Dining at Candle 79

I met up with my parents in New York this past August and every night, for over a week, we dined at terrific vegan places. The city is a wonderful place to eat meat-free.

The first thing I did when I started planning my vacation was make reservations for Candle 79, New York’s premier vegan oasis (yes, it says that on their website and it’s so true!). On our first night in the Big Apple. we left our condo in Harlem and went to Candle 79’s two-story location on the Upper East Side.

candle 79

I never thought I’d forget the exact names of what we were eating, but I did. And being an organic, local, seasonal eatery means the menu changes often. So forgive my inaccuracies–and believe be when I share how delicious it all was!

First, we were treated to an amuse-bouche. A delightful teaser and hint of things to come. I tasted chickpeas and cucumber in a smooth creamy sauce.

amuse bouche

My parents split an order of spaghetti and wheat balls. It’s a classic simple dish but Candle 79 put their own unique twist on it and my parents couldn’t get enough!

spaghetti and wheat balls

I ate a seitan (or possible tempeh) cutlet with apples and beans. It was divine. The best part about eating in a vegan restaurant (aside from knowing it’s a cruelty-free place and everyone is not eating animals) is that I can order anything off the menu, no questions asked! So I asked very few questions and now I can’t tell you the specifics of what I ate (except I’d be eating there right now again if I could teleport).

seitan cutlet

Finally, we had chocolate peanut butter bliss for dessert.

pure bliss

Happy, healthy dining!

mom ans Jean

After our meal, we walked toward Central Park along Lexington, took in the quintessential New York streets, and caught a cab back to our place.

What a fantastic way to start a vacation. If you’re ever in New York, don’t miss the Candle 79 experience!


Vegan treats in Chelsea

I visited New York City with my parents a few weeks ago. We had a blast! Between walking the neighborhoods, eating in amazing vegan restaurants, and exercising our wallets, we made full advantage of the city that never sleeps.

Chelsea was no exception. In fact, we found it to be very vegan friendly.

We spent one morning in the Chelsea Market, a multi-story building that used to be occupied by the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) commercial bakery. When production methods changes required a single-floor layout, the bakery moved out. It’s here, where the Oreo (an accidentally vegan treat) was first created.

Chelsea Market

Inside the market, we found One Lucky Duck. They offer all-vegan, raw organic juices and take-away, and happen to have amazing desserts. It’s part of the Pure Food and Wine establishment so you know you’re going to be wowed.

lemon bar

Next door, Beyond Sushi truly satisfied. This all plant-based sushi establishment incorporated flavor, color and presentation like no other sushi place I’ve seen. Their rolls were scrumptious and fueled us as well.

vegan sushi

I was thrilled to stumble into a popup shop in the market, where several vendors had set up their wares. One of them was designer Lois Eastlund.

Lois Eastlund

While I was trying on a dress, my mom and Lois struck up a conversation and they discovered they’re both vegan! Lois even shared some of her home-baked vegan cookies with us! (And yes, I bought that amazing blue and black zigzag dress.)

Lois and Jean

There’s more to Chelsea than just the market. One evening we met my friend Shannon, a recent New York transplant, at Blossom vegan restaurant. We ate delicious food and even had authentic (and dairy-free) New York Cheesecake!

vegan cheesecake

Another Chelsea gem is the popular High Line, an elevated former rail line that was transformed into a greenway. The rail line used to bring animals into the city for slaughter. I prefer its use as a park!

Mom and Jean on the High Line

New York is such a fun place. Have you ever been to Chelsea?

The sad lives of carriage horses

I love New York, but one of the things I don’t like about the city that never sleeps is the carriage horse industry.

Many cities, including the one I live in (Seattle) and one I visited this spring (Savannah), offer horse-and-carriage rides. Approximately 1000-2000 horses are used across the country. These hansom cabs, might evoke an old-world feeling but they’re anything but romantic. Carriages belong in the history books.

sad horse

Horses in the carriage industry are often castoffs from the harness racing industry or from Amish communities and come to the city with pre-existing health problems. They develop further health issues from walking on pavement all day and breathing exhaust from trucks, cars and buses. They work all day in freezing cold and scorching heat and they’re stored in warehouses at night.

They’re never sent out to pasture, and have no government protection. Carriage owners are legally allowed to work their horses 9 hours a day, seven days a week–whether horses like it or not.

don't take a ride

The average working life of a carriage horse is only four years. In fact, about a third, or approximately 70, of the New York City carriage horses are eliminated from the Department of Health horse registry every year. When they’re spent, they’re usually auctioned off for slaughter or rendering plants for dog food companies or zoos.

stuck in traffic

The horses suffer and people are endangered too. Horses get spooked easily and can run into traffic. In New York there have been more than 18 accidents involving horses in the past two years. It’s a largely unregulated industry.

It’s a half-hour ride for patrons, but it’s a lifetime of misery for the horses.

Toronto, Paris, London, Las Vegas, Beijing and many other cities have already banned carriage horses. A fun horseless carriage idea is brewing that could replace horses in New York and still be fun and romantic.

In Savannah, I opted to take a pedicab ride. The man peddling told me he enjoys the job and that it’s paying for his college.

pedicabs instead

What to do?

  • Never patronize carriage rides, and tell your family and friends why they shouldn’t. From newlyweds to tourists, it’s the people paying for the rides that keep this industry in business.
  • If your city allows carriages on city streets, urge your legislators to propose legislation that will ban it.

Update (Jan 2, 2014) – New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has vowed to ban horse-drawn carriages in the city and retire the horses to sanctuaries. Money to help the horses is probably still needed and horses in other cities still need help. This promise is great news, and a good way to keep momentum going for the horses.