Though the idea of shared plates most often conjures up images of dainty Spanish tapas, the communal meals at Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant are hardly suitable for passing. Instead, everyone sits around and digs right into a giant platter called a beyainatu, which translates to ?a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.? Diners tear off pieces of flat, spongy bread known as injera and scoop up dollops of rich stews. Ethiopia?s signature dish, doro wat, is a mouth-warming union of chicken, traditional berbere spices, and hard-boiled egg. Each entree comes paired with two vegan sides, such as the curried vegetables of tikil gomen or the slow-cooked chickpeas and herbs of shiro. The chefs work particularly well with lamb and seafood, which best show off delicate hints of saut?ed herbs and chilis.
At first glance, Village Coffee has all the trimmings of a classic coffee house, from the colorful walls hung with local artwork to the to the exposed brick and the whirr or the espresso machine. But behind all that is a full menu of eclectic cuisine. That menu presents crispy pressed paninis as well as a handful of Indian-inspired dishes made with tender cuts of lamb. Open early and on into the evening, the shop makes BLTs, cups of coffee, and specialty beverages, such as a peanut butter hot chocolate.
Deb Williams and Chuck Secallus bonded right from the start over their shared passion for healthy living; they met at an Ashtanga yoga class, and they soon dreamed up the plans for Asana House Juice Bar, which combines their love of yoga with their love of raw food nutrition. Through this endeavor, they share their passions with the community by teaching Ashtanga yoga classes and mixing fresh vegetables and fruits into nutrient-rich juices and smoothies. Asana House recently split its establishment to allow the yoga and juice-bar aspects of the business to grow with more space for equipment and experimentation. At the café's new location, liquid gold pools on the ceiling, illuminating the beauty of the decor and the meals Chuck intricately constructs. He draws from diverse ingredients, including a patch of wheatgrass growing behind the counter and a cache of fresh beets, coconuts, and avocados. In addition to liquid fare, Chuck constantly experiments with new lunch combinations, adding kale and sautéed spinach to quesadillas and topping raw-vegetable soups with mint to make meals that are both visually and internally pleasing. Patrons can nibble or sip their meals at one of the small tables or at the bar while listening to upbeat music or watching yoga gurus demonstrate poses in lieu of Simon’s commands on a nearby TV. An attached boutique sells yoga mats and accessories, along with Garden of Life and E3 Live vitamins, both of which Chuck and Deb include in their regular diets.
Though Loving Hut is part of an international group of restaurants spearheaded by Buddhist Supreme Master Ching Hai, each franchise, including the Ledgewood location, cultivates its menu according to local tastes. The result is a menu of thoughtfully crafted vegan fare. For instance, the cheese sauce that smothers macaroni and burgers is made in-house without dairy, and soy protein adds substance to a selection of sandwiches and noodle and rice dishes. All of this is served in a clean white interior lit by ornate golden chandeliers. On the walls hang floral paintings and a fish tank whose bubbles spell out "Thank you for not eating me".
Maoz is most famous for its expansive salad bar, but its falafel ($4.95)—a home-baked pita bread filled with crispy, handmade balls of vitamin-rich chickpeas, fresh spices, and vegetables—lends itself better to a leisurely lunchtime eat-and-amble through the nearest park. You can build off the falafel's delicious base with a splash of hummus, eggplant, baba ganoush, avocado, and more ($0.50–$1/add). Pair it with Belgian fries and sauce, side salad, sweet potato fries, or seasonal soup ($3–$4), and wash it all down with fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Green Symphony's chefs cull zesty ingredients to craft body-nourishing platters and Korean cuisine. Appetites arise from slumber with breakfast offerings such as organic oatmeal splashed with açai fruit purée. Sandwich sages construct breadstacks from South Asian–inspired tempeh, then top their creations with the finest blue, feta, or brie cheese found beyond Mickey Mouse's pantry. A hefty dessert menu gilds sweet teeth with pear-ginger bars and homemade muffins, and bodies find a healthy boost with juice blends including the Cleanser, in which cranberries, carrots, and beets canoodle with barley greens and aloe juice.