Good Urth

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It’s always a treat to discover a good restaurant that is super veg-friendly, and that’s just what the Urth Caffé in Santa Monica, California is. I ordered the Urth Tamales, and they were incredible. The ground corn was sweet and fresh, and the cheddar and green chillies were the perfect filling — not overkill on the cheese, nice and spicy with the peppers. I ate this so fast it was literally gone in the blink of an eye! I also enjoyed a Green Matcha Boba Tea (pictured below) which I split with my sister. It was light and refreshing, and we got it with the vanilla flavoring, which made it even more tasty.

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My sister ordered the Mediterranean Platter (pictured below), which I sampled liberally as we ate. Everything was fresh and light, and the spices were excellent — not too heavy, but full of flavor. The olives (a personal favorite of mine anyway) were particularly fabulous. This is one of my all-time favorite restaurants, and I am already looking forward to the next time I’m in the area so I can visit one of the 4 Urth Caffé locations!

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Urth Caffé on Urbanspoon

Commonwealth

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There’s a new sandwich shop in town in Columbus, Ohio — a little place called The Commonwealth Sandwich Bar in Columbus, Ohio. It is, quite likely, the tiniest food joint I’ve ever been to, aside from a food cart. There are three tables in Commonwealth, and they’re usually full. However, it’s a nice shop. The service is friendly, and the menu is creative. I had a sandwich called the Haute-Hippie — one of two vegetarian options on the menu — and it didn’t disappoint. The flavors were incredible, and it wasn’t greasy or overly rich. It was definitely worth the visit.

Commonwealth Sandwich Bar on Urbanspoon

Good Times

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During my short stay in Raleigh, North Carolina, I must have walked past The Raleigh Times about a hundred times. It’s definitely centrally located near the capital, and is a nice, simple place to grab a bite to eat. I ordered this grilled cheese sandwich — complete with avocado — and was very satisfied with its non-greasiness, its two types of cheese, and the sides (fries and homemade pickles). The service was quick, the prices were cheap, and the restaurant itself was very laid back. An overall enjoyable experience!

Raleigh Times Bar on Urbanspoon

best sandwich EVER!

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The Brown Bag Deli is probably my favorite find in all of Columbus! This great little sandwich joint has redeemed an otherwise lackluster and disappointing deli scene in this city. They have tons of options for toppings, a wide variety of interesting breads (pictured here: cheese roll), and a host of side dishes and desserts available in their front case. I can sum it up in one simple word: TASTY!

Brown Bag Deli on Urbanspoon

a casual treat

Photo by Anne Jansen

For my anniversary, my husband and I ended up venturing outside of Columbus to Granville, Ohio, where we tested out a great little place called Brews Cafe (so named because of their relatively extensive list of beers on tap). I ordered their South of the Border Burger with the house-made beet and rice veggie patty. It was messy and flavorful and absolutely fantastic. I also upgraded to the curly fries, which were crispy on the outside and hot and yummy on the inside. Couple the food with the atmosphere — we were seated on the second-story balcony (complete with Southern-style ceiling fans and square columns) — and the friendly service, and it’s clear that Brews is a great gem hidden in a sleepy little town with tons of charm.

Brews Cafe Deli on Urbanspoon

those things are real?

Photo by Anne Jansen

When the movie Fried Green Tomatoes came out in 1991, I never imagined that the title could allude to a real, edible food. And yet I recently found myself in the Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown, Kentucky, eating real fried green tomatoes. I didn’t really know what to expect, but they were delicious. The house-made ranch dressing (dyed green, although I’m not sure why) was fresh and light, and rounded out the flavor of these tasty appetizers.

There weren’t a lot of vegetarian options at the Talbott Tavern, so I ended up ordering the Talbott Salad for lunch. It was good enough, but certainly nothing special. However, the house-made ranch dressing made it refreshingly yummy.

Photo by Anne Jansen

Just to give you an idea of the other options (for those non-veg peeps out there), I’m including a photo of my husband’s order: the pulled pork sandwich with french fries and ketchup. It was, reportedly, passable (my husband says it was more like a regular BBQ pork sandwich than actual pulled pork). In its defense, the BBQ sauce (which I tested from a fat globule on the bun) was both smoky and spicy — two of my favorite qualities in a BBQ sauce. I can also comment on the fries, which were decent.

Photo by Anne Jansen

Talbott’s Tavern is situated in an old building that was built in 1779. The building is a cool old place, dimly lit and made of old stone and brick. It’s pleasantly cool inside, which was perfect considering it was over 90°F outside the day we went there. I would have loved to have been there at night, but it still had great ambiance during the day.

Photo by Anne Jansen

Old Talbott Tavern on Urbanspoon

 

a tofu twist

photo by Anne Jansen

I went to Noodles & Company with a friend, and got my usual (weird-sounding but great-tasting) lunch of a starter salad and Wisconsin Mac & Cheese with tofu. Yes, you read that right. And I know, I know: it sounds gross! But seriously, it is DELICIOUS! Their tofu is seared to perfection, and (to this 6-year vegetarian) tastes a bit like chicken. You should try it if you like tofu at all. In fact, you should try Noodles & Company if you haven’t already — it’s a surprisingly delicious chain that has lots of options to offer veg and non-veg eaters alike.

photo by Anne Jansen

beach surprise

photo by Anne Jansen

The San Dune Pub is a small restaurant and pub located in “downtown” Manzanita, Oregon. While their menu is small and simple, I’ll admit to being surprised that they offered vegetarian burger choices (Gardenburger and Boca Burger). I ordered the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger sans bacon, and with a Gardenburger patty…and it was quite good. The BBQ sauce was smoky and spicy (two of my favorite characteristics in BBQ sauce) and the onion rings were nice and crispy. And my personal favorite: the burger was served with a knife stuck right into the center of it.

tried and true

photo by Anne Jansen

I’ve been eating at Cam’s for two years now, and this flatbread — the Greek Vegetable Flatbread sans kalamata olives — is one of my favorites. It’s light and crispy at the edges, but warm and melty everywhere else. Sadly, Cam’s is closing on August 27 (so if that link stops working, that’s why) so I will no longer be able to enjoy a flatbread as I conduct office hours in the haven of this hidden cafe. But until then, it’s delicious flatbreads and my other favorite, the Blueberry Yogurt Spill….

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