Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ground Control

While I am willing to try almost anything, there are things that I like more than others.  While I am generally an omnivore, I have no problem limiting my diet and being a vegetarian for a meal.  While I have no problem going meat free, I will admit that their are very few vegan dishes that I have tried that I would really want to come back for.  While I respect people who decide to live that lifestyle, ultimately, I have found vegan food to be very boring.  This does not mean that I am not willing to try vegan food, in general, I just expect that I will probably be bored and not care to have it again.  A vegan restaurant opened in my neighborhood a couple of years ago and it seems to be pretty popular, so I decided to try Ground Control out recently.  The storefront is presently pretty narrow (although they will be expanding to the adjoining storefront soon) seating about 24 at tables and another 6 at the bar.  There is also patio seating that will seat about another 12.  The dining room is painted black and has an unfinished ceiling with some local art hanging on the walls.  The kitchen is in the back of the space with a small serving window near the bar and their are a couple of chalkboards on the back wall listing cocktails and desserts.  Their beer, wine, and cocktail list, while small, is well curated, with some very nice selections.  As I was going in a little skeptical, deciding what I was going to eat was going to take a little time, so I started things off with a beer.  It was warm, so I decided to start with a Two Brothers Dortmunder Lager which is crisp, a little bitter, and a great summer beer.
The dinner menu is divided into appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees, with a small selection of sides.  As the entrees listed were tacos and tofu, I didn't feel that an appetizer (as such) would fit.  I decided that I would go with tacos and a side.  My tacos were Baja Style and included Breaded and Fried Tofu, Pickled Red Onion and Cabbage Slaw, Roasted Seaweed, Cilantro, Togarashi Spice, and Avocado, served with Beans and Rice, and a Salsa Verde.  The tacos were very colorful and had a great tart flavor.  The tofu and avocado provided the differences in texture that made them somewhat interesting.  While rice and beans are Mexican staples, the ones served with the tacos were a little boring, but the Salsa Verde was pretty good, flavorful, and added some spice to both the tacos and rice and beans.
As a side, I went with one of the few things on the menu that was not actually vegan and was only vegetarian, the mac and cheese.  It was actually listed both as an appetizer and as a side, although, because it's larger than the other sides, it had a premium over the other sides prices, but at $6, it was still pretty cheap.  It was made with (besides the macaroni), Gouda Cheese, Red Pepper, Scallions, Cotija Cheese, and some heat (hot peppers).  It was creamy, spicy, and tasted very good.  It was good whether you wanted to call it an appetizer or a side.
While they did have a separate dessert menu, their desserts were also listed on one of the back chalkboards.  I did not, however, notice that until I had actually ordered.  They had three vegan cakes, listed:  Chocolate, Raspberry Lemon, and Chocolate and Peanut Butter.  Vegan chocolate, even when it is chocolate and not carob, in my experience is even more boring than regular vegan food.  While I had been satisfied thus far, I was still a bit skeptical about dessert, so I went in the direction that I thought to be safest, the Raspberry Lemon Cake.  I picked well, my waitress also told me that it was her favorite.  I was kind of surprised that it held together as well as it did.  The cake was moist and flavorful with raspberry preserves and lemon between the three layers.  The frosting was firm and sweet and overall it was a nice finish.

After having my meal here, I will say that I was kind of surprised.  The food was much more interesting than vegan food than I have had in the past.  While the food was simple, it was good for what it was and while I will not be becoming a regular here, I would not have a problem returning occasionally when the mood hits.       

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