Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shopping, eating and restaurant notes

Broccoli RabeImage by g[wiz] via Flickr

 If we eat meatless meals, do I have to do less food shopping?

We started our regimen on Sunday, I made my weekly visit to Costco on Monday and didn't go food shopping again until today, when I bought broccoli rabe (photo) to go along with tonight's spaghetti and sardines in tomato sauce. (I even have some terrific Balthazar Bakery mini-baguettes in the freezer to scoop up the sauce.)

I didn't have to go to ShopRite, but wanted to recycle plastic bags that were piling up in my garage, and thought I'd go in to see if I could get collard or mustard greens for tonight. But the greens had brown edges or looked as if they had been there from the day before. 

The broccoli rabe seemed high at $2.99 a pound, and it rang up at $4.69 (1.57 pounds). Wow. So who is more bitter, me or the broccoli? I looked at arepas (Colombian corn cakes), and they were priced $1 more than at Hackensack Market. The other items I bought were on sale: extra-sharp cheddar cheese and Breyers ice cream for my wife and son.

Yesterday, I met Bernadette Baum, the vibrant and charming author of the "Diva Indoors" food blog, and her friend Jennifer for lunch at Huong Viet in Nutley, and managed to find meatless choices on the extensive menu: vegetarian summer rolls, egg noodles with tofu but without the usual ground pork, fried tilapia and mustard greens with garlic.

Service was slow when I had dinner there with my wife and son, but I was brought tea and a menu when I walked in around 12:15 yesterday afternoon and said I was waiting for someone. After Bernadette and Jennifer arrived, we were moved quickly to a bigger table and, although the waitress was pleasant, some of our food took a long time to emerge from the kitchen. I also noticed food stains on the uncovered table from previous customers.
I again tried the thick, black coffee I loved from my dinner there, and again didn't have the patience to wait for it to drip into the cup -- a full five minutes. I hurried it along, but it was only lukewarm when I drank it. Bernadette asked for "Vietnamese coffee" and later asked to see the package, but the waitress said it was too big to bring out to the dining room.

For dinner last night, we had fully cooked, all-vegetable patties (Costco) that I warmed up in the oven and topped with sliced cheese. I put mine in pocket bread and added some of my organic salad mix and Dijon mustard. Very nice.
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  1. Victor, it was lovely to meet you and to finally try out the resurrected Little Saigon, which I didn't get to do while it was in Montclair. The food was certainly fresh and I didn't have to worry about a sodium overload! Hope that meatless diet is coming along well. Happy weekend!

  2. Thank you so much, Bernadette. Same here. We're holding up well, and looking forward to a meatless Iranian meal tonight in Teaneck.


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