Vegan New England, Part 4: The Red Lentil
Do you see that? The billboard right outside of our cheap motel in Foxboro, Massachusetts. “Go Vegan!” Well, what do you know. This billboard, part of Peta‘s “Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Vegan.” campaign was a nice siting. Nicer than the true but kinda offensive Save the Whales campaign that takes aim at overweight ladies.
We had one more day in Boston… and it was a Monday. Mondays are bad days for the traveling hungry; it seems like every restaurant takes a break on Monday. We treked through the convoluted weaving of Boston proper hoping for lunch at Pulse Cafe, an all-vegan eatery in the food-heavy area of Somerville, just North of Cambridge, only to be disappointed. Turns out I had jotted down the wrong hours in my travel log and we’d have to go without their cashew cheese-ed dishes I was looking forward to. We then hit Fiore’s Bakery in the Jamaica Plain area. I had gotten a taste of their goodies when I attended the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival in November of ’08 (see here). They were open but their vegan selection consisted of big, burnt-looking chocolate chip cookies and brown muffins of some sort–all very 90’s vegan-looking (i.e. not too tasty). I opted not to buy and headed to lunch at Red Lentil Vegetarian Restaurant… back in Somerville.
It’s exhausting driving around Boston. The lay of the city streets makes no sense to me. I needed a quick sweet fix before a good lunch. Do you know about China Cola? It’s made by Reed’s, most known for their ginger beer (and their morning-sickness ginger tonic), and it’s kind of great. It’s made with Chinese tonics and elixrs like Szechwan Peony Root and Cassia Bark, Malaysian vanilla, the oils of lemon, lime & orange, as well as nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and licorice. Unlike the Reed’s ginger brews, which are sweetened with fructose, it’s sweetened with raw cane sugar. I like it!
Traveling with someone who isn’t real interested in food, I was forced to cover the entire table with my dishes. For an appetizer I had the sesame-encrusted seitan strips with the side of mind-blowing sweet miso-horse radish dressing. What a kick that horseradish gives! The seitan chunks were very, very good though a bit dry. After being soaked in horseradish, they softened up a bit. Can I say horseradish again? Horseradish. This dipping sauce will not soon leave my memory. I want to coat the world with it!
Oh boy, were these amazing. The Sweet Potato Quesadilla: roasted sweet potatoes, grilled asparagus, roasted plum tomatoes, spinach and vegan Daiya jack cheese. Like the name states, the sweet potato is the true star here. I was relieved the vegan jack wasn’t too much, just barely there. These quesadilla were the perfect combination of flavors and textures… no sogginess and easy to handel. Dare I say… perfect? I could eat these everyday.
I had to get dessert. When would I be back? Not anytime soon. I had to try their house-made cake. I opted for the chocolate-strawberry cake: a triple layer cake super saturated with flavor and pieces of strawberry. The chocolate icing was very creamy and not overly sweet. I wished I would have known that the strawberry cake was drizzled heavily with raspberry sauce as I am not a fan. But overall, a nice sweet bite.