Out to Lunch

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Hold on to your panties, because I’ve got big news to share with you: starting next Tuesday (Feb 9) Sweet Pea will be featuring an amazing sammich menu!  The Mr. is going nuts (a double decker grilled cheese with Daiya!), but  I was about to get myself all worked into a gluten-free rage because of the so so many delicious sammiches and none of them made on bread I can eat.  However, I am now calm because there is one option for us folk, and it’s a good one: the Ruby Bird’s Nest.  UnChicken, Eggless Tofu, or UnTuna salad on a bed of greens with cukes and carrots.  In truth it’s nothing I can’t make at home, but my office is so close to Sweet Pea that I know I will now be even more likely to visit them for lunch (as if I’m not there pretty much every other day anyway.  Who am I kidding?).


Have you heard of Francis?  Am I the only one who hadn’t?  Somehow this restaurant managed to fly under my radar until 2 weekends ago, when a couple of my friends suggested it as a brunch destination.  It’s up on Alberta and 23rd, and I was immediately ready to like the place because a) I noticed that my favorite server from the Stepping Stone, who has this super cool tattoo on her upper arm, is now working there, b) the decor is tastefully eclectic and they have comfy chairs to sit in, and c) they have a whole section on their menu that’s vegan and gluten-free!  I had the vegan hash and Mr. Awesomepants had Christina’s benedict.

Where's the sausage?

The vegan hash consists of potatoes, pasilla peppers, tomatoes, onions, and house-made vegan sausage, topped with green chili sauce and served with a vegan, gluten free biscuit.  This sounded pretty damn exciting to me, especially when I double checked the vegan sausage ingredients and confirmed that yes indeed it is gluten free (it’s made from potato flour, lentils, and a few other things I can’t remember right now).

I will say before I go further that the chef does have a disclaimer on the menu stating clearly that he is not a vegan nor is he gluten-free, so he relies heavily on his customers to guide him.  I will be writing him a note, I think, because unfortunately the “sausage” left much to be desired.  As you can see from the picture there were no actual familiar sausage-y shapes, just a smattering of lentils with no patties or tubes to be seen.  The portion was generous and the veggies were fresh, and that was nice, but the lentils lent an odd texture to the dish that I was not a big fan of.  The lentils were also a part of the Mr.’s meal, and they definitely lent it more of a biscuits and gravy feel than a benedict aura.  I tried a bite or two and was fairly unimpressed.  The gluten-free biscuit, which was included with my meal and used as a component of the Mr.’s, was horrible.  It looked gorgeous, and I was so excited for it, but it had an oddly sweet taste and a very heavy texture that I just couldn’t get past.

Oh you deceptive little biscuits, you

I love that they are so accommodating at Francis, and I will definitely be back because I think it’s important to support restaurants that are making that effort.   I feel sort of shy about it because I’ve never done such a thing before, but I will be making some recommendations to the chef that I think will really improve the menu.  So maybe by the time you make it there (and I hope you do!) you might be dining on food that I had a small hand in creating.  How exciting!


Of course, you must have heard 3 billion times by now about Los Gorditos opening a real-live restaurant (look ma, no wheels!) on 12th and Division, right?  We went and investigated a couple of Friday nights ago.  First thing I noticed: what’s with the plastic covers still on the seats of the country kitchen chairs?  Weird.  No matter, I’ve never really seen much in the way of delightful ambiance in a Mexican joint, with the amazing exception of La Calaca Comelona, who also has a crazy party bus that I see randomly driving around town in all its Day of the Dead LED glory.  Honestly, as long as a Mexican place is clean and has spicy hot sauce I’m down to give it a try, and I already knew Los Gorditos was not going to disappoint.   It was delicious as always, and my favorite thing?  You can see them pressing the fresh masa into tortillas using a wooden tortilla press!  How cool is that?  Go there if you haven’t been, that’s all I’m going to say.


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