The Candle Café Lights Up Manhattan’s with Imaginative Vegetarian Fare
Vegetarian foodies in New York City flock to The Candle Café, a 44-seat restaurant located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The menu features 100-percent vegetarian, dairy and wheat-free cuisine served in a comfortable, friendly environment. Chef Chris Fox and Pastry Chef Jorge Pineda turn out imaginative, flavorful and healthy dishes like Seitan Picatta, Vegan Lasagna, Paradise Casserole and amazing Chocolate Mousse Pie.
“The Candle Café’s mission was inspired by a need for great, hip and cruelty-free, environmentally friendly food,” said Bart Potenza who owns The Candle Café with his partner Joy Pierson. Bart, a health food marketing expert, and Joy, a nutritionist, opened the restaurant in 1994, building on the tremendous popularity of their original outpost, The Healthy Candle, a health food take-out store and juice bar.
“Only one-third of our customers are actually vegetarian, said Bart. “The majority are what we like to call ‘cross overs’ – people interested in a healthy lifestyle who insist on high-quality food with original tastes. People love the Candle because they feel at home here.”
The Candle Café has a loyal customer following that includes doctors from nearby offices and hospitals who not only order lunch for themselves but also prescribe food for their patients to help them meet their dietary needs. The restaurant has its fill of models and actors seeking clean healthy food as well, including actor Woody Harrelson who calls himself a “charter member of this food heaven” according to The Candle Café’s press materials.
In addition to being health conscious, Joy and Bart are committed to animal rights causes such as Farm Sanctuary, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Co-Op America, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and Earth Save, as well as their various subsidiaries.
“Our restaurant continually supports non-violence and non-killing of animals for cuisine through each and every meal it serves and donates. The Candle Café often donates platters of food to events sponsored by the above-listed organizations,” said Bart.
Joy and Bart also adopt animals at a farm sanctuary and pay for their monthly care. “These animals were rescued from a slaughterhouse and are now safely provided for in Watkins Glenn, New York,” said Bart.
“Our lives are committed to supporting causes for animals,” said Joy. “Some of our employees even take leftovers home with them to feed their dogs. Dogs are omnivores and very healthy eating vegan – it extends their lives the same way it does ours.”
the candle cafe “bow wowies” all natural dog treats
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup soy milk
Preheat to 400 degrees. Mix flours and baking powder in a bowl. Blend peanut butter and milk. Pour wet ingredients with dry. Mix well. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead lightly. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into squares or use your dog’s favorite cookie shape. Place 1/2 inch apart on a cookie sheet. Bake until lightly browned – approximately 15 minutes. Refrigerate or freeze.
the candle cafe’s hearty potato salad
4 large potatoes
4 tablespoons veganaise (available at health food stores)
1 1/4 teaspoons French’s Mustard (or any yellow mustard)
1 teaspoon sugar (or sweetener of choice) – optional
soymilk (as needed for texture)
pepper (to flavor)
paprika (to flavor)
Boil whole or quartered potatoes. When tender, drain and cool. Then slice or dice to your taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for one hour. In container with lid (a glass jar works well) hand whip veganaise and mustard together. Gradually add enough soymilk to make mixture creamy and smooth but not too thin. Add sweetener (optional) and continue mixing. Dressing should be very pale yellow. Cover container. Shake dressing and cool in refrigerator. Slowly add dressing until potatoes are moist and hold together well. Pile into a large bowl. Toss potatoes with dressing until well-coated. Chill prior to serving. Serves 6-8.
the candle cafe’s peanut butter cookies
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
egg replacer for 1 egg (1 teaspoon egg replacer plus 1 tablespoon hot water)
2 tablespoons soymilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
florida crystals (to coat fork)
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 degrees C). In a medium bowl, cream together shortening, brown sugar and peanut butter until smooth. Stir in egg replacer, soymilk and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir ingredients into the peanut butter mixture until well-blended. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten slightly in a criss-cross pattern with a fork dipped in florida crystals. (recipe makes four dozen cookies)
* To simplify this recipe, canned vegetables are recommended. However, The Candle Café urges you to use organic canned vegetables that are available at health food stores, or, even better, purchase ingredients from a farm stand.
1 (15 ounces) can green beans, drained
1 (15 ounces) can peas, drained
1 (15 ounces) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (4 ounces) jar pimentos
1 onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup light olive oil or safflower oil
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup florida crystals
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons water
Combine vegetables in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and water. Pour over vegetables and stir to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for 4 hours or overnight. Serves 4.