2/27/09

jewish halloween

great news! sacred chow's kosher certifying rabbi, reb zev schwarcz, has become the rabbi of congregation emunath israel aka "the chelsea shul" on w. 23rd street in nyc btn 7th and 8th ave.
i told zev 2 make sure he keeps his dresses and high heels at home. but he said, hey, it's the chelsea shul, all are welcome. just kidding about the dresses, it's lipstick he likes 2 wear.
so go and have fun, join the minyan. purim is just around the corner, also known, 2 non-jews and jews alike, as jewish halloween. so put on ur high heels and lipstick, dress up like queen esther...and spin the gragger, aka the noisemaker, drink a bissel, and help root out evil. "down w/ haman!"
see, פורים - come crank the gragger! and have a good shabbos y'all!

romantic weekend

If I were going to do a romantic weekend of eating, I’d close the work week out Friday night with an array from Lifethyme’s hot/cold bar & bakery case.
Then Saturday, leisurely, we’d make our way to Sacred Chow for brunch, meander about with an early eve sitdown at Lula’s, some show – music, theater, or even film, then wrap Saturday (proper or not) with Foodswings.
Sunday, we could hit ‘Since for lunch – late or not, and with LifeThyme leftovers on the living room floor, picnic-like.
Posted by VeganD on February 11, 2009 03:30 PM

2/26/09

this i love!

ah, the little huxster, so adorable, my sweet honey face, a beautiful, intelligent, witty son. taking care of huxley, raising hux, giving huck a sense of freedom and the ability to roam and be, and helping huxley to decide his life's questions through introspection and sensitive thinking, and being a father that loves his son so openly, a dad that he can hug and cuddle with, a father that is not a stranger, a dad that he is not frightened to be near, a father that is a friend, a buddy, a pal - all this hux knows, absolutely; and that my grandparents, uncles, dad, mom, sisters, brother, his mom and i did not, and that this has changed - this i love. this i love!

2/22/09

drinking heaven

February 18, 2009
vegan nyc
everyone knows that new york city is like a vegan heaven. every time i go there i eat so much i make myself feel ill. two days later i feel better and want more food but i’m too far away to get it. that’s lucky and unlucky. anyway, here’s my favorite nyc food.
sacred chow is like my brunch heaven. every time i visit i have the exact same thing: better than biscuits and gravy. i always think about getting something different but i just can’t do it. i also get hot chocolate which is as close as i’ll ever get to drinking heaven. the rest of the menu seems stellar but i haven’t tried anything else or been there for anything other than brunch. bonus: they play good music.

bottomless cup of wine anyone?

Sacred Chow (Vegan)
February 21st, 2009

At first I was hesitant to go to Sacred Chow. Something about having a pun for a name, a meditating cartoon cow for a logo, and talk about a “whispering hour” on their website turned me off. But, I finally went, and I liked it.

Sacred Chow is pretty cheap, small, adorably decorated, and 100% vegan. You can tell from the crowd of students, the price, the incredibly good music selection, cheap booze options, and the laid back vibe that it is close to New York University in Greenwich Village. My waiter was laid back too… In other words, you wont be getting out of here in record time. But you wont feel rushed either! I felt as if I could have sat there all day drinking tea and they wouldn’t have minded.

Like I said, it is small. You probably don’t want to come here in group larger than 4. (But I over-heard the waiter tell some folks that Sacred Chow has accommodated groups of 30.) So if you're going to Sacred Chow with more than four folks, it's probably a good idea to call first.

The menu is organized in an unusual way. The first part is made up of Tapas that are divided into a Protein Rich ($5.75 each) section and a Complex Carb ($5.25 each) section. You can order three of them for $15. The second part of the menu is the Heroes section. –Pretty much just a bunch of tasty sounding sandwiches that cost around $10. I decided to get three tapas for $15: Grilled Western Tofu, Orange Blackstrap BBQ Seitan, and a special brussel sprouts dish. The food came fast, and they were all nicely presented and quite tasty. Most importantly, I felt like it was a whole hell of a lot of food for $15. I had half of it for lunch and half of it for dinner.

From 11 – 4 on the weekends they have a brunch menu with stuff like Banana Bread French Toast, waffles, biscuits with gravy, and tofu scramble. When I was here during brunch hours it did get a bit crowded and there was only one guy working the floor. It was fine though.

Sacred Chow is also very celiac friendly. I would say about half of their tapas and half of their desserts are gluten free and wheat free and are labeled as such. Two of the entrees on the brunch menu are gluten free as well. I happened to be sitting next to a NYU freshman that had just become a vegan and found out a few weeks later that she has a gluten intolerance. She seemed happy with her choices on the menu. –It was her parents that had come to visit that seemed disgruntled… “So you can’t eat bread OR butter?!”

They are also pretty serious about being eco-vegan and taking part of the slow food movement. I overheard the waiter telling a woman that they make their own vegan mozzarella because having it shipped in was the opposite of what they were trying to do there. You can read what they have to say about it here.

So yah. I like it here. Who wants to meet up with me here one Sunday, split some tapas and drink their $10 bottomless cup of wine anyone? Bold
Oh, and it’s kosher. ^_^

In my humble opinion…Sacred Chow rating (out of 5):Price: $$ ($5 - $15)
Atmosphere: 4 Food: 4 Service: 3
Recommended: The tofu was amazingly cooked. I would get something with tofu in it. Not so recommended:Order the tapas carefully. I heard it can be a hit or miss. Ask you waiter or waitress what recommend. If I were in Manhattan for just 3 days, would this be a place I insist on going? Yah
Comments:
ericaFebruary 21st, 2009 at 8:47 pm
I’ve been wanting to go to Sacred Chow for a while now, and I, too, have been slightly hesitant, but your review has made up my mind! I can’t wait to try it out.
Smith MichaelsFebruary 21st, 2009 at 9:25 pm
Let’s go here next time I visit! Sacred Chow sounds so good and cheap. And I love tofu.

2/21/09

house-made oat cheese

Kedar D.
Minneapolis, MN
2/19/2009
I had a wonderful brunch at Sacred Chow on a Saturday. It wasn't too crowded and the quaint atmosphere made for a relaxing environment in which to eat and chat with friends. I was impressed with my seitan Philly cheesesteak (~$11.50) which did a great job replicating an old standard. The bread was soft, the portion size was just right, and the "house-made oat cheese" had a good kick to it, not tasting plasticky in any way. I had a side of tofu scramble with it (~$5.50) which was definitely tasty, and one of the better I've had in a restaurant, but it could have used some more color and vegetables---bell peppers and broccoli, perhaps? One of my friends enjoyed his three tapas selections which provided an unusual array of flavors and textures for only $15; my other friend seemed to enjoy her tofu breakfast sandwich (~$9.50), though the collard greens came in an excessively large portion. I was blown away by the smoothness of my hot chocolate with hazelnut liquer (~$5.50), which was sweet, but not overly so, and perfectly blended with the hazelnut. At the same time, I couldn't taste the alcohol at all. Finally, our dark chocolate truffle cake, gluten free too, (~$6) was positively decadent---it was rich in cocoa flavor, moist and impressed all of us. Sacred Chow is definitely a winner and one of the better vegan restaurants in NYC.

2/18/09

yummy, yummy, yummy

there was a mean giant-dwarf who lived on sullivan street in nyc. he loved to eat vegan food, which is how he got to be so strong and big because he loved sacred chow's seitan and tofu, and wanted them all for himself. when other people would try to come into sacred chow, the giant-dwarf would kick them where it hurts. and he was so mean that he only let himself eat at sacred chow. the giant-dwarf ate so much food that he got so big that none of his clothes fit him. oh, he also really liked the brownie sundae w/ vanilla soy ice cream, sprinkles and chocolate sauce. he grew so big that his legs occupied the whole basement. he pushed the people out who lived in the two apartments upstairs so his arms could rest there. his body was in the kitchen and his head filled the whole dining room. luckily his tushie and pee pee fit neatly right into the bathroom. w/ his right eye he looked outside one day and across the street he saw a old lady w/ lots of pins and fabric. she was sewing a dress, and some snow hats and mittens. he could tell she was hungry, b/c she was very skinny. he was so big, bigger than a balloon, bigger than the empire state building. but he couldnt leave sacred chow b/c he didnt have any clothes that fit. he thought he'd make up a bargain with the old lady that if she made him new clothes, he would share his sacred chow with her. so he called to the lady across the street, and asked her if she'd agree to his bargain. b/c she was very hungry, and also loved sacred chow's seitan and tofu, she agreed.
turns out that the old lady could only make dresses, mittens and snow hats. but the bargain worked for the giant-dwarf and the old lady b/c the giant-dwarf always wanted to be a girl. one day the old lady and the dwarf had a nice picnic in central park. he wasnt exactly pretty, but his new dresses were, and the old lady made him all kinds of unusual dresses that other people really admired. the giant-dwarf felt loved. from that point on, he shared all of his seitan and tofu w everyone, and the old lady built a very successful dress business.
written by: huxley parker preefer-moore

all in a second

on the subway 2day, i sat next to a youthfully-dressed older man w thick, black cat-like whiskers on his upper ears, at least on his right one. at first, out of the corner of my eye, i thought it was a curl of his hair. it instantly reminded me of a fast-walking, gleeful man that i saw on a london street. i remember a beautiful woman was wrapped in his arms, and he had white eyebrows that elegantly protruded about 2 inches from his face. in another second, i watched 2 little girls, both in dresses w white socks and black shoes, twirling around a subway pole, singing and giggling 2gether. they appeared immersed in each others dance and pleasure. their little-girl laughter echoed through the car. the man next 2 me was enjoying the girls fun, and giggling 2, from his belly. the girls didnt notice. i saw him watching from another time: he was running w many of his friends, outside in the country. it was sunny and warm, i could smell sweet, fresh-cut grass, and feel a beautiful breeze. i saw lots of trees, mountains, lakes... i heard the freedom of children's laughter, and a wooden, screen door slam. all in a second.

2/16/09

Testing ye old blog

I've never done this before! 
It's maggie!
I finally made it, aren't you proud!?

2/14/09

yes vegan!

"Well ... the world needs crazy ideas to change things, because the conventional way of thinking is not working anymore."
an op-ed piece about a 2,100 mile journey in a plug-in electric car w/ rooftop solar panels.
let's innovate folks, and dare ourselves to be crazy enough to think we can change the world!
yes vegan!

2/13/09

ny times reports: "natural contaminants” in our food = bugs, mold, rodent hairs and maggots...

along w/ "insect filth,” “rodent filth” (both hair and excreta pellets), “mammalian excreta,” “rot,” “insect larvae and insect eggs...”

order a tomato juice cocktail and u get an additional: “10 or more fly eggs per 100 grams [the equivalent of a small juice glass] or five or more fly eggs and one or more maggots.” cheers! spread some tomato paste w a half a cup of pizza sauce onto toasted italian bread. sounds good so far. sure! why not! it provides 4 an even denser infestation — 30 or more fly eggs per 100 grams or 15 or more fly eggs and one or more maggots per 100 grams. but dont stop there, open up some canned mushrooms and throw 'em on the sandwich w/ “over 20 or more maggots of any size per 100 grams of drained mushrooms and proportionate liquid” or “five or more maggots two millimeters or longer per 100 grams of drained mushrooms and proportionate liquid” or an “average of 75 mites” before provoking action by the F.D.A..wow, now u got one super high protein hero! mama mia!

rest a little. okay time to eat again. here's a little sauerkraut on your hot dog, and if ur really lucky u'll get up to 50 thrips. and when ur washing down those tiny, slender, dirty, winged bugs with a sip of ur beer, you might consider that just 10 grams of hops could have as many as 2,500 plant lice. i know that's the taste u've always loved! skål, la chaim, nostrovia, salud!

here's a new meaning to spicing up ur food, curry powder is allowed 100 or more bug bits per 25 grams; ground thyme up to 925 insect fragments per 10 grams; ground pepper up to 475 insect parts per 50 grams. one small shake of cinnamon might give u more than 20 rodent hairs before being considered defective. shake it up baby!

peanut butter — that culinary cause célèbre — may contain approximately 145 bug parts for an 18-ounce jar; or five or more rodent hairs for that same jar; or more than 125 milligrams of grit.

i know u wanna know, so here u go: you’re probably ingesting one to two pounds of flies, maggots, mites, insect filth and rodent hair each year without even realizing it!

gimme a couple rat hairs-peanut butter sandwiches to go please! yo buddy, dont forget to throw in the bug parts and rodent filth too!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/opinion/13levy.html

2/12/09

come hither from yonder

nighttime,
the lights are off,
it's almost completely dark;
above the japanese shoji screen,
a quarter of the window shows,
illuminations shadowing through from the street onto the wall,
come hither from yonder.
it's mostly quiet,
wah, wah, wah, tv noise from somewhere,
shuffling feet, chair legs moving across a floor, heat pipes knocking about,
a car honking in the distance,
huxley is still awake,
he's talking out loud to himself:
ewww, the heart monsters,
they came from bloody island, ewww,
they live inside a shell from the biggest
to the ugliest, ewww...
the sweet, mellifluous sound of his "little boy" voice;
calming tonic, come hither from yonder.


2/10/09

פורים - come crank the gragger!

a purim, פורים, gragger, also called "ra'ashan", a noisemaker, is twirled, spun and cranked when the evil haman's name is mentioned during the reading of the megilla, as tradition dictates, 2 blot out the name of evil.

come crank up the noise at sacred chow's purim party, tuesday, march 10, 2009 , 14 adar, 5749. let's shout, laugh, hoot, holler, and shake the gragger 2 blot out evil 2gether.

the festival of purim celebrates the salvation of the jewish people in persia from evil haman's plot 2 destroy all of persia's jews in a single day.
the events of purim extended over a period of several years, culminating in the joyous victory celebrations of adar 14-15 of 356 b.c.e., now known as purim.

purim observances include:
a) reading of the megillah/book of esther. (esther was the great jewish queen, who despite the risk of certain death, convinced her king 2 save the persian jews from annihilation. the megillah recounts the story of this purim miracle).
b) giving 2 less fortunate folks. (gifts of money should be given 2 at least 2 people).
c) sending gifts of food to a friend. (at least two ready-to-eat foods to a minimum of one friend).
d) the purim feast @ sacred chow. (eat, drink, make music, elocute poetry and the story of esther).
e) reciting the al hanissim prayer, an invocation of miracles. a reverent petition of grace after meals on purim 2 thankfully and fortunately acknowledge the manifestation of divine intervention.

customs include dressing up in disguising costumes and eating traditional jewish-persian purim food. the well-known hamantashen, shaped like haman's hat, and mohntaschen, is always consumed, and the gragger is incessantly cranked at high speed. come crank the gragger!
the word tashen is derived from the german word taschen (pockets). mohntaschen is german for "poppy seed pockets" and was a popular jewish-german pastry. hamantaschen means "haman's pockets" and became a popular purim pastry. it was rumored that the evil haman's pockets were filled with bribe money. however, the most popular explantion of why jews eat this three cornered pastry on purim is that haman wore a three-cornered hat. eating an image of haman's hat is a delicious way to symbolically destroy his memory.

yum, yum, eat 'em up!

2/9/09

stuffing myself with vegan food

February 9, 2009 at 10:36 am
I spent about 10 hours on Saturday sitting on my ass. Seven hours were spent in a computer lab at the Fashion Insititute of Technology with Melea, my Social Networking guru who’s played a big part in the viral Facebook request ‘Can We Find 200,000 by Feb. 12th to Wish Darwin a Happy 200th Birthday?’, learning about web marketing, and the remaining hours were spent with a friend at Sacred Chow on Sullivan St. stuffing myself with vegan food (that gluten-free chocolate cake was awesome!).

2/8/09

the servers are so super nice.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

We went to Sacred Chow two mornings in a row for breakfast. This place is great and the servers are so super nice. I fell off the gluten wagon here with a biscuit breakfast sandwich. http://justtheonions.blogspot.com/

loved every morsel

New York, NY 2/7/2009

look, i am not a vegetarian. but sacred chow makes me crave veg/vegan food...it's a cool casual joint with some good healthy grub. i have been a few times... and loved every morsel that i shoveled into my carnivorous mouth. and the sake comes in a huge mug.... so extra star for that. Nik N.


2/6/09

Kyle was most attentive

My name is David I just relocated to NYC with a dance company and left my position as manager of Sage's Cafe in Salt Lake City, UT. Sage's is a locally owned, awesomely organic, vegan restaurant that has been open for over 9 years. I have the luxury of very cheap rent and am not looking for a lot of money right away. Right now I am working at a restaurant in mid-town that is sucking the life out of me. I would love any opportunity to work with you at Sacred Chow. I have experience cooking waiting etc.... I am also a visual artist, cellist and have an active role in our dance company as a performer and creative mind. I am willing to do anything to be out of the environment I am in now, and even if it is dishes for the next year I love working as long as it is for a good cause. I am not afraid of even the dirtiest of deeds.
I dined at Sacred Chow on Tuesday and was delighted. The space is perfectly relaxing, my spinach and shitake salad was amazing and Kyle was most attentive and professional.
Yours, happily
David

favorite spots...you're one of them!

Dear Sacred Chow:
NFT is pleased to announce that we've created a brand-new page on our website specifically dedicated to businesses in the Washington Square / NYU / NoHo / SoHo area. Here's the link: http://notfortourists.com/Hood.aspx/NewYork/WashingtonSquareNYUNoHoSoHo. These pages highlight our favorite spots in the Washington Square / NYU / NoHo / SoHo area, and you're one of them!

Best regards,
Lea Garrett
Not For Tourists

favorite places to eat

Vegan_Noodle said...
I"ve only been to NYC once, but here's what I liked...-stayed in Chelsea hotel, great location and lots of history at that place-favorite places to eat were: blossom cafe, red bamboo, atlas (for the desserts), sacred chow, candle cafe & 79, babycakes (hit up mooshoes, teany, and economy candy while you're there), and pure food & wine.
January 26, 2009 12:53 PM

a good shabbos

it's almost shabbos. a good friend of mine, symon, was supposed to come help me @ sacred chow today. sometimes, he can't get his day started until it's too late. i am feeling a little peeved w/ him, but i know letting go is everything with regard to almost everything. when i am nervous, anxious, doubtful, fearful, angry...w/ most situations, and i begin to feel out of sorts, i say to myself: today, right now, everything is just fine, so relax, let go, keep believing and be strong. u know what to do, and where to go when the need comes upon you to figure out any question. you will find the answer! yessss, breath deep, flow w/ the situation, be calm. it's easy, easier, simple, simpler, sunny, sunnier, happy, happier. symon's a real good friend of mine, he has my back, and g-d has his, and mine too, especially when my mind is clear and free.
it's almost shabbos, time to call symon and wish him a good shabbos.
all is fine, all is beautiful.

great sunday brunch

Anonymous said... As a vegan who has lived in New York for 7 years and eats out constantly, here are my suggestions:Candle 79 (a must), Blossom & Blossom Cafe, Angelica Kitchen, Pukk (all vegetarian thai food) Pongal (all vegetarian indian food) Benny's Burritos (great burritos- they have tofu, vegan cheese, vegan sour creme, etc.) Teany (great place for lunch or vegan desert + coffee) Tien Garden, Vegetarian Dim Sum House, Buddha Bodai- killer vegan cheesecake (these three are vegetarian chinese, last two are authentically chinese in Chinatown). Babycakes is great, I live nearby and go there all the time- I love their stuff. Sacred Chow and Wild Ginger, too- they are definitely great places to go as well- Sacred Chow has a great sunday brunch. January 26, 2009 6:57 PM

sacred chow = awesome

brunch at sacred chow = awesome

2/4/09

Recession Buster Specials!


OK. Sacred Chow's got a recession buster going. Print out the coupon attached here, and feel free to share it with your friends. There's 4 coupons in a sheet, so it's easy enough to print out one sheet, and pass along the other three to your friends. You can reuse the coupons if you want to. Come in, and enjoy the Recession Buster Specials. This buster expires on the 15 of April (tax day), so get to Sacred Chow and save and enjoy on us.

2/3/09

tofu cars

i was so proud of huxley tonight.
he read his kid newspaper all by himself.
he explained to me about how a tadpole metamorphosizes into a froglet.
yes, metamorphosizes into a froglet!
he was able to add and subtract somewhat complex math questions quite proficiently, as well as memorize his february wall words with great aplomb.
before bed we read little vignettes from aesop's fables. his questions were abstract and piercing. thereafter, he got his world globe and went wild on his indiana jones mission, disappeared into the bush of africa to destroy the bad guys.
time for bed hux, i said.
he turned off the light.
i said, you are so smart and clever!
and i told him how free his mind was, and that such freedom would allow him to help build a stronger, cleaner world.
and he said, so i can smash the cars so the polar bears can live.
and i said, how does that help the polar bears?
and he said, well, if i destroy the cars that are polluting the world, it will stop the north pole from melting, and help the polar bears live.
ah, i said, yes it would do that. but rather than smashing the cars, it would be great to help create a more efficient fuel to run cars that won't pollute the world.
and he said, so maybe we should fuel cars with tofu instead of gasoline.
we both giggled.
and you're a comedian too, i said.
sleep tight polar bears, hux is hope!

moving me to make changes

A Part-Time Vegan - Learning from Mark Bittman
Posted by A Gluten-Free Guide on February 1st, 2009
(Mark Bittman photos by: Gordon Ho)
I have a massive food crush on Mark Bittman. I love his simplistic approach to food and his acerbic wit. It was an episode of his show on PBS that inspired me to order the Florentine Steak during my visit to Montepulciano in Tuscany. So the irony is not lost on me that his new book, Food Matters moved me to try Vegetarianism for a week.As a yoga instructor, I have been surrounded by vegetarians. I love restaurants like Candle 79, Candle Café and Sacred Chow. I even dated a vegetarian briefly, but I never felt like I could give up meat. Well, last week I went to a reading/cooking demo/book signing with Mark Bittman. He outlined shocking figures about the source of calories our nation is consuming as a whole –12% from sweets/desserts, 8% from bread, rolls, crackers and 7% from soda alone. He also spoke of the horrific environmental and health impacts of U.S. meat production.
In order to lower his consumption of animal products he became a ‘part-time vegan’ two years ago. As he uttered the words I gasped! Mark Bittman, my food hero, was advocating a vegan diet of sorts? How could this be? I had been known to mock veganism as a socially acceptable version of anorexia…
Well, it turns out he only follows a vegan diet from dawn ‘til dusk and then eats whatever he wants at dinner, including meat, dairy, eggs etc. He isn’t advocating a vegan diet per se, but rather shifting our current consumption to “eat fewer animal products and more plants.” What works for him is to follow a vegan diet during the day and eat what he wants at night. I was intrigued. I took the book home with me and proceeded to devour it on a few extended subway rides.
While gradual changes to my diet and food choices have come from reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, this was my first foray into vegetarianism. I decided to give it a try for a week. (I contemplated veganism for about 2 seconds, but the siren call of eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt was too strong for me to resist.) I already subscribed to two of the basic tenets of the Food Matters diet – heavy on vegetables, low on processed foods. I just needed to get the ‘light on animal products’ part down.
It was an interesting experiment. I maintained my workout schedule and felt sustained until the end of the week. By Friday I was really craving protein though in theory I was getting enough from the beans, veggies and dairy I was consuming. One of the aspects of yoga I most appreciate is learning to listen to your body. I went out on Saturday and bought a big piece of fish to end my ‘meat fast.’ All in all – it was a valuable week. I learned that a savory breakfast of whole grains is delightful – sorghum and black beans with cumin, cilantro and a splash of almond milk was my favorite. I also discovered how ridiculously easy it is to make a homemade bean soup.
How will I take this into the future? I am going to make higher- quality protein choices when I can. I will buy wild fish rather than farm-raised and cut out meat on other nights. Ranch Gordo beans will be an even bigger part of my diet. Sorghum and quinoa will be appearing more often. Meat becomes a condiment – something to be savored and truly enjoyed when I do consume it but not the focus of my day-to-day meals. I am trying to be more conscious of the food choices I make. That may sound a little crazy since as a person with diabetes and celiac disease I am constantly aware of what I am eating, but I haven’t been truly conscientious of the broader environmental impact. For every person and family, the situation is different. . My friends and family all have different ways of approaching it. It’s important to find the balance that works for you. What works for me is different than what works for Mark Bittman, though I thank him for moving me to make changes, however small the impact.

chipping away at the marble stone searching for David

SOME THOUGHTS ON CHEFING

SACRED CHOW

Sometimes people ask me for help or suggestions about how to chef, or how to open a restaurant. Keeping in mind that this is extremely fleeting and personal, I will try to explain here everything that I believe about the love of cooking. I hope it is useful. It's what I've learned.

I believe that – if you are serious about chefing, or about any creative form of expression – that you should take on this work like a sacred calling. I became a chef the way other people become priests, rabbis, monks or nuns. I made a vow to bring Sacred Chow to life. I built my entire life around Sacred Chow. I didn’t know how else to do this. I didn’t know anyone who had ever become a chef. I had no connections to the world of cooking. I had no clue. I just began.

I went to The Natural Gourmet Cookery School, and began immediately working for many other restaurateurs. I found that I had my own unique culinary style, sense of discipline, work ethic, morals, drive, divine inspiration, and I didn’t really want to be working where the goal was less than conceptually changing global food consumption. Even if it wasn't going to happen this day, this week, this decade, I wanted the work to be to this end. So I went out on my own, and opened Sacred Chow. It was and is abundantly difficult work. I didn't know the first thing about growing a business. My moral culinary pulse was everything. I had to hire other folks to help run this endeavor, but none of them were coming from the same place. I was immediately viewed as an imperialist, not an artist or moral guide. A constant antagonism, "the tension of capitalism", as Karl Marx wrote, seemed to pervade their view of me. It was very disquieting. The underlying tug of Marx was everywhere. "He takes it all, and we're like his slaves". The truth was: I earned nothing, and I just wanted to share it all equally. Well, as we know, Rome wasn't built in a day, everything important takes time and understanding; and Sacred Chow is going on its 14 year, and I am still fastidiously chipping away at the marble stone searching for David. I have not seen his face, but I know that he is in there. Pieces of him reveal themselves, an elbow or a knee pop out, emerge, and I can hear him say, "I am here, I am here, keep chipping!" I've created 1,000's of my own low-carbon, plant-based recipes. I read and write constantly, collecting experiences, making mistakes, and forgiving myself over and over again. My life probably looks discombobulated to outsiders (not that anyone is looking that closely) but my experiences were a very deliberate effort to learn as much as I could about life, expressly so that I could build my food concept into Sacred Chow's philosophical purpose.

Back around the age of 28, I had started sending my creations to folks and businesses for tastings. My goal was to open Sacred Chow before I died. I read every cook book and cooking magazine I could get in my hands. I cannot explain exactly why I had the confidence to be a great chef. But I also thought: “Hey – somebody has to dream up these non-violent, earth balancing creations: why not me?” I didn’t like being rejected, but my expectations were low and my persistence, patience and hard work was high. (Again – the goal was to open Sacred Chow before death). And I was strong and healthy. It could never understand why people work so hard to create something beautiful, but then refuse to share it with anyone, for fear of rejection. Wasn’t that the point of the creation – to communicate something to the world? So get it out there! Send your work off to restaurants, global food brands, magazines and chefs as much as possible, feed it to your neighbors, family & friends, plaster your recipes on the subway walls – just don’t sit on your work and suffocate it. At least try. And when the big shots never answered, I'd take a deep breath and try again. I'd often hear people say, “If it only had pork, beef, chicken, cheese, eggs & milk for g-d's sake...” That’s quite possible. Probable, even. All I’m saying is: I know the moral argument for treating all life with awe and simplicity is the key to greater love, peace and kindness. Just don’t pre-reject yourself. That’s their job, not yours. Your job is only to cook your heart out, and let destiny take care of the rest.

The more important virtue for a chef, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your craft will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: “I’m going to create new recipes every Tuesday,” and then you won’t do it. You will think: “I'm a stupid, pathetic, horrible mess. I’m such a failure. I’m washed-up.” Continuing to create after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness (which comes from a place of kind and encouraging fatherly love). The other thing to realize is that all chefs think they're losers and pathetic. When I was building Sacred Chow, I had a very strong voice of I AM A LOSER ringing through my head as anyone does when they build anything. But I had a still moment of truth during the process. One day, when I was agonizing over how utterly low and miserable I felt, I realized: “That’s actually not my problem.” The point I realized was this – I never promised g-d that I would cook brilliantly; I only promised g-d that I would build Sacred Chow. So I picked my head up and moved through it, pursuant to my sacred vows.

I heard of a film maker, after years of struggling to get his films made, he sent a painfully anguished letter to his hero, the German filmmaker Werner Herzog. He complained about how difficult it is these days to be an independent filmmaker, how hard it is to find government arts grants, how the audiences have all been ruined by Hollywood and how the world has lost its taste... Herzog wrote back a personal letter to him that essentially ran along these lines: “Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.” I repeat these words back to myself whenever I start to feel resentful, entitled, competitive or unappreciated with regard to Sacred Chow: “It’s not the world’s fault that you want to build Sacred Chow…now get back to work.” Always, at the end of the day, the important thing is only and always that: Here I am now, right now, stop your inner saboteur from destroying your work, and get back to work. This is a path for the courageous and the faithful. You must find another reason to work, other than the desire for success or recognition. It must come from another place. At least try.

In the end, I love Sacred Chow. I have always loved this work. My suggestion is that you start with the love and then work very hard and try to let go of the results. Throw out your will, and then cut the line. Try, also, not to go insane or suicidal in the process. Insanity and/or suicidal thoughts is a very tempting path for most of us agonizing to finish our dreams, but we don’t need this in the world at the moment. We need beauty, love and kindness from non-violent creation, not more destruction. We need our chefs/artists more than ever, and we need them to be sane, happy, sincere, honorable and brave – they are our warriors, our hope. If you decide to cook, then you must do it, as Balzac said, “like a miner buried under a fallen roof.” Become a soldier, a force of diligence and faith. I don’t know how else to do it except that way. As the great American poet Jack Gilbert said once to young writer, when she asked him for advice about her own poems: “Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say YES.”

my lord

Posted on: Sunday, February 01, 2009
"Can't be beat!"
How I love the food at Sacred Chow - the soups are divine. Really. Most of the tapas (if they can get them to the table warm, even) are good or better than anywhere else. Sandwiches are really nice. Their brunch is my favorite in the city, next to V-Spot in Bklyn. Waffles, yum! Cafe con leche! I eat at Sacred Chow frequently... But my lord, the service! Part of the problem is the space, its too small for two waiters but too big for one. Oh wait.... Great place.

typical NY problem


Review by Melissa Bastian on January 31, 2009:
I have mixed feelings about Sacred Chow. Overall it's still on my personal top ten list. But there are definitely some problems.
I'll begin with the good. There are menu items that are out of this world, and which are not replicated anywhere else in the city. Examples: the root vegetable latkes, the sauteed shitake mushrooms (either in tapas or salad form), the peanut ginger soba noodles, and the sunflower lentil pate. And on their brunch menu, the Italian frittata is not to be missed. I have no idea what resemblance it bears to a "real" frittata since I didn't have one until after I became vegan, but regardless it's just freaking awesome. You can choose to have it served with a side of fruit salad, which is always absolutely gorgeous. I'm also a fan of the iced coffee wakeup smoothie; I always ask them to add their house-made chocolate sauce, and they always do. Ah, and do yourself a favor by checking out the daily specials; they are often unique and outstanding.
Ooh, and dessert! The brownie sundae, the cupcake, the chocolate cake, the sinner bar (!), and the nougatines are all excellent choices - that is, if you somehow have room left after your meal. In the colder months they also make the best vegan hot chocolate I have ever tasted.
Now for those problems I mentioned. It's a small place with a lot of tables crammed in, which is a typical NY problem. But the tables are extremely small, making two people getting three tapas plates each quite the logistical issue, even with the cool metal racks they sometimes come out on. The tables are also rather low and the tops quite thick, meaning that I (and doubtless others of the long-legged persuasion) bang a knee at least once per visit. The cumulative result is a very uncomfortable seating arrangement, particularly when the place is packed (and I mean PACKED) for brunch.
I still suggest that people go to Sacred Chow, but do so knowing that the food rather than the dining experience should be in the spotlight.

2/2/09

alone

ron sits on the front stoop, just 1 step up from the street,
inhaling a thin, brown colored-paper smoke,
fingers stained too.
my fingers occupied with fruit and pomegranate drink,
3 steps up into home,
in i go, out i come.
hands free,
a high five.
off to work.
15 hour later,
2 people standing, chatting 1 step up,
index and middle fingers pontificating
in clouds of exhalation.