The Essential VegetarianBy Katie Jeffreys
Thanksgiving has passed quite peacefully. I had dinner at the family home of a friend whose parents do not eat meat. A turkey was served, but the side dishes were all veggie-friendly. Though I was away from home, the ambience of a family Thanksgiving was delightful. My family does not cater to vegetarian tastes (as I am the only one in the family who is vegetarian) so a vegetarian Thanksgiving was a special treat.
Aside from the traditional rolls, mashed potatoes, salad, and cranberry sauce, we were served delicious sautÉed green beans, soup, squash, and fruit salad. The “main dishes” served to replace the turkey on the vegetarian plates were veggie burger patties and potato pancakes. Given my penchant for potatoes and the infrequency with which I encounter potato pancakes as an option, I chose that as my entrÉe. The pancake was complemented by the applesauce-like consistency of the cranberry sauce.
Later in the long weekend I went out to dinner at Boston Beer Works, a far cry from the warm, quiet Thanksgiving dinner of a few nights before. The restaurant, located at 61 Brookline Ave., Boston, should perhaps pay as much attention to its menu as it does to its beers. My dish, mushroom ravioli in wine sauce ($10) looked appealing on paper, but was less so on my plate. Aside from having a runny sauce, the pasta was unevenly cooked. The mushrooms, both sliced and mixed with the sauce and chopped in the ravioli filling, were the redeeming factor of the dish.
I also sampled the sweet potato french fries. This variation on the traditional fry is a personal favorite, and BBW’s dish came highly recommended to me by friends. I was not disappointed by their fries, which were thicker and less greasy than those found at, say, Courses. They were served with a raspberry vinaigrette, which was a surprisingly delightful companion to the salty and sweet fries. The “bucket” ($4) was adequate as an appetizer for three or a meal for one, when combined with a salad.
For dessert I sampled the Mud Pie ($5). Essentially two slices of ice cream cake mixed with crushed Oreos and peanut butter cups, it was a rich finish to an otherwise unsatisfying meal. I have included a recipe for a similar dish that is easy to prepare at the end of this article.
Overall, my dining experience was not unpleasant, but I can’t see myself returning anytime soon. In addition to the mediocre cuisine, the atmosphere was, both literally and figuratively, chilly. We were seated near the door, and the freezing night winds blew across our table all night. In addition, our waitress, who may have fancied herself irreverent or sassy, came off as strangely rude.
The restaurant’s trademark is its beer, brewed in-house. Since the occasion that brought us to the restaurant was the celebration of a friend’s 21st birthday, we had to sample their beers. I tried the Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale which not only tastes of blueberries but also has a handful of berries floating in it. The drink is entertaining as the berries rise and fall in the glass due to the carbonation.
I would like to thank the one person who wrote me last week, who was not even an MIT community member. Rather, it was a student from the University of Illinois who was visiting Boston to look at graduate schools and visit a friend. Anyhow, this week I will offer a reward (yet to be determined) to anyone who sends me feedback at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. I look forward to hearing from you.
Coffee Ice Cream Pie
26 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely crushed
(Oreo is a good choice)
1/4 cup of margarine or butter, melted
1 quart of coffee ice cream, softened
1 1/2 cups chocolate fudge sauce
Prepared whipped topping (Cool Whip is a suggestion)
In a small bowl, combine crushed cookies and melted margarine. Press onto bottom and side of 9 inch of pie plate. Spread ice cream into prepared crust. Top with fudge sauce.
Freeze six hours or until firm. To serve, add topping to each slice.