More food with philosophy — I love it!
This afternoon, I met up with six girls from college for linner. Rooms and Elise were in town for the weekend from DC, and Pamela (who happens to be vegan) came up from Delaware. And, of course, the typical Brooklyn four were in tow: Gina, Kate, Kareen, and me.
Due to Pamela’s veganness, I suggested we meet at Angelica Kitchen, a restaurant that, according to the menu, uses “first quality, sustainably grown ingredients often served to you less than 48 hours after harvest.” Sounds good to me!
In addition, Angelica Kitchen uses “no preservatives, no dairy, no eggs, no animal products whatsoever.” This description did produce some grumblings from the serious meat-eaters in the bunch, but everyone was a good sport and agreed to give it a go. As Rooms said, “If I don’t like it, I’ll just go get a corned beef sandwich afterwards at Katz’s Deli.”
Pamela started with a miso soup that came with whole grain bread and carrot-ginger spread:
I did not try the soup, but the bread plus spread … oh my goodness! I kept sneaking crumbs and licks when Pamela wasn’t looking, haha. The bread was very moist, and I could see the individual grains:
For her main meal, Pamela ordered the Dragon Bowl, a plate of steamed butternut and kabocha squash, chickpeas, tofu, brown rice, and sea vegetables (aka seaweed):
I had bites of each of item on there (and brought a few bites home that Pamela couldn’t finish). It was all tasty, wholesome food … but also very unseasoned. Sometimes simple is better, but I think this dish could have used some zap! Also, the texture of the seaweed was pretty mushy — it didn’t have that chewy crunch of the seaweed salad you get at a Japanese restaurant. It was just ok.
Kareen, Kate, and Rooms got the Saturday’s Salad: a black bean salad with butternut squash, red onions, celery, carrots, cauliflower, and mesclun greens, tossed in a cumin-scented vinaigrette and served with toasted pumpkin seeds & corn tortilla chips.
I did not try any of this, but I did bring home what Rooms couldn’t finish! Actually, I did eat one black bean from the bowl, and I loved it.
I should also note that Rooms initially wanted to order the Still Salad — colorful whole grain basmati rice paella featuring heirloom white bordal beans, roasted button mushrooms, green peppers, kabocha squash, cauliflower, carrots, sea palm, olives, and capers; topped with saffron tofu aioli and served with tomato compote — but Angelica was out of it!! Rooms was pretty bummed. She got a side of cornbread to make up for it:
The cornbread was delicious — even the skeptics agreed :-).
Gina ordered the Warm Roasted Vegetable Salad: a seasonal selection of warm roasted vegetables tossed with arugula in a balsamic vinaigrette and garnished with garlic crostini spread with creamy hummus.
I have no doubt that Gina is going chime in here with a diatribe of her own, so just to give an overview, she liked the hummus and that’s about it. Gina’s biggest complaint about this meal was the lack of vegetables, and I have to say I see her point. Five little pieces of roasted squash and carrot, however delicious, does not constitute a satisfying meal!
Elise ordered the Norimaki: six pieces of rolled vegetable sushi, served with wasabi, pickled ginger and lemon-shoyu dipping sauce.
I did not try this dish, either — mostly because Elise made pretty quick work of it :-). Guess she liked it!
The star of the linner, however, was obviously my Man of Lemon-cha: charmoula baked tempeh with cilantro, cinnamon, lemon, paprika, cayenne, and cumin; served with cashew-orange sauce and a millet-teff mix; accompanied by minted cucumber spears, roasted sweet potatoes, and green beans.
Oh. my. goodness. Everything about this meal was a success!! Perfect flavors, textures, everything :-D. After I ate the cold things (cucumber and frisee), I chopped the rest and mixed it all together with the delectable cashew-orange sauce. Soooooo good. Before I saw the food, I had planned to make the cut and box half to take home, but it ended up being the absolute perfect size to satisfy my post-run hunger.
While the skeptical end of the table started making plans to go to Ben & Jerry’s after the restaurant, Pamela, Kate, and I enthusiastically pored over the dessert menu. We decided to split two treats among the three of us.
Dessert #1 was coconut cheesecake with coconut crust and carob sauce:
This cheesecake was decent, mostly thanks to the carob sauce. I loved the crust — it was thick and dense and had that “healthy cookie” taste to it — but the cheesecake itself was a little too jello-like. I’ve had vegan cheesecake before that’s been cheesier and more New York-style, but this one didn’t really cut it for me.
Dessert #2 was the vanilla layer cake with strawberry filling and hazelnut frosting:
Now this cake was definitely a winner! It was moist and dense, and the strawberry later in the middle was subtle but came through just enough. The best part, though, was the hazelnut frosting, hands-down:
Mmmmmmm! My mouth is kind of aching just thinking about it.
I definitely enjoyed my Angelica Kitchen experience, although not all of the ladies were as enthusiastic. While my meal was the epitome of perfection, the food overall seemed hit or miss in terms of both taste and portion-size. I would go back again, but only if someone else were paying ;-).