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:).