• We were visiting friends in NYC this past weekend. Prior to traveling, I went to a NYC gluten free blog and did a search for restaurants. One of the listed restaurants was Candle 79 at 154 East 79th St. It was fantastic. It is a vegan restaurant, with a lovely and elegant menu. And they have a separate gluten free menu. When I questioned the waitress to determine how careful and attentive the kitchen was, she assured me that they fully understood about cross contamination issues, and in fact several of the chefs are Celiacs. So, I must say that I felt very safe eating here. Besides being a lovely environment in which to dine, the food was fantastic. I started with one of the specials for the day, half an avocado on a bed of mixed greens, topped with a cold quinoa salad that included grape tomatoes, french lentils, green peas, spiced pumpkin seeds and drizzled with an ancho oil. For my main course, I ordered their Summer Vegetable Risotto which consisted of arborio rice, seasonal vegetables, and a lemon-cashew cream sauce. I ate every single bite. I almost licked the plate. Oh, to be so well taken care in a restaurant! It was great, beyond great, and to boot, it gave me hope that one can eat a vegan diet that is interesting, creative and healthful, something I’ve begun considering, though I’m not there yet by any means, even if it is on my radar screen. I can say that it was really encouraging to eat in a restaurant that demonstrated vegan cooking at its’ very best.

    Here is a picture of the menu from Candle 79. It’s a bit dim, it was folded and put in my purse, so it’s also a little wrinkled, but I think you can still see the entrees and their descriptions. My husband had the pumpkin seed crusted black bean burger and it was delicious, or so he says. It looked delicious, sitting on its’ little gluteny bun. I say that in jest. Truth be told, in the time since I was diagnosed with Celiac (Nov. 05), I’ve not once missed bread or anything with gluten. I am so determined to get my intestines back to a state of good health, that I don’t care about what I can’t eat. There is so much that I CAN eat, why complain? I suppose the only bit of advice I would give the restaurant (and I did leave them a note) was to include gluten free bread items. I might’ve chosen the black bean burger had there been a gluten free roll to put it on. There are so many great gluten free bread options, especially in NYC. Why not take advantage of them? I would’ve liked seeing something on the menu that included, for example, a corn tortilla with some sort of black bean mixture for the insides of it. Their menu is so creative, I’m sure they could come up with something for us Celiacs that included bread.


    After some research and a bit of trepidation (mostly based on old stories about pressure cookers that blew up!), I bought a Kuhn Rikon 7 liter turn top pressure cooker and after two uses, I LOVE IT!!! I decided to buy a higher end unit and I’m glad I did. This model is easy to use, has built-in safety features, and I believe will revolutionize my cooking. I had a little bit of help from Susan over
    at Fatfree Vegan Kitchen blog. Thank you Susan! Yesterday I started my morning by making vegetable stock in it. With about 10 minutes of prep time and 10 minutes in the actual PC, I made delectable, tasty, homemade vegetable stock. And I used a lot of veggies that needed to be used, if you know what I mean. Last night, the coup de grace was making brown rice. If you’ve made brown rice the conventional way (either stovetop or steamer or in the oven), you know it takes an hour. This took, from start to finish, 15 minutes, not including the time it took to pour the rice, oil and water into the steamer. I tell you no lie. The damn rice came out better than any rice I’ve ever made. The grains were soft and fluffy. The rice was downright delicious. I am so happy with this purchase! Tonight, I’m going to make something with black beans (they’re soaking in the kitchen as I write this). You don’t need to soak them in order to cook them in the pressure cooker, but it’s recommended to do so, if you have the time and remember to do it. I still have my eyes on a zojirushi rice cooker, but I’ll wait on that one. Anyway, if you’re thinking about making the plunge, go ahead. You’ll be glad you did:).
    • gaile

      Hey, if you’re interested in vegan cooking, there are some really great cookbooks out there. millenium cookbook really has a gorgeous menu with divine sauces. The Rebar cookbook from canada has tons of yummy salads, as well as lovely main dish entrees. I didn’t like The Voluptuous Vegan, as much as I tried to the recipes just didn’t do it for me. Good luck on your journey, and thanks for sharing about your great dining out experience. the food sounds amazing!

    • Anonymous

      that’s very concise
      don’t worry about what you can’t eat
      there’s plenty you can
      very nice

    • Ellen

      Gaile,

      Thanks for the cookbook suggestions. I own many cookbooks, but no vegan ones in particular. I think I’ve read about the Millenium cookbook from others. Sounds like a good one to start with.

    • Ellen

      Anonymous,

      Thanks for noticing my optimism! That’s generally a good way to go through life, I think!

    • Joe Lewis

      NYC is sounding more and more like my next vacation destination…

    • Dianne

      Wow! I’m impressed with this restaurant … I havent actually come across a restaurant with a GF menu yet, although I do know of restaurants that flag choices on the main menu as being GF

      :)

    • Ellen

      Slowly but surely, I think we will see more and more restaurants coming on board and offering GF menus. We visit Outback Steakhouse regularly because of their GF menu. PF Chang’s has one also. There are actually quite a few with specific GF menus. Score another one for us!

    • Dukky

      Uno’s, Carrabbas, and Austin Grill also have online GF menus.

      Most fast food places have GF menus, like Chick-Fil-A.

      Here are the links tothe Outback GF menu, PF Chang’s GF menu, and Candle 79′s GF menu online. I find it’s easier just to keep them bookmarked (:

      Panera has one by request, though you rarely find it at the restuarant. I request and print it ahead of my visit. You can also view their ingredients online.

    • Ellen

      Thanks dukky, for your suggestion. Good idea to keep the restaurants that have gluten free menus bookmarked. I will do the same.

    • Joe Lewis

      Yes, Outback and P.F. Changs are great, especially for when I have to travel.

    • Ellen

      Yes, when we travel, we’ve gotten used to relying on the restaurants that have gluten free menus. You’re certainly not automatically home free when you eat at a restaurant with a gluten free menu, considering that there are still cross contamination issues, but at least you have a decent chance of being served a gluten free meal. So yay and hats off the restaurants who have a gluten free menu. We thank them!!!

    • Anonymous

      I came here via recipes from a gluten-free goddess (apt description). I like your site.

      I have a fuzzy logic rice cooker, and liked it until I started hearing things about how teflon may not be safe. Being a bit paranoid, I haven’t touched it in a few years. I even feel a little bit guilty when I think of giving it away (in case it would cause someone harm).

    • Mike Eberhart

      I read on the Quinoa package how you could use a rice cooker. Haven’t tried, since I find it so simple to make on the stove.

      I just finished writing my own blog entry about gluten free Quinoa. Nice to see others appreciate it as much as I do.

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