'Alternative lunch' takes on new meaning
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
When plans were made to meet friends at CURIA on the DRAG on NW 6th St. for lunch, I was expecting something different, but I didn't think I would be a gastronomical stranger in an alternative lunch world.
The CURIA on the DRAG collection of shops, boutiques, and coffee - tea cafe is an interesting group of unique, alternative ideas centered under the concept of creating a community space for individuals to hang out and share thoughts and ideas.
Back to the alternative lunch world: CURIA describes its lunch menu as plant based.
Now I've been to my share of health food bars, veggie cafes, all natural lunch stops, meatless diners, pubs, juice bars, and restaurants, but this was my first trip to a 100 per cent vegan, plant-based restaurant.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines VEGAN thus:
A strict vegetarian who consumes no food (as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals; also : one who abstains from using animal products (as leather).
Needless to say I was curi-OUS what was for lunch at the CURI-a.
I like vegetables. They comprise a very important part of my new diet of trying very hard to avoid excessive carbohydrates, the ultimate nemesis, of my daily battle with Type 2 Diabetes.
I imagined a flurry of different colored question marks hovering over our table as Jane Osmond (image above left), Mark Olson, Lynn Dirk (image above right), and I scanned the CURIA menu looking for something delicious and familiar for lunch.
"I have always thought vegans failed Marketing 101 when they describe what they are eating," I said, searching for the "just like ground beef' or 'almost like chili but only better" descriptions. "To me it sounds like they are apologizing for a second class entrée that didn't quite make the standard," I added. Jane, on the other hand, thought that foods should not be presented as substitutes but described as unique.
In the meantime, I spied "breaded fishless filets" on the CURIA menu in the description of Baja Tacos with Mac 'n Cheese.
The Baja tacos (image at top) sounded interesting and my thought was, if you combine all the ingredients in a corn meal wrap, you don't really know what you are eating anyway. The tacos were delicious. The crunch of their fishless fish was a nice complement to red cabbage slaw, greens, avocado, and chipotle-lime dressing. The double wrapped taco shells were a special toasted flavor treat that would easily make tacos my choice next time I have a CURIA lunch.
My lunch partners were pleased with their lunch choices:
Mark selected the Villy sandwich and Mac 'n Cheese and enjoyed the melted cheese like flavor combined with sliced smoked seitan, roasted peppers and onions, and cheese sauce on a toasted hoagie roll. Lynn tasted the Mac 'n Cheese and thought the pasta was overdone, however.
Jane was pleased with her Jackfruit Quesdailla, a pressed sandwich of shredded BBQ jackfruit, pepper jack cheese, grilled jalapeno, cashew cream.
Lynn was happy with her Korean Noodle Salad with many familiar crudités including roasted mushrooms, sauteéd carrots, massaged kale, gochujang-tahini dressing. (Massaged kale?)
It was a fun lunch adventure and a special treat to see a table of completely different mid-day entrees available that we all enjoyed and enjoyed talking about.
The clean, fresh looking dining area added much to the lunch time ambience, and if you are CURIOUS to try something uniquely different, ALMOST just like yesterday's mainstream lunch, then CURIA on the Drag is the place for you.
The Pluses and Minuses of the Curia:
Curia (+) indicators: Unique addition of non mainstream ingredients creating interesting flavor profiles. Curia has a Cuban menu available celebrating the Bulla Cubana taking place through the end of March.
Curia (-) indicators: The GLOB Master isn't ready for a daily, completely alternative, lunch palette.
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