Adventures in vegan restaurant dining and further health musings. Candle Cafe West I love you!

Categories: Nutrition Tips,Talia's Must Read,


I know. I know. I am pretty darn lucky. I live close to NYC and as such, have access to an astounding array of vegetarian/vegan/plant-based friendly restaurants. I have always been a health-food foodie (duhh), so on occasions in which I am able to venture to NYC and peruse the menu at such an eatery, my eyes and imagination collaborate and my brain is gifted with a delightful cascade of dopamine as I read the stunning selection of ingredient combinations listed beside each entrée.

Over the weekend I crossed the large body of water separating NJ peoples from NYC peoples and by doing so, along with my mostly trusted driving capabilities, I once again gained access to one of my favorite vegan restaurants in NYC, aka Candle Café West. And just kidding. I do completely trust my driving capabilities. Okay, well 96.52% trust, which will have to do. Note: That percentage was calculated via a secret equation and number were crunched based on my driving history, which is has absolutely nothing to do with this post other than the fact that my driving skills made a visit to Candle Café West a reality.

I find food talk more thrilling than my mostly trusted driving capabilities, so let’s move on with this story. I had to share with you my experience at Candle Café West because it’s really just a spectacular place filled with lively, friendly people ready to eat the best vegan food in the whole wide world. Again, just kidding. You know I haven’t been all over the world to sample the most delicious fruit and veggie rich meals in every single country, so I lack the ability to make a serious claim that this restaurant has the best tasting food in the whole entire world. Despite my lack of health-food foodie-based travels, it is true that the food at Candle Café West is so absurdly delicious that there simply cannot be too many meals on this planet that are of equal caliber. Compliments to you, Candle Café West!

Whoever said vegetables had to be bland or boring needs to get their veggie-hatin’ self to Candle. Thank goodness I came with an empty stomach because I just don’t know if I would have been able to turn down their Grilled Kale Salad with haricot verts (whatever that means), beluga lentils, red onion, turnips, avocado, sunflower seeds, spelt berries and chive vinaigrette. In the name of educating all of us, I have just looked up what haricot verts are. Wow, haricot verts is French for green beans. Way to go Candle for upping the ante on the gourmet appeal of this entrée with a dash of French lingo!

photo copyNot surprisingly, I ate every last bite. You might be wondering why on earth I am writing a post about gourmet vegan fare instead of a cool non-flop recipe or something. Truth be told, aside from my hopes that you can vicariously live through me (and if you live near NYC, perhaps you can venture to Candle Café West yourself!), I wanted to further drive home the point that healthy, animal-free meals can taste gosh-darn fantastic. I am a long shot away from deprivation in my life just because I don’t eat junk food or animal products. Behold the beautiful Grilled Kale Salad on your right!


Frequently I said to myself (whether or not I am at a healthy gourmet restaurant or cook for myself), “Wow, these avocadoes, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, etc. are extremely delicious!” or “Dang, why does this vanilla chia seed pudding topped with goji berries, walnuts, blueberries, strawberries and mango taste so bloody good?” Is it because I am used to eating healthy plant-based meals that I love them so much? Perhaps. Perhaps I am lucky too because I enjoy cooking and getting creative in the kitchen. However, taste buds can change quickly (CLICK HERE for more on reading on that) and I believe that we all can love healthy, creatively prepared meals. Doesn’t avocado tartare with avocado, hearts of palm, cucumber, wild mushroom ceviche and jalapeno dressing sound just marvelous? This was an appetizer on Candle Café West’s menu that I plan on trying next time.

Don’t give up on trying to like the taste and subtle flavors of plant foods and the wonderful array of herbs and spices we can pare them with if you are currently struggling with cravings for white bread, chips, fried food, etc. Keep eating the right foods and I bet you will begin to enjoy them more! So plug onward in your quest for your best health and there is no harm in ogling at Candle’s menu which you can do by CLICKING HERE.

photo copy 2My friend ordered Soba Noodles w/ Carrot Ginger dressing. Doesn’t it look just delish?! I’m going to end this post by proclaiming that if you don’t like avocado, I’m not sure we can be friends. Over and out!


  1. Katy says:

    I live in MI, and there is a vast shortage of vegan restaurants, but I found a vegan item on Ruby Tuesday’s menu, it was delicious, spaghetti squash marinara. Paired with the salad bar it was perfect.

  2. Michele says:

    Yes, Candle Cafe is really fabulous. Blossom is pretty outrageous as well. Have you tried Good Karma Cafe in Red Bank, or the Cinammon Snail food truck (which is also in Red Bank on Sundays I believe.) Your recipes are super, Talia so keep cooking, posting and exploring!

  3. Well, it’s a good thing I luuuurve avocado! I haven’t yet visited NYC as a plant-eater, but Candle Cafe is at the top of my list as soon as I can get out there. 🙂

  4. Yay! This was the most fun/delicious little shindig ever 🙂 We have to meet up again soon, Talia!! See you for the bday bash 😉

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