Lunching with Sal at the Candle Cafe in New York City

On the east side of 3rd Avenue just south of 75th Street

After over 300 consecutive daily blogs, I had the privilege of meeting one of the most frequent visitors and commenters on my website — Mr. Salvatore Liggieri of Queens, NY. Driving back to CT from a funeral of a dear friend in New Jersey, I took a side trip through Manhattan on Thursday and asked Sal to join me for lunch at my favorite vegan restaurant in New York — the Candle Cafe at 75th and 3rd Avenue.

While dining on a special plate of four sides with two sauces, we covered a multitude of topics — all related to our mutual interest in the power of plant-based nutrition to change the world; beginning with our own health. Founder Bart Potenza stopped by our table and greeted us — thanking me for introducing Sal, a 30-year vegan, to his Candle Cafe for the very first time.

Sal, a newly-wed in his mid-80’s, exhibits the energy and vitality of a man half his age; well-tanned, trim and full of life. We had a wonderful time talking about our own good fortune in learning about plant-based eating early enough in our own lives to do some good. But, as you may know from reading Sal’s comments on this site, he has been disappointed that none of of his extended family has followed him down the path of healthy eating; even after he took three of them for a ten-day visit to Dr. John McDougall’s health center in Santa Rosa, CA.

A candid shot of Sal as he ponders the extensive menu

And I told Sal about how I became so interested in diet and my plans for the future in terms of my work as an activist in promoting the host of global benefits associated with the widespread adoption of plant-based eating in the Western world. There wasn’t enough time to cover everything, so we’ll have to make schedule more lunches in the future.

We both know that we have a steep mountain to climb and realize that the majority of people will not follow our lead until they are forced by price, scarcity or both. But, we know that we are making a difference; we are both reaching people who are ready to hear our message and we are both doing our part to make the world a better place.

So what did we eat? I feasted on a magnificent combination of sautéed broccoli, seaweed medley, vegetable/quinoa and grilled tempeh — with two very tasty sauces for dipping on the side. Sal also ordered the special “four sides” as we shared a most enjoyable, delicious and nutritious holiday luncheon in the Big Apple. And very reasonable — lunch for two with tip for about $40. By the way, this “side dish method” works quite well in most good restaurants; just request no oil, salt, butter or cheese and you can have a healthy, reasonably-priced, 4-Leaf meal almost anywhere.

As we were finishing up, I told Sal about the Candle’s sister restaurant around the corner on 79th, just east of Lexington. It is called the Candle 79 and is a little more upscale with white tablecloths and a more extensive menu. I suggested that he might wish to take his much younger wife (an actress) there for dinner sometime.

Christmas in New York -- my favorite time of the year in the city

After a delightful 90 minutes of dining and conversation, Sal and I said our goodbyes at the corner of 74th and 3rd Avenue as we had both been lucky enough to find free parking places in the middle of New York City during the holidays — Amazing.

I look forward to seeing Sal’s comments soon about the food and our discussion at the Candle Cafe. One more thing, if you’d like to order the new Candle 79 cookbook — Click here to order on Amazon. I have one on my coffee table and highly recommend it. I will probably give it to my daughter-in-law, who will transform a few of their 3-Leaf meals into 4-Leaf sensations. Click here to visit her new page on this site — under the 4-Leaf tab.

Merry Christmas Sal — to you and your family!

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page.

And if you like what 4-Leaf eating is doing for you and your family, you might enjoy visiting our new “4-Leaf Gear” store. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

J. Morris Hicks, author and activist. Working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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2 Responses to Lunching with Sal at the Candle Cafe in New York City

  1. Lunch with J. Morris Hicks at the Candle Cafe:

    Candle Cafe: Modest restaurant, modest prices, superb vegan food. I was delighted in the high quality of the food, served in a festive manner, with no salt and no oil, and delicious.

    J. Morris Hicks: There is nothing modest about Jim. He is a visionary whose time has come. Meeting him was a pleasure that I won’t forget. Tall, slender, charismatic , I was intrigued by his life story. An unknown, with no medical or nutrition credentials, he wrote the definitive book on plant based diets. He wrote the book, got it published, listed on Amazon: A remarkable accomplishment! Since I read the book I have been preaching that there is a new guru in the plant foods movement.

    His enthusiasm and optimism is infectious: change will come to the world; people will see the truth; plant food will be the way. And all animals including man shall live in harmony with mother earth, in good health, bountiful joy, a natural life span.

    sligg (eat more broccoli)
    Sal Liggieri

  2. Denise says:

    Great story – thanks! I am wondering – is it fairly easy to leave the oil out of the recipes in the Candle 79 cookbook? I have a lot of vegan cookbooks, and really shouldn’t buy another! But maybe…

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