Thursday, July 4, 2013
OK, so inside the restaurant was packed. I love when a vegan place is FULL. But I digress before I even start. I drove up to Woodstock, NY today after picking up some donations from Trader Joe's in Westfield, NJ. I delivered them to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary where I am volunteering in the kitchen for the summer Jamboree. I love Jenny and Doug and their abolitionist approach to the movement. I was so lucky to be introduced personally to many of the residents. I am also honored to have the same name as their family dog.
Why is eating outside something you don't find me doing all that often? Well, as you know I'm a New Yorker. There are a lot of outdoor cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating. I don't believe that eating is a spectator sport. It's a mutually shareable experience. You can look at me eating if I can look at you. So I truly do not enjoy people passing my table on the side walk and looking at my food. What do I get to look at? They're not bringing anything to the party. So I just don't like it. Also, I've been panhandled once too often while trying to enjoy ... well, anything else than being panhandled. Tis garden was just like an outdoor dining room. Acceptable in my book.
I was so happy to find this vegan mecca downtown. Not being that hungry but certainly in the mood for a brew, (when am I not, breakfast? ... well, most breakfasts anyway), and something light I am now dining with my IPA and Caesar salad with baked tofu. Very nice, not the best Caesar I've ever had but delightful in its own right. The high point is certainly the dressing, the greens being less than chilled and croutons being ... interesting.
Crumbled almonds add a nice flavor and texture not often found in Caesars and the tofu was marinated and had a pleasing yet non-descript flavor.
The garden was quite pleasant and the heat of the day not very evident. For me to say this is big because, as you all know, I'm much more of a creature comfort, (read: air conditioner), kind of guy. The downside to the garden is that if you're eating around say, 8:30 or so, you'll end up eating your meal in the dark.
The brownie dessert was delicious. I took in the aroma of chocolate as soon as the plate was put down. Eating a dark dessert by flickering candlelight is a challenge. You just don't know where to put the spoon. I made due though, not to be outwitted by a brownie in the dark. The brownie itself wasn't really a dense thick brownie but a delicious chocolate cake in a brownie shape. Mixed with a spoonful of the vanilla ice cream was just perfect.
The Garden Cafe also offers a discount to members of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Nice.