Sunday, September 6, 2009

Vegetarian Bliss

I like the idea of eating vegetarian, but generally, I find cooking solely vegetarian dishes much more labor intensive than eating mixed foods. This is because vegetarian dishes require subtle saucing and much chopping, while meat has inherent flavor and juices that vegetarian foods generally do not have, thus might not require as much effort from a chef.
I stopped eating beef years ago because of the cholesterol, but cheat with lamb, which has just as much cholesterol and more fat, because I like the smell and the flavor of meat. And we all eat tons of turkey and chicken, in every conceivable form--burritos, meatloaf, meatballs, curries, etc. And fish too.
But this evening we went to a Vietnamese vegetarian restaurant called Bo De Tinh Tam Chay, in Westminster. I saw a writeup in the LA Times food section about a month ago, and since then I have been trying to get Richard to go there to eat. We finally went, and it was worth the wait. It was a lovely place, with lots of dark wood and faux waterfalls, not your standard hole in the wall Asian joint. There were even metal chopsticks.
The review offered enthusiastic recommendations of several things, and we tried them, plus at least one other dish. We ordered the standard vermicelli with imperial roll (egg roll), which also had shredded tofu and something called "charbroiled citrus fry," an unidentified substance with the texture of meat. I don't know what that stuff was, but it was delicious. Once I topped it with red-hot chili sauce, shredded basil, bean sprouts, mint, and lettuce, I liked it better than the regular version with meat. We also ordered a spring roll filled with vermicelli, daikon, and shredded carrot, with a peanut dip. That was wonderful too! The third dish was a "sparerib" made with lemon grass. It was sort of funny looking, no bone, of course, but tasted fantastic. There are 100 0ther dishes to try (I'm not kidding), so we'll go back and try some different ones next time.
This restaurant takes the place of an old favorite we used to like that has long since closed down. We like this new one even better, though it is more expensive than the old one. Nicer place too... .

8 comments:

Lou said...

The best vegetarian cook I know (hi Reb!) is good because she doesn't try to prepare vegetarian cuisine that looks like, tastes like, or has the texture of meat. I remember one Thanksgiving when she made a deep dish vegetable pie. No tofu turkey for her family. If she had a motto, it might be "Love the Veggie You're With."

Robbi said...

I think this place has a similar philosophy. But Reb isn't a vegan, is she? I think she eats fish.

Robbi said...

Deep dish vegetable pie sounds delish!

Lou said...

Did I say vegan? Isn't veganism much stricter than vegetarianism?

Robbi said...

Yes. She's not vegetarian either, but piscatarian (eats fish). Vegans don't eat dairy products, eggs, meat, fish, or any animal product, including butter. They don't wear leather either. Vegetarians eat dairy products, and might wear leather, though they probably try to avoid it. But they don't eat fish or meat of any kind.

Robbi said...

The restaurant is vegan.

Lou said...

Ah yes, naugahyde booths. ;-)

Robbi said...

Yep. Though people don't generally eat them.