Last Thursday evening, Jim and I participated in Dine Out Williamsburg for Sandy Relief. Gwynnett Street was a participating restaurant, and we've been dying to try it out for a while. What better way to try out a fancy new bistro than a night when 20% of their gross profits are going to provide relief to Sandy victims? This meal totally impressed me. Gwynnett Street is very vegan friendly. So much so, they always have a vegan appetizer, entrée and dessert on their menu at any given time. Jim started out with their Whiskey Bread, which wasn't vegan but vegetarian. It came with cultured butter and looked delicious. I wish it was vegan, it looked so yummy it was torture looking at it. For my appetizer I had the winter squash with bell pepper, szechuan pepper and peppercress. Holy moly this was delicious. Textures were great. The squash had a nice bite to it, the herbs were flash fried, and it also had what I believe were pepitas throughout it which gave it additional crunch against the soft vermicelli noodles. The sauce was delicately sweet and had a hint of citrus. It was also probably one of the most gorgeously plated vegan dishes I think I've ever had. For my entrée, I finally got to try their tofu. This restaurant like Roberta's was awarded a two star review by the New York Times, and the reviewer raved about their house made tofu. This night it was prepared crusted in pistachio with avocado, celery and celtuce. The texture was more reminiscent of a pate to me, and it had a great pistachio crust. Very light and tasty, perfectly paired with the raw avocado, celery and celtuce (which I think is a combination between celery and lettuce?). What absolutely made my night is when the waitress told me the chef was going to come up with a specialty vegan dessert for me. She later came back out with what I believe was a sorbet with poached pears, fall spices (lots of cinnamon), a nut cream sauce, and fresh berries. This was as delicious and seasonal as it sounds. Isn't the plating beautiful? I was extremely pleased with my meal at Gwynett Street and will for sure be back. It's now one of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood. Have you tried the vegan options at Gwynett Street? What did you think?
Very recently, instead of taking a vacation, I decided to take a staycation. There are so many things I never get to go and do in New York City considering the hours I work, and a staycation would give me the opportunity to do so. That, and I'd still save money over a standard vacation and I'd still get to shop and eat out to my heart's content. I've had two things on my must do list for some time that I knocked out at the same time. One was to eat a leisurely lunch, alone, while in the city. The second was to finally try out Pure Food and Wine. Though I'm a vegan, I've always been somewhat terrified of raw foods. I'm a stickler for food texture, and for some reason cold food always seems off to me. I have a really hard time getting down gazpacho and salads, they're not really my thing. Regardless, I've read some great reviews on Pure Food and Wine and really wanted to try them out. One thing that stands out about the restaurant is its gorgeous, huge patio. Plenty of seating, nice comfy cushions, and peaceful quiet from the hustle and bustle of the city only yards away. The patio was perfect for enjoying my leisurely daytime lunch and glass of wine. Now let's talk about the food. I decided to go with the prefix lunch, which included an appetizer, lunch entrée and a dessert. For the appetizer I went with their Caesar Salad. The salad was okay, but didn't really impress me too much. I was expecting the dressing to be a bit creamier, and the macadamia nut "parm" to be a bit more grated. The seaweed also kinda threw me for a loop flavor wise, though I can understand why they used it in the salad (to make up for the fact there was no anchovies in the dressing, seaweed can still give dishes that salty, ocean flavor). I ate the whole thing, though if I returned to the restaurant I don't see myself ordering this salad again. Ah, the Zucchini and Heirloom Tomato Lasagna. This dish convinced me there's really something to raw dining. It was absolutely delicious! The zucchini was a great and convincing stand in for lasagna noodles, and their nut cheeses and pesto intertwined in the layers made it much creamier and richer than it appears to be. The tomato sauce was also made with sun-dried tomatoes, which imparted a sweet flavor throughout the dish. It was bursting with flavor and well worth the money spent on it. I highly recommend it. For dessert, I ordered the number one thing I've long missed since going vegan, and that's a Mallomar! If you're not familiar with this delicious cookie (it seems to be a NYC thing), it's a seasonal cookie made by Nabisco and will usually be seen on shelves starting early fall. It's basically a graham cracker, topped with marshmallow and coated in a layer of chocolate. Think of it as a s'mores cookie. When I was a child, my grandmother would allow me to eat an entire box in one sitting which would drive my mother nuts. The Pure Food and Wine version was pretty close to the original. My only critique of it is I was expecting the center to be denser, like a marshmallow. The texture instead was more like ice cream. It was still absolutely delicious and the perfect ending to my lazy day lunch. Have you ever tried raw food? This meal was my first experience with it and I've been playing around with raw cooking more and more every week. It's always fun to try new things.