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How Can A Raw Vegan Restaurant Be On Fire and other Gramercy Discoveries

Posted Apr 04 2010 5:44pm
Saturday afternoon Bo and I spent two hours soaking up the soon on the Highline Park. The people watching was better than ever as I was able to check out everyone's new spring fashions while Bo spoke with people who had just come from the Apple store bearing their new iPad. It included lots of this: After working up an appetite reading and people watching, we headed to Pinkberry for a cool and delicious afternoon treat. Bo loved their new mango flavor and enjoyed a small mango with fruity pebbles. I enjoyed mango as well but loaded up on toppings including blueberries, kiwi, strawberries, and animal crackers. This was definitely a treat but it did a wonderful job of holding me over for a few hours. In addition, nothing says warm weather like a cool cup of frozen yogurt.

After walking around for another hour, we decided to head over to Gramercy to explore our new neighborhood. Each time we return we discover something we love or a great little nook. As you can see from the picture above, my nails were screaming for a manicure as were my toenails. Bo and I parted ways at A Spa and Nails . I was pleasantly surprised by this nail salon and will most likely become a regular. Their prices were very reasonable and everything was spotless. I also believe that it was a good sign that the salon was PACKED at 5pm on a gorgeous Saturday. They also had health signs stating that they refused to use razors in their spa due to health issues and therefore only use rubs and buffers to remove calluses. Spa hygiene is very important to me as the last think I want to leave with is an infection. In just under an hour I was treated to a wonderful manicure (Essie High Maintenance) and lemon spa pedicure (Essie Hotspot) complete with a lemon scrub treatment and parafin wax.
Much to my elation, Bo suggested that we grab a glass of wine and an appetizer at Pure Food and Wine which was located just across the street. I was surprised by his suggestion as i've tried to convince Bo to enjoy Pure Food and Wine previously but have been met with much resistance. However, while I was enjoying my mani/pedi Bo walked by their menu and was instantly intrigued.
Pure Food and Wine is one of New York City's top raw and vegan restaurants. Opened in June of 2004, their menu is entirely plant based and does not use any processed ingredients. In addition, nothing is heated above 118 degrees which helps to preserve vitamins and minerals. Based on this knowledge, Bo originally expected the menu to be salads and spiralized vegetable dishes. Instead, the menu greeted him with such appetizers as
Plate of Assorted Cultured Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheeses and Rosemary Crisps
Tokyo Turnip Carpaccio with Marinated Provencal Truffle
King Oyster Mushroom Scallops with Hijiki Seaweed
One quickly realizes that everything is a play on words and therefore must be approached with an open mind. There are clearly no scallops or carpaccio on the menu but the items are presented in a similar manner and paired with similar flavors.
We started with a glass of wine each, a 2007 Falanghina Torre Gaia for Bo and a crisp 2007 Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc for me. The bartender was very friendly and helpful in explaining the difference between an organic wine and a biodynamic wine. Biodynamic refers to the agricultural method and processing of the fruit post harvest. It has only become popular over the past few years. The principles revolve around understanding the ecological, energetic, and spiritual nature of grape growing.
After reviewing the appetizer menu at length, we decided up on the Nori Rolls. They were described as being filled with spinach, homemade kim chi, nut cheese, and ginger. After Bo read on Zagat that the restaurant has appeared for 5 years on the Forbes magazine list of "All Star Eateries" and part of New York Magazine's Top 100 restaurants he was more than eager to sample the raw cuisine. While we waited for our appetizer and sipped our wine, we observed the dishes other patrons were enjoying. Each dish was presented as an art form. It is clear that presentation is at the core of Pure Food and Wine.
When our appetizer was presented we were both awed and amazed. These nori rolls looked exactly like our favorite appetizer at any sushi restaurant though we knew there was no rice or fish. The portion was perfect to share as there were six pieces.
The dish was well crafted and beautifully composed. It was remarkable how the nut cheese had a creamy consistency similar to that of ricotta and the flavors were perfectly balanced.

The freshness was clear through the crunch of each bite and the flavors exploded on your tongue. Bo and I were each amazed and immediately wished we had made dinner reservations at Pure so we could continue the tasting adventure.
As we were discussing our predicament, loud sirens began to go off and the security lights were flashing. Every patron looked towards the hostess in confusion and alarm. However, the hostess was as confused as everyone else and merely tried to silence the alarm.
Bo and I could barely contain our laughter since we knew the alarm in question was the fire alarm. Keep in mind that Pure Food and Wine does not have a single flame or heating element in it since all the food is raw. The staff new this as well and also saw that back in the kitchen and offices nothing was smoking or in flames. This unfortunately continued off and on for five minutes. Bo and I therefore quickly decided it was time to bid adieu to Pure Food and Wine until next time. Within minutes of our departure four fire trucks arrived on the scene and forced the patrons out of the building so they could investigate. Within a minute of arriving they had searched the building, given the all clear, and were on their way again. What a hilarious and ironic few minutes!
Though the tastes are still fresh in our memory, Bo and I are already dreaming of their five course chef's tasting menu which is a steal at $69. Until then, I think I may have to procure a copy of Sarma's cookbook Raw Food Real World . The cookbook features over 100 recipes that anyone can enjoy from the comfort of their own kitchen.

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