Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vegan MoFo: the one where we arrived in nyc

Although Wednesday started out with my family and I enjoying the fun sights in Philadelphia, soaking in the wonderful experience of an ACTUAL northeastern autumn...the day somehow eventually went very, very wrong. Our trip seemed to take many wrong turns, literally and metaphorically.

Things like running over our stroller because we both thought the other one had put it in the car...

And just lots of other things...I won't air our dirty laundry or spend time one was sick or hurt so in that case, I always know that it was "just a bad day," and life goes on. I'm a "look on the bright side," kind of person, and even I felt hopeless by the end of the night. I was feeling like, "WHERE IS THE BRIGHT SIDE?" I burst into tears several times over the course of the evening...

It was entirely too late to drag our kids out for supper by the time we got situated in our apartment.

However, I felt the only thing that could save our night was a visit to

Candle Cafe.

I can't emphatically say that Candle Cafe is the absolute best vegan restaurant in NYC. (It's too hard to choose! There are a few, including Candle, that are in a tie with me. Ryan did just say that it IS his favorite.) It was the first really amazing vegan restaurant Ryan and I had ever went to together (9 years ago on our first trip to the city). It has special meaning to us for that reason; I had faith it might brighten our moods.

Above: Seitan Chimichurri appetizer (citrus herb marined seitan skewers)...the kids split these as a part of their meal, along with the fruit and a grilled tapioca cheese sandwich. I taste tested everything they had; it was all great!

I knew before he picked up the menu what Ryan was going to order: the Cajun Seitan Sandwich. We've had these a few times before, and we just loooove 'em. In fact, "Cajun Seitan Sandwich" has become a utopian metaphor between us.

As in, if he was having a bad day at work a few weeks ago, I probably said, "Just're going to be eating a Cajun Seitan Sandwich soon." Or if we're somewhere hungry, we might toss out, "Don't you wish we had a Cajun Seitan Sandwich right now?"

Yes, "Cajun Seitan Sandwich" is a phrase that gets brought up in our house regularly. Strange but true.

It is "pan-seared seitan" with "steamed greens, onion, and avocado. Served on toasted focaccia with an ancho chili aioli and coleslaw."

Shockingly, I did not order the Cajun Seitan Sandwich. The theme of this trip for me is "trying new things." I am so predictable when I order from a vegan restaurant, my sister Cary will even guess correctly what I would ultimately order. (Does anyone else just look up vegan menus online to decide what you would order...just for fun? We do...)

I ordered a daily special, the Lemon Basil Grilled Tofu with couscous and vegetables with a light tomato type gravy. I liked it; it was flavorful and felt very healthy.

All five of us split this one piece of cheesecake with chocolate crust and berry topping. That's my only bone with Candle Cafe: it doesn't have MY favorite desserts. I mean, they all LOOK good, and every dessert I've ever ordered there WAS good. There are just other places that have choices I prefer. I have no complaints about this cheesecake (although I prefer the fluffier, lighter, whipped kind of vegan cheesecake...okay, now Ryan is saying he likes the desserts here, and THIS cheesecake is his ideal kind of cheesecake so there you go.), and it was downed in about one minute by five greedy forks.


I can't say that I went to bed with a smile on my face after my disastrous evening...but Candle Cafe definitely took a little bit of the sting out. I can't wait to head back there another time or two this week.


  1. Aw girl so sorry you guys have had some rough times on this trip. But, I must say I am SO jealous of you getting to eat at that restaurant. I hope things start to turn around for you guys.

  2. jeez, you really showed that stroller who's boss.

    i totally get you about having fav foods and throwing out the names! "i could go for eds deli" is a regular one that comes out of my mouth:)
    no i cant say that i look up vegan restaurants and decide what i would want, because i would want it, now....i have only been to one vegan res. and that was years ago. im afraid all my years living in ca were not taken advantage of. maybe its because i had nobody to go with??? lol none of the chulos i was serial dating at the time would have been down with that.

  3. We once spent every night of our vacation going back to the spot where we thought we'd left the baby backpack, hoping it would somehow reappear. Some days are just like that. But as my mother used to say, "all's well that ends well." Sounds like the day had a very good end.

  4. Sorry about the rough start, Jenny, but NYC welcomes you. Fresh day. :)

  5. UGH! Not the way to begin your visit to a great city. Hope it's improving...and I think you need to order ONE Cajun Seitian sandwich!

  6. When things go wrong traveling, it feels extra difficult for me because I'm already out of my element. But looks like a good dinner - enjoy all your choices and trying new things! Hope the week goes up from here.