For my birthday (29 of course), my husband treated me to a weekend trip to Boston. A pleasant train ride from Portland and we were in the city of John Hancock and John Singleton Copley. Our first order of business was to check into The Lenox
, my favorite place to stay in Boston. It's not only an impeccable boutique hotel with two bars and a restaurant, but a modern oasis offering up-to-date amenities and an industry-leading approach to conserving resources, employing energy efficiency and using natural cleaners. The rooms are stocked with recycling buckets (covered in a stylish rattan) and Aveda toiletries. Ours even came with a Pure Room air purifying system.
Here's one of the views from our corner suite, with the Old South Church on the left, the Public Library in the foreground and the Hancock Tower on the right.
While we were in town, we checked out the new treasure-filled Art of the Americas wing at the Museum of Fine Arts. Of course, we couldn't pass up the chance to eat in the New American Cafe in the glass enclosed courtyard.
On the busy weekends, it's a good idea to show up a little before noon if you don't want to wait for a seat in this light and airy restaurant. The current menu doesn't offer any all plant-based entrees, but I did order a lovely salad and an indulgent order of house-made potato chips.
The mixed greens came topped with cauliflower (stained pink from the vinaigrette), carrots, shallots and pecans. It was bright and refreshing.
This was just one of many memorable meals I enjoyed while in town.
Two of the restaurants we dined at serve up unique cuisine resulting from the blending of two exceptional food cultures. At Mumbai Chopstix
on Newbury Street, we enjoyed the zesty fusion of Indian and Chinese cuisine. While at The Elephant Walk
on Beacon Street, we savored the mingling of Cambodian and French cookery. Both restaurants offer numerous vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Oddly enough, the spot where we found the most comprehensive plant-based menu was at a steakhouse. The Oak Room and Oak Bar are two opulent establishments inside The Fairmont Copley Plaza. At the start of the year, the luxury Fairmont hotel chain unveiled its new Lifestyle Cuisine Plus
menu, which features vegan, raw, macrobiotic, and gluten-free dishes, at all its properties.
I chose the chickpea and roasted tomato dip with raw vegetables to start and selected the curry spiced tofu with Asian cabbage slaw, rice noodles and mango chutney for my entree. Both were excellent.
And for dessert, I savored this soy milk yogurt parfait, which proved a smooth finish to a very sweet trip.
Maine's herbivores gathered yesterday for the annual celebration of plant-based cuisine that is the Vegetarian & Vegan Food Festival
. Now in its sixth year, the event attracted hundreds of attendees and more than two dozen food vendors, vegetarian-focused businesses and animal rights nonprofits.
One of the most popular tables was staffed by Portland's premier vegetarian restaurant, the Green Elephant. Here co-owner Dan Sriprasert serves up free samples of fresh and fried spring rolls, while his team members offer up wontons, soy nuggets and stir fry.
The Vermont Soy booth also attracted a line with samples of tofu stir fry.
Maine Animal Coalition, the event sponsor, used a variety of donated products to create a Tofurky sandwich stand and a top-your-own baked potato bar, both of which attracted lines and positive reviews.
I enjoyed trying Dr. John's Brain-ola made by Little Lad's Bakery using Dr. John Herzog's recipe. Unlike other granolas, it's not coated in sweetener. We couldn't resit buying a bag to bring home.
David Homa who owns Kzeloumsen Permaculture Gardens presented a lush display highlighting his edible landscaping services. I love the fact that he included these gorgeous rocks in his design. He tells me he and Eli Cayer are cooking up an interesting project, which I hope to check out soon. If I get the scoop, I'll be sure to share it in my Natural Foodie column in the Portland Press Herald
Once again, the festival proved to be another stellar event showcasing the diverse ways to enjoy plant-based meals in Maine. It's great to know that eating low on the food chain is so easy here in the pine tree state.