After years of dealing with well-meaning relatives and restaurants with no veggie-friendly options but salad and gigantic Portobello mushrooms, Rebecca is excited to share her hard-won recipes, nutrition tips and restaurant dining advice with both fellow herbivorous and omnivorous Central PAers alike.
In my experience, there are few restaurants where vegetarians can feel sure to find several delicious choices on the menu. Moosewood is one of them. My blog post is outside Central PA this time, but I couldn't go to Moosewood and not blog about it. The Moosewood is a world-famous restaurant in Ithaca, NY, which is in the Finger Lakes region. The restaurant was begun in 1973 and has been run ever since by a group of people called the Moosewood Collective. Together they have run the restaurant and have written 12 excellent cookbooks. I recommend Moosewood cookbooks to anyone who is beginning the vegetarian lifestyle or who is just looking for some new and creative recipes.
The Moosewood has a menu which changes daily, with salads, soups, appetizers and entrees, and of course dessert! The Moosewood's menus are labeled to make dining easy for those with different diet needs and preferences. I myself am a plain, old vegetarian – I don't eat any animal meat, but I'm happy to eat dairy. Last night's menu had four entrees, and two of them were labeled with a "v" to indicate that they could be made vegan. The menu also encourages anyone with food allergies to discuss their options with their server. Another nice aspect to dining at the Moosewood is the knowledgeable servers. Servers are happy to answer any questions you have, and in my experience they most often know the answers themselves without having to ask at the kitchen.
The Moosewood serves a nice variety of both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. My particular favorite is their ginger tea, which is served hot or iced. This tea has some serious ginger flavor, so I love ordering it hot in the winter time. For a summer dinner out on Moosewood's patio this weekend I decided on the cold homemade lemonade. I enjoyed the Vegetable Tajine, which is a Moroccan stew with lots of lovely in-season veggies seasoned with lemon, thyme, and saffron. The stew is served over couscous, and like all entrees, it comes with a side salad. The Moosewood has a really nice selection of freshly-made salad dressings, but I must admit that I've never gotten past the house dressing – creamy spinach-basil. It is by far one of the most delicious dressings I've ever had, and also very light for a creamy dressing.
Moosewood has great desserts, including carrot cake and their famous brownie sundae. Even the simplest option on the dessert menu – ice cream – is locally made and completely delicious. As with the rest of the menu, there are also delicious vegan options. This weekend we were full enough that my family opted to share a piece of carrot cake, which honestly is what we usually do. I can't say no to the carrot cake.
It was another lovely trip to the Moosewood. It's a great time of year to visit Ithaca, with Cayuga Lake and several "gorges" state parks to explore. If you're interested in the Moosewood's recipes and cannot make the trip to Ithaca, Moosewood also has a great blog. Moosewood not only gives me the rare experience of being able to eat just about everything on a menu, but also the chance to support a local business that has consistently put local ingredients, taste and customers first. As far as I'm concerned, the members of the Moosewood Collective continue to succeed in making local and vegetarian eating a fun and creative experience for everyone.