Posted on April 2, 2010 - by

You Can Eat Green Without Spending A Lot Of Green – Part 1

By: Rosemarie Gambetta
Cross-posted from Cheapeats

Cheapeats is honored to have been asked to review and share their experience during the Farm To Table dinners celebrating the screening of Fresh the Movie. Fresh is a powerful film discussing the current farming and food system and the simple changes we can make to better Americans and the planet.

The most common argument people have is that eating “Green” and “Organic” is expensive. Cheapeats is going to show you that you can find great healthy options without breaking the break. Part 1 – Candle Cafe.

Candle Cafe is a casual eatery on the Upper Eastside whose mission is to serve a organic plant based menu. Many of the dishes use seasonal ingredients free of pesticides and chemicals. They were gracious enough to prepare a menu for Fresh fans featuring farm fresh specials. My hungry belly was excited and up to the challenge. From the many yummy options, I chose “Cashew Crusted Tempeh over Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf.” If your scratching your head saying; “What language is she speaking?” To simplify it, Tempeh is a soybean cake. If Yuck is the first word to come to mind, you are sssooooo wrong. When my dish came out, my eyes were smiling. It was beautifully presented. Almost too pretty to eat…almost.

First bite – A perfect crunchy coating surrounding a filling of herbs and flavor. It’s so difficult to describe the taste of Tempeh. It’s like a blank canvas that takes on whatever flavors you paint it with. It was like a polenta cake but with so much flavor, you’d think you’re eating chicken. Honest. The Quinoa (similar to cous cous) was light, fluffy and combined with an assortment of fresh vegetables (string beans, fennel, greens). The sauce underneath was like a rich broth; both savory and sweet. The perfect amount of each. When I combined it all into one perfect bite, it was like a party in my mouth. To complete the combination of textures, the dish was topped with crispy fennel and radishes. While enjoying my dinner, I’m watching the place fill up. Who knew so many people ate vegetarian.

Do you have room dessert my waitress asked? Oh I think I can make room. My choice – Vanilla Cheesecake with an Almond Cookie Crust. Sounds good right?

First Bite – Creamy, silky, sweet and light with a little crunch from the cookie crust. Ladies and Gentleman, we have winner!!!!! I tasted vanilla and almonds but what was cheese? Silken Tofu? Who knew. Combined with the creamy vanilla sauce, it was like a cloud on a plate.

I know you’re squirming in your seat saying, ”There is no way that eating vegetarian will taste good.” Guess what…it will. The chef adds so many flavors to trick your palette, you honestly won’t miss the meat. Based on the crowd eating and those waiting to be seated is proof that it doesn’t have to be boring nor expensive to eat green.

Tix for the screening of Fresh are being sold at Candle Cafe and their sister restaurant Candle 79 and don’t forget to check out the Fresh Week Events.

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