Wordless Wednesday: Breakfast, Lunch, or Brunch?

Counter CultureGF Breakfast Sammie (Garbanzo Sausage Patty, Mung Bean “Egg”, Local Tomato, Cashew Cheeze and Aioli on a Toasted Organic GF English Muffin)

Burma LoveBurmese Samusa Wrap (A hearty spinach wrap featuring Burmese curried potatoes and peas and crunchy fresh veggies with tea aioli dip)

Casa De LuzSaturday Lunch (Garden Greens Tossed with Basil Dressing, Basmati Rice with Mixed Vegies, Pinto Beans with Steamed Vegetables Sprinkled with Pumpkin Seeds and Garlic, Blanched Kale Topped with Almond and Oregano Sauce, Pickled Red Cabbage and Beets)

Opera CafeChaga Frappe (Mushroom-Based Mocha Blended with Ice and Topped with Coconut Whipped Cream)

Dosa by DOSAButternut Squash Dahl (Lentils, butternut squash, ginger, garlic, onion, tomato and turmeric)

Citizen EateryChorizo Omelette (JUST Egg omelette stuffed with chorizo & cheddar cheese topped with avocado, aioli & salsa verde)

Deep Roots

All successful restaurants are the product of passion, innovation, and fearless vision, but in the case of Bloodroot in Bridgeport, CT, it was radical feminism that came before the food. Founded over 40 years ago, Selma Miriam and Noel Furie made a statement by planting this seed of rebellion before such progressive concepts hit mainstream awareness. Part bookstore, part community center, the menu is as diverse as the people drawn to this vegetarian bastion.

Established right by the water’s edge in a residential neighborhood, small sailboats bob just beyond the grassy parking lot. You’d be forgiven for thinking you walked into someone’s home by accident, but that comforting vibe is entirely intentional. Fluffy cats laze around on bookshelves alongside obscure texts, purring contentedly in the quiet moments between the clanging of pots and pans.

Offering refuge along with solidarity and nourishment alike, the unconventional business model is one that shouldn’t work on paper, and yet, Bloodroot remains firmly established, feeding the masses with an ever-evolving bill of fare that reflects seasonal and local produce.

Famous for their soups, “Tightwad Tuesday” is a favorite incentive for a midweek visit, when a generous bowlful is ladled out with a side of salad and a hearty chunk of their homemade breads, chewy loaves dotted with seeds and whole grains, at an affordable price. Escarole & Garlic, Lima Bean with Lemon & Parsley, Tomato & Fennel, among many others, never fail to soothe the soul.

Worldly inspirations color the eclectic assortment of dinner options, such as meatless Jerk Chicken with Coconut Rice, Mexican Mole, and Grilled Greens-stuffed Tofu Pockets, just for starters. The flavors bring a taste of the world to any table, but the ladies keep no secrets to their success. Literally an open book, all the recipes are detailed in their numerous cookbooks, and sharing is explicitly encouraged. That openness and generosity is the true key to Bloodroot‘s success; it takes a village to support such an unconventional business, just like bold objectives it seeks to achieve. Here, enjoy a side of acceptance with a drizzle of equality, right next to your Szechuan Peanut-Sesame Noodles.

Fresh Off the Boat

One of the most buzz-worthy restaurant openings of recent months, much has already been written about FOB Kitchen in Oakland, California. Filipino food is quickly gaining mainstream traction, but remains relatively rare in an elevated dining atmosphere, particularly in an accessible, approachable format. Given the circumstances, such breathless anticipation can be forgiven. Clamoring for something new, the dining public is absolutely eating this stuff up- And not just for the novelty factor.

In a culture ruled by pork, vegan options are rare at best, but not so on the menu at the Temescal treasure. FOB Kitchen goes out of their way to provide meatless eats for their diverse, discerning Californian clientele.

Tofu-mushroom adobo, the entree that earns the most critical attention, is the result of recipe testing for over a year to get the flavors just right. Garlic-forward in the best way possible, aromatic onions and peppers give this lightly stewed combination its essential character, enhanced by a generous hand with the coconut oil for a luxurious eating experience.

Ensalada talong, an unassuming eggplant salad, turned out to be the sleeper hit of the evening, dazzling with a bright vinegar dressing sprinkled across crisp jicama, tomato, with the surprising briny bite of sea asparagus woven among tender braised eggplant and shredded mango. Crunchy broken rice crackers crown the melange with a satisfying toasted note, essentially allowing eaters to indulge in forkfuls of chips and chunky dip without looking like brutes. This dish alone is worth a return visit.

Kabocha squash also dazzles with stunning depth, stewed in coconut milk alongside long beans and onions. Such simplicity belies the incredible richness of each melt-in-your-mouth soft orange cube.

Pancit sontaghon, simple glass noodles with a handful of colorful vegetables, doesn’t have quite the same sparkle, but still satisfies with its savory soy sauce-infused translucent strands.

Suman, a variation on mango sticky rice, presents the starch as a completely smooth cylinder on the plate that bears only gentle resistance to the fork. Topped with caramelized coconut crumbs, the lightly bitter notes contrast beautifully with the tropical fruit arranged on the side. Though I might personally prefer more sauce, it could probably be served in a soup bowl and I’d still have the same complaint.

Beginning life as a fledgling pop-up back in 2015, the name is an acronym for “Fresh Off the Boat,” but I truly hope they’re dropping anchor to stay a good long while.