Friday, March 26, 2010
Back to Candle 79
She had the Butternut Squash & Wild Mushroom-Spinach Ravioli. I've had it before and it is their signature starter. Delicious. I had the Steamed Dumplings, also fantastic. For the main course I ordered the Special Seitan: sesame crusted with brown rice pilaf, sautéed shitake mushrooms, asparagus, shallots, and cashews with edamame sauce. It was very good! She had the Seitan Piccata: creamed spinach, grilled potato cake, oyster mushrooms, and lemon-caper sauce. She quite enjoyed it and mentioned, of the seitan, that she had actually had that taste before -- I stifled a reference to a famous line in "Hollywood Knights" being that it was our first dinner.
Bernay the manager came over - in addition to being exceptionally friendly, she takes a special care in the taste of the food. She is also friends with Heather and the Vbites crew so we chatted about veganism as I would normally chat about the NCAA Sweet 16! I have changed on so many levels.
That is another key to eating at a vegan restaurant - it is just like anywhere else, and more importantly, the food is so good that there is not some separation between your meal and the real world. What I mean is that you can talk about anything effortlessly without being aware that no animal products are on your plate. 6 months ago, my entire meal would be obsessing over the fact that this is not "real" food. But it is real food, and delicious, and eating in a great restaurant like Candle 79 is like dining at your favorite eatery.
To wit: Much of our conversation surrounded how her grandmother from Italy would cook these homemade sausages and pies for Easter. The conversation was so explicit and mouth-watering that had I not been enjoying my meal I would have bolted out of there for the closest Italian restaurant.
Even though I went through a dozen glasses of water, and the adorable waitress was kind enough to send sentry with pitcher in hand, I still woke up quite parched. I will assume that there was quite a bit of salt in the delicious dishes, though I could not taste it.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable dinner.