Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vegan MoFo: One More About Candle

We have returned from our 16 day Road Trip Extravaganza. I'll post more restaurant reviews in the weeks to come. It has been a let down, to say the least, to return to my refrigerator that is need of a grocery run. I feel like my face is in a scowl as I stare at its contents, wondering what to fix...thinking of the "good 'ol days" when I could just sit and choose from an array of vegan gourmet meals...then someone would serve it for me with a smile on his face.

And all I had to do was say, "Thank you!"

Those were the days.

I wrote about our first night in NYC at Candle Cafe and our other trip to Candle 79, its sister restaurant. We made one other visit to Candle Cafe this trip.

There was an hour wait for a table, therefore we ordered our food to-go. I finally got my Cajun Seitan Sandwich that I was merely teased with, from one bite of my husband's the other night. I wrote last time that this is one of our favorite sandwiches ever. This is the inside view of "pan-seared seitan with steamed greens, onion, avocado, and ancho chili aioli, served on toasted foccacia."

This time the greens were a little bitter, so I picked them off and ate them first so they wouldn't distract from the otherwise perfect taste in my mouth.

Ryan chose the Barbecue Tempeh & Sweet Potato Sandwich (with wilted kale, onion, and shallot sage aioli), and it was definitely another hit!

We also shared the Classic Caesar Salad. I really love caesar salads. I like to order them because they always vary from restaurant to restaurant.


A week or so before our trip, I had made Aztec Salad (from the Candle Cafe Cookbook) for dinner. It really and truly, at that point (before I went on vacation, of course) was the tastiest, most wonderful food I'd eaten in quite awhile. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, I am making this again as soon as I get back from the grocery store.

The only downside to this salad is the many steps involved. (The recipe is actually online at this site where the book can be purchased. Click on the Google Preview under the photo and there are many recipes included from the book.)

One layer of the salad is this Quinoa Salad, which is tasty enough to eat by itself. I used red quinoa, organic frozen corn, onion, cilantro, bell pepper, black beans, lime, and a tiny bit of vinaigrette (store-bought, not the recipe version, for sake of time).

I also used seitan instead of tempeh because that's what I had. The marinade (which consists of apple juice, tamari, garlic, agave, and chipotle barbecue sauce - I did NOT use as much agave as it called for) is phenomenal.

Another fun, tasty aspect of the salad is the toasted pumpkin seeds on top. This is another step I cut out; rather than toasting them myself, I bought some tamari roasted seeds in bulk at WF.

The seitan and quinoa salad layers were bursting with so much flavor I didn't feel any need to add more dressing on top.

I'll pick a winner for the Candle Cafe Cookbook tonight!
Last chance to enter HERE.


  1. Your trip is sounding better and better. But oh yes, I can relate to the horrible, deflating sensation of peering into your own refrigerator for the first time after returning, and thinking you might just abandon the family and hit the road. It's a fleeting but powerful thought. Welcome home! You'll be back to happy normal in no time. :D

  2. Well done for all your MoFo'ing.I've loved reading your blog and will continue to do so.
    *high fives*

  3. I'm mesmerized by that quinoa/seitan salad. Seriously, I've been scrolling up and down to view it from all angles repeatedly for like that last 4 minutes.

    I can understand being a little disheartened returning to an empty fridge after a trip, but having that salad in the post-grocery store forecast would cheer anyone up! Yum!

    I really enjoyed reading about your travels and eats along the way! But, I'm sure it'll feel good to be back to all the comforts of home too.

  4. That salad looks really tasty. Bummer that the greens were a bit bitter that next trip. I always worry about greens being bitter. I've yet to try anything more exotic than kale ;-)

  5. Your Aztec Salad looks so good!

    I can totally relate to that dead stare into the fridge and the cabinets when you get back from vacation. Sounds like you had an awesome time traveling!

    Thanks for the kind words that you left in my comment section today...Your too sweet!
    Regarding Food Inc. You should get it to watch with your husband. Tony watched it and we both were amazed about the crops. We knew all about the meats, but I didn't know everything about the crops. Needless to say, he is going to start buying his meat locally as long as he eats it. We will make it a point to go to the farmers market as much as we can too. I wish I had a lot of land so I could grow all my food! :o) If you watch it, let me know what you thought about. I think everyone should see it. People need to know what they are eating.

  6. I like restaurants that have cookbooks so you can recreate the dishes at home with their instructions rather than trying to do it yourself. But I kind of think they maybe just might make them extra complicated so that you keep coming back to the restaurant!

  7. I actually have the Candle Cafe book, otherwise I'd have entered the giveaway. So I need to make this salad! Thanks for the inspiration. I might not use the red quinoa since it's so much more $.

  8. Everything looks so good! The seitan stuff has me curious. I'll have to check that little health food store near me. We have a Whole Foods about 40 min away but I haven't ventured there yet because I'm unfamiliar with the area. Would definitely be interesting to try something other than tofu.

  9. Gorgeous salad. I thought it was from the restaurant itself.

  10. that red quinoa(sp?)is nice looking, really adds a lot. glad you got your cajun fix, it might not be to hard to duplicate at home....? lol its never the same:)

    we are all waiting to see who won!!!thanks again for doing this contest.

  11. I have the cookbook too and have never made anything from it. That salad does sound good so I will be checking out the recipe.

    Coming home for vacation is always a bit of a let down. I hope you are settling back into a routine.