Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tiger Lily misses the mark in Port Jefferson NY. Something for everyone?

Port Jefferson, NY is a quaint village on the North Shore of Long Island.  It's where the cross sound Bridgeport CT ferry docks and in the summer, (this was Memorial Day weekend), it can be nothing less than a madhouse of traffic and tourists. (Note me raising my hand as part of the problem on this day).  I also feared that with 2 cars, (I was on call and might have had to be at Teterboro airport in NJ in 2 hours after being called), parking was going to be nothing short of a nightmare.  I also couldn't get a good idea about what to expect from the online information and it could have been anything from a coffee shop to a fast food Chinese Takeout place.

I think I used up all my good luck, (so long LOTTERY!), because we found 2 spots virtually in front of the place in about 4 minutes.  It's pretty easy to spot. Dust off your word, "eclectic."

If this facade doesn't scream "HIPPY" I don't know what does.  I felt right at home.
Tiger Lily is not a vegan place.  I spoke to the young lady at the counter and she immediately pointed out the few vegan options I had available.  There are a few "gotcha's" here so beware of the honey-wheat tortillas/wraps (see below), and the honey mustard dressing/mayo/ and all sorts of other things you'd find in a standard deli.  Except here you DO have vegan options and the staff seem pretty aware of what you can have and can't.

The requisite Juice Bar menu.  

I was thinking about leaving my kid on the couch and scoring a free coffee. 

You get the feeling of looooooong when you go in.  Deli counter is to the right, seating to the rear.

The deli case is colorful and inviting but there are more non-vegan/mainstream dishes than there are vegan items.

Colorful and inviting deli case.

The choice was of the usual house made veggie burger and the special "sunshine" burger.  I was informed that when the Sunshine burger is available it "flies" off the shelf.  And I was lucky it was available.  No brainer.  I go with the sunshine burger, hummus instead of honey-mustard, lettuce and tomato on a vegan whole grain bun.

Since our dining room table in NYC is piled high with "stuff" we often eat on our coffee table.  This was just like being at home.

The deck.  Also used by a local harem on the off days.  

View towards the front.  

Falafel wrap.

Falafel with the Works $7.95
Homemade falafel, fresh sliced tomato, cucumber, Romain lettuce and sprouts in a honey-wheat wrap with Tzatziki sauce or Tahini Sauce

The falafel wrap was one of the most flavorful I have tasted.  Spicy but not hot.  It was smooth and creamy with a nice crispy outer layer and explodes with a burst of flavor.  I just realized when writing this that the wrap comes with a honey-wheat wrap.  The person who ordered this wasn't a vegan and I didn't even think about it.  I did taste it but I think (hope) it was swapped out with a spinach wrap.  

Sunshine burger on grain bun.
I take a bite and the burger has a delicious flavor with a roasted veggie backdrop but I taste a bit of unpleasant tinge.  Hmmm.  Another few bites of the middle and it's a pretty good burger.  As I get back to the edge though, there's that off flavor.  I take a good look at the burger and it's pretty burnt around the whole edge of the patty.  Huh!

That burnt stuff isn't supposed to be there.  No sir.  It's a bit more than a char.

If I was just eating out I would have returned the burger for either one that wasn't burnt or something else.  I really want to like places that offer us vegans decent choices, I want to say only nice things but sadly there is no excuse for a) a chef to burn something and hope it "slides by" and b) for a counterperson to pick up something that looks like this and give it to a customer.  This took a flavorful meal and pretty much ruined it.  

Now, when I was on the way out the door after the meal I spoke to that same young lady who helped me choose the sunshine burger and told her it was burnt.  She asked if I'd like something else, and of course that's the right thing to do, and she said she'd talk to the chef about it.  (what kind of a chef needs to be told his food is burnt?)  That too is the right answer but the stuff should have been chucked in the trash as soon as it passed that 51% quality line.  I have to say there is no excuse for serving this.

I pulled it off and ate the middle of the burger.
Delicious Medusa.
My drink was a Medusa.  It's sweet and delicious.

Medusa - 12 oz $3.99 / 16 oz $4.99
Fresh spinach, beets, carrots and Spirulina

I like a place with books and comfortable chairs and couches.  It's an invitation to dine instead of scarf down your food in a too busy world.
On the way out I took a second look.
Sunflour seeds, brown rice and grilled veggies.  A char or a sear would have added a nice crispiness to the patty.  Too much of a char or sear means you've burned it.

Sure looks like every single burger was burnt.  How could you not notice?  It's was a shame as the burger has a good flavor.

We drove about 35 minutes out of our way to sample the dishes that Tiger Lily offers.  It has such a nice venue and happy vibe it's a shame that my food didn't measure up to the minimum standards of acceptability.  Burnt is not acceptable.

I will certainly give this place another shot but I won't go out of my way to get here.
Tiger Lily Café on Urbanspoon

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