NYC Food Update

What a great couple of food outings I have had over the last couple of weeks! YUM! Some goodies but oldies and some that I have been wanting to try out and finally made my way over to. Love that!!

My Babies Blessing Party at Candle 79. Awesome!! Always an amazing time there 🙂

Quintessence in the East Village has always been a solid stand out as far as vegan raw food. I have been totally craving Caesar salads lately and they make such a great one! I have actually had that and their raw tacos twice over the last 2 weeks haha. So good! The Caesar dressing is amazing with a generous amount of avocados in the salad to make for salad perfection! YUM! Plus the tacos are just super awesome too. I love that you can order just one.

Dirt Candy is also in the East Village and I have been wanting to go there since Amanda Cohen opened it up a few years ago. FINALLY we were able make it there! It was actually pretty hard to get a decent time reservation but luckily I planned this one in advance and there we were 🙂 It is a pretty tiny, yet adorable place but of course the main reason why we were there was the OUTSTANDING food! As you know I am quite the foodie and been to many many restaurants but I have to say – I was beyond impressed with everything we ate! I am really hoping to go back super soon and try the other half of the menu!

We started with the Jalapeno Hush Puppies served with maple butter (how could we not!) and the Mushroom! dish portobello mousse, truffled toast pear & fennel compote, incredible! Complex, creamy and of course deelish! Then we moved on to our entrees. I have to say, everything we had was well thought out, very creative, visually stunning and sooo tasty! Chardchard gnocchi, grilled chard, garlic granola & drunken fig jam and Cauliflower buttermilk battered cauliflower, waffles,  horseradish, wild arugula. And although we were getting pretty full how could I not try their dessert after such an incredible meal! Popcorn Pudding salted caramel corn. The other desserts had more of an out there sound to them, and although I am sure they were deelish, I had to go with this one. Suffice it to say, there was no disappointment here 🙂 We will for sure be back and are just sad that it took us this long to finally make it there!

Cauliflower - buttermilk battered cauliflower, waffles,horseradish, wild arugula

Chard - chard gnocchi, grilled chard,garlic granola & drunken fig jam

Lula’s Sweet Apothecary is another East Village fabulous vegan stand out when you are craving some amazing dessert. This awesome warm weather we have been having was just the perfect excuse to head over for some ice cream. They have a ton of fabulous flavors and I have tried many of them but I am sure as a lot of people would agree with – the Cake Batter soft serve is not to be missed. This is the first time I tried it with a topping and I had to go caramel sauce. So happy I did that! haha YUM!!!!

Cake Batter Ice Cream -- photo from http://www.theurbanhousewife.com

Gingersnap’s Organic  is another amazing new raw place to open up in the East Village. It just opened up in November and I am so happy I didn’t wait too long to make it over there! The owner, Jamie, is super awesome, friendly and down to earth. The place itself is really cute, comfortable and they specialize in food on the fly. So although they have an awesome full menu, you can can just grab pre-made food and run. I had already eaten lunch when I went but wanted to try one of their raw vegan dessert specialties. OH MY Chocolate Ganache Cake! It was seriously the best raw food cake I have ever eaten! I am sure this would pass to anyone for a master slice of chocolate cake. I love raw food, but I know the thoughts and feelings many people have about them as desserts, and this one seriously measures up! YUM! I am excited to come back here and try the rest of the menu and their cool looking cleanse as well. Welcome to the neighborhood Gingersnaps!

Gobo is a West Village mostly vegan restaurant that has a cool vibe to it. I have been going there for years and years! It was always the, parents taking me out go-to restaurant, for so long 🙂 But it had been maybe 2 years that we have been there and it was super nice to revisit. I always start with their Scallion pancakes with homemade mango salsa. Then we moved on to the natural Seitan medallions in sizzling spicy citrus sauce and the Organic king oyster mushrooms in sizzling basil black bean sauce. I typically would not order a mushroom dish as an entrée but last time I was here my friend ordered it and I was lucky to get a taste. So deelish! The king oyster mushroom is such a star! My very favorite dish there is the Pine nut vegetable medley with lettuce wraps, which I could not help ordering to go for my lunch the next day 🙂 Absence does make the heart grow fonder, it was nice to go back. Yum!

Pine nut vegetable medley with lettuce wraps

Marisa’s Babies Blessing Party

Candle 79 is one of the best restaurants ever as far as I am concerned! It’s on the UES so a bit of a hike for us, but makes the ultimate date night spot. Romantic, Cozy and deelish!! Check out my review from 2009.

But I went there for a very different reason recently. I had my fabulous Babies Blessing Brunch Party there. SO much fun, a bunch of beautiful girlfriends and the best food to celebrate the almost arrival of our little kiddos 🙂 Benay, the manager, was amazing in helping me set up this event and everything went super smooth. The food of course was deelish!

My mom made fabulous favors: Super cute planters all prepped with organic soil and seeds and a super cute flower on top 🙂 So perfect!!

Thanks ladies! Such a great day to celebrate!!!

We had a great menu!

APPETIZERS


Guacamole Timbale
chipotle black beans, caramelized onions, cucumber-jicama salsa, tortilla chips, ranchero sauce

Steamed Dumplings
seitan, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, sesame-soy-ginger sauce
Angel’s Nachos

corn chips, mozzarella, tomatoes, refried pinto beans, chili-grilled seitan, guacamole, salsa, tofu sour cream, romaine lettuce

ENTRÉE


Stuffed Avocado Salad
baby greens, quinoa, zucchini, cucumber, radishes, black beans, toasted pumpkin seeds, grape tomatoes, chipotle-avocado dressing

Black Bean-Pumpkin Seed Burger
mixed lettuces, avocado, polenta fries, chipotle ketchup


Home-Style Pancakes
seasonal fruit, cranberry butter, gingered maple syrup

Wild Mushroom-Squash Risotto
cashew cream, pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, frizzled leeks

Seitan Picatta
creamed spinach, grilled potato cake, oyster mushrooms, lemon-caper sauce

Check out my version of this famous dish 🙂

and then Dessert 🙂

Live Sweet Potato Parfait
nut granola, huckleberry ice cream


Cannoli
vanilla cream filling, coconut-chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate sauce


Apple Cranberry Pie
toasted oat crumble, french vanilla ice cream, berry
coulis, candied almonds

There were lots of fabulous beverages going around. I was super happy to have ordered the Coconut-Mint Frappe avocado, coconut water, agave, mint, lime. AMAZING!! I have been craving this drink ever since!

Parent’s Dinner Party – Vegan Seitan Piccata, Creamed Spinach & Creamy Polenta

YUM YUM YUM!!! If you want a meal to impress here you go 🙂

Candle 79 is one of my favorite vegan restaurants! And one of my fave dishes there is the Seitan Piccata.  I adapted this dish from their recipe and it was super deeeeelish! I am sure this sauce would work on tofu, tempeh, etc…  soooo yummy!!

I knew both our dads love Creamed Spinach and Polenta so I wanted to make it for them vegan style 🙂 It was super creamy and super amazing!! I doubled the recipes below to make sure we had enough and we were happy to have some left over! They were sooo good!

I love meals where people are like…”How is this vegan?!” This wasn’t the most low-fat of meals but it sure was amazing!! Creamed spinach and creamy polenta is not everyday food for us, but it was perfect for a special occasion.

I LOVE my warming drawer! Everything was ready to go for dinner, yet I had a clean kitchen perfect for the party!

This made a lot of sauce! Was great for meals that week as well 🙂

I cooked this down a little further, but it was still so rich and creamy! YUM!

YUM! Polenta Goodness!

Vegan Seitan Piccata
adapted from Candle 79 in NYC
Serves 6
1. Dredge seitan cutlets in flour, shaking off excess.
2. Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in skillet over high heat. Sauté cutlets in oil 30 seconds per side, or until crisp and golden brown. Remove seitan from skillet, and drain on paper-towel-lined plate.
3. Add remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil to skillet, and return to high heat. Add shallots, onion, capers, and garlic, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently. Whisk in wine and lemon juice, and cook 3 to 5 minutes more.
4. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 1 minute to combine flavors. Whisk in parsley, margarine, salt, and pepper. Pour over seitan cutlets, garnish with large caper berries or lemon slices, and serve.

  • 6 seitan cutlets, rinsed and drained (I used 12 cutlets – Gardein Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini)
  • Whole-wheat flour for dredging
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 Tbs. drained capers
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine  (I used red instead)
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Large caper berries or lemon slices, for garnish, optional

Vegan Creamed Spinach

  • salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach
  • 3/4 cup soy creamer
  • 3/4 cup plain soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • grated nutmeg
  • fresh pepper

1. Large pot of water with salt – boil
2. Put spinach  for about a minute then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, then chop spinach
3. Place oil in broad saucepan on medium-low, add flour and cook stirring consistently till golden, then stir in creamer/milk
4. Add spinach and bring to a boil until spinach has absorbed most of liquid and sauce is thick, about 15-25 minutes
5. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and season to taste

Vegan Creamy Polenta

  • 1 cup vegan creamer
  • 1 cup plain soy milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • fresh ground black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan bring the creamer, soy milk and the water to a boil.
2. Add the salt and then gradually add the polenta while stirring.
3. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring constantly.
4. The polenta should be smooth and large bubbles will pop on the surface.
5. Cook until very thick but not stiff, about 5 to 7 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and add earth balance and pepper.
7. Enjoy!!

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