Moosewood: My Mecca

Sandwiched between two 12 hour bus rides was my trip to Moosewood. And what a trip it was.

Moosewood is a collectively owned business that started as a small natural foods restaurant and now has expanded to 11 cookbooks (many of them award winning) and even frozen foods and salad dressings. I have cooked out of their cookbooks and made some of the most amazing recipes. I knew when I came to the East Coast, I had to go.

So go I did – for lunch AND dinner. I’m pretty sure the same staff wasn’t there so I was safe from being “that random girl that showed up twice in one day.”

Lunch first. Each entree for lunch and dinner come with a salad. The salads were pretty much the same so I didn’t take a picture at dinner.

The salad is pretty basic – greens, carrots, a few cherry tomatoes and a single olive. But the magic comes in the dressings; there are several to choose from. For lunch I chose honey dijon and it was delicious! The tang of the dijon and the sweetness of the honey were distinct flavors but still melded well.

For dinner, I chose the lemon tahini dressing which was good – and I don’t usually like tahini. It was like thin hummus on salad! Yum!

My lunch entree was BBQ tofu with collard greens and corn bread.

The light was terrible and I was trying to be discreet so I apologize for the terrible photos.

I chose the BBQ tofu because BBQ is something that I sorely miss as a veggie and I thought maybe Moosewood would do it better than I can do at home. Unfortunately, they couldn’t. It was good, but it wasn’t great. The sauce was thinner than I would have liked and more oily. The flavors were good though – tangy and sweet. The cornbread was awesome (who doesn’t love carbs) and the collard greens were good – warm and garlicky.

Lunch dessert more than made up for slightly lackluster tofu. Behold, fudge brownie with banana frozen yogurt:

It was most decidedly not vegan like some other items on their dessert menu, but it WAS freakin’ delicious. Did I eat the entire brownie? DUH. Did I eat all the frozen yogurt…sadly no. That would have been too much, even for me! But the brownie was awesome – soooo fudgy and amazing.

When I went back for dinner I got another salad and then a mexican stuffed portobello mushroom.

The mushroom was stuffed with a butternut squash polenta mixture, topped with tomatillo salsa and pepperjack cheese. There were marinated beets on the side. I polished this plate off EASY. Everything was so flavorful – the beets were extra beety and I could taste each of the flavors in the mushroom. I definitely want to try to recreate this at home.

And then, my favorite thing I ate at Moosewood, dinner dessert:

Peanut butter tart with chocolate ganache. A peanut butter crust, filled with creamy  PB filling, topped with ganache. This is hands down in my top three desserts EVER.

I had to consciously stop myself from devouring the entire thing in 2 minutes. Instead I took tiny bites and almost cried when it was over. It’s sort of devastating that I won’t be back tomorrow for more chocolatey goodness.

The service was great, the atmosphere was great and it was some of the best food I’ve had. It was not fancy food – and it wasn’t supposed to be. Everything tasted fresh and lighter than other dinners – despite completely cleaning my 3 plates for both meals, I didn’t feel like I was going to throw up and then die.

I have to comment on eating alone – I notice that I ate much slower and tasted my food much more because I was actually paying more attention instead of chatting and shoving food in my face. I thought I would be embarassed to be alone, but I so enjoyed tasting my food so thoroughly that I didn’t even notice I was alone. It was a good reminder to pay more attention to all meals – even when others are there!

In some ways, I felt self indulgent getting two full meals with intense desserts but I figured I came to Ithaca to EAT so I’d better do it right!

All in all, it was a great leg to the trip – I almost wish I was staying longer just so that I didn’t have to spend 12 more hours on Greyhound tomorrow. C’est la vie!

The exciting news is that I get to see my aunt and uncle that live near Albany because I have an hour and a half layover! I haven’t seen them in a few years, so I am really excited. And then on to Montreal to meet up with my cousin!

Off to cuddle up with my five million pillows (why do hotels give you so many pillows?!) I have to be out of the hotel at 6:40 am tomorrow so I’m going to try to get some sleep!




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