Monday, February 13, 2012

Meatless Monday: Pure Food and Wine

Even though all three of us are carnivores, we are also omnivores, and we are just as open and available to trying vegetarian cuisine.  We all have friends in the Broadway Community who practice vegetarian and vegan lifestyles as do some of our readers we're sure.  That's why we're joining the Meatless Monday movement by promoting cutting out meat one day a week and bringing you the best vegetarian food that NYC has to offer.  We're diving in head first with a raw-vegan 4-course gourmet meal from Pure Food and Wine in Union Square.      

FIRST COURSE
Plate of Assorted Cultured Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheeses and Rosemary Crisps
served with wild huckleberry compote and mustard greens
MATT: The one excuse I hear most often from Vegetarians as to why they aren't Vegan is, "I can't give up cheese!  I love it too much!!"  Well, Pure has the answer to their prayers.  Cashew, macadamia, and/or brazil nuts are used for the base with flavor flourishes of himalayan pink salt, hemp seed, and algae, but the key to combining these ingredients to make cheese is acidophilus, a form of bacteria that ferments sugar into lactic acid.  The cheese paired beautifully with a bottle of pinot noir.

SECOND COURSE      
Caesar Salad
romain lettuce, nori, pumpkinseed macadamia parmesan, lemon, caesar dressing
ANDY: One of my favorite dishes at Pure Food and Wine, The Caesar Salad, isnt actually on the menu.  They serve it at the sister store around the corner, One Lucky Duck, which has its own more casual menu for eat in, or take out.  Luckily, Pure is always willing to let you order from One Lucky Duck's menu as well.  Simply put, it's just a good Caesar salad..."organic" or "raw" or whatever; it is tasty, fresh, and so fulfilling.  I like to eat raw occasionally, but I'm always concerned if I'll be left feeling full and satisfied at the end of the experience.  So, I always order the Caesar, which is bountiful and definitely a meal on its own, leaving me feeling like I ate a large substantial meal.  My favorite part: the crispy strips of nori seaweed layered on top of the salad.  Fantastic!

THIRD COURSE
Zucchini, Local Heirloom Tomato Lasagna
basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara, macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta
ADAM: I came into this restaurant a skeptic.  I read a book on why we shouldn't eat animals, and while I understand the argument, even sympathize with its ideals, I just couldn't fathom its practicality.   This restaurant takes impracticality a step further, coining a new phrase: 'Impractical...oh, come on...REALLY?.'  All of its dishes are raw, meaning nothing is cooked above 118 ºF.  To recap, we're not eating ANY animal products plus not heating a single ingredient.  To me, this sounds like one of those Top Chef quick fire challenges so impossible, so obviously dooming its contestants to failure that the viewer switches the channel on the principal of fairness. The lasagna caught my eye immediately. How audacious! How irreverent!! Taking such a beloved classic of Italian and, let's face it, American diet, deconstructing it, rearranging, and gleefully flashing purists the finger when it's a smash! And it was! It captures all of the quintessential flavors of a lasagna: creamy ricotta, meaty tomato, smooth olive oil, delicate noodles....  EXCEPT the cheese was made from macadamia nuts and pumpkin seeds, the pasta was thinly sliced zucchini, and the meat sauce was a sun-dried tomato marinara. It was the dish of a rebel chef, a chef who lives for a challenge, the kind of chef who reinvents a classic and leaves you wondering why no one thought of doing this before.

FOURTH COURSE

Left: Mint Sundae - chocolate, fresh mint, and mint chip ice creams mint chocolate cookies, chocolate sauce and vanilla cream
Right:
Classic Sundae - vanilla and chocolate ice creams 
chocolate and cherry framboise sauces, sliced bananas, candied almonds, and vanilla cream
ANDY: Still not convinced? Alright then...Dessert.  I have to admit, the whole reason for getting the boys together in the first place was just an excuse to have the delicious Ice Cream Sundaes.  The best part?  It's Guilt free!!!  The ice cream is non-dairy and sweetened with Agave.  There's nothing in the world like indulging in something you love with no second thoughts!  I'd like to take this moment to say how excited I am that so many of my favorite foods now have healthy alternatives all over New York City and at the grocery store.  And that basically sums up the whole experience at Pure Food and Wine.  There is very little compromise.  You can still stuff your face with lasagna and dive into an ice cream sundae and not suffer the consequences.  Eating healthy can be delicious....  The key ingredient is creativity!

Check out Sarma's (the [mostly raw food eating] founder, ceo, and proud mother of one lucky duck) raw blog or visit One Lucky Duck's homepage.

1 comment:

  1. I just got that meatless Mondays cookbook, it's so lovely - I just want to make every single thing in it. I enjoy a bit of raw food here and there but couldn't give up things like roast potatoes in order to fully commit! However I love the idea of doing a meal like this, from chefs who really know what they're doing....

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