Tag Archives: cashew cheese

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at Blossom, New York

Blossom-Restaurant

Vegan food is everywhere is New York. Clean and colourful, with delicious flavours and beautiful ingredients, it’s food that makes you feel good. Blossom bills itself as Gourmet Organic Vegan Cuisine and won New York City’s Best Vegetarian Restaurant as voted by the readers of Time Out Magazine in both 2008 and 2009. Based in Chelsea, Upper West Side, Upper East Side and West Village, it was established to bring vegan dining to a fresh, new and delicious level. They focus on being “animal caring”, and their organic ingredients are sourced from local farms and small companies, creating food that doesn’t contain cholesterol or transfats.

I went to the Chelsea Blossom which is a candlelit-velvet-curtains kind of place. There’s a great selection of dishes on the menu, and gluten-free, nut-free and seed-free are marked. And they even have a list of organic and gluten-free wines and beers. Yay!

Blossom-Starter

First up was the Raw Zucchini (Courgette) Rolatini and it was absolutely delicious. A basil cashew cheese filling, with chive oil, sesame & sunflower sprouts and avocado. This was a mixture of wonderful flavours (herby, seedy, sharp, very slightly sweet and very creamy) with full-on healthy food.

Blossom-Main

To follow – the Vegetable Mezze Plate. I dithered between this and the Spaghetti Squash Cake with Wild Mushroom Risotto (and sautéed spinach, saffron cream sauce and pine nut garnish) but chose this because I can never normally eat a mezze plate, as they’re usually full of gluten and cheese. It starred sautéed red cabbage, escarole and cannellini beans, snow peas, sautéed kale, purple yam purée, spiced quinoa pilaff and tahini spirulina. The spiced quinoa and the purple yam purée were really good and the drizzles of tahini spirulina were a fantastic addition to the various vegetables and pulses. This is food where a lot of thought has gone into flavours and textures – which is what takes vegetarian or vegan food to the next level.

Blossom-Pudding

I finished with a Crème Brulée. Joy of joys. A dairy-free, creamy, caramelized pot of yumminess.

You can go to the Blossom Bakery and Cookery School, sign up for private vegan baking lessons, get your event catered by them and even buy a vegan wedding cake!

Blossom is at 187 Ninth Avenue, New York.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at Saf Restaurant & Bar

Saf cashew cheese

Zoe at Saf

Peter, Zoё and I went to Saf Restaurant Kensington recently. Located on the first floor of Whole Foods, Kensington, this “Botanical Fine-Dining Restaurant” serves up delicious, contemporary raw and vegan food, next to the other food outlets. Ever since I went to Saf in Old Street with a friend, I’ve been a huge fan. I’ve been to the Kensington branch, too, and this time I took Peter and Zoё. I knew that Peter would like the food but I hadn’t realised how much Zoё would, too!

We had a truly delicious meal – full of wonderful flavours and textures, which is a real feat for a restaurant that produces many of the meals as raw food. We started with the raw, gluten-free Pesto au Poivre (basil pesto between layers of their signature cashew cheese with a dehydrated pink peppercorn crust, served with rocket salad, raw flax seed crackers and drizzled with balsamic glaze) and raw, gluten-free Dolmades (vine leaves filled with cauliflower rice, pine nuts, cumink, lemon juice and dill served with vegan yogurt and cucumber dip). The Pesto au Poivre was awesome – bright colours, and a delicious combination of flavours. And the Dolmades was lovely, too. Cauliflower rice is one of those things that has to be tried to be believed – because it really does taste great.

Saf vine leaves

Then we had the iconic raw, gluten-free Saf Pad Thai (carrot, courgette and mangetout noodles, sprouted lentils, mung bean, enoki mushrooms, spicy cashews, tossed in their chipotle almond sauce topped with fresh coriander and chilies) and gluten-free Slow Roasted Vegetable Farinata (slow roasted peppers, courgette and tomatoes in a chickpea farinata crêpe served with lemon-tarragon aioli and salad). The Pad Thai was as amazing as it always is – full of vivid colours and flavours, and the Farinata was a lovely comfort-food recipe, with a delicious edge from the aioli.

Saf pad thai

Saf farinata

The really wonderful thing, though, was how much Zoё enjoyed the meal. She does like things like sushi, seaweed, veggies, nuts and salad. But she also loves things like chips and tomato ketchup, so this wasn’t a foregone conclusion, by any means. But she helped herself to my flax seed crackers, to Peter’s nori and then nabbed his plate of Pad Thai and sat happily trying everything. I’m sure the beautiful colours in the dishes made them enticing, but perhaps this shows that you don’t have to be a raw/vegan food fan to enjoy this food – that literally everyone can!

Zoe and Peter at Saf