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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Dinner at Blossom: 187 Ninth Avenue, NYC

After a long flight from London, we didn't fancy traipsing around New York looking for somewhere to eat, but we were more than happy to walk ten blocks to 187 Ninth Avenue to Blossom.  Dawn had done a huge amount of research back home and this organic vegan restaurant had appeared in several books full of recommendations.  Especially as it been voted Best Vegetarian Restaurant in 2008 and 2009 in the New York Time Out.  Turning up without a reservation, we were pleased to be shown to a table for two.  Being asked whether we could free up the table within 90 minutes is never a problem for us.
As usual, we both looked through the menu and then came to an agreement as to what we would like to share.  We both agreed on the an appetiser called Cape Cod Cake, which (as you guess) did not contain any cod. Instead, the fish flavour came from hiziki seaweed, and was made with tofu, a crispy coating and vegan tartar sauce.  It tasted pretty good.

Dawn felt like she was spoilt for choice, but the Hickory Basted Tempeh was too much for her to resist.  Coming from the South, Dawn had an affiliation with hickory, and since becoming a vegetarian, it was the closest she would get to BBQ pork.  The tempeh was served on some collard greens (another of Dawn's favourites) and some roasted fingerling potatoes with a horseradish crème fraiche.  Tempeh, like bean curd/tofu, absorbs all the flavours of the spices, but unlike bean curd/tofu, has a firm texture, which makes it ideal for simulating meat. Best of all is that it's not tough, fatty, or gristly like meat.

I, on the other hand, went for the lasagna.  To give the impression of meat this time, the chef used ground seitan with a tofu marinara.  Seiten, like tempeh, is firmer than tofu and perfect for this meal.  Sitting on a bed of sautéed broccoli rabe and topped with tapioca cheese, this was the lightest lasagna I had ever eaten.  The portions may have been  a little on the small size, but we had sufficient. 

We made our way back to The Carlton Hotel on Madison Avenue, contented and pleased with our choice of both restaurant and dishes.

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