Breakfast- a smoothie: freshly made almond milk, dates, strawberries, avocado, honey, vanilla extract
Dinner- at Esca: first course- layered appetiser of sliced ripe figs, fennel, celery, apples, drizzled with a savory olive oil dressing; second course: a mix of exotic greens, almonds and pistachios, again with a delicious dressing; Chocolate (carob) Mousse & strawberry tart
September 21 is my significant other, Michael's, birthday. He eats mostly raw food and some cooked food that occasionally includes fish. We don't go out to restaurants often because the raw food that we eat at home is far better than anything a regular restaurant can serve us unless it's a raw restaurant. I wanted to do something special, so knowing that he eats fish occasionally, I made a reservation for us at Esca, an acclaimed Seafood restaurant on west 45th Street.
On Thursday, the day before our reservation, I went by Esca to let them know that I am a raw food vegan and to ask if they could prepare an entree salad for me, any substantial combination of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The manager was a little resistant at first as he somewhat condescendingly told me that Esca is not a raw food restaurant. That was unnecessary. However, he did go speak with the chef while I was there and came back and reported to me that the chef said yes, they could prepare something for me. Lucky for me it was the same chef who would be in the kitchen when we came back for dinner.
When we arrived for dinner, the maitre'd informed me that the chef would be preparing two courses for me. I was elated; this was more than I had hoped for. Both courses were spectacular and my description here doesn't do them justice. The choice and quality of the ingredients were excellent and the finished dishes revealed the work of a true Chef de cuisine. In actuality, the chef, Katie, is the sous chef. I don't want to misrepresent her and get her in hot water with her boss.
My experience at Esca was memorable, our server, Lisa, and everyone else who served us, was on top of everything. Nothing was out of place or left unattended to. The ambiance of the patio was a great mixture of seclusion, gurgling fountains, nearby Ninth Avenue traffic, and strings of outdoor lighting strung artfully overhead. It was affirming to know that with a little preparation, I can enjoy a delicious raw meal at one of the many non-raw restaurants that New York has to offer. Thank you Esca!
We topped off the birthday meal with dessert back at my apartment where the Chocolate (carob) mousse and strawberry tart I had made was waiting. The recipe came from Jennifer Cornbleet's book and like everything else I have prepared using Jennifer's recipes, it was terrific.