Tuesday, July 11, 2006

NY- Candle 79


What started out as a simple meet and greet reception became one of the best vegetarian experiences I've experienced yet.

The reception was hosted by the company that plans and organizes the Natural Products shows on both the West Coast and East Coast, so of course a restaurant with a focus on premium vegetarian and healthy fare was a must. Candle 79 is by far the most chic vegetarian restaurant I have encountered. The bar boasts organic wines, juices, tonics, smooth sippers and sake specialties. I ordered an elderberry elixir with a slightly tart profile, sweetened with agave nectar.

Servers walked around with platters of bite-sized morsels such as spoons of wild mushrooms, nori rolls with brown rice and a tofu sour cream, mini black bean burgers and fried purses with mushrooms inside. My favorite by far had to be the seitan skewer with a citrus chimichurri sauce. The chocolate cake was too dry but the "cheezcake" bite was lemony and bright.

We enjoyed our noshes in the front room. I had a great conversation with the founder of YaYa's RawRah and a woman who does professional demo'ing of Sahale nut mixes among other products. A great meal of bites accompanied by a great conversation of likeminded food-businesspeople. I snatched up a cookbook for future inspired meals.

  • NOISE LEVEL: Fine
  • GOOD FOR KIDS: no
  • PRICE: $$-$$$
  • SERVICE: Great
  • GROUP FRIENDLY: Great for groups or one-on-ones
  • COOL QUOTIENT: Absolutely THE chic spot for vegetarian cuisine.

Monday, July 10, 2006

NY- Django

Part spectacle, part magic, Django puts on a great performance in the way of the great restaurants. I walked by and the simple sway of font used in the restaurant's placard outside wooed me inside. I surveyed the menu and made a mental note that come hell or high water I would come back to Django before my stay in New York came to an end.

And so it was that we made our way back to Django this evening. The dimly lit foyer invites you to step out of the noise of the everyday and into a new world, a mysterious world. We scaled our way upstairs and were seated along the wall- one long window. We had entered a realm where the servers are cognizant of your every need but a whisper's presence. I felt my voice dropping in pitch, taking on an air of quiet confidence. We skipped the appetizer course and moved straight to the main course. I ordered the angus beef "toro" tajine that had so enticed me from the menu the evening before and it did not disappoint.

Adding to the quiet spectacle atmosphere, they brought out my tajine with a white circus top cover, rimmed with a brick red edge. With flourish, the server removed the lid, almost eliciting the response of "ooh" from my mouth. Lemongrass scented basmati rice formed a column in the middle of the stew, crowned with preserved lemon and a mound of mango chutney atop. The stew was rich with spice and flavor including toasted almond pieces, sultanas, sweet pearl onions and chickpeas.

At the end of the meal, there was silence- the silence that comes when all your senses are sated. Dessert was ho hum, but the tajine, service and atmosphere more than made up for it. Django did not disappoint.

  • NOISE LEVEL: Quiet
  • GOOD FOR KIDS: no
  • PRICE: $$-$$$
  • SERVICE: Great
  • GROUP FRIENDLY: Great for groups or one-on-ones
  • COOL QUOTIENT: A fabulous place for a special occasion.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

NY- Landmarc


A $10,000 chandelier hangs above the bar. The bartender's training hails from the "cocktail" movie school of bartending, not that he practices any of his tricks here.

Landmarc is simple in its decoration because it focuses all its emphasis in the food it serves. unpretentious dishes abound with interesting flavor combinations. On this evening, i selected and ate a marvelous chimichurri steak salad, perfect for a warm New York evening. The wine is well-priced here and the Riesling was a perfect choice with its sweet, crisp peach notes. The tuna was also tasty and we capped the meal with a smorgasbord of desserts such as a delectable chocolate mousse, a creamy milk chocolate ice cream cone and a warmed blueberry crisp.

Service on the other hand was difficult. Our server was annoyingly visible often at our table and when our order came out it was incomplete because of a snafu, which meant that one of our party sat and waited while giving his okay for us to commence without him. The server then passed us off to another server, disappearing with us wondering if he was gone for the night. Landmarc's food shines in a way that would make me come back but ask for a different server.

  • NOISE LEVEL: Fine
  • GOOD FOR KIDS: no
  • PRICE: $-$$
  • SERVICE: Not Great
  • GROUP FRIENDLY: Great for small groups or one-on-ones
  • COOL QUOTIENT: in the fabulous Tribeca district