A quick weeknight dinner that comes together in minutes, if you have quinoa and vegetables on hand.
Cook quinoa (I use one part to two parts water) as per instructions. Do a quick sauté of vegetables (I used baby bok choy and asparagus) and tofu (optional) in oil of your choice. Keep the veggies crunchy and bright. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
An easy-peasy recipe that involves roasting a spaghetti squash in the oven (400 F, 40-45-50 minutes), a quick sauté of chopped vegetables (onion, asparagus, red pepper) and tofu, seasoned with Bragg’s liquid aminos.
Can add bok choy, spinach, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, zucchini… as you can see, the options are nearly endless.
I started hearing about Flower Child from friends and acquaintances. My first thought was, it’s such a pretty name. “Flower Child” harkens back to the days of hippie freedom, organic living, love for Mother Earth, and so on. It is a fitting name for this restaurant, I think, because the food has a youthful flair to it. It is piquant and playful, full of flavor and texture contrasts… Definitely more hip than hippy, I think.
I sent a note to the restaurant asking if I could come in for a chef’s tasting. I got a prompt response: an invitation to lunch.
It was a cool spring morning in March when I showed up at Flower Child, Sandy Springs. I instantly fell in love with the high, airy interiors, tall industrial lamp fixtures, houseplants and knickknacks decorating the windows, casual seating, cheerful waitstaff. I introduced myself to the girl at the counter. She went and spoke with the manager Mark who came over right away and welcomed me.
I skimmed through the menu and ordered a mango-pineapple fresh juice (no sugar added), a small plate of Grilled Asparagus, and the Glow Bowl. I am not one for consuming liquids with meals (save warm herbal tea, sometimes) but I was unable to resist this fresh juice combination of two of my favorite fruits, yum. The juice was tangy and delicious. What it lacked for in sugary sweetness, it made up with freshness and flavor. I loved the juice but I was sorely disappointed to see that the glass was made from thin plastic (Grade 1, non-recyclable). I wish they’d used a glass tumbler instead. It would have been simple, elegant, eco-friendly, and sustainable.
The food arrived quick. The asparagus spears were crunchy and delicious, grill marks included. It was served with farro, barley and red quinoa, flavored with ginger miso. The dish had a gentle heat, and I enjoyed the combination of crisp asparagus and chewy ancient grains. In contrast, the Glow Bowl was a delicious Pad Thai-style preparation of sweet potato noodles in coconut milk, sunflower butter, bok choy, zucchini, onion, and shiitake mushrooms, spiced with jalapeños. It was comforting and delicious, and I marveled at the light texture of the sweet potato noodles. Worth replicating at home, I think!
I alternated between one dish and the other, taking a good long time to chew thoroughly and savor the flavors.
Mark came over to ask if I was enjoying the food. I could only nod, mouth full, happy smile on face. He mentioned that they served a vegan, gluten-free chocolate pudding made from coconut cream, cocoa powder and dark chocolate, flavored with vanilla paste, served with shaved coconut and sprouted almonds. How could I say no to that? The pudding was smooth and creamy, lightly sweetened, and absolutely delicious. I was sorely tempted to eat it all but I decided to be a good spouse who shared freely with her partner. I ate a little, and saved the rest to take home to my husband. (He loved it, although he wished it was less sweet). Alas, this pudding also came in a plastic, non-recyclable container, sigh.
I loved visiting Flower Child and eating there. I found the food light and playful, delicious, and full of flavor. I adored the cheerful, sun-lit space, large windows, and the wood-marble seating. I’d love to see if/how their menu changes seasonally, and if they will incorporate local ingredients and recipes into their menu.
Wondering when I can make another trip!
Flower Child 6400 Bluestone Rd #170 Sandy Springs GA 30328
Sunday dawned rainy and dull. Decided to walk to Downtown and find a place for breakfast. Ah, Goose Feathers! The cafe was closed the evening before but it was open that morning. So we trooped in. It was almost eleven, so I could have gotten myself a bowl of vegetarian chili. But it didn’t feel right…eating chili first thing in the morning. Regretfully, I let it pass. P’s cousin ordered a plate of Belgian Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream while P got a bowl of oatmeal with apples/cinnamon. I ordered a whole wheat bagel with butter. I think we also got a hot chocolate and/or a cappuccino. I wish I could remember better! Anyway, Goose Feathers is a nice, bustling place. The lines to the counter moved fast and brisk, and the servers kept up the cheerful service. I could/should have ordered the chili, sigh.
The night before, we had gone to Kayak Cafe in Downtown. No pictures, sorry! Funnily enough, it so happened that I was chatting with a friend after we returned to Atlanta and she told me that her husband and she had also gone to Kayak when they visited Savannah! Hungry vegetarians think alike. Kayak has an interesting menu. I would have liked to order the West Indian Trader salad except that it featured curried chicken salad. If only it had been curried tofu salad… Combined with walnuts, mixed fresh fruit, roma tomatoes, cucumbers and a slice of homemade banana bread on organic greens, it would have made for an interesting combination. Well, now I cannot even recall what we ordered. I think I got myself a Roasted Vegetable Balsamico Panini while P ordered a Tofu and Vegetable Quesadilla. Don’t recall what P’s cousin ordered. The food was fresh and flavorful. We ate well that night. Kayak has a youthful vibe and I would go back there in a heartbeat.
Back to Sunday… We went over to Savannah Museum of Art, gawked at versions of the little black dress brought to life by various designers (P was singularly unimpressed but amused) and the other art installations. The rain had turned to a steady drizzle. It was close to afternoon, and so we decided to head home to Atlanta. Learned that there were two Indian restaurants in Savannah and decided to stop at one for lunch. Taste of India was closed, so it was Pakwan where we stopped.
As we walked in and were guided to our table, I looked at the young manager and wondered where I had seen him before. Then it struck me. A couple of years ago, I had attended a Yesplus workshop at Georgia Tech. He was one of the participants on the same workshop. He recognized me too and he knew about this blog! Turns out that his father owns Pakwan. So we asked him to recommend what we should eat. He asked us to order off the menu instead of getting food from the buffet. So we ordered a plate of Samosa Chaat, Navratan Korma, Paneer Makhani and the Bread Basket. As with all Indian restaurants in the US, the server brought us a plate of Papads with chutneys. Then the food started to arrive. The Samosa Chaat was fairly good. The coriander-chilli chutney looked unusually green, I thought! P and his cousin liked the Navratan Korma although I found it a tad too sweet. Actually, that is the predominant flavor of the original recipe, so I cannot really complain. The Paneer Makhani had a buttery gravy, red in color, smooth in texture and perfectly spiced. I wish I had ordered another vegetable dish… Bhindi Pyaaz, Sookhi Sabji or Chana Saag. Well, that’s the menu for another visit, I guess. We couldn’t do justice to the Bread Basket but we did the best we could! The Naans and Kulchas were piping hot, crisp and crumbly.
Eats from Pakwan Cuisine, Savannah
My friend insisted that we get dessert. When we demurred, he said that it was on the house. A little bowl of Rasmalai and another containing rice pudding arrived soon after. The Rasmalai was divine! Creamy and pink, perfectly portioned and with the right level of sweetness, I couldn’t have thought of a better ending to this meal. Actually, it is one of my favorite desserts, so my opinion is biased, most likely. P’s cousin cleaned up the bowl of rice pudding and I am guessing it was equally delicious. I couldn’t help noticing the cute copper bowls used to serve the food… very nice looking, indeed.
Bellies full, we stepped into the rain… off to Atlanta!
Kayak Cafe One East Broughton Street Savannah, GA 31401 912-233-6044 www.eatkayak.com