Friday, July 27, 2007

The Moosewood Restaurant

"A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do." ~ P.J. O'Rourke

Muslims have Mecca. Fashion designers have Paris. And natural food lovers have Moosewood.

This week Trudi and I had dinner at The Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY. Their website gives some history:

"Moosewood, Inc. is a collectively owned business with nineteen members who share responsibilities and participate in the various jobs necessary to run what has grown from a very small natural foods restaurant to become a larger and more diversified company. Most members of the Collective have worked together for at least 15 years, and some since the restaurant's inception in 1973. The restaurant is further staffed by a talented and dedicated group of employees whom we truly appreciate and without whom we could not operate."

"With our emphasis on healthful natural foods cuisine, Moosewood Restaurant has operated successfully for thirty-three years and has been acclaimed as a driving force in the world of creative vegetarian cooking. Moosewood was named one of the thirteen most influential restaurants of the 20th Century by Bon Appetit. We started in an era when many alternative businesses began, and we feel incredibly grateful to have endured, thrived and had a positive impact."

Our waitress was Bethany. When she first approached, she beamed a smile that immediately made us feel welcome. During dinner, Bethany was attentive without being intrusive. Her enthusiasm for making our meal enjoyable was very much appreciated.

The name Bethany means "house of figs" in Hebrew. It's interesting that this name is associated with food - since Bethany works in a restaurant. Perhaps her destiny is to pursue a culinary career.

Moosewood's atmosphere is quiet, casual and relaxed - my favorite dining environment. And unlike some NYC restaurants, we didn't have to fire off a flare gun to get attention for service or a check.

For dinner, Trudi had Vegan Lasagna. I chose the Caribbean Stew. To accompany dinner, Bethany brought us an intriguing Pinot Noir. For dessert, we selected the Vegan Chocolate Cake. Everything was superb. Moosewood's archive of culinary creations can be found at Recipes.

Note: Check out Vegan for more information on this life style.

The Moosewood Restaurant is also well known for its cookbooks. Eleven have been published, with more on the way. The recipes are easy to follow - an appealing feature for amateur chefs. After dinner, I bought Trudi a copy of Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, which focuses on meals that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. It's Rachael Ray in Birkenstocks. Trudi will be test driving some recipes this weekend. Yum!

No matter what your food preference, this natural nourishment will delight you. Good food is good food - no matter what philosophy is behind it. Plan B is to pick up one of their cookbooks. Whatever choice you make, you will very much enjoy the Moosewood experience!

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