Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday Meal

After training in the park I showered and went up to meet my friend at Candle Café for dinner. Sitting at the bar area I spoke with the GM and one of the waitresses about my vegan quest. Of course, the big question was did I stay vegan after 6 months? Like, did we convert you? But they seem pretty satisfied that although not fully a vegan I eat mostly a plant-based diet. The GM was getting married in a week and was having Candle 79 cater the wedding. He then told a story about a guy who had a vegan catered wedding, but his friend snuck down the street and brought back a large pastrami sandwich for dinner. He was upset that this guy could not go one meal without having meat.

Now, if he told me that story 9 months ago I would have said, "Hell, I would have done the same thing! Actually, if I went to a wedding and all the food was vegan I would have hired one of those giant trucks that sell In-N-Out burgers to back into the driveway for all the 'normal' people!" A couple of years ago I was in London over Thanksgiving and my girlfriend suggested Thanksgiving dinner at Heather Mill's country house. I thought it was a great idea until I was first told that she was vegan. What? Screw that! I happily celebrated Thanksgiving eating pilfered finger sandwiches at the tiny old Victorian pub, The Red Lion. Boy, looking back I really regret my ignorance!
Red Lion, London

I will tell you the meals we had last night at Candle Cafe were better than 90% of the wedding meals I have had in my lifetime.

The restaurant was packed at 9 PM with many more coming in for take-out food.

Then the COO, Benay, came over to say hello to us. Funny, I felt just as comfortable in this famous vegan restaurant as I did in my old Irish pubs through the years! My friend is a nurse who works 12 hour days and complained that it is too hard to go vegan, though she would like to. Well, Benay took great interest in pointing out all the places on the Upper East Side where you can get great salads, and coffee with almond milk, etc. Acting like a friendly guidance counselor she then gave my friend her business card and asked her to contact her any time with questions about soy, veganism, etc.

My friend got the cold avocado soup - which looked like regular guacamole dip, but was thin and soup-like. It tasted quite good. I just got the edamame.

For our entrees I had the GINGER-MISO STIR-FRY which was seasonal vegetables and tofu in a ginger-miso sauce over brown rice. It was excellent. I was really famished from my work-out, and I was in need of some sustenance - the stir-fried vegetables and brown rice really fit the bill. My friend got the CHILE-LIME GRILLED SEITAN which was roasted vegetable quinoa pilaf, sautéed greens and an avocado salad. Served with a black bean sauce and chipotle coulis. That was really good - the seitan (wheat gluten that looks and tastes like meat), was excellent, as was the sautéed greens.

This was a meal that one would be hard-pressed to believe this was 100% vegan. Nothing better than gorging yourself on healthy food after a work out. I also had the protein smoothie that lasted a few seconds.

Often I have walked out of a restaurant totally full, and begin to feel guilty or less than healthy with a giant steak and macaroni and cheese sitting in my stomach like a lead balloon. However, last night I felt completely full, but light on my feet from such a great meal, and such friendly people at Candle Cafe.

As we walked home I could smell the scent of hamburgers coming from the famed J.G. Melons steps away. I have to admit, although I still enjoy that smell, per se, it felt great to have a tasty meal that was void of animal products - for dietary reasons.


Vegan Epicurean said...

It is crazy how quickly your tastes change isn't it? I am still surprised by the things that I now enjoy and even crave.

Glad you had a good time after working out. Dinners sounds like it was great.

I can sympathize with your friend thinking veganism will be tough working at a hospital. I was a hospital administrator for years and the lack of healthy foods in a hospital is actually shocking. *shakes head*

hope you are having a good Wednesday,

Terrence said...

Thanks Ali -- I really learn something new everyday months after I ended my quest!