Archive | February, 2013

Soups On!

18 Feb

The past week I’ve been feeling a little under the weather, just like everyone else in the United States. I don’t know about you, but I like to eat a home-cooked meal when I’m sick simply because it just makes me feel good inside. That’s why schools in Japan are serving home-cooked lunches to their students, because it’s good for you! Sooooooo since I was feeling icky I decided that I wanted to get some home-made soup for lunch and that’s what I did.

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I went to Soups On! which is an awesome little family-owned restaurant that makes all their soups from scratch. One thing that I love about Soups On! is that their menu changes every day so it’s never exactly the same every time you go. I learned about this place from my friend Alex who has been going there with his mom for eight years. He raves about their French onion soup and eggplant sandwiches. When I told him I was thinking about going there because I felt sick he put that huge smile a 6-year-old on Christmas morning would have, ran into the kitchen and pulled out an eggplant sandwich out of the refrigerator and said, “I WAS JUST THERE!”
He was so excited that I was going he shouted, “Let me know when you go, dude! I love that place, it’s so cheap!”

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I decided to drag my boyfriend, Conor, with me again because I get great satisfaction out of him actually liking vegetarian food. When I told him that he had to get something vegetarian he sighed and said, “Do I have to?” I assured him that he could have meat for dinner so then he gladly went along.

Conor decided to get the vegetarian Tomato Mushroom Bisque and I got the vegan Wild Rice Sweet Potato Corn Chowder. Both of them were super yummy (mine was better) and they were only $5 each.

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The atmosphere of the restaurant is great. It feels like you’re walking into your best friend’s apartment. There are hardwood floors and lots of stair cases and all the condiments are on the fireplace mantel which gives it a homey feel. Everyone who’s in there is always super nice. Conor and I walked up to the 3rd floor and there was a couple eating lunch and right as we sat down they shouted, “Welcome guys have a seat, join us for lunch!”
The owners at Soups On! are all really friendly too. I spoke to one of the owners, Kevin, who was repping his hometown by wearing a Ravens scarf and welcomed us in with a smile. He let me know that all of the soups are light on sea salt so they only have a little sodium in each meal which is healthier. Kevin also told me that all their produce is found locally and if he can’t find what he wants locally then he gets it shipped in from California.

One last thing that makes Soups On! one of my favorite places to eat is Ok Natural Food Store is located right underneath the restaurant. Ok Natural Food Store is where I get most of my groceries so both of those places are a great one-stop-shop!

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One World Cafe

8 Feb

While dragging my feet around the house this morning, pondering about what to do on my day off, I hear my boyfriend’s roommate, Billy, talking about his most recent OkCupid date. The dating site has recently been getting controversial news coverage so the conversation caught my attention. I hear Billy say, “The atmosphere is nice. I mean the coffee sucks but the booze is cheap and the food is good when you’re drunk.” When I inquire about where this positive atmosphere-crappy coffee-cheap booze-good food-first blind date-kind of place is, he tells me “One World Café, I take all my dates there.” One World Café has been on my BmoreVeggie radar lately so, taking Billy’s mentioning of the café as an omen, I decided that checking it out would have to be how I spent my day off.

After I convinced my meat-loving boyfriend, Conor, to come with me to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant my adventure to 100 W University Pkwy began.

Once I walked in I could easily understand why Billy would take his dates here. The atmosphere is very inviting. The walls are painted with calming blues and mellow yellows that accent the painted tapestries covering each wall. The main entrance opens up into a café/lounge area with comfy worn-in couches and sets of tables and chairs that you would expect to see in your grandmother’s kitchen. (That’s a good thing in my book) Past that lounge area is the bar that when I entered was full of people who turned and smiled as if welcoming us to their everyday-after-work-hang-out spot. Past the bar area is a more formal sit-down restaurant area filled with wooden benches covered in intricate pillows. Although that room seemed fun, I chose to stay in the bar because it seemed to be the cool place to be.

Our waiter Christopher had black thin hair that went down to his cheekbones and a nose piercing with a small silver hoop through it. He wore skinny blue jeans and black books with inch heels that clicked every time he stepped onto the unfinished floor. He clicked his way over to our table carrying two glasses of water, set the waters and two menus down and then said, “Is everyone having a wonderful day today?” We replied and he then cheerfully said “Well, hopefully I can make it even better.”

Jumping on the opportunity to get some information about the place, I asked him if he could give me some deets about the background on the café. Gladly, he proceeded to tell me how it’s been around for about 10 years and how he’s been here for the majority of that time. He elaborated on how great the cliental were at the café saying, “ I know a lot of musicians, professors, business men and students that all hang here.  It’s a good mix.”

I looked at the menu and was pleasantly surprised to see low prices, nothing exceeding $13.95, tons of variety and I loved how it was clearly labeled letting me know what items were vegan and which were not. There were items on the menu ranging from hummus to soy cheese quesadillas to vegetarian Philly cheese steaks (Christopher’s recommendation).  I decided to try the vegetarian meatball sub and Conor decided to try the vegan red bean and mixed vegetable jambalaya. ATTN: Conor eats meat with every meal (which isn’t very healthy) so this vegan dish was a tad out of the box for him.

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When our meals arrived I immediately noticed how fresh everything looked so I asked Christopher where the produce comes from for One World Café. He replied with, “Usually East Coast Organics but whatever’s fresh and good.”

Let me tell you- it was good. My sub was HUGE but the tofu meatballs weren’t too tofu-ey and the marinara sauce passed my stuck-up-Italian-standards. Conor loved his jambalaya. He boasted how perfectly spiced it was and how the rice to veggie ratio was spot on.  I’m not really a fan of spicy food but when I go back to One World Café I wouldn’t be surprised if I ordered the jambalaya for myself, that’s how good it was.

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The check plus a $5 tip was $31.05, which included Conor’s beer, his entrée and my entrée. Not too bad right?

When we were leaving Christopher let me know that all their vegan desserts are made fresh in house because they have their own bakery, that they have a taco Tuesday special and brunch all day on Sundays. Vegan desserts? Vegetarian tacos? All-day brunch? Yes please to all of the above. I’ll be back there for sure.