Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GLUTEN FREE VEGAN LUNCH AT CANDLE 79 NYC

I'm a serious fan of Candle 79. For several years, it has been where I go when I want to celebrate, because the food is reliably excellent and the setting is casually elegant, in a way no other vegan restaurant in the city can match. And when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, it made me happy to find out that I wouldn't have to give up one of my favorite restaurants. since in addition to being well-known in the New York for great vegan food, they were now presenting a range of gluten-free dishes from starters to dessert. No deprivation. Just delicious food in a good-looking environment (I love dining upstairs), friendly, informed service and lovely presentation.
Last week I had my first lunch of the many meals at I've enjoyed at Candle 79, and, no surprise, this meal was a home run, too. Call me boring, but I've started so many meals at this restaurant by ordering the house ginger ale. Which is the Housemade Ginger Ale, made of fresh ginger, lemon, agave, fresh mint, sparkling water and ice. I'm so crazy about it I drank most of it before I could get my camera out!
My appetizer was the gluten-free version of the Smoked Hummus Plate. Instead of paratha bread, it's served with a stack of sesame rice crackers. There's a roasted garlic bulb, olives and a generous amount of smoked hummus topped with red pepper oil. As you can see below, no garlic clove was left uneaten. This is my favorite way to eat garlic, when the cloves are roasted to the point of magically becoming a creamy spread.
Mustard-Ginger Grilled Tempeh sounds pretty basic, no? This was my main dish and it was far from basic. The dense little structure at the center of the plate began with a pool of velvety sweet potato puree edged with a tangy cranberry-chipotle coulis, upon which were placed a combination of brussels sprouts, lentils, brown rice and sunflower seeds, topped with the grilled, marinated tempeh garnished with apple salad. An unexpected, delightful complexity, hearty, yet bright, with an absolutely virtuosic range of flavors!
Candle 79 is located on 79th Street near Lexington Avenue in NYC.

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