Apollo, Magpie and Candle

May 1, 2011

We’ve enjoyed some lovely dinners out lately. Two were local and one was at a vegan mecca in NYC. All delivered in their own ways.

We participated in famous Dan’s (http://danmanseau.wordpress.com/) birthday dinner last month at the Apollo Grill in Easthampton. We have only been there a handful of times for full-on dinners, but it doesn’t disappoint. They threw together a wonderful vegan plate for us with risotto cakes, asparagus, roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts. And we couldn’t resist the sweet potato-avocado tostada with roasted tomatillo salsa. Makes us want to go there more often.

Magpie, Hope and Olive’s sister in Greenfield, does it right. It’s supposed to be just a pizza place, but its layout and details work on a different level than one might expect. It’s beautiful and delicious and just very well thought out, just like Hope and Olive. They’ve done well by Greenfield. We ordered roasted veggies with truffle oil and an arugula-fennel-lemon-thyme pizza. Tasty stuff all around. They cook nearly everything in their 700-degree wood-fired oven, and the tastes and textures are superior because of it.

We spent some of our April vacation in Jersey and New York. We ventured into the city, partly to try out a vegan place called Candle 79. The owners have been in the vegan restaurant business in NYC for some time, and it shows at Candle 79. The interior is gorgeous, and the meals are well crafted. It’s fine dining. We started out with the chef’s amuse bouche arancini, then ordered spinach-morel ravioli and cocktails. The arancini and ravioli were fabulous. Every ingredient was fresh and cooked precisely. The ravioli was a highlight.

For dinner, Nicole ordered the seitan piccata, and I had mushroom-stuffed tempeh. Again, both were expertly prepared with maximum sensual impact. I think Nicole’s was superior, and mine was delicious, but I think I prefer a less stacked meal. I don’t like when ingredients blend together. I’d rather have an entree with sides, for example. We also ordered onion rings with a chipotle sauce and a peanut butter-chocolate dessert with raspberry sauce. Overall, a great meal that came at a great price. The cocktails were forgettable and $15 each. I expected less of a stacked iteration from the dessert, too. I’d only recommed it if you’re flush.

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One Response to “Apollo, Magpie and Candle”

  1. It sounds & looks incredible!

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