Jill and I went for dinner with some friends at Candle Café West, the all-vegan restaurant on Eighty-Ninth and Broadway, which at least has a bar. Jill’s other favorite spot – Peace Food Café on Amsterdam – not only won’t sell you a drink; you can’t even brown-bag it. But Candle Café takes pity on the spousal omnivore and at least gives him a chance to get into the bag a little.
Some of the food is very tasty. They do a vegan takeoff on nachos with chili and cheese that I quite enjoyed – there’s a lot of sauce, salad, spices and chilis to take your mind off the fact that the cheese isn’t really cheese and the meat isn’t really meat. This brings up an issue for me. After all the work I’ve done with my shrink to become authentic, how can I pay money to support fraudulent food?
Everyone else was having a ball, mind you — tasting each other’s food and scarfing it all down like it was a big ol’ vegan clambake.
The seitan chimichurri — described as “citrus-herb marinated seitan skewers” – did not delight me, however. I had a texture issue. Chewing seitan is not completely reprehensible, I guess. It could be chicken on a bad day. It’s a lot like how I always thought astronaut food was going to taste. As a kid, I was gung-ho about going into space until I heard about the food they were serving.
Then I got a Mediterranean wrap, which was tasty but way too much for me. Have you noticed how filling vegan food can be? Maybe that’s why I didn’t like the rest of the meal – maybe I was full after the chips and salsa.
Okay: here’s a theory – vegan food is so filling because it has no empty calories. Everything means something. There’s no space in between. So you eat two mouthfuls and you don’t have to eat again for two weeks. It’s just a theory.