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The Essential Vegetarian

By Katie Jeffreys

Features Editor

Having not done a restaurant review in a while, I wanted to discuss a few restaurants I have been to recently. A new format will give more practical information, such as price range and location. If you have any suggestions for the column, questions I should address, or restaurants worthy of a review, please e-mail me at <>. This week’s recipe is for Vegetable Curry, a surprisingly easy and spicy dish to prepare.

Trident Booksellers & Cafe

Location: 338 Newbury St., Boston

Transportation: Hynes Convention T Stop or Number 1 bus.

Cost: Entrees range from $5 - $9

Trident offers not only a wide selection of books to browse, but an enormous selection of vegetarian dining options on its menu. Clearly a health-conscious cafÉ, whose coffee menu is supplemented by a full juice bar, Trident makes an effort to appeal to vegetarians. From unique fondue appetizers to flavorful sandwiches to decadent desserts, everything seemed appealing. About half the choices on the menu were meat free, so I had the rare pleasure of not being able to decide what to eat.

I eventually chose the portobella mushroom sandwich with roasted tomatoes, Gorgonzola, and dijon mustard. It was a little smaller than expected, but with a fruit smoothie and some chocolate mousse cake, the meal was satisfying without leaving me feeling weighed down with grease, caffeine, or sugar.

The atmosphere and service are your average diner-meets-cafÉ, but fresh flowers on every table and a view of Newbury Street out the front window somewhat make up for the drab interior. When going in, I had hoped that the cafÉ and book store would be integrated such that reading a novel over coffee would be an inviting and comfortable experience, but this was not the case. This disappointment aside, Trident stands as a testimony to a diverse menu that can satisfy omnivores and herbivores alike.

Brasserie Jo

Location: 120 Huntington Avenue Boston (at the Colonnade Hotel)

Transportation: Copley T station

Cost: Entrees range from $12 - $20

A Chicago import, Brasserie Jo is a French beer house in which beer is not the main focus. The bar is tiny and is dominated by the spacious dining room. The restaurant has a classy ambience which draws wealthy older people and guests of the hotel above. The snooty staff make it clear this is not the place to take children, large groups of chatty people, or anyone who wants service.

The menu, while an unimpressive piece of laminated paper, offers a large array of typical European fare, very little of which is veggie-friendly. One appetizer, a dish of mixed sautÉed mushrooms, was delightful. The only vegetarian entree available was a vegetable medley which had aggressively salted asparagus, green beans, roasted peppers, and other mediocre vegetables. Each table is served a loaf of bread with butter and seasoned cauliflower to supplement the meal. The meat eaters at the table were mildly satisfied with their dishes, with the veal standing out.

The highlight of the meal was the chocolate mousse dessert. Elegantly presented at the table, the three rolls of mousse topped with white chocolate sauce and chocolate curls is a decadent treat which requires sharing.

Vegetable Curry

1 dollop of oil

2 cloves garlic

1 large onion or 2 smaller ones

3 large tomatoes

1 cup precooked chickpeas/lentils

1 large carrot

1 medium potato

Any other vegetables you might feel like

1/4 tsp each salt, ground cloves, ground tumeric

1/2 tsp each cinnamon, ground chili peppers

2 tsp cumin

Chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces, and crush your garlic, or chop finely. Heat oil in heavy based pan (with fitting lid) and cook onions and garlic until onion is clear. Add all the spices and stir. Add tomatoes and stir. They should liquefy a lot, and absorb the spices. Add other vegetables and chick peas, and stir.

Cover with a tight lid, and leave to cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Stir occasionally. You may need to add a little water, depending on how juicy your tomatoes are. May be served with rice.