December in New York – Candle 79

After the whole engagement thing (no big deal right? I’m still eeeee-ing about it) we went back to the hotel, cracked open a bottle of champagne and started calling or emailing family members and close friends. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel appropriate to use Facebook to notify everyone of such important news.

Then it was time to celebrate. And what better place than Candle 79 (154 East 79th Street at Lexington Avenue, New York, NY)? I had never been before, but after the endless series of great reviews I’ve read online, I couldn’t wait to finally go.

We were the last seating of the evening, and got a lovely seat right by the front window. It’s such a nice space, cozy atmosphere with subtle lighting and plush seats.

For drinks, I ordered the Reforestation; a mojito with a twist – a tree is planted with every Reforestation ordered. I love mojitos, I love trees: i.e., perfect combination. Moreover the ingredients interested me, I’d never tried Veev Acai spirit, but I had a little bit about it previously and liked the premise and ecologically responsible business model.

Jordan ordered the Ginger Rush, I think mostly because it had sake in it, but it ended up being more my style than his.

We picked out an organic wine from Heller Estates that I had to take a picture of to make sure we would remember it – unfortunately, the LCBO/Ontario wine stores don’t have it. We noticed the wine list was perfect, one of those seemingly well thought out group of pairings – short and sweet (as in, no giant dusty books of indecisive wine here).

The chef offered a little bite to start our meal.

I’ve gotten into the habit of trying to order as much as possible off of any available specials menu. That instinct did not disappoint. There was a menu of specials that we looked at, drooled over, and, with the exception of the pasta dish, decided to take advantage of.

We started with a chipotle black bean soup, it was topped wit a tomato-avocado salsa.

Next was a mache & endive salad, with avocado, grapefruit, pickled red onion, spaghetti squash, almonds & a lemon vinaigrette.

Chipotle black bean soup with tomato-avocado salsa
Then herbed trumpet royale mushrooms, hearts of palm puree, sautéed green beans, hazelnuts, fennel salad with a red wine sauce.

Herbed trumpet royale mushrooms, hearts of palm puree, sauteed haricorts verts, hazelnuts, fennel salad and a red wine sauce
We ordered a side of rosemary truffled potatoes which is always a good idea (vegan restaurant rule #1231234124 if it says “truffled” order it.) They’re hiding away on the bottom of the menu, but they’re so worth ordering.

Truffled potatoes
After all of that it was time for my second favourite part of dinner, the entrees. My walnut-crusted seitan was arguably the best thing on that table that night (which is saying a lot.) With sautéed porchini mushrooms, shallots, brussels sprouts, a squash puree, mustard lentil caviarish sauce & a grilled apple salad… I was in heaven.

Walnut-crusted seitan with sauteed porchini mushrooms, shallots, brussels sprouts, squash puree, mustard -beluga lentil sauce & an apple salad
Which is not to say that Jordan’s Mustard-Ginger Tempeh, wasn’t great – because it genuinely was. I just won the dinner flavour contest. His dish had a sweet potato puree, sautéed trumpet royale mushrooms, with slips of brussels sprouts on top of a blend of lentil brown rice and surrounded by a cranberry-chipotle coulis.

Mustard-Ginger Tempeh - sweet potato purée, sautéed trumpet royale  mushrooms, brussels sprouts, lentils,  brown rice, sunflower seeds, apple salad,  cranberry-chipotle coulis
Now for my absolute favourite – VEGAN CANNOLI!!! This dessert was amazing. I’ve never had a real cannoli, so I had no point of reference as to whether it was accurately recreated, but Jordan has (cannoli being one of his favourites) and even he was impressed. My understanding of cannoli is that they are normally tubes of fried pastry dough, with a sweet and creamy filling usually containing ricotta cheese. This version was filled with a vanilla cream filling, with a perfectly flaky cannolo pastry, sitting in a chocolate sauce and a scoop of ginger-pumpkin ice cream. I wished I ordered it too, but I had chocolate and ice cream (still good, but no cannoli). Good thing J likes to share.

Vegan Canolli

Our visit to Candle 79, made an already spectacular and special day, even more amazing.

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