Searching for good vegetarian meals in Charlottesville, Virginia

Thursday, July 29, 2010

In which I avoid Cooking

It's been a slow week for cooking and baking. When the Carnivorous Husband is out of town, I tend to put my own culinary desires on hold and appease Master Persnickety and Miss Voracious instead. In other words, we've been eating pasta. Last night's hoisin seared tofu and vegetables pushed Master Persnickety to his limits of open-mindedness, even though he loves tofu and vegetables and hoisin sauce--just not together.
We've also had our hands a little fuller than usual with a certain house guest. He's the gray and white blur on the photo's left. His name is The Professor.

The Professor returned to his usual home today, and the children, who have been uncharacteristically reasonable in their demands this week, required a small treat to take their minds off things. The best solution to a house with no kittens is, of course, Eppie's.

You'll be hearing about Eppie's again. It's not one of those family restaurants with only Kraft-like macaroni, french fries, and stewed apples for vegetarian diners, because the "vegetables" actually contain more meat than the meat dishes. Here, herbivores can peruse the menu with confidence. The greens do not contain bacon and are nonetheless delicious. Actually, much of the menu, unlike several trendier ones in town, is pleasantly bacon-free.

You won't find gourmet fare at Eppie's--the food is much like what I would make at home if I wanted to cook a long time and use lots of pots and pans, which I don't. Master Persnickety had penne with pesto and pumpkin bread, his favorite. Not a bite remained. Miss Voracious loves to partake of the ample vegetarian selections on the menu, and tonight she settled on one of the myriad options of the "Three Veggie Plate:" the Greek salad (a favorite), the cornbread (featured on the plate unless a substitution is requested), and the evening's dessert: banana pudding. Yes, dessert counts as a veggie; if you go when they're offering a crisp or cobbler, get it. My three veggies also included dessert and cornbread as well as black beans--sort of a chunky soup/stew--and a large baked sweet potato. It is also possible to order Four Veggies, but I usually find this amount to be too much for one meal. Not being able to decide on only three because there are so many choices that sound good is a novel problem for a vegetarian to have.

The combination provided the hearty meal I needed after a long week with no husband, and the banana pudding was not in the least bawdy like the song of the same name (Southern Culture on the Skids). The salads are crisp and freshly-prepared with no wilted greens and several interesting flavor combinations. The Daily salad (a favorite of mine) is spinach with blue cheese, cranberries, tomatoes. The Greek salad has lots of onions, feta, and olives. A special I've had several times, an inspired Cesar salad, has a chipotle dressing and cornbread croutons. Vegans can enjoy several selections here, from a hummus sandwich to several of the veggie options. Personally, I love the black beans, sweet potatoes and collards with a generous drizzling of their spicy vinegar, but there are several other possible vegan combinations, and the marinara sauce for pasta appears to be vegan--just make sure to ask for no cheese. For conventional vegetarians, even the macaroni and cheese is tasty and has tiny bits of mushroom cooked into it for added depth of flavor.
I could go on and on, but I'll leave you in suspense until the next time. Eppie's is quick and great for those weeknight meals after baseball practice or dance class. It's probably not the most romantic choice and does not offer table service, but tables and restrooms are kept clean, and it's a favorite spot of mine for a casual dinner with friends.

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