Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Vex in the City: Part 9 Peacefood Café in Manhattan

(Written in Jamaican English with approximate Standard English translation)

>< >< >< >< >< a dis' ya' top of de' line someting(Outstanding)

>< >< >< >< everyting irie(Good and very good)

>< >< >< alright still(Just okay)

>< >< C'mon man! Unu c'yan do better 'den 'dat(Needs improvement)

>< a what de ras'?(Deplorable)

Taste of the food
>< >< >< >< >< This is fully deserved. Peacefood does not skimp on flavour.
Look of the food
>< >< >< >< Presentation ranks well in their books. They do not go overboard with floweriness in food presentation however but make the food appear its very best (and in the most appetizing ways).
>< >< >< >< There were reusable utensils, cups, plates, etc. I didn't really see any other evidence of environmental-responsibility.
Health Savvy
>< >< >< >< Peacefood gave me a really healthy vibe. There were juices, smoothies and raw foods available. They endeavour to be a healthy restaurant and it's all over their publication materials. However, I did not see information that was specific to what made them healthy.
>< >< >< >< The staff were friendly enough.
>< >< >< >< I did not hear any music playing in the background. The decor was a fresh mix of nature, library, and gallery. I really appreciated the white walls, big windows, and plants.
Added Perks
>< >< I did not receive any freebies for reviewing this restaurant. However, I think the fact that they serve such a wide variety of diverse foods (raw, vegan, juice, smoothie) and have revolving specials are major bonuses.
Ethical and Community-Minded
>< >< >< Planetfood had some materials about veganism but not that many. They did display a number of vegan cookbooks in a glass case. I loved that.

$ $ $ A little on the pricier end of vegan restaurants. For my half of the appetizer (soy nuggets $7), roasted potato pizza with Daiya cheese, and macaroon and tip, I spent about $ 26 US dollars. (In Canadian Dollars, this would now be about $ 24.96. Sorry but the weakened US dollar works a little in our favour now.) Not too cheap on the price, but definitely made up for in the flavour. Yum!

Coming from a beautiful day at typically New York tourist afternoon the museum (the Guggenheim to be exact) and a stroll through Central Park , my fiancé and I were on a mission. A mission to a meal. A real one. I had kind of eaten "unbalancedly" that morning (most of a vegan peanut butter chocolate brownie, almonds, a fruit cup) but since we woke up late, I didn't feel all that hungry. Yet, I knew it was time for a real meal. So I knew where we were headed to this restaurant which I had looked up on the internet the night before and my sister had received a glowing recommendation about called Peacefood Café. Mind you, we almost got sidetracked when I spotted a vegetarian Indian restaurant. (There are several Indian vegetarian and vegan restaurants in New York and my fiancé and I love us some Indian food.) But when I asked a staff member if they served vegan food and he did not know what that was (he directed me to another staff person who did), I opted out. So then we continued quickly to Peacefood (and very quickly mind you as the clouds continued to darken the sky and rain began to drop.) I am so glad that I did. Peacefood reminded me of a larger (much larger) version of Kindfood in Burlington (see Vex in the City: Part 1 Kindfood). Hey, the names sound similar! Located on the Upper West side of Manhattan, guests to Peacefood are immediately greeted by a display case of baked goods-- cakes, cookies, bars. This café, more of a restaurant than a café, was kitchy and funky and bright and had lots of space. The staff was a multi-ethnic group of young people who fit my vision of musical theatre casts for Broadway musicals like Rent and Fame. The clientele were mixed too-- a young liberal family, a same sex couple, Rasta women, hipsters, yuppies,... I was quite observant of the customers, the staff, the menu, and the rain which was then a torrential downpour. My fiancé and I ordered baked soy nuggets to start which were to die for. You would swear that these were chicken nuggets (but they're not). Never had I such crispy and tasty "fake chicken" which was not rubbery or weird-tasting. For my main dish, I had roasted potatoes pizza loaded with Daiya cheese for $ 3.50 extra. I wondered why adding cheese was so expensive but when my pizza arrived, I quickly understood why. (Mounds of Daiya cheese). I enjoyed my pizza which was so fresh and flavourful and cheesy with bits of moist potatoes and fresh green arugula. I ate every bite of pizza. My fiancé ordered the green Thai curry and found it tasty but extremely filling. (I had to help him finish. I just had to.) Raw food options and juices were also available but I am happy that I selected the food that I did. (Oh, how there were so many options to choose from.) I ended with a half-chocolate dipped macaroon and loved it. The manager was not in but we got a chance to express our thanks to the raw food chef and waitress. I wish there was this kind of restaurant in Toronto.

Peacefood Café, almost missed it.

We are finally here.

A glass display case to show off the wonderful vegan baked goods.

The sitdown counter gives you a first-hand view of the juices, smoothies, and raw foods being prepared. Stools where you can sit and eat.

Green plants are welcomed here.

A display case of mostly vegan cookbooks. Among them are raw books as well as a few vegetarian. The titles I remember are Donna Klein's Vegan Italiano (I review her book Tropical Vegan Kitchen) and one by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau who I met at Compassion Week.

I am a sucker for food descriptions. So I am just going to tell you in great detail what these foods are, straight from the Peacefood menu. Baked soy nuggets served with fresh herbed vegan mayo.

Roasted potatoes with sautéed mushrooms, arugula, oil cured black olives, pesto, and truffle oil on a pizza with Daiya cheese

Green thai curry which is tofu and assorted vegetables with curry and coconut milk served with brown rice and jicama salad Originally my fiancé and I thought the salad contained radishes, then I thought apples but then we learned that it is jicama. (Pronounced "hicama" so the "j" is pronounced in the Spanish way).

Not complete without my chocolate-dipped macaroon.

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