If yesterday's post was the bad eating out, this one should be described as the good kind. Perfection, decadence, and yes, a bit of gluttony. Now, I did not take my camera with me. Mainly because the destination that I was there for stated plainly that no electronic devices, backpacks or sealed envelopes would be allowed. Of course when I got there and 90% of the people had said items, one even going so far as to have their cell phone ring while in line and talk for five minutes. But such is life for us rule followers. Plus the whole trip was work related so I could do no less than behave.
All that aside, it did give me an excellent excuse to wander from 53rd Street to 79th and visit Candle 79. Now, the last time I had to pick up visa's for work I visited there, so I felt it was totally appropriate to do so this trip as well. I wandered over at 11:30 am only to realize they did not open till noon. I was sad and paced up and down the block for a bit.
But once they were open I scurried inside and claimed a table by the open window. The concept of a vegan restaurant makes me giddy. The decisions on what to eat are difficult when you can pick anything. I wavered several times and debated their daily specials quite a bit. Finally my choices were made and I indulged.
I started with a chocolate shake. This was not thick or rich but it was lovely nonetheless. It had an icy float of creamy goodness on the top under a sprinkling of tiny chocolate chips. The Enjoy Life brand if I do not miss my guess. There was also chocolate syrup decorating the inside of the glass that swirled around nicely adding to the flavor. Needless to say, it was good. I might have made it thicker or richer had I been at home, but this would satisfy everyone on the chocolate spectrum.
Next I ordered a starter. The guacamole timbale. I was not quite sure what to expect though it could not be bad with a description like it had. The large plate came out and I was thrilled. The most obvious was the homemade tortilla strips that were crisp without being greasy or heavy. There was a tower of delight under them layered with refried black beans, caramelized onions, a light jicama pico de gallo and topped with a lush guacamole. There was a decadent sauce made from chipotle drizzled under all this that was smoky and divine. The beans were a lovely mellow base for the more flavorful onions and salsa while the guac lavishly spread its creamy touch everywhere. The crisp chips were a delight and I soon abandoned all efforts to eat politely and dug my fork in deep. I used the last few strips of tortilla to scrape up every last bit. My plate almost looked like I had licked it clean.
The waitress was impressed and even gave me a 'good job' on the appetizer before setting down my entree. The Fall Harvest Paella was everything I hoped it would be. The tower of rice and veggies was warm, flavorful and prefect on a blustery day. The seitan sausage was chewy enough to be noticed but not tough or difficult. It added a good tooth appeal to the meal. The rice was perfectly cooked, tender and delicate with no clumps or dried out pieces. Veggies diced finely were thick in the tomato mix; diced zucchini, delicately slivered onion and crisp fresh corn kernels. There were some sauces underneath the rice that were tasty as well, one was very avocado tasting while the others were peppery. This was a perfect meal despite my fear that it would be too small of a portion. I felt well and truly satiated after finishing.
That did not stop me from ordering dessert of course. The need for vegan goodness cannot stop simply because of a full tummy! Again I ordered a towering dish, this time the Caramelized Apple Phyllo Tower. Luckily the waitress gave me time, upon my request, to sit back and enjoy the day before bringing it out.
This dessert was a very interesting combination of tart berry sauce, rich and creamy topping, crisp and light phyllo and in my opinion the hidden ice cream at the center of the tower. The ice cream was so rich, lush and flavorful I wanted a quart of it to take with me. It had a subtle cinnamon flavor and a light apple taste to it, neither overpowering the other or the delicate creamy base. My goal is to someday eat more of this lush goodness or make my own. Preferably the former because if I learn how to make my own, no one will ever hear from me again as I will probably drowned in the stuff.
All in all, while the day was long, trying and full of waiting, it was made wonderful by the lunch provided by Candle 79. While their prices are a bit higher than what I am used to it is so worth it.