This is a 'Shout-Out' to the Vegan Community since my "Help! My Daughter's a Vegan" piece: (which I have to say, I got tons of attention for, mostly negative, but hey, they say no publicity is bad publicity, right?) I have come a long way, baby!
For the last few months I have observed my daughter's commitment to veganism and have made a real effort to support her in her efforts; buying the right foods, figuring out how to cook some meals that we can all eat, and finally, accompanying her to her favorite vegan restaurant yesterday.
Now I have to admit, I went grudgingly. I have had some negative associations with the idea of a vegan restaurant, mostly based on past experiences where there seemed to be little, if no flavor to the food served.
My life has been changed. No, I don't mean that I have sworn off meat and dairy; that will probably never happen, as I love all foods equally. However, the object of my passion is now a restaurant called "peacefood café" on the upper west side.
From the moment we stepped in, I was happy. I know you will be suspicious of this. I am always skeptical of any 'new age-ey' think positive messages'; they always bring out the irreverent brat in me. But this place is first off, a beautiful space. And dare I say, it has a great vibe. Every person who works there is incredibly nice. Not in a treacly sweet or obsequious way either. Just simply and genuinely, nice. ('Nice' being an underrated, under-expected, and under-appreciated quality as to its effect on daily life, I might add.)
Eric Yu, the owner and manager, was, prior to this career, an antiques dealer. The restaurant itself is airy and open, with beautiful pieces on the walls. I sat there contentedly drinking my Brazilian nut chai latte, sharing my daughters' concoction, and awaited our food.
My expectations were not high, I must admit. But from the moment I had my first bite of the chickpea fries, I was in heaven. Foodie heaven. The fries had a bite to them that was utterly satisfying, and then there was the Caesar Salad. The combination of salty to mild flavors with the proportion of crispy freshness in the romaine lettuce and croutons all under the perfect amount of sublime creamy dressing, was pitch perfect. There are other ingredients in the Caesar salad I think, onions perhaps, but hey, I never claimed to be a restaurant critic.
We shared a sandwich that had caramelized onions and of course pumpkin seeds in the perfectly mashed pumpkin; again, I don't have the exact ingredients, but at that point in the meal, I knew that anything I would eat at this café would be good.
It is just that fabulous. You know the feeling when you go to a restaurant and you aren't disappointed by anything? Isn't that incredibly rare? There is usually something; the ambiance, the décor, the surly waiter, or one crappy entrée. Then there are the restaurants that you can truly relax and settle in because you know that every bite will satisfy. There are those chefs who can create a balance and combination of flavors and tastes that are always pitch perfect.
This is one of those rare gems. So all you foodies, (and you don't have to be a vegan to appreciate this restaurant), it is called "peacefood café" and is on 460 Amsterdam Ave. at 82nd St. in New York City. 212-362-2276
Visit me at: www.donnafish.com.