What: The New York City Marathon + Dinner at Candle 79
Where: New York City, NY
When: November 2, 2008
Why: To support one of my favorite running buddies and one of my favorite restaurants
The Scoop: With the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival in the books, I hightailed the stolen minivan back to New York in preparation of one more trip into The Big Apple. The bookends of this trip have been the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, and today’s New York City Marathon in … well … see if you can figure that out for yourself.
Marathon runners are addicts, something that cannot be explained, only experienced. My friend, colleague, fellow publisher, Lantern Books co-founder, and VegNews' Spiritual Advisor Martin Rowe, was entered in today’s NYC Marathon. I felt obliged to show him some support, much the same way Noelle had for me a week earlier. Yes, Noelle is also an experienced marathoner, so we are all cut from the same vegan cloth.
Taking the train to my birth borough of Brooklyn, I had Martin’s game plan tattooed on me, and my fingers crossed that he would be where he said he would be at certain times. He’s precise like that. Well, Martin must have been under the influence when he sent out his guidelines, since he proposed we meet him on 5th Avenue when the race was being run down 4th. Runner's high, perhaps? Nevertheless, adjustments were made and positions staked out. With nearly 40,000 people entered in the race, and millions of spectators lining the course, finding someone in this sea of humanity would be about as easy as getting Sarah Palin to eat a veggie burger. Ah, try we must.
I knew other members of Martin’s inner circle were supposed to be at this same point, yet I could not find them. Still, with his schedule running on time, there’s Martin a few yards up finding a friend among the spectators and giving her a big hug. I snapped a few photos before he saw me, and when he did a large smile flashed across his face. Next, he proclaims, in his proper Brit accent, “Where is my wife? Why can’t she ever … ” before Mia materialized from the sidelines, just a few feet away, video camera rolling. Martin does a quick change of shirts—the photos of which I promise not to post—M & M hug, and off he goes. But you can see for yourself by watching Mia’s home movie, should you desire.
A little explanation might be offered here regarding Martin’s outburst. You see, he was running the race for the second year in a Rowe, and last time Mia wasn’t at the appointed places at the appropriate times. Or if she was, she was on the wrong side of the road. You get the picture. In the 2007 race they didn’t once connect. So this year things were already off to a much better start. And so was Martin.
While riding the subway to rendezvous point #2, I had one of those experiences that could only happen in New York. I met a gentleman from Holland, supporting his son, and a pair from Arizona, supporting his wife/her sister. They needed help navigating the NYC subway system, so we all hopped the train together and I got them to where they needed to be. By the time we arrived at First Avenue in Manhattan some 45 minutes later we were all old friends. My old friend Martin, on the other hand, was having a great race on a picture-perfect running day and I soon concluded that he must have been ahead of schedule. Time to hightail it to Central Park.
The next meeting point on Martin’s schedule was the east entrance to the park, on 93nd Street, 24 miles into the marathon. While I didn’t see him, I did see two other friends, A/R lawyer Amy Trakinski and her companion dog Snowman. She had just seen Martin whiz by—yes, Amy has marathon experience as well—so off we went to the steps of the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West to meet up with the athlete post-race.
Before I forget, Martin was running the marathon as a fundraiser for three charities, the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary; a secondary school in Juba, the southern capital of Sudan; and the Small Planet Fund. To read Martin’s blog, learn more about what these charities mean to him, and make a donation to one or all three of them, click here. Or watch the video of Martin's post-race pimping.
The race now over, Martin found us at the museum, where shortly thereafter Mia arrived. Martin ran a very respectable 3:37:45, taking 21 minutes off his 2007 time. Congratulations, Mr. Rowe!
VegNews Publisher Joseph Connelly and Satya Magazine/Lantern Books
co-founder Martin Rowe show off their marathon hardware
co-founder Martin Rowe show off their marathon hardware
Before departing, Amy and Snow walked us to Café Blossom, where M & M refueled. I had a cup of tea then headed off to dinner at the amazing Candle 79, meeting up with my friends Florine and Saul Morrison from London, Ontario, and their daughter Florine Jr., who would be starting an internship at Candle the next day.
As always, the food at 79 was over-the-top delicious. If you aren't hungry, you will be after I indulge you in our indulgences. For starts, how about Grilled Seitan Chimichurri, Onion Rings with Chipolté Aioli, some Cornmeal Crusted Eggplant Napoleon, or the Special Jerusalem Artichoke Salad? Our main courses included Live Zucchini Enchiladas, Grilled Pomegranate Tempeh, and the Porcini Crusted Tofu. Saul was into side dishes: Grilled Oyster Mushrooms, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Maple Roasted Squash, and a huge portion of Polenta Fries (nobody could eat all of one). Yes, we then stuffed ourselves silly with the Key Lime Pie Tart and the Chocolate Brownies Sundae before management decided to treat us to a trio of House Made Sorbets and Ice Cream: Strawberry, Cinnamon, and White Peach.
Candle 79's Grilled Pomegranate Tempeh
In case you are wondering, any weight I might have lost when I ran my marathon on October 26 (remember that posting?) was quickly been put back on during this week. And yes, the food at Candle 79 is as good, nay better, than the above paragraph sounds. There aren’t enough adjectives in my dictionary to do justice to the final supper of my October Marathon Surprise.