Monday, April 5, 2010
Food, I love you.
Before I show you where I ended up....let's see where it all began. Our second-night seder was a success if I can say so. We had 9 guests and lots of food--brisket, charoset, matzah, gefilte fish, tsimmes, chicken, matzo ball soup, etc. Last week was absolutely crazy and not being able to eat bread made it even more insane.
Yasi brought some beautiful flowers that added some color to the table and I've been enjoying their scent ever since.
Last night we checked out a restaurant that was recommended by our classmate, Sheridan. SoGo is advertised as, "Market, Cafe and Takeout." I unfairly assumed it would be like Luby's or something, but it was so so good. I only got two pictures before Ben's iPhone died, so we'll just have to use our imagination here.
First off, the market has lots of little goodies you can buy to take home. I got some lavender soda water and banana butter--plus that delicious red velvet cake you can barely see in the carry out container. SoGo claims to use organic and sustainable products when possible, but bla bla bla, let's talk about the food! I ordered the PELT--a prosciutto, fried egg, lettuce and tomato sandwich on sourdough bread. It was so tasty! It was hearty and juicy, but somehow felt light. Ben got the braised pork loin with creamy polenta and cabbage. I'm not into mixing sweet with savory, but his dish was straight up good. The hummus we had as an appetizer was spot on as well--just the right kick of salty and zingy. It was quite the hike to get up to this Stone Oak cafe, but we'll definitely be making the trek again.
While I'm on the subject, we visited another Stone Oak eatery a few weeks ago. Cielito Lindo has a decent atmosphere with both a dining area and a lounge. The food and clientele were definitely authentic Mexican. I don't know enough about Mexican geography or Spanish language, but I know this food was more serious than the border area tex-mex food I'm used to eating and the Spanglish I'm used to hearing. I had chilaquiles and I think Ben ordered chicken fajitas (big surprise there). The food had an abundance of flavor and the temperature and textures were on point.
Here's another place I visited where the jury is still out---Green. This place is structurally and theoretically ideal, but I am not sure the final product really works. I brought my sister and dad to this place when they were in town because they are vegetarians. The boisterous manager greeted us and wouldn't stop chatting us up. My dad loves this kind of stuff and was egging the guy on, fist bumping and laughing/joking back and forth. Alyssa and I decided to get a "green machine" vegetable drink to start off. It straight up tasted like a burp. I mean I know it was our own fault for thinking a drink made of kale would taste delicious, but I know it's possible (hello Naked juices). I really wanted to get the Quinoa burrito, but I let that crazy manager talk me into getting the Carne Guisada, made with something called, "TVP". That's textured vegetable protein and it's weird.
I think Alyssa liked her fake meat Philly and my dad enjoyed his Portabella burger, but that carne guisada was NOT good. My dad ate up all that I couldn't stomach, but I think that stuff was only good to someone who hasn't eaten meat in a very long time. I can say with confidence, however, that the onion rings were delightful and the vegan cupcake (made from an outside bakery) was one of the best I've ever had. (And I'm very serious about my desserts).
The final straw with this manager (or maybe owner?) guy was what he was saying when an Orthodox Jewish family came in. We watched the people go wash their hands in the wash bins that were set out as part of the accouterments that make this place legally "kosher," and my dad started asking questions about the "koshering" process. Although my dad isn't Jewish, he obviously knows his stuff, being married to our Jewish mom for thirty-something years and raising us, but this guy didn't know that. He started saying, "oh boy are those people hard to please! I mean, I can please my mother-in-law and can't please them!" I guess he thinks all Jews are strict Orthodox Jews. All I have to say is, a guy who's trying to build a business catering to Kosher Vegetarians shouldn't be customer bashing while wearing an Arkansas Razorback embroidered on his shirt pocket. (If you are unaware, a razorback is a big ugly pig).