Now that January has come and gone, hitting the gym on a regular basis is more than just a resolution for me. With all of the unique boutique offerings and world class instructors here in NYC, I love to continuously discover new ways to get sweaty and burn off some of those extra brunch calories.
My coworker and fellow fitness enthusiast Andrada coerced me to join her in an intense Tabata and Boxcamp double with Greg James, one of Equinox’s top trainers in New York. After nearly two hours of dropping to the floor to give Greg twenty, it’s safe to say I never want to hear that word “burpee” again. After a foam roll and steam to relieve our already aching muscles, we headed a few blocks down the street from Equinox’s 74th Street location to reward ourselves with a healthy vegan brunch at Candle 79.
Candle 79 is somewhat upscale so I felt a little out of place in my sweaty Lululemon ensemble next to the ladies who lunch in the Upper East Side. However, the staff didn’t bat an eye at our slightly disheveled appearance and we were treated with attentive and polite service the entire meal.
The restaurant was spacious and bright with artistic photos of fresh produce on the walls serving as a constant reminder of Candle 79’s farm to table approach. The eatery was at capacity by 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday, especially with a bridal shower taking up the upper level of the establishment. Candle 79 does take reservations so we were quickly ushered to our prearranged sunny table for two.
We were promptly served much needed large glasses of water accompanied by complimentary mini blueberry muffins. The muffins were fresh and rather substantive despite their small size.
To avoid canceling out our hard work earlier with Greg, we ordered fresh juice and a smoothie to start rather than the typical mimosa or Bloody Mary. Andrada’s Green Goddess juice was frothy and earthy, garnished with a cucumber wedge. The acai and banana in my Fountain of Youth smoothie tasted downright decadent, almost like a milkshake, despite its healthy and clean ingredients.
Candle 79 has a brunch prefixe option that includes a juice, smoothie, or brunch cocktail with a variety of entree choices and a dessert for $32. We weren’t up for dessert so we passed on this option, but it seems like a great deal.
I absolutely love mushrooms so I instantly gravitated towards the butternut squash and mushroom crepe with a roasted garlic aioli sauce and side of micro greens. This dish was cooked perfectly and the zippy sauce added a great pop of flavor to the veggies. The entree was filling but not heavy, which was ideal after such an active morning.
Andrada worked up an appetite so she ordered the burrito from the lunch menu. This nutritious take on a classic Mexican dish was as large as her head, but we managed to polish it off together. The burrito was stuffed with power foods such as seitan, sauteed greens, brown rice, and vegan mozzarella, and served with fresh guacamole, tofu sour cream, and salsa on the side.
Although a little on the pricey side, Candle 79 was worth every penny. The fresh, local fare and warm service made me feel great both inside and out. Don’t be intimidated by unfamiliar ingredients like tempeh and pilaf; classic brunch items are also on the menu like cinnamon French toast and mixed grain waffles.
The Bitches say: A. A lovely, healthy brunch option for indulging your taste buds, but not at the cost of your waistline.
154 E 79th St.
New York, New York 10075
(Upper East Side)
Candle 79 serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 12 p.m.