Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Metro North, Princeton NJ

This will be a quick post, as I'm packing and preparing to leave tomorrow for Bali and Australia, but I wanted to let you know about the lovely experience I had at Metro North Restaurant in Princeton, NJ last week. My cousins had raved about the place, and the menu seemed to have some veganizable items, so off we went. The atmosphere is cozy despite the fact that it is a HUGE space, with a fireplace, dim (but not too dim) lighting, and tables spaced far enough away from each other that you don't feel like your intruding on your neighbor's meal. And, indeed, there is vegan food to be had....

Nothing is inherently vegan except the mixed greens salad, which (of course) I had. It was a good salad, but not great. Whatever, I got my greens. What was great, however, is the Mediterranean Platter. When you take away the feta and focaccia crisps (both not vegan) it becomes roasted red pepper hummus with olive tapenade, crackers, and veggies.... but it's still really good I swear!

Even more delicious was my pizza (sans cheese of course) with mushrooms. Really nice sauce and good quality olive oil make all the difference here. I know that cheeseless pizza and hummus and high on the list of things vegans hate ordering in omni restaurants, but Metro North's versions may change a few minds. My husband also really liked his roasted portobello sandwich with a side of broccoli rabe instead of potato salad.

Anyway, Metro North is a lovely place to eat well with others in NJ. I'm off to finish packing. I look forward to sharing all the vegan goodies I discover in Bali and Australia when I'm back at the end of January. Meanwhile, have a mightily happy new year, everyone! Eat well!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My New Love, Samovar Tea Lounge

A while ago, there was a Groupon for Samovar Tea Lounge. I scoped the menu online, decided it was vegan-friendly enough and then proceeded to forget all about it. Meanwhile, a vegan friend of mine who is more on top of her game snatched it up, went, and told me all about what I was missing. I was jealous at first, but then happy to know that there is even more good vegan food in San Francisco that I was previously aware of. Plus, it comes with tea!

Needless to say when they ran another Groupon recently, I was on it, and last weekend the husband and I tried it out. That is my incredibly mellow and lovely mint tea, above, which was served as part of their "Moorish Service", easily veganized by switching out the cheese for tofu. Check it out:

Ok these crazy bad phone pics do this food no justice, so forgive me. Next time I'll bring a real camera. Anyhoo, up front you see their super-flavorful marinated tofu over greens with a tarragon vinaigrette. In the middle are the two dishes of roasted eggplant (to make up for the lack of yogurt it normally comes with) and one dish of hummus. The hummus was just alright but the eggplant had a deep and rich smoky flavor I loved. The crackers this meal was served with were also quite tasty, and the meal was rounded out with two mint-stuffed dates. The entire experience - from food to service to ambiance - was just wonderful, and I'm already looking forward to going back and trying some of their other vegan options. To note: I went to the location in Hayes Valley and each outpost has a slightly different menu, so just check online before you go.

In other news, the holidays are closing in like something that closes in really fast, and between my parents visiting and us traveling to Bali and Australia, I may not get to write for a while. I'll still be posting regularly over at Vegan Favorites, though, so stay tuned over there. Here's hoping you have a wonderful holiday season - full of laughter, love, and eating well!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ubuntu, Now Closed

I was lucky enough get into Ubuntu for dinner on the last weekend they were open. They officially closed for the winter on November 21st, so even though I've been to Ubuntu a ton(including an amazing meal this past May, I feel compelled to share this last little ditty with you, lest they never reopen their doors. But, they will, I hope, because veg dining inNapa has never had it so good. A quick rundown of our last supper:

Olives and almonds. Always on the menu, always incredible. This time was no exception.

Thai curry coconut soup. My second most favorite course of the evening. This really popped
with authentic Thai flavor. Well done, Ubuntu.

Roasted beet and fennel art. As tasty as it is pretty.

The infamous "Garden Snake" salad. So lightly dressed it can be off-putting to those who haven't tasted their veggies naked, but I LOVE it.

And there it is folks, the best thing on the whole darn menu, always. The Rancho Gordo bean stew. I dare you to find a bean stew you love more anywhere on the planet. So savory and rich and wonderful... it's just crazy how good it is. We asked for more. And by we I mean my husband who guarded his extra bowl with his life until he had slurped up every last drop. Lucky dude.

Roasted butternut squash and house-made focaccia bread. A new fall classic. But it's no bean stew. :)

Dessert this time was terribly underwhelming. This hodgepodge of veggies was more savory than sweet and screamed, "We didn't plan for a vegan dessert on our second-to-last night of being open." Oh well, the rest of the meal made up for it.

So there you have it - no more Ubuntu postings until they reopen, folks. Up next? I fall completely head-over-heels in love for a vegan tea service. Stay tuned!