Scenes from a Vegan Restaurant

Hey all!

I’ve got a jam-packed Sunday ahead of me, including a brief stop at NYC’s Vegetarian Food Fest, so this is going to be a post through pictures. Last night, M and I treated ourselves to a special dinner at our favorite restaurant: Candle 79.

Student life has made me a bit of a shut-in; two weeks ago, I found myself at Union Square, and I actually remember thinking: “Wow. I’m actually downtown. Look at all of the people!” It’s rare that I have time to enjoy my beloved city and a good restaurant meal these days, so last night felt very special. And there’s no place I would have preferred to mark a special occasion than my culinary home-away-from-home on 79th Street. Here, without any more chatter from me, is our night through food:

Amuse Bouche: Vegan Spanakopita. This Greek lady gives it good marks for taste and authenticity!

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Appetizer: grilled hearts of palm and artichoke with kale dressing and a vegetable ragout:

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Salad: Arugula with artichokes, pickled onions, olives, and grilled asparagus for me:

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Seaweed with carrots, cabbage, sesame seeds, and edamame for M:

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Entrée: Moroccan spiced chickpea cake with seasonal vegetables, red pepper-coconut curry, ginger-apricot-date chutney, and toasted almonds for me:

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And a seitan special for M: walnut crusted seitan with ramps, fiddlehead ferms, and warm potatoes:

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My entrée was just to my liking, and M’s was spectacularly seasonal and fresh. We both could have died happy after this meal.

Thank you, Candle 79, for welcoming back into the world at large with such sumptuous and incredible food. What a wonderful weekend treat!

See you guys back here tomorrow with a special new hummus recipe (!).


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  1. It honestly just makes me happy to know dishes like this exist somewhere in the world. I’ve never even seen fiddlehead ferns here in Australia, let alone eaten them! My heart cries for the lack of dessert, though 😛

  2. Looks amazing- i’ll definitely have to remember to go to that restaurant next time i’m in NY. Oh, and meet- up with you 🙂
    Did I hear hummus? Now I’m quite excited!

  3. I saw the line for the Veggie Fest and I just gave up. The line was wrapped around the corner! 🙁 Did you get to go inside?

    Have you dined at Candle Cafe? What’s your view on this restaurant?

    What a beautiful sunny Sunday today!

  4. I love, love, love Candle 79! So glad you and M enjoyed your meal out!

    So sorry to miss you at the NYC Veg Fest today. The line was ridiculous. I’m sorry, I don’t wait in lines for night clubs and I don’t stand in line 1+ hours for veg fest. Next time, they need Javits or a huge outdoor space. Since I refused to stand in line, I took myself out to Pure Food & Wine for brunch. Sigh.

  5. Now I’ve got Billy Joel stuck in my head! 🙂

    I was in NY a few weeks ago, visiting a friend who lives right near Candle 79. We debated going there, but ended up going to Angelica’s Kitchen (swoon…that place is amazing!) instead because from what I’ve seen of the pics of Candle 79, the portion sizes seem small. As someone with a healthy appetite, would you say that that’s the case? Or is it simply the way the photos were taken? The portion sizes at Angelica’s Kitchen were awesome. Thanks to your NY dining recommendations, we also hit up Stogo and Liquiteria, and I still have several other places on my list for my next visit in a few months! 🙂

  6. if im ever in ny again i am def gonna have to try this place! the only place ive been is blossom in chelsea and while i liked what i ate, this place and pure food & wine just look incredible!

  7. That’s one of the plus sides of living in a city, restaurants like that. Thanks for sharing–the pleasant ambiance of the place came across too.

  8. The foods looks to die for! Looks like you had an amazing date night! I wish we had more vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurants in my area. Lucky girl! :]

  9. I’ll have to make a note of this place if I ever find myself in New York again. I had some arugula with picked onions last night and now I’m craving it again! Both the entrees look amazing, but the idea of a chickpea cake is particularly pleasing to me. You should create a recipe for one, Gena! If you don’t, I might have to, because it looks great.

  10. Spanakopita? Awesome! If we’d know that we may have high tailed it up the street to 79 instead of eating at the Cafe, which was also delicious. I have their cookbook so I’ll be looking up some of these to see if I can replicate.

  11. It’s definitely on my bucket list to go to Candle and Pure the next time in am in NYC!

    The “grilled hearts of palm and artichoke with kale dressing and a vegetable ragout”– omg looks wonderful!

    Arugula with artichokes, pickled onions, olives, and grilled asparagus = LOVE

    Moroccan spiced chickpea cake with seasonal vegetables, red pepper-coconut curry, ginger-apricot-date chutney = wow could I just drink the sauce? It sounds fabulous!

    Thanks for letting me eat vicariously through this post. I wish they would open a West Coast location!

    Glad you and M got out and had time in the city!

  12. Glad you got a little break! And what a great place for a special dinner! I’m drooling, haven’t been to Candle since last Summer! 😉

  13. What’s the difference between Candle 79 and Candle Cafe?? I went to Candle Cafe when I visited NYC in July 2009 and loved it! And I loved NYC! Would LOVE to live there someday! But I can’t complain, I live in Hawaii right now 🙂 The food looks delicious. Can’t wait for the hummus recipe 🙂

  14. Those look so creative and yummy!

    School turns me into a Starbucks squatter — I hate working in my apartment and need a wee bit of background noise.

    If you ever go to London, email me and I’ll fill you in on all the best vegan restaurants!

  15. I totally understand the life of a student shut-in. Sometimes I think that’s why they make the dining plan here mandatory for students who live in campus housing–so that we leave our rooms sometime!

  16. Does this food look ever so good! I get stuck in that student rut too…but my best remedy for that is to bring the homework with me downtown! That way, I can enjoy the cafés while reading about Yogic philosophy. Haha. Enjoy the Vegetarian Food fest!

  17. Aw, so jealous of the food fest, have fun! Candle 79 will probably be my first stop on my next NYC visit! The appetizer sounds wonderful, I haven’t had hearts of palm in ages. The chickpea cake sounds fabulous, I want that now. What a great meal and pics.

  18. That appetizer looks amazing! If I ever get to go to NYC again, I will most definitely visit Candle 79. I’m excited for your new hummus recipe. I just bought a box of sweet ‘taters destined to become sweet potato hummus, sweet potato cashew cheese and possibly sweet potato chickpea burgers!

  19. Kale dressing?! That sounds so good! I’ve never thought of using greens in a dressing before. That chickpea patty and seaweed salad looks especially good – I am a huge fan of chickpeas and seaweed salads! My favorite part is how chewy and flavorful seaweed is – you can taste the nutrients!:)

    • Agreed! Some of the best risotto I have ever had! How do they frizzle those leeks?

  20. I love the entrees at Vegan restaurants! Chickpea cake atop veggies and a seitan dish? Incredible! I have yet to find a good Veg restaurant around here.

    Have a happy weekend, loooove the blog 🙂 Freya at Brit Chik Runs guided me your way and I’m stoked! You’re such a fun inspiration to eat a clean, healthy, happy round of fresh foods! Looking forward to recipes 🙂