Sunday, April 3, 2011

mutants do brunch

I have a serious yearning for dessert right now.  I think it's because I didn't have any at brunch today, but that's because we were all stuffed full of tasty things to consider shoving anything else into our stomachs.  Maybe once I post this, I can convince Mister to stop babbling about movies and actors and directors and how nothing "good" has come out in the past ten years, even though we can both name about 10 movies that have come out recently that we regret missing in the theater.

Mister and I have very different taste in movies, so very frequently we play the "I've never heard of that" "I can't believe you've never seen [insert movie title everyone else has seen here]!!!" game.  Both of these phrases are usually followed by my husband looking at me like I'm a mutant.  After years of holding out, I think we're finally going to get a Netflix subscription.  I mean, we do have a couch now...

Anyway, you don't want to hear about how I've never seen "Cape Fear" or "Gladiator" or "Scarface."  You want to hear about my super-duper brunch double-date.

First, let me say how disappointed I was to come home and realize I had forgotten to take my camera.  The presentation at Farmicia wasn't nearly as exquisite as that of Horizons, but you still knew your food was going to taste fantastic just by looking at it.  Additionally, the decor was fabulous - an amazing combination of "Are we really still in Center City?" and clean, modern design.  I thought it was adorable that the centerpiece at our table was a perfect green Granny Smith apple, settled snugly into a small periwinkle blue dish.  That's all.  That's all there needed to be.

I had a bit of trouble deciding on a brunch spot.  For years, there was no question - my parents would come down to Queen Village and we would walk over to Southwark because my friend owns it and because it's beautiful and has good food.  However, as my palate has changed and my attitude toward food adjusted, I find that their menu is quite limited, even for my egg-loving Mister.  You can't, for example, get an omelet with spinach and cheese.  You can get the specific omelet they are serving that day, and if it's mushrooms, cheddar, and bacon, well, we're SoL.  I think my breaking point came when the server explained that they could not substitute spinach for the bacon on Eggs Benedict...even though they had a spinach salad on the menu.

I put my question out to the twitterverse and Kelly from Living On the Vedge suggested Farmicia.  I checked out the menu.  "You had me at tofu." (as long as movies are on the mind...)  So, for the first time ever, I proved I was hip to the new technology and reserved a table through the website (yes, I know that's not new).  Thank heavens - the place was completely packed when we showed up for brunch today.  The menu is quite diverse and full of tasty non-animals for Mister and I, as well as the opposite for my dear parents.  I love how my mom requests a "place where Dad can get real eggs."  I don't think they're over last year's birthday brunch yet.

It didn't take me long to decide on the Scrambled Tofu with Vegan Chorizo.  It didn't take me long to realize I absolutely made the right choice.  I've never actually had chorizo, vegan or otherwise - I'll pause so you can look at me like I just grew another head - so that was different.  It was a fun dish with toothsome tofu, spicy crumbled "sausage", served with sopaipillas, on top of refried black beans, along with a taco-type situation involving tomatoes and huge chunks of avocado.  It was terrific - what a fabulous combination of flavors and textures, and for me, it was just the right amount of food.  I washed it down with a St. Germain cocktail (champagne, elderberry liquid, soda) and thought of how to convince Mister we should come here again and soon.

Turns out, it doesn't take much convincing as he quite enjoyed his Quesadilla with eggs, potatoes, cheese, and they even let him sub vegan chorizo for the "real thing."  Such flexibility!  It was quite a big quesadilla, so I'm not surprised he didn't have room for dessert...I wonder if there's room yet...

My mom got a huge pile of french toast that appeared to be covered in a healthy serving of applesauce, although the menu calls it cherry-apple compote.  It looked great and my father didn't mind helping her finish it, especially since his Brunch sandwich was not huge.  It appeared to be satisfying, but not huge.  We all greatly enjoyed our brunch, the atmosphere, and the time together, then my parents came back to check out the new apartment.

After they left I got to do my favorite thing ever - Grocery Shopping!  I'm kidding.  I did go grocery shopping, but doing so on a Sunday afternoon can be a harrowing experience at best.  Nevertheless, we needed ingredients for:

1. Salsa Rice and Red Beans from Vegan on the Cheap
2. Rice Island Casserole, also from Vegan on the Cheap
3. Pasta E Fagioli from Veganomicon (I think it's winning the battle for Most Favorite)
4. Chickpea Piccata from Appetite for Reduction
5. Curried Chickpeas and Greens, also from Appetite for Reduction
6. Pasta con Broccoli, also from Appetite for Reduction AND tonight's dinner.

When I got my groceries home and started putting them where they belong, I thought my huge haul of garlic was funny, so I took a picture of exactly how garlic-heavy this week's menu turned out to be:

I used nearly a whole head just for tonight's dinner.  I figured I was probably in a better mindset to thinly slice a quarter-cup of garlic than I might be during the week.  I also thought it would take longer than it did.  Note to self: As long as you use frozen broccoli (organic, of course), this is one of your quickest cooking meals.

It is also far more flavorful than it appears.

That kind of looks like a pile of naked linguine with unexpectedly verdant frozen broccoli, doesn't it?  So Wrong - the last step of the recipe involves adding the cooked pasta to the pot with the broccoli and broth-sauce and those little noodles slurp up an astonishing amount of flavor from that quick "saute."  This is quickly becoming a favorite in our home.

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