Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chili's Grill & Bar

Chili's Grill & Bar, 70 Walkers Brook Drive, Reading MA
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Vegetarian Options: Non Vegetarian/Vegetarian Selective
Price: $10-$16
Total Carrots:

I am always on the look out for a good salad. You might be surprised with this one, but I recently discovered something tasty at Chili’s called the Quesadilla Explosion salad that can be made vegetarian without the chicken. Generally, when I dine at Chili’s, with my carnivore friends, I order the vegetarian fajita, which is not on the menu, but can be made upon request. The Fajita at Chili’s is okay, but this past weekend I wanted something different and our waitress recommended the Quesadilla Explosion. Because I was hungry, I was a bit hesitant to order a salad and was not sure how filling it would be. Lo and behold, it was filling AND delicious.

The ingredients in the salad are corn relish, cilantro, mixed cheese, diced tomatoes and crispy tortilla chips, garnished with a drizzle of chipotle ranch dressing. Even though I am not a fan of ranch dressing ( does contain eggs) , a few drops of it adds a nice touch. It also comes with four small pieces of quesadillas and citrus balsamic vinaigrette on the side. To me it’s like you get to have your salad and eat your quesadilla too.

Most of Chili’s soups are non vegetarian, but they do offer a southwestern style soup(seasonal availability), with corn and black beans. Hopefully with the onset of summer, the soup will be offered soon. Chili's also offers a tasty Vegetarian Black Bean Burger. As always at any restaurant, double check with the waitress to see if the dishes are truly vegetarian.

Even though Chilli’s would definitely not be in my top 10 veggie-friendly restaurants to go to but in the off chance you do end up there it can be a fun, inexpensive and lively place with cheap drinks.

Chili's Grill & Bar in Boston

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Betty's Wok and Noodle Diner

Betty's Wok and Noodle Diner, 250 Huntington Ave, Boston MA 02115
Cuisine: Asian
Vegetarian Options: Vegetarian Friendly
Price: $12 -$20

Total Carrots:

I really wanted to like this place. I went to Betty’s Wok and Noodle Diner with a friend this past weekend and was completely disappointed with the service at this restaurant. My friend and I were looking for a nice evening but instead we felt condescended by the owner and a waitress at this establishment. First, I will say their menu does offer a wide range of vegetarian friendly options, but because of the poor service that we experienced, I unfortunately will never be back to Betty’s Wok and Noodle Diner.

My friend had accidentally spilled his drink on the table. To begin with, the table near the window was not sturdy and he apologized and even helped the owner clean up the mess. Since the table we originally sat on was dirty, we switched tables and the owner and the waitress then acted annoyed with us. They also never brought my friend another drink which he hardly had two sips of. We were given another waitress and told her what had happened and this new waitress was very nice and understanding and finally brought us another drink. Our night might have been better if we had this new waitress all along. The manager nor the old waitress never came to apologize.

We ordered the appetizer Cool Cuc’s and Weed, a cumber and seaweed appetizer dish made in a ginger-wasabi dressing that was tasty. For the main dish, I had the broth noodles with the Asian pesto sauce on the side and ordered it will soba noodles. The dish was okay, a bit on the bland side even with the Asian pesto sauce. However noodle soups at most restaurants tend to be on the blander side. The restaurant has a nice drink menu, I ordered Loca- Motion which was delicious.

Overall the food here is okay, and the ambiance is fun, yet casual, but I was mainly disappointed because of the service. The food is a bit expensive for the price. There are other Asian restaurants in Boston area that serve just as good food for cheaper prices.

Betty's Wok & Noodle Diner in Boston

Friday, April 11, 2008

Baraka Cafe

Baraka Cafe, 80 Pearl St, Cambridge MA 02139
Cuisine: Tunsian/North African
Vegetarian Options: Vegetarian Friendly
Price: $10-$20

Total Carrots:

It was a Saturday night and I was in the mood for something ethnic and tasty. I heard about Baraka Cafe and decided to check out this place for some good eats with a friend. This restaurant is located off the beaten path on Pearl St. and because of its location we almost did not make it to the restaurant. Baraka Café is cozy, with only about 10 tables, and we ended up having to wait thirty minutes for one.

When dining at Baraka Café, you will feel like a guest in their kitchen. The ambiance is very charming with Tunisian wall hangings, purple table covers and an antique looking armoire. Our dishes were served in wooden and clay bowls, a really nice touch. The floor was warped, which at first I thought was bothersome, but it actually adds character to the restaurant.

The food here is amazing and do not leave without trying the lemonade. To my surprise, it is as great as everyone had mentioned and the rose petals and spices in it add a unique flavor. For an appetizer, we shared the J’binet with Berber Karmous, a plate of different Mediterranean cheeses, such as Egyptian feta, Labna, & Bulgarian cheese served with caramelized figs and crackers. In addition to the appetizer, I ordered their vegetarian lentil soup which was tasty. For dinner, I had the Melkha , an eggplant dish made with feta, olives, scallions, parsley and couscous which was absolutely delicious. Overall service was good and our waitress was was friendly and spent time explaining the menu to us. The cons of this restaurant are that they only take cash, no reservations are accepted, and the tables are quite close together, but I will surely be back for the amazing food and the charming ambiance.

Baraka Cafe in Cambridge