A Lotus Grows in Brooklyn


Peacefood Cafe, Vegan Done Right
January 24, 2010, 9:54 pm
Filed under: Bars/restaurants, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: ,

PeaceFood Cafe is a recent addition to the vegan panorama of the Upper West Side in Manhattan.

Patrons are greeted at the front by a large case of treats, from cakes and cookies to cinnamon buns, muffins and brownies. Some casual seating is across the counter but, in back, is a slightly more cozy atmosphere, where I recently had dinner with a friend.

I did previously visit PeaceFood just a few weeks back, but it was only to quickly grab some take-out treats for dessert (after a meal at the well-known and much ballyhooed Cafe Blossom, which is virtually just around the corner — it was the waiter there who sent my companion and I over to Peacefood due to his restaurant’s dearth of dessert options [more on the wonderful Blossom meal another time]).

dumplings

The first thing that struck me about PeaceFood was how simple the menu was. There are only a few options for salads, sandwiches and sides, but that was plenty, and each one sounded intriguing. They also have daily specials, many tea and drink options, and, again, lots of tasty treats for dessert.

I’m a sucker for a good sandwich — it’s comfort food — so I had the roasted Japanese pumpkin with caramelized onions and walnuts. A trifle messy, they serve it on toasted whole spelt rye, which helps keep it together. The menu states these sandwiches are “adapted from Urban Spring Cafe, and are Best Sandwich Winners in the 2008 NYC Vegan Guide.” No surprise.  It was unusual and yet seemed like a simple idea — and it was absolutely delectable.

Chickpea fries

I also gave two side dishes a try; both were topped with alfalfa sprouts, which actually worked as more than just a green decoration for the presentation but truly complemented the dishes: The Shanghai-style dumplings were definitely good but did not necessarily standout in any particular way, and the chickpea fries, which have a look and consistency similar to zucchini sticks. Instead of a red sauce, these “fries” come with the “house dipping sauce” (a white sauce, which seemed to have a slight dill taste to it). They melted in my mouth and were a surprisingly and impressively yummy treat!

I also sampled a hot cider and soy drink, which was lovely and, for dessert, took home several sweets: A chocolate cupcake, which was very rich but not too sweet; the icing was very good. An oatmeal raisin cookie, made just the way I like them — thick and very soft. And what they called a “magic cookie.” This was a sweeter cookie with miniature chocolate chips, tiny carrot pieces, and a few other bits and pieces all put inside a near giant-size cookie that I liked far more than I expected to.

Pumpkin sandwich

The only downside to PeaceFood is the service. Finished with my meal, my waiter brought to the table next to mine menus, then their four waters, and, soon, their appetizers, all whilst I patiently waited for the bill.  The entire staff, although extremely friendly, fun and nice, seems terribly discombobulated. There looks to be no real system to how they help the patrons, leaving those waiting for their bill, waiting for a while, while those standing at the counter are wondering which person — if any — is going to have a moment to help them.

The night I was there, they had no less than seven people working, and each one of them seemed crazed and even a little confused. The place isn’t big enough for seven people to be that addled. They (mostly) remained friendly, but it was clear this staff has not been properly trained; the management needs to create a better system to help these people work better as a team. Once they do, this will be a highlight of vegan eating in NYC.

Overall, though, some of the absolute best food I’ve had in a long while, vegan or no, presented in a nice, laidback space, with reasonable prices. (Sun In Bloom, take note: This is how a vegan cafe should be!)

Photos taken by cellphone, hence the quality.
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5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Panorama is a word I’ve not seen used in a while.

Good use of that word.

Enjoy life from the triangle of Self, Food, Carrie & everything will be different, everything will be lovely.

Aum.

Comment by Dhaval

Oooh! You can title your blog as A Lotus Grows in the Universe.

I just realized the significance of a Lotus and why it’s used here because no matter where you are, you can come out on top and untouched by the surrounding guck. The guck is inside, the Lotus too is inside.

Let’s celebrate!

Comment by Dhaval

Thanks, Dhaval! Lol, I can’t believe you just realized the significance of the lotus. 🙂 We should all spend our lives endeavoring to be the lotus, which sounds so simple in teaching, seems so hard, but actually really IS simple if you practice.

Comment by Carrie M

Although I’m not vegan, I totally agree with your assessment of Babycakes’ cupcakes. I remember the frosting tasted weird and fake too.

Comment by Laura

[…] Vicki on Compare and ContrastLaura on Peacefood Cafe, Vegan Done RightCarrie M on Peacefood Cafe, Vegan Done RightDhaval on Peacefood Cafe, Vegan […]

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