The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Tag: Sandy Springs (page 1 of 4)

Visit to Aladdin’s

It was a lovely Sunday afternoon. We happened to be in Sandy Springs, and lunch was beckoning. P suggested we go to Aladdin’s Mediterranean Grill & Deli on Roswell Road. I enjoy Mediterranean food, so off we went.

Alladin's

It has been a long time since I have eaten at a restaurant and enjoyed the experience so immensely, PLUS I managed to get a few good photographs (thanks to the gorgeous light and the wide windows at Aladdin’s), so I thought a blog post was merited.

The menu is fairly simple at Aladdin’s. I wish I had clicked a shot of the blackboard with the handwritten menu. There are many vegetarian options. P had visited Aladdin’s earlier for an office team lunch, so he ordered for both of us.

It was simply wonderful. The flavors, the freshness, the vibrancy of ingredients, the casual atmosphere… the trio of giggling kids at the next table, their serious-faced parents (Mom looking every bit stylish and Middle Eastern, as I’d imagine) and the Arabic music playing in the background – all in all, a supremely relaxing and delicious lunch experience.

Minty Water

Minty Water

Let’s take a moment to talk about water?

How adorable, right? Giant glass tumblers filled with cool water, a dash of rosewater, fresh mint leaves and lemon slivers make for a refreshing beverage.

We ordered a bowl of Lentil Soup and the Vegetarian Platter. The lentil soup was simply flavored yet hearty in taste and texture. It came with a generous portion of pita croutons. I would have happily dumped the whole pile of croutons into the soup and slurped it all down, but I controlled myself… Sigh.

The Vegetarian Platter contained: Baba Ghanoush, Tahini sauce, four Falafels, Dolma, Jerusalem Salad, Tabouli and Hummus dip.

Can I just say that every item was delicious? It’d make for such a hackneyed description and a boring blog post but I think you understand my drift? These are the same dishes that grace the menus of most (if not all) Mediterranean eateries in the U.S., yet the freshness of the ingredients and the simplicity of preparation made for a delicious lunch repast.

Alladin

I wasn’t planning to eat the pita bread but their pillow softness was so tempting that I couldn’t resist. Made myself a generously loaded pita sandwich. The Tabouli salad was loaded with fresh parsley and lime (or lemon) juice with none of the mouth-puckering sourness. The Dolma was perfect. I am not the biggest fan of this stuffed vine leaf preparation but I enjoyed it this time.

I turned down dessert but I will give it a try next time.

Aladdin's Mediterranean Grill & Deli on Urbanspoon

Cibo E Beve

A lovely Thursday afternoon found me making my way to Cibo E Beve. It was a lunch date with Ruksana, a dear friend who happens to be a gifted writer+editor+entrepreneur+list-maker+trip-planner. She was running late from a previous appointment, so I ended up staring at the wood paneled walls, eating a little more of the bread and olive oil than I’d have liked, and drawing up lists of to-make recipes until she arrived.

Menu at Cibo E Beve

Menu at Cibo E Beve

The menu at Cibo E Beeve is brief and there are a handful of vegetarian options. I thought that the Winter Fennel Salad (frisee, fennel, satsuma mandarins, smoked bacon, marcona almonds, buttermilk dressing) sounded heavenly. Minus the smoked bacon, of course. I half-thought I’d order it but as the minutes dragged on, I forgot. Winter Caprese (burrata, fried eggplant, heirloom tomato, balsamic, basil oil) also would be awesome, I think.

After Ruksana arrived, we placed our orders. She got the San Marzano Tomato and Cream Soup and the Cibo Beef Meatballs. I asked for the Veggie Pesto Pie (veggies, roasted tomato, broccoli, pistachio-basil pesto, fresh mozzarella). Ruksana loved the food (you can go check out her review on Yelp). The portions were substantial too; she asked for a box for the leftover meatballs.

I was not too impressed with the pizza. It is a large-sized one (probably 8″) and I couldn’t eat more than two quarters. The edges looked (and tasted) burnt and the mozzarella lacked the fresh and creamy gooeyness. The roasted tomatoes added a neat little sour punch although I thought that the taste was more redolent of sun-dried tomatoes. Not complaining, mind you. The pesto felt fairly dry in texture and I couldn’t detect any notes of pistachio in there either.

Veggie Pesto Pizza

Veggie Pesto Pizza

Main course done, we decided to split an order of Classic Tiramisu (Pavesini, mascarpone mousse, espresso, dark chocolate). It came in a little white ramekin, pretty and petite. My thoughts? I felt it was very light and smooth in texture, almost frothy and pillowy in its soft creaminess… but too milky-sweet and eggy for my taste. I’d have preferred a darker flavor. In fact, I think I’ll avoid Tiramisu in the future. Every once in a while I turn a blind eye with regards to the presence of eggs in desserts but mostly I feel strongly about avoiding them, so I will simply make a resolution and stick to it… good luck to me!

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Would I go back to Cibo E Beeve again? Not sure. The menu has a few nice-sounding vegetarian options but probably not enough for me to justify another trip. Maybe the next time, I will simply ask the server if the chef can make me a vegetarian dish. Going by how nice the server was (he was attentive, helpful and pleasant), I think I have a good chance. Actually, most of the menu items sound like they can be made into meat-free (even vegan) options. Take, for instance, the Chicken Pesto Sandwich (peppers, goat cheese, pesto, arugula on a sourdough roll). Keep the chicken out and I think it would make for a great vegetarian sandwich. The Ricotta Ravioli Pasta (zucchini, amatriciana sauce) sounds lovely but I wonder if the sauce is vegetarian. I doubt it is. Then there is the Fusilli Pasta on the dinner menu (rapini, sausage, chestnuts, pecorino) that would be great, I think, sans sausage.

Hmmm, maybe I should go check out dinner one of these days.

Cibo E Beve
4969 Roswell Rd
Atlanta GA 30342
404-250-8988

www.ciboatlanta.com
Cibo e Beve on Urbanspoon