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Restaurant Review: peacefood café
On a recent trip to New York City (why don’t I do that more often?), I had the pleasure of having lunch at one of the many wonderful vegan restaurants in the city. After wandering around and building up quite an appetite, my colleague and I decided on peacefood café, an airy, contemporary, full-service restaurant located downtown in the Chelsea area.
What is peacefood? “peacefood café is named after the simple idea that peace begins on your plate. Two vegans founded peacefood café in 2009 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Eric, an antique dealer, and Peter, an interior designer, believe the awareness of non-violence can be spread through feeding people with delicious vegan food. After much consideration, they decided to change careers and focus on sharing the joys of the vegan experience with everyone. A vegan lifestyle can transform not only the lives of farm animals but also the environment and one’s personal health.”
Here’s a funny thing about being a vegan and eating out. Since there aren’t many vegan joints near me, dining out usually means trying to find the one thing on the menu I can actually eat. I’m beyond thrilled when I can choose between two dishes that aren’t salad. Well, it took us almost 20 minutes to order a quick lunch at peacefood. When you have an opportunity to order anything because everything is vegan, it’s like a jolt to the brain that leaves you starry-eyed and drooling. We quite literally couldn’t make up our minds. After one too many hungry glances over at the table next to us, the two patrons kindly explained what they had ordered, raving about every item. We took a line right out of the movie, “When Harry Met Sally” and told the waiter, “We’ll have what they’re having!”
Between the two of us, we shared four dishes that left us amply stuffed and nourished. The Vegetable Tamale was large enough for two and was served with diced tomatoes and fresh herbs; it was tender, comforting and full of flavor. Shanghai-Style Dumplings were pleasantly plump and stuffed with a variety of gourmet mushrooms, chives, marinated tofu and served with a salty-tangy ginger sauce. We would have been remiss to skip out on a seasonal special, Pumpkin Quiche. Mile-high and multi-layered, this quiche was a feast for the eyes with vibrant bands of scrambled tofu, baked pumpkin, and tender greens. Finally, our favorite…Chickpea Fries. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love that day, but these perfectly seasoned fries were other-worldly. Made with chickpea flour, there are generally only a few other ingredients in most recipes, but these were bursting with flavor from a mix of Indian spices and had a perfectly light, crisp exterior; a must-try if you visit.
On a late, blustery afternoon, in the heart a city as vast and anonymous as New York City, my spirit and appetite were filled by the warmth and passion of people who make it their life’s work to live out their beliefs and share them with the world. To dine with others who may or may not be vegan, to eat food that is stunningly creative, achingly delicious and above all else, compassionate is a true delight. When food can be this good, we have to stop and ask, why do we even need to
include animals in our diet? Thank you peacefood café. I’ll be back! (FYI – as a member of Catskill Animal Sanctuary, you receive a discount on a number of fabulous restaurants in NYC and in the Hudson Valley.)