A Gluten Free Celebration at Candle 79 in NYC

I graduated from my professional yoga teacher training program last week. After more than 500 hours of training over the last year and a half, a few of us decided to celebrate with a fancy dinner at Candle 79. The upscale sister of Candle Café, the ambiance and food at Candle 79 provide an organic vegan dining experience that will please even the pickiest meat eater’s palate.

Rachel was my partner in gluten free over-indulgence but the equally beautiful Jessica and Naomi helped us sample the gluten free desserts.

I first learned about Candle 79 when the CeliacChicks wrote this glowing review. I’ve since shared this gluten free restaurant find with family and friends and have yet to find anyone who was disappointed with their meal. The gluten free menu at Candle 79 is coordinated with the Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program so I have an extra level of confidence when dining there, even though eating out is always risky.

The chef’s “taste” for the evening was a grilled asparagus with pine nuts and a balsamic reduction. Because their grill is not gluten free they brought out a version with steamed asparagus for me.

Rachel and I started with the Guacamole Timbale. This new version for spring combines avocado with chipotle black beans, plantains and tomato salsa fresca. The gluten free sesame flax crackers add a beautiful crunch to the dish.

In addition to the timbale, we split the Wild Mushroom Salad. The mushrooms are warm and make a delicious base to a salad of arugula, tomatoes, cippolini onions with a creamy horseradish dressing.

We decided to split our main courses as well to maximize our dining experience. Both dishes we selected are new to the spring menu. The Morel Crusted Tempeh is served with lemon quinoa, sautéed shallots, asparagus, grean peas, blue foot mushrooms, and a savory fava bean puree.

The Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Cake is served with spring vegetables, red pepper-coconut curry and a sweet apricot-date chutney, topped with toasted almonds. The chef brilliantly balanced the sweet and savory notes of the dish.

Because Naomi and Jessica joined us a little late, Rachel and I didn’t want them to feel left out when they were eating so we decided to get another side and shared the “creamed” spinach.

We all shared the Kahlua Flan and Live Nut Crumble desserts. If you are a flan fan, this dessert with not disappoint, with a caramel sauce and chocolate covered coffee beans it is actually a rather light way to finish your meal.

By far though, my favorite dessert is the live nut crumble. It is served with orange cashew cream, gluten free nut granola and a sour cherry-port reduction. It’s such a luxury and worth every last gluten free calorie.

I can’t believe I finally graduated, my yoga training was such a great (and time intensive) experience. Candle 79 provided the perfect venue for our celebratory dinner. They put “Congratulations Yoginis!” on our check and dessert was on the house. This loving, organic restaurant never sacrifices on flavor but is also pushing towards becoming more and more “green.” It’s a pleasure to support restaurants that give back to the environment and give Celiac customers a “safe” place to eat.

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Molly said,

May 17, 2007 @ 2:16 pm

That food looks incredible. Especially the morel dish, the guac and the nut crumble dessert. Congradulations Catherine on your graduation!

David said,

May 17, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

Congratulations, Catherine!

Lynn Barry said,

May 18, 2007 @ 11:59 am

You are SO cool…Congrats! HUGS

Rob said,

May 18, 2007 @ 4:59 pm

Congrats on the certification.

That food looks amazing. Diana and I will have to check it out.

Catherine said,

May 24, 2007 @ 1:10 pm

Thanks all for the well wishes! I still can’t believe I’m finally done.

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