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May 23, 2011

NYC Day 2: Atlas Cafe, Mani/Pedis, and Pure Food and Wine

In case you missed it, check out my NYC Day 1 post. Moving on to day 2!

Our second day in NYC started rather deliciously! Steve and I had lunch on the lower east side at Atlas Cafe. Steve chose the Philly Cheesesteak Panini. This sandwich was stacked with seitan, cheesy sauce, lettuce, and roasted red pepper. The bread was awesome, but we rated this sandwich just OK.

I made a winning choice with the Vegan Mississippi Chicken Panini. This sandwich features vegan cream cheese, chicken-style seitan, roasted red pepper, and avocado. The combination of flavors was perfect!

To be honest, it wasn't the lunch menu that drew us to Atlas Cafe, it was the dessert case. Atlas' desserts are supplied by the popular Philadelphia bakery, Vegan Treats. And when in New York, eat New York Style Cheesecake!  This was one rich, decadent, and worthy vegan cheesecake.

I have read many times about the amazing peanut butter bomb cakes and brownies from Vegan Treats, so I had to snag a brownie when I spotted it. Oh, my! This was my dream dessert, and quite simply, the bomb.

Next, Steve and I headed into Brooklyn to redeem the first prize from the Rose Pedals Vegan Weddings contest. We were treated to vegan manicures at The Green Spa & Wellness Center.

Hoping to win Steve over to the possibility of enjoying this kind of pampering with me in the future, I decided to add pedicures to our appointment. Steve only squirmed a little bit and seemed to actually enjoy his first manicure and pedicure! Still, I am not sure he'll be lining up to do it again anytime soon. The spa was wonderful. I loved my manicure, and the pedicure was the best!

From the spa we headed back to the lower east side and walked around the rest of the afternoon, working up our appetites to redeem our next prize! That evening we had dinner reservations at the fabulous raw vegan restaurant, Pure Food & Wine. We were informed that we could order anything that we'd like, but the tasting menu was highly recommended so that we could try many things. The tasting menu was described as 5 courses, of which we would each receive something different from each other, so 10 total dishes. Our selections for the evening would  be made by the chef, which took the pressure off from having to decide between all of the amazing options. It was fun to just sit back and be surprised with the dishes as they came!

The restaurant's lighting was not the best for photography. My camera wasn't cutting it without the flash, so we opted to use Steve's phone. The first few shots are a little dark, but we found a better setting after the first few courses. 

Check out our raw feast!

Maitake mushroom with ramp pesto

Salad of baby spinach and strawberries with framboise mint vinaigrette, pistachios, and framboise gelee. 

Steve's salad not pictured: Baby turnip carpaccio with morel mushrooms, english pea cream, spring herbs, and pickled ramps.

Kabocha squash soup with clove oil.

Spanakopita with spinach, almond feta, cucumber yogurt, with local cauliflower and grapes.

Golden polenta with swiss chard, saffron tomato preserve, eggplant tuille, and oak-aged sherry vinegar.

Natsu maki of avocado, pickled red onion, asparagus, baby heirloom carrots, upland cress, with black garlic sauce and wasabi aioli.

Vine ripened tomato with cauliflower masala filling, wilted spinach, coconut curry sauce, cucumber mint raita.

Zucchini and local greenhouse tomato lasagna with basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara, and macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta.

Sweet corn and cashew tamales with chili spiced portabella, salsa verde, cashew coconut sour cream, avocado, and raw cacao mole.

White light sake tini (featuring sake, coconut milk, and lemongrass)
This was served between dinner and dessert, but I am not sure what it was. Any ideas?

Lemon cheesecake with strawberry rhubarb sorbet, rhubarb and fennel confit.

Mexican cinnamon mousse with spiced chocolate cake, pear relish, and pear sorbet.

As you can see, they totally spoiled us! We received an extra entree for both main courses, an unexpected amuse bouche, as well as several drinks not pictured. ;) My raw dining experience is very limited, and Pure Food and Wine completely changed my perspective. I could eat like this every day! Honestly, this was the best vegan dining experience of my life. Certainly the most beautiful food I have ever eaten, and equally delicious. It was all good, but if I had to call out a favorite it would be the tamale, with a close second place going to the spanakopita, the kabocha squash soup, and the Mexican cinnamon mousse. Steve agreed that the tamale was his favorite, but the lasagna and the cheesecake were also at the top of his list.

As if all of that weren't enough, they sent us home with some One Lucky Duck goodies. Raw coconut macaroons (like, whoa!) and raw sugar cookies! Thanks again for the amazing night Pure Food and Wine, I am already looking for an excuse to get back to NYC to visit you soon.

Stay tuned for the final NYC post tomorrow, including pictures from our engagement photoshoot!


  1. It looks like you had the most amazing time! Peanut butter bomb brownie? Yes, please!

  2. Isn't Pure the best?! I think she could convert anyone to raw -- creative, fresh, delicious dishes! So glad you enjoyed your time in NYC!

  3. Wow, the Pure Food dinner was free on the trip? I can't help but imagine the costs but I'm so glad you guys got to enjoy yourselves to the fullest. I work right near Atlas but have never gotten anything from there! Looks great. I may have to stop by for a sandwich at least.

  4. That meal at PF&W looks INSANE!!! You two are so lucky to have experienced a meal like that! Everything is so beautiful, and I can only imagine how delicious it was!

    So glad you enjoyed your trip! Can't wait to read more about it.

  5. I was at Pure Food about 2 weeks ago... also got the tasting menu. Probably the best meal of my life. Is that cheesecake not to die for?! If you get a chance to go back, sit out in the garden, it is divine!

  6. Whoa, that's all, um...interesting looking. ;) I'm SO glad you loved the dining experience there so much!!


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