Organic Dining in NYCPosted by Stacy
One of the best things about New York City is the food. Ok, the cultural sites are pretty phenomenal but if you’re a foodie like me and love to dine out, there is no better place – especially if you want fresh, organic fare that’s top of the line.
I love Candle 79 (79th at Lexington). I used to work a mere 24 blocks south of this organic vegan haven, and I don’t know why I didn’t eat there more often. For many of you reading this, you’re used to reading menus with many items to choose from. If it were like that for vegans too, there’d be no need for my blog! I cannot tell you how fabulous it was to look at a menu from which I could literally order anything…
Beverages…we’ll start there. Maybe you want a limonade (lemon, lime, agave nectar and ice) or an apple betty (apple, pear, banana, and cinnamon)? Or what about a mocha latte (mocha soy ice cream, coffee, soy milk and fat-free fudge) or a supreme protein shake (soy milk, banana, and vanilla or chocolate protein powder)? On cold days I went with the lavender and lemon-verbena tea. Honestly? It was delightful. Really.
Salads…they had quite a few. You could get one with bbq tempeh on the side, or an avocado stuffed with other veggies and quinoa for protein (and I think some chickpeas too.) If you order off of the gluten-free menu get a vegan Caesar salad…I’ve missed those!
For something heartier try a pan-seared seitan sandwich with steamed greens, caramelized onions and avocado served on toasted focaccia with an ancho chili aioli and coleslaw, a black bean and pumpkin seed burger with decadent polenta fries with a smoky ketchup dip, a wild mushroom and butternut squash risotto or a spaghetti with wheatballs? You can also make your own combination of proteins, rices and veggies of your choice…just leave room for dessert….carrot cake with a vanilla cream frosting, a peanut butter chocolate bliss pie, decadent chocolate cake with berry coulis…
V-Note on the upper east side (1st Avenue between 79th and 80th) is another fabulous choice!
Brunch is a hard thing to find as a vegan but this place has great, and organic options. French toast, tofu scramble, and blueberry pancakes are among them. They also boast such entrees as seitan scaloppini, crispy thai tofu and pasta bolognese, and of course a number of salads, but to eat a salad at this kind of place seems a wasted opportunity. One of my friends ordered the soy chicken cutlet, tomato, lettuce, avocado and chipotle aioli with sweet potato fries, and the other ordered a BLT with crispy Southern fried tofu, tempeh bacon, lettuce and tomato on multi grain with regular fries. I broke down and ordered the soy bacon cheeseburger…I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had anything remotely like that: a vegan burger topped with carmelized onions, vegan soy cheese, sauteed mushrooms, lettuce and tomato. I cannot express to you how phenomenal it was! Flavorful, juicy, and just the right mix of tender onions and mushrooms with the crispy bacon…if only I lived closer!
(FYI…they’re affiliated with Blossom, also organic and wonderful, with a few locations around the city.)
To be honest, I have no idea how to pronounce the name of this next place (Gusto Organics? Just Organics?) but it’s irrelevant because it’s the food that counts. Located at 591 14th Street at Avenue of the Americas, Gustorganics’ menu is designed for all varieties of organic food lovers, carnivores, vegans and gluten-free eaters alike.
Picture dishes like grated, seasoned tofu with shiitakes, onions and other veggies served with grilled potato rounds and a side salad? Or a vegan croissant, perhaps accompanied by a beet, turnip and parsnip soup? You might also try one of their stews, vegetable or lentil or their empanadas humita with corn, oregano and peppers. (My friend raved about her beef stew…) I went with the rustic grilled vegetable gluten free pizza. The crust was cooked to perfectly that it was easily the best gluten-free crust I’ve had – it made me wonder if they gave me the wrong one!
My favorite organic hotspot is ABC Kitchen, the wonderful collaboration between Jean-Georges Vongeritchten, James Beard Award winning chef and owner of Jean Georges, The Mark, Spice Market and others, and Phil Suarez, successful restaurateur. This elegant and charming restaurant is located within ABC Carpet in NYC, arguably THE place to go for all of your home shopping needs. It is not inexpensive to be sure, but there are abundant selections suiting every style and the restaurant was not any different. The “changing menu…is locally sourced & globally artistic…regionally grown, organically focused cuisine that is rooted in cultivating a safe relationship with the environment and our table.”
Consider starting with an elixir of orange, mango and yuzu, a tart Asian citrus. Then maybe the lentil soup with celery root and herbs ~ bay leaf, cumin, rosemary, thyme, coriander and red thai chili. Despite that long list, none of the flavors are overpowering and blend so nicely together.
For a main course perhaps the roasted carrot and avocado salad with crunchy seeds and a citrus vinaigrette. (Both this and the soup were meant to be served with cheese but needless to say, I had them leave it out.) The salad was a nice twist to something I must eat daily, but I must say the olive oil roasted croutons might have been the highlight…for non vegans, pastas, seafood, pizzas…the creative list goes on and on.
For more tips on dining out in NYC, organic or otherwise, and other fun, flavorful information, follow www.thetrendyvegan.com on my website, @vegandthecity on Twitter and “like” The Trendy Vegan on facebook.
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