Monday, March 18, 2013

A Peaceful Experience

NYC is an inexhaustible edible city we live in, as there are so many dining options at any given moment of the day to choose from.
What is most difficult, is sorting the good from the bad.
This is the primary reason why I created this blog. In fact, this marks my 100th blog post for NYC Foodie Girl! (Silent "yay!" over here...!) I like to tell you what my own experiences are with restaurants: from the food to the service. I've had a very varied plate, both literally and figuratively.
Let me tell you about my most recent experience. I'll give you a hint: it was a good one!
This weekend, I took it upon myself to try something new. Well, kind of new. I say that because there is a Upper West Side location, but I hardly ever had a chance to go there since I'm primarily living and working on the other side of Manhattan. People who live in the city know what I mean when I say, "Going crosstown really sucks." It's for a number of reasons, but mostly, the commute time to get to where you want to go is painstakingly long by public transportation and/or expensive if you cab it.

But as far as "new" is concerned, I thought it was best to find something that was open for less than a month - so when I heard that a new opening of Peacefood Cafe was happening near Union Square/Gramercy Park, I couldn't wait to get in there and see what was going on.

Peacefood Cafe - it's a vegan kitchen and bakery -but carnivores beware! You might actually find yourself trying some items here and liking them!

Full disclosure: I am an omnivore, as most of us are... and most of all, I am conscious about what I eat. I'm often made fun of by my co-workers for my healthier choices, since I sincerely try to eat primarily organic and non-genetically modified food. I understand. It's not for everyone. And, for me, I try within reason and again, when the opportunity is there, I'll most likely choose healthy over the other alternative.

So Peacefood is a win/win, because it's not only healthy food, it's really delicious.
I went for brunch this past weekend, but they don't really "do" brunch (either not yet or it's just not something they are able to offer, I don't know)... but I were there at 10:30am when they still had a breakfast menu, and lunch items were available after 11am -so I really did get what I was hoping for at the end, anyway! It just wasn't a formal "brunch".

The interior is HUGE, yet welcoming. The design of the space is not like any other vegan "cafe" you've experienced. There's nothing Bohemian or hippy dippy about it... it's quite upscale and exceptionally beautiful.

You're welcomed when you walk in the door. You can do a take out or sit down and enjoy the free WiFi.
The waitstaff is very attentive and ready to offer any help or recommendations on the menu.

I was with my family, so we ordered a few things to sample. We tried the Quinoa Porridge and the Scrambled Tofu. Later I ordered a Pan-Seared French Horn Mushroom Panini with a side of Chickpea Fries.

Wow! That's a lotta' food, I know! Here's the breakdown:
  • The porridge was creamy and approachable -but maybe too "green" tasting for some palates. It was accompanied with sliced bananas on the top. I'm not a big fan of fruit in or on my hot cereal... but in this case, it did taste good. In the future, I would probably request that they put the banana on the side. I like to have options, and I don't want my cereal flavored like fruit.
  • The scrambled tofu was really a highlight for me - the texture was just like having scrambled eggs -but so much better tasting. The amount of greens and potatoes was just right. A definite "must have" if you go for breakfast.
  • The panini was so large, I took more than half of it home with me -and the bread was fantastic. It also held up pretty well the next day. Normally, sandwiches get all soggy on day two - not this one. It needed just a small time in my toaster oven and I had lunch the very next day with a sandwich that tasted freshly made.
  • The chickpea fries are served so incredibly hot, I had to wait a moment before trying them. I have craved them heavily in the past, and I had to order them for this visit. I could hardly eat them because of all the other food and beverages that I was already sampling, but they were flavorsome and savory ...once they didn't burn the inside of my mouth! 
  • For a hot beverage, I would recommend the Bangkok hot tea. It is a mix of coconut, green tea, ginger, vanilla and lemongrass. Perfect for a chilly day.
My recommendation would be to have more breakfast options. The scrambled tofu was great, but it was really the only savory item that was available prior to 11am. Porridge was good, but how about a choice of fruit? I would have liked raspberries or strawberries instead, but maybe they will shift this for the season.

The cafe really started to get busy for the afternoon crowd. People passing by were curious, because of it's newness; it's not really advertised nor does it have signage or an awning to formally state their business.
Since my family likes to do the Green Market in Union Square on Saturdays, this is an easy walk. I'm sure I'll be here more often and will sample other menu items. Let me know if you get a chance to try them out. I'd love to hear about your experiences!

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