The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Category: Reviews (page 2 of 20)

Five40 Kitchen and Social House

I came to know about Five40 Kitchen and Social House a few weeks ago. The menu sounded hip and interesting even though it had only a handful of vegetarian options. The website is minimalist in design. (Some would call it ‘sparse’). And the chef Bhavesh Patel is of Indian origin. Plus, best of all, it is very close to where I live.

Five40 Kitchen and Social House

Five40 Kitchen and Social House

Made plans to go with others but none materialized. Finally, I decided to brave the horrible lunchtime traffic on Barrett Parkway and go to 540 Tapas all by myself for a weekday afternoon meal. That plan finally came to fruition today.

I had contacted the chef earlier to let him know that I wished to write about 540 Tapas on this blog. So he knew beforehand that I’d be coming. When I entered the restaurant, I was greeted by Dipesh, the bartender (I guess). I told him that I didn’t drink alcohol and asked if they had any non-alcoholic drinks on the menu. They didn’t have any but he offered to make one for me. I asked if he could include ginger and mint. Soon enough, a slim glass appeared on my table.

Ginger Mint Mocktail

Ginger Mint Mocktail

Fizzy and light, my special drink featured sharp ginger ale and fresh mint leaves and a bunch of ice cubes. It was tangy and spicy, hitting all the right notes on a dull day. I hardly ever order drinks at a restaurant (not even the non-alcoholic kind), preferring to stick to a glass of regular water, so this was a new experience for me.

On to the food…
I would have liked to order the Orchietta (short rib, butternut squash, truffle butter, mushrooms), sans the short rib. However, I was told that that the sauce is meat-based. Ahh, well… sounds like a delicious combination! The soup of the day was a cold tomato gazpacho. Didn’t feel like the right day for a cold soup, hmmm. Finally, I asked for a Kale salad with lemongrass honey, star anise and orange and an Heirloom Tomato Salad with basil oil, basil seeds, smoked tomato and mozzarella.

The Kale salad is a nice, medium-sized bowl of finely shredded kale and orange slices, laced with a sweet-tangy vinaigrette and garnished with almond slivers. I wonder if the sweetness of the vinaigrette owed itself to the lemongrass honey. A tad too tart for my taste, I thought. But the kale had a great crispness to it. Wasn’t tough, wasn’t soggy, wasn’t inordinately leafy. I couldn’t detect any anise flavors in the salad, though.

Kale Salad

Kale Salad

Adored the Heirloom Tomato Salad wholeheartedly. Smoked tomatoes have a slightly charred taste that is almost indiscernible. The salad featured regular mozzarella but I wonder if buffalo mozzarella would have been a better choice. Mixed greens, a dash of pesto (would have liked more of it) and a little pile of rehydrated basil seeds (gelee) completed the pretty picture.

Smoked Tomato Salad

Smoked Tomato Salad

Halfway through the meal, the chef sauntered by. Chef Bhavesh Patel has lived in London, Miami and Atlanta. I asked if he visited India often. Hardly, he said. His family is based in Gujarat, India. I suppose, as a food blogger, I should have asked him about culinary training, inspiration, etc. Well, we had a regular conversation where I asked him none of those chef-blogger questions. By the way, Chef Patel bears a close resemblance to this young Bollywood hero right down to the smile… 🙂

Chef Bhavesh patel

Chef Bhavesh patel

I asked him if the little pile of basil seeds is what goes as “takmaria” in India. Without batting an eyelid, he responded, “Yes.” The guy may not have visited India but he sure knows Indian food. I was suitably impressed. Not many people, Indian or otherwise, are necessarily familiar with these little chia-like seeds (also known as “subza”) that flavor cooling summer drinks and desserts in India and other parts of Asia.

Couldn’t pass up dessert, could I? I opted for an strawberry shortcake ice cream sandwich. A nice generous portion that I wasn’t intending to finish… but I did. A perfect sweet ending to a good meal.

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwich

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwich

The bill amounted to roughly $29. Not cheap by any standards, I think. I had a Scoutmob coupon that shaved $10 off the bill. Aah, well.

Hoping that Chef Patel will take my feedback and incorporate more vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu!

Five40 Kitchen and Social House
840 Ernest W Barrett Parkway NW, Suite 540
Kennesaw GA 30144
678-290-8224

www.540tapas.com
Five40 Kitchen & Social House on Urbanspoon

Coco-Roons Raw Choco-Coconut Brownies

Going to T J Maxx is always an adventure. I never know what unexpected treat I am going to find in the food aisles. Last visit, I espied a packet of raw brownies, courtesy Coco-Roons. Raw, gluten-free, organic, vegan, soy-free… oh Yum.

Raw Brownies

Raw Brownies

The raw coconut brownies have a satisfying crunch to them. The slight bitterness of the chocolate is offset by the pleasant richness of the coconut flakes. if you are a fan of the chocolate-n-coconut combination, you will love this little nugget of goodness. Each brownie packs a solid punch. In fact, I could easily be satisfied with half a brownie; it is that rich and chocolatey.

Raw Brownies from Coco-Roon

Raw Brownies from Coco-Roon

And then you read the list of ingredients.

Raw unsweetened coconut, Raw almond flour, raw cacao, unfiltered maple syrup, raw cold-pressed coconut oil, vanilla extract, Himalayan crystal salt.

Awesome!

 

 

Larabar ALT is here

Another day in Atlanta and another little box arrives in the mail, courtesy Larabar. This one contained the latest addition to Larabar’s wonderful assortment of dried fruit and nut bars – ALT.

ALT from Larabar

ALT from Larabar

Each ALT bar contain 10 grams of protein derived from peas. The wrapper is made from 31% plant-based material. There you have it – a dried fruit and nut bar that is gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, kosher, non-GMO and choc-a-full of protein! Seems like a fabulous deal, no?

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stand the taste. It seemed a little odd in flavor, for lack of a better description. Texturally, it was nowhere as soft as the regular Larabars, feeling more coarse and grainy in comparison.

I am not sure if it is the taste of pea protein or the fact that all four flavor combinations contain peanuts or that the ingredient list now contains brown rice flour, brown rice syrup and natural flavor. I tend to be suspicious of the term ‘natural flavor.’ What does the flavor contain? What is it derived from? And so on…

ALT Bars

ALT Bars

To make a long story short, I am not a fan of ALT. In fact, I have a Cinnamon Apple Crisp Bar and a Peanut Butter Cookie Bar that I need to give away because I don’t think I will enjoy them.

I keep going back to the older Larabar combinations. Currently, my pantry contains one each of the Coconut Cream Pie, Lemon Bar, Cashew Cookie, Key Lime Pie, Banana Bread and two of the Pecan Pie. Clearly, I am a traditionalist.

A Cozy Afternoon at Roswell Tea House

A Thursday afternoon found me driving to Roswell Tea House (and losing my way multiple times en route, thanks to a mysterious and invisible street called Old Coleman Rd) to meet with R and her sister. I fell in love with the space instantly. Resembling a home converted into a little cafe, Roswell Tea House has a cozy presence, one that invites you to kick off your shoes, lean back into your chair and yawn languorously.

Roswell Tea House

Roswell Tea House

I perused the menu closely and decided to pick a bowl of the organic Carrot Ginger Soup and the Thai Coconut Rice Bowl with spinach, lentils and edamame. R and her sister opted to share the Vol-Au-Vent and an order of the Carrot Ginger Soup.

The food came quick. The Carrot Ginger Soup was a little too sharp for my taste. I wished that it had some sweet notes to round off the piquant ginger. The Thai Coconut Rice Bowl was a creamy delight featuring jasmine rice, coconut cream, lentils, spinach and edamame. The chef was a little too liberal with the edamame, I thought. Can’t recall tasting the lentils, or maybe I just don’t remember so well now. The rice bowl was perfectly portioned; a little larger and I would have had to ask for a to-go box.

Thai Rice Bowl/Carrot Ginger Soup

Thai Rice Bowl/Carrot Ginger Soup

Couldn’t pass up dessert, could we? After much deliberation, we opted to share the Belgian Chocolate Fondue with Summer Fruit and the Lavender Creme Brulee. That little bowl of chocolate packed a rich and decadent punch… gasp! Three of us put together were no match for its chocolate “strength” and we had to regretfully let the half-full bowl go… Sigh. The Lavender Creme Brulee was exquisite but I think we couldn’t clean up that serving either. No vegan desserts on the menu although there are a few with “GF” next to them. In fact, there is just one other vegetarian item on the menu. Hope that changes soon.

Desserts

Desserts

Roswell Tea House
108 Magnolia Street, Historic Roswell GA 30075
770-643-5813
www.roswellteahouse.net