Thursday, January 04, 2007

All or Nothing

After a few days at home for the holidays, I was ready to give up beef for the next six months. I think I ate more red meat in ten days than I did in all of 2006. This is not to say that I didn't enjoy every minute of it, because prime rib and lamb chops are not something to complain about (especially when someone is doing all the work for you), but my stomach wasn't prepared for an onslaught of meat.

Despite my holiday indulgence, I know that the only way I could ever give up meat is if I could eat the Vegetarian Special at the White Dog Cafe for dinner every day. Unless I'm excited about a pasta or risotto dish at an Italian restaurant, it's rare for me to order a meal without meat or fish when I'm eating out. Strangely enough, I've ordered vegetarian food twice out of five dining experiences at the White Dog.

On my most recent visit, the cuisine was so rich and satisfying that I didn't miss having animal flesh to compliment the starches and veggies on my plate. I started the meal with a bruschetta trio - artichoke spread, hummus, and sun-dried tomatoes and feta on toasted bread. The bread at the White Dog is textured and great with olive oil, but it wasn't the best choice for the bruschetta because it was a little too heavy and not chewy enough. In addition, none of the toppings on the bread were exceptional, but it was still a decent appetizer. One nice addition to the plate was a selection of vegetables - fresh, roasted or pickled - seasoned with dill.

My entree, on the other hand, was beautifully presented and equally delicious. The waitress described the special as a "spinach, tomato, and artichoke heart struedel with parmesan cheese and a side of potato gnocchi." When she served it, it looked more like a bowl of pretty gnocchi in a creamy sauce, with thin green beans and a long slab of vegetable pie resting above the other food. The pie, or "streudel," had a thick buttery crust encompassing the filling, and a professional-looking criss cross design composed of puff pastry on the top. In other words, it was a vegetarian masterpiece, and I congratulated myself mentally for my choice with every bite.

I guess I have to conclude that I'm a true omnivore, and that I don't intend to eat only meat or no meat if I can help it. Luckily, when I need to get rebalance my diet, there are fulfilling and tasty vegetarian meals only blocks away.

No comments: