Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Forgot To Tell You About M.O.B.!

Sometimes the quantity of my blogpost drafts gets a little overwhelming (woe is me) and one or two fall between the cracks.  That's my only excuse for forgetting to tell you about M.O.B., Maimonide of Brooklyn.

The restaurant is as unique as their story

The indoor dining area is pretty tremendous, with appealing communal seating that not only fosters a genial atmosphere, but also makes terrific use of the space.  Tip: cutlery and napkins can be find in the drawers of your table.  There is also a spacious and inviting bar area if you prefer, or, a table-top Pac-Man.

if this hat could tell a story...
The outdoor space was also large, but a little generic; given the high bar set by unique aesthetic of the dining room, it has a way to go to catch up.

One of the walls is in homage to the fallen: adorned by mounted fruits and vegetables!

Fare thee well, Mr. Pepper.

The menu isn't terribly lengthy, but most of the items are vegan.  Check online for ingredients or tell your server if you're vegan; some items contain honey.

It comes presented inside a comic book, which is great if you're dining alone and aren't feeling sociable.

Phew; onto the grub. 

If you dine during weekend brunch, prepare to be served delicious, complimentary cinnamon buns!

All other times, there are kale chips.  You might not be surprised to hear that I prefer the rolls; the chips were a little oily for my taste.

For an appetizer, a friend and I shared the quinoa salad: quinoa salad with lime juice, olive oil, mixed with scallion, mint leaves and jalapeno. Topped with baby candy beets, fresh avocado, toasted punpkim seeds and toasted cumin seed.  Fresh and light; this is the type of thing I always intend to prepare at home over a bed of greens, but never do. 

I was happy that another friend let me try her corn soup: popcorn, curry, sea salt, corn, miso, soymilk; it was really one of the best soups I've ever had: definitely on my must-order list for next time.  I heard a rumor that they were serving it chilled for the late summer months, but I would imagine that it's excellent at any temperature.

Since it was my first visit, I had to get one of their eponymous M.O.B.s; I chose the iron man: roasted shiitake mushroom, sautéed kale, horseradish aioli, parsley.  My friend had the same, and they were served together (but separate) in a cool, Brooklyn Bridge-shaped, metal tray.

Don't mistake this for a pizza; the idea may be similar, but the elements are much more unique.  The crust (yes, it's edible) is unlike any "bread" I've every tasted and, along with the shiitakes I don't normally gravitate to, managed to work very well with the ingredient combination: especially the rich, hollaindaise-like sauce.

Another friend had the brunch pancakes.

photo credit: JD Gut
And the only other non-repeat order of our clan was this eggplant sandwich that I think may also have been a brunch special that day.

photo credit: BYOL
It's a bit difficult to succinctly and/or adequately describe the seemingly non-cohesive cuisine at M.O.B., but as we told the couple who were considering going in as our group was headed out, "It's really different and really good."  I bid you the same advice and I look forward to returning.

Lest you think I'm holding out on you, I skipped dessert because we were headed to the Mermaid Parade and I was anxious to get to Coney. 

one of my faves


even the dogs were in the spirit

human sushi!

not sure if this was intended to be abstract or if she was a jellyfish, but I really liked it

not all those in body paint also wore clothes


2nd Roland sighting!

great play on words
time for some fun

stationary cars are for wusses

during a still moment
Yes, the Mermaid Parade; that should give you an indication of my posting delinquency.

And finally, dessert.

Lula's: peanut butter chip and drumstick on a sugar cone.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fillet-O-Faux: Sophie's Kitchen Breaded Vegan Fish Fillets and Veganaise Tartar Sauce

When I went to pick up a jar of Vegenaise (avocado sammies, potato salad, tempeh salad; it goes fast in the summer!), I was surprised to see that my supermarket had begun stocking the relatively new Veganaise tartar sauce.  But before I could drop it into my cart, common sense prevailed; what was I going to do with it?

I did all the rest of my shopping daydreaming about the tartar sauce and then it occurred to me to check the freezer section for vegan fish.  Lo and behold: Sophie's Kitchen Vegan Fish Fillets had been there all along.  I grabbed a box, went back to pick-up the tartar sauce, and was on my way.

"most popular"
For some reason I interpreted the fillets on the package in such a way as to expect the contents to be shaped like, well, fillets.  In reality, they were round patties; this was actually preferable because they were perfectly proportionate to my bun.

The "fish" was a bit orange for my liking, but it did smell slightly oceanic (points for authenticity?).  It took a little longer to heat than indicated, but that could be because A) I had the gas turned down in order to reduce oil splatter, or B) because I was unclear from the directions whether or not I was supposed to thaw the patty before cooking (I didn't).

The tartar sauce was a thick, appealing consistency.  Too rich to try on it's own, with confidence I generously coated my bun with it before dressing with tomato and onion (I really like condiments).

The first bite I mostly noticed the tartar sauce.  Not as pickly as I was expecting, but still ridiculously delicious.  As for the fish?  Tastes like chicken!  I mean, I don't really remember what either tastes like, but it looked and tasted no different than the chikin patties I can recall eating as a vegetarian.  Nonetheless, the crispy-fried coating in concert with the tartar sauce was a success.

I did find it curious that the company tauted konjac root so prominently on the box,

yet it was listed as a powder: 7th out of 13 ingredients, the first being (non-gmo) textured vegetable protein.  Also, where was the seaweed?

Ultimately, the "fillets" are not something I would eat on a regular basis, but the tartar sauce is awesome!  So overall it was nice to have an old-skool sammie fix- be it faux fish or chicken.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Beer Glazed Donuts! Another Sunday With The Cinnamon Snail

Don't get me wrong; I love that The Cinnamon Snail is in NY plenty these days.  But my favorite place to visit and really chow down is in NJ at the Red Bank Farmer's Market.  To make the trip even better, it was 89's first foray into the world of the Snail.

she actually wasn't drooling with anticipation; it was really hot
As it seemed right up her alley, I chose VM's meal ahead of time: the week's special sun dried tomato lentil burger with grilled tomato olive brushetta, fried artichoke, heirloom radishes, red wine balsamic reduction, caramelized onions, and arugula on garlic grilled focaccia.  Stand back, I say!

At the last minute she almost wussed out and got her standard (always delicious) portabella carpaccio, but I held firm and prevailed...mostly because she didn't like my alternative suggestion of getting three sandwiches for the two of us (89 was not partaking).  We shared, natch, and both agreed that this sammie was an impressive addition to the long line of prestigious Snail specials.  Because her favorite is always what she's eating at that precise moment, it's kind of hard to judge by VM.  So take it from me: eat this burger if it comes around again.

I knew going in that I was having sharing the amazing gochujang burger deluxe with sauteed kimchi, arugula, pickled daikon and leeks, black sesame gomasio, and sriracha mayonnaise on grilled focaccia.  I definitely made the right choice: the soft (but substantial) patty was loaded with kimchi and sriracha just the way I like; it definitely did not disappoint the second time around.

It's best to share!

When VM stepped off the line to take 89 to a shadier spot, she made me promise not to get a lot of desserts.  She said something about us both already having a lot of goodies at home to eat/eating too much lately/blah blah blah.  I nodded my head, but the fact that I was clutching my ginormous pastry carryall in anticapation should have been a pretty good indication of my unswayed intentions.

In my defense, I did wind up making a concerted effort to only mostly choose items I've never tried before...along with a couple of other items that I simply could not have been expected to pass up.  Lucky for us, these things all last just fine in the fridge throughout the week (and in the freezer, FYI, if you have excessive willpower) so there's really no reason not to stockpile.

There was no way raspberry/chocolate lover VM was going to miss the week's special donut, the raspberry blackout.

I was expecting something totally different than the vanilla donut with chocolate and raspberry icing, but you cannot go wrong with chocolate crunchies; it was excellent and not too fruity.

In case of emergency (that I wouldn't like the fruit in the raspberry blackout), I got the Hulk Hogan transvestite fudgey wudgie for the first time.

Again, surprised to find a vanilla donut, but the generous squeeze of chocolate goodness in the center coupled with the same chocolatey crunchy coating was a hit.  I'm beginning to find a chocolate/non-chocolate balance.

After falling for the mint Matlock took all of his clothes off last visit, I certainly wasn't going to miss my opportunity to have another.  So good!

So, in fairness, I got VM her favorite Snail cookie: the wild man Ned Stevens marshmallow pecan gutter cleaner.

Snail fruit-glazed donuts are awesome, so I also got the rockin' blueberry hibiscus glazed.  Yum!  I'm not sure what made this donut different, but it was extra moist and decadent- almost like a French cruller.

Peanut butter cheesecake donut?  I'll take a dozen!

Ok, one.  But what a GREAT one.

And, well, the peanut butter cheesecake brownie was a given.

Imagine a super thick chocolate chip brownie layered with peanut butter cheesecake and more chocolate crunchies. It's been a chocolate crunchy extravaganza, I tell you.  Richest Snail dessert thus far; I ate this one in stages throughout one workday.

Ever since her first visit, VM just can't Snail without a traditional apple cider donut*.

But what was that next to it?  Was that a battered donut?  Brown sugar beer glazed:  it looked like it had a hard shell like an...like an....onion ring!

I don't like beer.  But I do like onion rings.  What to do?  Get one.  Then, immediately get another because the first knocked your boots across the parking lot. 

Two words: NEW FAVORITE.  I'm starting to see VM's logic.

I always go for the lemon or limeade of the day, but then I get an iced coffee as "dessert".  We both love the star-anise spiced coconut milk iced coffee, but this day I tried the mint chocolate (apologies for freaking out the Snail crew when I asked if there was milk in the coffee.  I of course meant "milk"!).

Definitely for dessert, peeps.

And then 89 was pooped and it was time to head home.

*So here's what happened with the apple cider donut.  I accidentally let 89 lick my fingers after I ate this donut.  It seemed harmless, mostly because I'd licked them myself before she got to them (I was home; don't judge me!).  However, she definitely picked up on the magic of the Snail because any time I took something snaily out of the fridge after that incident, she did this crazy, hind-legged dance by the counter.  Good taste, that 89.