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fave veggie eats NYC

Candle Cafe ~ This is my go to organic vegan cafe in the Upper East Side. This amazing eatery has a compelling story where the owners won $53,000 in the lottery in 1993 and they opened Candle Cafe in 1994.  The restaurant is truly committed sustainability and a peaceful planet. Aside from all these qualities that make me want to light a candle myself for the mission, I love the creative simplicity of the menu that includes gluten-free options like the Nori Rolls or the Aztec Salad for a light beginning.  Delve to heartier vegan dishes such as the Paradise Casserole (sweet potatoes, black beans and millet with greens), or the Tuscan Lasagna. Mamma Mia.   The dressings on the menu are many and my faves include the Tahini and the Creamy Wasabi.  Chocolate mousse?  yes, yes, and yes!  creamy and rich.  But stray to the brownie sunday and you will still be in heaven.  Clean your body out juices as well as nice wines by the glass.  Daily specials. Tight seating at times but child friendly all the way.  Candle Cafe also has an Upper West Side location.

Candle 79 ~ I love Candle everything.  Candle 79 is the fancy location and upscale menu to Candle Cafe.  Upper East Side location.  My husband the Francophil carnivore loves this place as much as I do.  And what is there not to love? Brunch, lunch dinner.  All great.  My favorite is dinner because I get to have one of their pucker your lips relax Eco Cocktails.  Mixologist heaven.  Try a flute of Pistachio Dreams with pistachio infused FAIR vodka and Tiamo prosecco or the Reforestation with wheatgrass infused Crop vodka where with every cocktail a tree is planted in your honor. Back to food, start with the small sophisticated tower Guacamole Timbale or the Housemade Live Cheese Plate with an herb-cashew-macademia nut cheese and dates. Move on to another live dish, the Zucchini Enchiladas (I promise you will love it) or feel that you are a healthy and compassionate carnivore by ordering the Seitan Piccata served with grilled spinach and grilled potato cake with oyster mushrooms in a caper sauce. Give your Italian momma a run for her money with the Cannoli or have an Aztec adventure with the Mexican Chocolate Brownie with caramelized bananas and chocolate ancho sauce, this one is gluten-free.   We took Gabriel for an early dinner and staff was super nice.

BabyCakesNYC ~Erin McKenna’s  genius bakery located in SOHO is a vegan, gluten-free cupcake and everything else utopia, seriously. Walk in there and your eyes will move about the baked goods case not believing what they are seeing.  Heaven looks like this:  cupcakes in vanilla with lemon frosting, carrot, chocolate with chocolate frosting, red velvet and others, all can be ordered as cakes. Donuts in different flavors, bread loaves such as frosted pumpkin, cinnamon sugar toastie and banana.  Cookies, cookie sandwiches, crumbcake, muffins and brownies.  Getting married?  look no further for the perfect wedding cake.   Don’t expect an intimidating better put some lipstick before you step in bakery but rather a tiny bohemian, retro environment where if you’re lucky you may find Erin herself frosting cupcakes in the back.   Everyone is laid-back and friendly. If you can’t get to NYC for the I’ve gone to heaven show BabyCakes now has locations in Orlando and Los Angeles.  Can’t get there either?  they ship to most states.

Blossom ~ Another vegan powerhouse. This Chelsea location calls itself “an intimate, special dining experience.”  It is special and you need way advance reservation to get in for dinner on a weekend night. Rightfully so since the dishes are spectacular in every way.  Start with the Trumpet Mushroom Calamari or the creamy Caesar Salad and move on to the Rigatoni in Porcini Cream and Moroccan Tangine.  Die for the Lavender Coconut Cream Brûlée and the Chocolate Ganache.  Better to bring another one or more people so that you can experience the different dishes without turning green with envy over the next table’s choices.  As with any caring restaurant, there are nut, soy and gluten-free choices that are well-marked.  Nice wine list.  Serving lunch and dinner.  As they said, this Blossom is intimate so I wouldn’t bring the small kids along.  We learned the hard way.  The Blossom family also has the Blossom on Carmine in West Village, which is more laid back and based on a sharing plate experience and wine bar.

Cafe Blossom ~ An Upper West Side eatery from the same Blossom NYC family of restaurants.  You can feel good about bringing your kids to this one location.  Hallelujah.  Same lunch and dinner menu and different brunch menu.  Laid back, fun and fairly loud because of the acoustics of the space,  this yummy restaurants serves starter dishes such as Autumn Sweet Potato Rolls, Beet Ravioli and Zucchini Blossom Salad.  Entrees include Pistachio Dusted Tofu with a delicious truffle cream and Vegetable Lasagna, which is also gluten-free.  Who from the gluten allergy club can pass this one up?  I love some of the brunch items like the Live Nachos and the scrambled tofu and sweet potato hash browns in the Blossom Country Breakfast.  Don’t miss the Keylime Cheesecake and the Handcrafted Cashew Ice Creams in different flavors.  Get a little midday champagne drink happy with a base of either orange juice (Mimosa), bilberry (Bimosa) or the Pomegranate(Pomosa).