Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Candle Cafe Frozen Foods

When I first heard Candle Cafe was going to create their own frozen dinners my ears perked up. I've been to Candle 79 and I have to say they make some of the most amazing food in the world. How that would translate to the frozen world I wasn't sure. So over the course of four days I tried each of the new dinners: Macaroni & Vegan Cheese, Tofu Spinach Ravioli, Seitan Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce and Ginger Miso Stir-Fry. These can only be found at Whole Foods as they are the exclusive retailer. Well, let's get down to it!

Macaroni & Vegan Cheese- I liked it! If you know Daiya (pronounced DAY-YA, git with it people!!!) like I do, then you'd know instantaneously that the cheese is Daiya. It's not a problem for me, but it is interesting that they don't mention it on the package. I did have a problem with the fact that it was creamy on one side and liquidy on the other (*probably due to the fact I didn't stir the dinner as instructed). I'm not sure if it's like that in all the Mac dinners but it was a tad weird. What I loved was the spiral noodles and the flavor. I guess it depends on how you feel about Daiya. If you don't like it, this is a no-go, if you do then you'll probably like this dinner.

Tofu Spinach Ravioli- Again, the first thing you'll notice is the Daiya sprinkled on top of the ravioli. What I enjoyed about this dinner is that the ravioli was nice and tender. I also enjoyed the taste of the raviolis mixed with the red sauce and cheese. It's a nice change of pace from your typical frozen dinner. I'd totally buy this one again.

Seitan Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce- I wasn't feeling the Seitan Piccata at all. The seitan was a little rubbery and the rice was dry. (*The rice was probably dry because I didn't stir the dinner as instructed). The sauce was overpoweringly lemony and oddly sweet. I actually had this dish at Candle 79 so this was really disappointing.

Ginger Miso Stir-Fry- I don't love strong ginger flavors, but despite that, I thought this dinner was ok. The tofu was tasty and the rice was moist. Would I ever buy it again, though? Probably not.

Candle Cafe has the impossible task of making these frozen dinners live up to their reputation. I enjoyed the cheesy dinners but the inclusion of Daiya is an interesting and possible controversial choice. The portions seem smaller than other frozen dinners and the meals seem to be directed at health conscious buyers. So bottom line, I think if you are on a diet and you want a good tasting Vegan meal, these Candle Cafe dinners are a decent choice. But if you are hoping these dinners are going to save you a trip to Candle Cafe or Candle 79, you are sadly mistaken.

* I'm lazy.


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