Pure food and wine
The second restaurant we visited while in New York was one that I have kept hearing about from different directions ever since we arrived in the States a few months ago. The sympathetic owner Sarma Melngailis have had success with not only one but three vegan restaurants in the city since she opened her first one in 2004. Two of them goes by the name One Lucky Duck and are smaller joints with healthy juices and raw vegan food for takeaway. The flagship restaurant, which is a favorite vegan choice of Bill Clinton, Gisele Bundchen among many others, is a fine dining establishment called Pure Food and Wine, located on Irving place downtown.
Raw vegan food made with local organic produce is naturally the most nutritionally valuable food one can digest, and to get it served in such a sophisticated setting made the experience all that more impressive. Healthy, light, compassionate, inspiring, colorful and tremendously tasteful food dined in one of the warmer and most comfortable outdoor terraces New York have to offer, served by super attentive and knowledgeable waiters - tell me what in that equation could possibly be wrong.
As much as I would love to eat tasty raw vegan food on the daily for the nutritional benefits, I must admit I find it a huge challenge to keep it inspiring on a home "cooking" level, so I personally limit my own raw food ambitions to cold soups, salads, juices and desserts. But this place totally blew my mind from the beginning to the end with its creativity and ability to perfectly match unexpected flavor combinations, from the starter to the long impressive list of mind-blowing desserts. That I also got an opportunity to watch the preparations from the beautiful kitchen, to observe how the careful process took place, and to see how clean, fresh, green and extremely well organized the space was backstage - amplified the overall experience by ten.
In a terribly mass produced and cluttered world where profit and humanity seldom get to collaborate, it was a wholeheartedly positive experience getting to spend a long night at this consciously created and well thought out restaurant. Don't you just love it when you go to a place, prepared with high expectations and end up loving it more than what you had ever hoped for?