Monday, March 1, 2010

I was mad about Sidney, too.

Hello, friends. Here we are in Ithaca, having a pleasant morning in the Trillium Cafe of Kennedy Hall. We are trying to fit in with all these Ivy league people, but I fear we stand out. Alas.

Our journey was quite enjoyable. The 7 1/2 hour drive felt short. No doubt the reason was the 11 hour pop music playlist I created on Saturday. We were jamming the whole time. Our couchsurfing hosts have turned out to be extremely interesting. One is a former animator, and worked on many of the shows I found so appealing as a wee one. Tiny Toons! He was the one that had the idea of sending Buster and Babs down river in a raft for the Summer Adventure movie! It was like meeting the hero I never new I had. He showed X and I his old sketches from his days with various animation companies, and drew pictures of us while we played Jumbling Towers. 3-2, X.

Anyhow, since we got to Ithaca promptly at dinner time (6:30), we decided to immediately ease our restless, Moosewood-craving souls. Now, X had looked up reviews of the restaurant prior to the trip, and found that they were quite mixed. This didn't matter. Moosewood is a pilgrimage all vegetarians must one day make.

Sunday was Indian night. Perfect! We love a good curry. There was no wait for a table, and the staff was very friendly (our waiter, as a plus, was very attractive. He looked much like this. Really, it could have been Cillian Murphy). The restaurant had bright, yellow walls, a picture of Michelle and Barack looking blissful, and a lot of long-haired men in knit sweaters.

We decided to go all out, ordering an appetizer of Onion-Cauliflower Pakora to share, along with our respective entrees, which came with a side salad. The pakora, served with a sweet and sour tamarind sauce, was...ok. The veggies should have been crispier, although they were pleasantly spicy. The dipping sauce was, however, outstanding. We proceeded to munch on the garnish, a lettuce leaf, while we waiting for the food.

Now we must discuss the great salad debate. Pancake - this is X writing now, ps - feels that the salad should always come first, before the appetizer. To me, the order of appetizer first and salad second makes perfect sense. I was thrilled to be eating green things at all, not to mention the thrilling ginger miso dressing. Dear readers, who's right?

As we bitched loudly about Sidney Crosby, our entrees arrived. Lentil Sambar for Pancake, an Eggplant-Spinich-Red Pepper curry for myself. The lentil sambar was "bright" tasting, if you will, especially with the splash of coconut milk over top. It was by no means mindblowing (Raja Rani in Ann Arbor=way better), but it was tasty. The eggplant curry was also just ok. The spices were flavorful and enchantingly warmed my mouth, but it was missing that something to round it all out. You, that something that gold medal winners always possess. And not the gold medal winning that win just because the other guy fell down.

Since we were going all out, we decided to finish our meal with a slice of their vegan chocolate cake. While we were waiting, we began musing - and loudly, apparently - about the availability of discounts for say, travelers. Travelers from Michigan. Unemployed travelers from Michigan. After all, don't we need a discount the most?? COME ON! We got the highest unemployment rate in the country! Lo and behold, the young woman at the table beside us heard our somewhat unnecessary complaining and bestowed a 15 percent off coupon upon us! She said as she left, "I was upset about Sidney too." Score.

Pancake again. So, about that cake. It arrived in a thick, square-shape with an orange slice gracing the top. The cake was described on the menu as moist, but what arrived was a dry, spongy disappointment. And the frosting? Should have been at least 1/2 inch thicker. We ate the whole thing with gusto, nonetheless. No need to waste good chocolate.

All in all, Moosewood is riding on the fame, and delivering mediocrity. For an institution so beloved and well-known by vegetarians and vegans alike, the food should at least match their cookbooks for quality. You shouldn't leave thinking "I could have made it better myself."


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