No, the title of this post is not an overstatement. It’s the truth. There is something so perfect about Candle 79 that I would eat here pretty much every day if I lived around the corner. Seeing as though it’s on the Upper East Side, I don’t get there as frequently as I’d like. But I am one lucky lady that their west side location, Candle Cafe West, is literally a few short blocks from my apartment.
My dearest friend was in town for work this weekend and we managed to spend the entire day on Sunday together. It was also the first fleeting glimpse of spring I’ve had and I took the opportunity to slosh through the park to wander over to the east side to meet up her. (Since this weekend we’ve fallen back into the polar vortex, but there was at least a few hours where it almost felt like spring) See, that’s a bud, right?
Even though the Candle 79 and Candle Cafe West are under the same ownership (they also have a Candle Cafe on the east side I haven’t been to), I love that the menus are different. There are certain standard dishes that are available at both, but there are also plenty of other options you might not find at the same time at the other location. This alone makes walking through the park in the slush worth it.
What sets Candle 79 and it’s sister restaurant away from all the other vegan restaurants is the service and the ambiance. Most vegan restaurants that I’ve been to have somehow either slightly missed the mark on service, or didn’t even come close to having anything resembling good service. And ambiance can often leave a lot to be desired. Candle is great on both counts. Attentive, wonderful servers, with a cute more upscale-feeling setting, now you see why I would go there all the time. This is a bit of a tangent, but it’s also a great spot for special occasions. At Candle Cafe West, R and I spent a lovely Valentine’s Day meal together. And last year for my birthday a big group of us enjoyed brunch before heading out for the day. I can’t recommend enough.
But now on to what we all really care about – the food. If there’s one thing I can’t often turn down it’s a drink with brunch. There’s something about having a drink during the day that feels kind of naughty but fun at the same time. Or maybe I’m just getting old and having a drink before 5pm means I won’t have a headache the next day… in any case, Candle offers up a solid bloody mary that’s made with quinoa vodka. (I know, that’s actually a thing! I couldn’t believe it either)
They also often send over something fun before the meal starts. The treat that day was an almond muffin that was teeny tiny and a perfect way to start.
I ordered the crepe – filled with butternut squash, mushrooms, and some other lovely veggies. It was perfect – crispy and gooey at the same time. And whatever the sauce was on top – it was heaven. The side salad it was served with was also simple but amazing. I think there was a jalapeno-type dressing on it.
Jen ordered the market plate with truffled potatoes, green beans, chipotle grilled tempeh, and broccoli. The market plate comes with your choice of two dressings. These were the lemongrass miso and raw jalapeno. Both were ridiculously good.
And of course what meal is complete without dessert? We shared the cannoli and it is hands-down my favorite favorite dessert in the world. I don’t know how they did it, but I have a theory that pixies made it with pixie dust. It’s just too good to real and not magic. So the moral of this story is don’t walk, but run to Candle 79 if you’re in the area. You won’t regret it.