an incredible apricot sauce. A perfectly delightful bite.


Melissa and I went through the standard Pure dilemma, which is that one wants to order something new and exciting, but is also so drawn toward the classic Pure salads that it’s hard to forgo them. Ultimately we both gave into our salad urges (Melissa with the S & M salad, me with a build-my-own that was rather like the S & M salad), but we started with some apps. Melissa got the spicy Thai lettuce wraps (and shared some with me!):


I decided to get the king oyster mushroom scallops in a shitake miso broth. I’ve had these only once before, and they are pretty awesome. The texture is so close to actual scallops that I wager anyone might be fooled!


(Sorry for the blurry pics—low lighting!)

And finally, a giant salad of dulse, avocado, hemp seeds, beets, carrots, basil, and pumpkinseed and lemon dressing. The photo barely turned out, but the taste was perfect!


It was a wonderful meal, but most of all, it was wonderful to catch up with Melissa. I can’t wait till I’m back in New York more often, so that I can spend more time with her!

Also this week, I paid a visit to the lovely Café Blossom—which is right across the street from my old apartment—for dinner. Once again, I had a helping of delicious raw veggie dishes, starting with the autumn sweet potato rolls, which are stuffed with spiralized jicama, green onion, avocado, and young coconut. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of this dish:


My friend and I split them, and she was just as impressed as I was!

Next up, I ordered the raw beet ravioli, which came served with a sesame, carrot, and sunflower sprout salad.


Beautifully presented. It was almost too much cashew cheese—it kind of overwhelmed the dish—but it was certainly good cashew cheese. My friend got the phyllo “cigar” with root vegetables:


Finally, I ordered the kale salad, massaged with avocado, peppers, and some red onions which were thankfully too teeny for me to balk:


And my friend got the tofu salad with seaweed, curried cashews, carrots, tomatoes, and radicchio:


Both salads were incredibly good!

I can’t think of a nicer holiday gift to myself than the chance to explore vegan dining establishments, both old and new. Later this week, I’ll introduce you to some new spots I’ve discovered. In the meantime, I feel mighty grateful for old favorites.


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  1. Im in New York this week and am deciding which lovely restaurants to tackle this trip, so can’t wait to hear what you recommend! I’m going to have Lulu’s ice cream even if there’s a blizzard! And can’t wait for Candle!

  2. I absolutely love Pure Food and Wine… its been too long since I was there. I can practically taste it again just by looking at your pics! 🙂

  3. everything looks phenomenal! i went to pure food and wine for the first time over the summer and was blown away by how delicious it was!

  4. It was a fabulous dinner. So great to see you, even briefly ;). I love Blossom too!
    On a totally random note, I was just watching TV and Alec Baldwin met his now wife at Pure Food and Wine. How crazy.

  5. those raw rolls look divine! i had a really great raw soup the other day that was a ‘sweet root’ with beet,carrot, coconut, medjool dates and chai spices…it sort of tasted like christmas 🙂 happy weekend!

  6. Yum! I was in the city a few weeks ago. Nothing beats Christmas in NYC! Have a great holiday, Gena!

  7. My New Year’s Resolution this year will be to eat more raw foods. So, your wonderful posts and recipes will be my guiding light! I love Pure Food and Wine too! The tamales are my faves!

  8. I say this every time, but I am so envious of the resources and establishments you have in relation to amazing vegan food–both in restaurants and in supplies. It all looks so amazing, but here we have…next to nothing. However, it just means I can try and get creative with the resources that I have!

    Enjoy your brain break and the time with family and friends! It looks as if it’s off to an amazing start 🙂

  9. Perfect timing, I am back in NY too and can’t wait to follow in your raw foodsteps for dining à la Gena ! so many places I can’t wait to try and happy to go back to old favorites too. (not to mention, eat as much kale as humanly possible to make up for 8 years in kale withdrawal in Paris!) looking forward to your recommendations and culinary adventures!
    bon appétit and enjoying being “home” with family and friends, not to mention taking what sounds like it will be a nice break from your heavy workload. have a delicious holiday! (and if you do want a kitchen to mess up, mine is all yours anytime with pleasure! ha)

  10. I am sky-high thrilled that you’re giving yourself these holiday gift, dear Gena. If anyone deserves to throw themselves into culinary/gustatory pampering, it’s you. And all the other kinds of pampering, too.

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