Cafe Momo

I love trying new things in the (vegan) food world, and one of my favorite ways to do that is sampling dishes that hail from other areas of the planet.  You can find “Mexican” and “Chinese” food on every corner around here, but I like to scout out the less common ones — Indian, Ethiopian, Korean.  It’s also preferable to find food that’s as authentic as possible (I’d wager I’ve never actually had real Chinese food).  There are still many, many types of “ethnic cuisine” (what is the real phrase I’m looking for?) that I haven’t yet tried, but fortunately, I’m still young!

All that to say, I’ve wanted to go to Cafe Momo for quite some time now (and my desire to go doubled when I discovered that they won the Hippo’s award for Best Vegetarian Food in Manchester a few years back!).  I realize that Manchester, NH is one of the least likely places on the planet you’d expect to find authentic Nepalese food.  But, surprise!  Here it is.  I hit up Momo one night a few weeks ago with my (omni) mom and (vegan) sister and we were all super-impressed.

Cafe Momo is tucked way waaaay up on Hanover St by the highway.  There isn’t much to see on the outside (it was too dark when I went — check the Yelp page for pics) but they make up for it with the super-colorful interior:

Interior of Cafe Momo -- sorry for spoiling your evening with my camera flash, you two!

I’ll say right up front that it is DIM inside.  I don’t know if it’s any better at lunchtime with the natural light helping, though the Yelp page seems to suggest it is, since other people seem to have gotten some food pictures that didn’t need to be heavily desaturated, lightened and adjusted for temperature.  (And mine STILL look orangey-purple…) So if you have an intense need to see all the details of your food, this is not your best pick for restaurant.  Or at least not your best pick for dinner.

Mom and I kicked things off with some soups:

Bamboo soup. Menu description: "This soup is loaded with hand cut vegetables, textured soy and marinated bamboo shoots."

This was my mom’s choice so I didn’t have much of it, but what I did have was tasty!  At first (aka before I checked the menu) the TVP scared me off — I thought it was meat.  Fortunately, I verified that all the soup choices are vegan!

Gundruk soup

I was more drawn to the Gundruk, advertised as being a traditional homeopathic soup.  It was spicier than I was expecting (the theme for the night!) but I ate it all up anyway.  The stuff floating around the top is soy nuts — a weird addition to soup, I thought, but it worked.

The Momo Mojito: "A balance of fresh lime juice, mint leaves, and rice wine."

I don’t drink, and my sis is only 19, but Mom said this was good!

Flat herbed bread appetizer

My sis, ever the carb lover, opted for the unassuming “flat herbed bread” appetizer.  At $3 this is the least expensive thing on the menu (besides the undescribed “Pickle,” which they curiously charge $2 for) but I’m pretty sure it was the favorite plate of the night!  We all LOVED this bread!

Since we’d all gotten appetizers and the entrees were more expensive here than those at the restaurants we normally go to, the three of us decided to get two to share.  I’d heard great things about their curry, and the Katmandu Thaili sounded like a must-have (“A crepe made of black lentil flour with cilantro and scallions steamed into it… filled with seasoned sauteed vegetables cooked to perfection! This filling entree is topped with avocado cilantro sauce.”).  So we were all set to order one curry and one order of the Thaili… when we received word from the kitchen that the Thaili was all out!  Which leads me to my one complaint: For a cafe that was honored for having the best veggie cuisine in town, there was precious little food we could eat!  There are only 5 entrees on the vegetarian menu: two curries, the Katmandu Thaili, a paneer dish (not vegan), and the Tarkari Bhat — described as being “seasoned vegetables and a serving of basmati rice.”  We were down to two curries or the Bhat, which — no offense — sounded more or less ordinary.  So we decided to split the two curries.

I didn't write down the name of this one! Bad Katy!

Mushroom Curry: "Portobello mushrooms cubed and bathed in a curry along with seasoned vegetables."

Both of these were awesome, tomato-based curries (and they get bonus points for including plantains, which I LOVE!).  The avocado cilantro sauce perfectly accompanied the rice, too!  But the entrees were both pretty similar, and I really wished the crepe had been available.  Also, we ordered “medium” spiciness and it came out so hot I had to take a forkful of rice between pretty much every bite.  Beware!

We also hoped to order a dessert but discovered that there were no vegan options available that day.  Alas.  Probably for the best, though, since we were pretty full at that point.

The bottom line is that Cafe Momo serves great (great!) unique food.  It’s worth a visit (or two, or three!).  Just don’t be fooled by the Hippo award to go here and expect vegan heaven.  The options, though awesome, are limited.

Whatever else you order, though, get the bread!

Cafe Momo is located at 1065 Hanover Street in Manchester, NH near exit 7 on 101.  http://www.cafemomonh.com/

Camera update

Bad news, good news, and necessary news!

Bad: After one week, I still haven’t received any word about my camera.  At this point I think I’m just going to have to accept that it’s gone (along with the memory card, carrying case and two pairs of extra batteries).  I’m a little sad about this, because along with the camera the case also contained a Groupon with my name and email address on it.   I was able to re-print and use the Groupon, so that’s fine… but it means that whoever found the camera was just not interested in finding its rightful owner and returning it.  Sigh.

Good: I’m not quite as spacey as I thought!  I found the Cafe Momo pictures I wrote about last time — evidently I did upload them after all!  So I’ll be able to put that review up sometime before the end of the day today.

Necessary: Having resigned myself to the fact that my camera is gone, I just ordered a replacement on Amazon.  So have no fear — the pics will continue :)

Stay tuned for that Momo post later tonight!

Hitting the bars again ;)

Well, after a busy busy holiday season, I’m back and ready for an exciting new year full of vegan deliciousness!  January also marks my two-year anniversary with veganism, and I couldn’t be any happier about that.  You’ve been so good to me, baby.

I had some mouthwateringly fantastic pictures of a dinner at Manchester’s Cafe Momo for a review that I was going to post to kick off the new year.  But then yesterday I went and lost my camera and, naturally, the memory card inside it!  So I guess I will just have to go back to Momo another time to get more pictures.  Just so the suspense doesn’t kill you, here is the gist of my review: AWESOME.   Tasty Nepalese food.  Go!  And don’t miss the deceptively unassuming flatbread.  My sister, a true bread enthusiast if there ever was one, completely adored it.

Actually, I still have all my notes from the Momo dinner, so I could still do a writeup if you guys wouldn’t be too terribly bored reading an all-text review.  Hmm.  I guess I will have to think about that one.  Comment if you have an opinion on this!

For now, though, here are some non-Momo pictures I managed to import prior to yesterday!

Some months ago I mentioned that Apotheca is one of the coolest and most underrated places (EVER) in southern NH.  (This is still true.)  I also mentioned that they carry one of my favorite baked goods (EVER), namely, the “Vegan Delight” bar from Country Life Bakery in Harrisville.  Well, even though I haven’t written about them since May, rest assured I’ve been steadily eating them all that time.  And, as promised, I finally managed to get some glamour shots of one of them in before devouring!

blueberry bar!  sadly, the URL on the label seems to be for a defunct site; go here instead: http://www.newellness.org/bakery.htm

These bars are HUGE and come in all kinds of flavors (some seasonal) including blueberry, raspberry, date, cherry, apple, strawberry, and pumpkin.  I seriously can’t wait for them to be noticed and picked up by other markets so they’d be more accessible across the state — though I’m sure Apotheca doesn’t mind the steady stream of business from me!  Here’s the same bar, unwrapped:

blueberry bar, unwrapped! I have pics of other flavors too but they all look pretty much the same...just slightly different in color of filling.

Oh man.  I can’t stand it.  I’m actually blogging from out of state at the current moment, and these pics are making me consider an early flight home ;) Go get ‘em!

Find Country Life Bakery’s “Vegan Delight” squares at Apotheca Flowers and Tea Chest, 24 Main St, Goffstown, NH. http://www.apothecaflowershoppe.com/

 

I’m a vegan, you’re a vegan… we’re on the same side, right??

Lindsay Nixon at Happy Herbivore has written a really great post about the issues that occasionally arise between the two vegan “camps”: those of us who originally went vegan for health reasons, those of us who originally went vegan for animal rights.  Living as we are in the wake of a lot of hurtful anti-vegan sentiment coming from “ex-vegans,” this article couldn’t have come at a better time.  It is gently written, makes some wonderful points and has sparked a lot of intelligent debate in the comments section!

Here is an excerpt I completely identify with:

“Although my veganism started from a selfish perspective, it morphed into something greater, which I think is true for a lot of people. … Many of us come to veganism for one reason, but then find ourselves caring about the other reasons once we get here.”

Definitely worth reading!

Vegans for Health Are Still Vegans

Vegans for Health are still Vegans.

Mozzarella sticks?!

I’m beginning to wonder if Chicago SoyDairy is some kind of magic factory.  From melty cheese to melty marshmallows to some of the most decadent ice cream I’ve ever tasted, CSD seems to have made it their mission in life to fill in those pesky “gaps” in the vegan menu.  It’s funny, because as a vegan I rarely feel like I’m missing out on anything omnivorous, but when a neat new product like Dandies comes out I definitely enjoy it more than I remember enjoying the “real” thing!

Anyway, all that to say… CSD has now seriously outdone themselves with the invention of the vegan mozzarella stick. I’m not talking string cheese (although that’s surely next) — I mean the breaded, herbed, oily, tasty thing that as a child I used to get an order of EVERY TIME my parents took me out to dinner.

I’m usually hesitant to suggest such blatantly unhealthy food, but the throwback (and, ok, the delicious picture) convinced me I had to share.

Vegan mozzarella sticks!

Restaurant-style vegan mozzarella sticks! Image from VeganEssentials.com

Check it out at VeganEssentials!  Currently the price is set at $5.99 for a bag of 15 sticks (frozen, dur), which is way, way cheaper than the dairy ones go for in any restaurant.  So go to!  I expect a report from whoever tries it out first! :)

I’m beginning to wonder if Chicago Soy Dairy is some kind of magic factory.  From melty cheese to melty marshmallows to some of the most convincing ice cream I’ve ever tasted, they seem to revel in filling in those pesky “gaps” in the vegan menu.  It’s funny, because as a vegan I  never feel like I’m missing out on anything omnivorous, but when a neat new product like Dandies comes out I seem to enjoy it more than I remember enjoying the “real” thing!

Anyway, all that to say… CSD has now seriously outdone themselves with the invention of the vegan mozzarella stick. I’m not talking string cheese (although that’s surely next) — I mean the breaded, oily thing I used to get an order of EVERY TIME my parents took me out to dinner.

Cafe Indigo’s treats head south!

Good news for those of you in the South End: a new mini-market and sandwich shop called Maax Market (named for the owners’ dog!) will be opening in the old Lambert’s spot sometime in the next few weeks.  (They picked a difficult time of year for new business, no?  But I wish them the absolute best of luck!!)

According to various reports, the store will stock conventional grocery products as well as natural and organic foods, and the sandwich selections will include vegetarian and vegan choices.  The best part is that the market will be peddling treats from Cafe Indigo, so you can get a cookie bar to go with that cruelty-free sandwich!

Here’s my favorite quote from the South End Patch article I linked above:

“You can come in here and get Pepperidge Farm cookies or you can get a vegan cookie or gluten free,” Gretchen said. “Residents have made it clear they really want vegan, they really want all-natural.”

Yay!  A similar bit from the MySouthEnd article:

“We’re nervous, of course,” Gretchen said, though she added the focus on low-cost, non-organic and organic foods would help in drawing a wider range of people in.

I find this really interesting, since even I am old enough to remember the days when advertising natural, organic, vegan food would certainly NOT help a store draw a wider range of people — and in fact actually might hurt business with its associations of hemp and granola (both of which are things I love, incidentally).  So that’s exciting!  People are starting to care about this stuff.  It’s a good time to be vegan!  And it’s a good time to realize that cheezy poofs aren’t really food.

The Maax deli is open for sandwich business already, though no word yet on when the CI stuff will get there.  If you’re in the area, though, stop in and say hi to the owners, Gretchen and Carl Blomendale.  They’re welcoming menu input, so if you’ve got any killer vegan sandwich ideas, why not put in your two cents?  And while you’re at it, let ‘em know they made the right choice in stocking vegan cookies!

Maax Market is located at 682 Tremont Street in Boston.  No Web site yet but of course I’ll keep you posted!

Holiday brunch, take 2!

Just a heads up that Cafe Indigo is doing the holiday brunch thing a second time!  Awesome!  So if you missed it in November (or, come on, even if you didn’t), check it out this Sunday the 12th from 10-2.  And check their Facebook page for updates!

Cafe Indigo is located at 128 H Hall Street in Concord, NH.  http://www.cafeindigo.com/