About two weeks ago I turned twenty-seven, and my wonderful husband and friends indulged me by going out to dinner at the restaurant of my choice - a vegetarian restaurant. In case you don't know, my husband is about as opposite a vegetarian as anyone can get, and none of my friends are vegetarians. And not only did these fantastic people agree to go to a vegetarian restaurant with me, but they agreed to go to one a good 40 minute drive away! It made me really happy. I had been wanting to go to The Red Lentil for a while - ever since I read Janel's review of the restaurant on her food blog.
We started with some yummy appetizers: the Hummus/Pesto Zattar Platter (spicy hummus served with pita bread, drizzled with pesto), the Eggplant Caponata with Sundried Pesto Crostini, and for the less daring, a basket of corn chips with salsa. Both the hummus platter and the eggplant caponata were really good. I didn't try the chips - they looked like they were out of your standard grocery store bag of chips.
For an entree, I decided on the Butternut Squash Polenta - grilled polenta with squash, oyster mushroom ragout, and sesame asparagus drizzled with cilantro sunflower seed pesto.
I'm not usually a fan of mushrooms, but the polenta and asparagus sounded so good I decided to try it anyway. Plus, I figured, everyone else at the table was eating outside of their comfort zone, so why not me too? I loved the polenta and ate about half of the mushrooms before I was just too full to eat more. I'm really glad I tried this dish! (I didn't have my camera with me, so all these are iPhone photos of a slightly inferior quality - sorry!)
Nathan, not surprisingly, wasn't feeling too adventurous in such a foreign setting (No chicken fingers on the menu? What?), and ordered plain nachos. I have to say, the waiter kind of made fun of him. But he seemed to enjoy his plate of food nonetheless.
Chaz and Keith both ordered the Mexican Pizza, which looked amazing: black beans, mango, red onion, corn, mozzarella, and fresh avocado and cilantro.
Nathan's brother Andrew (who is living with us this summer - good times!) ordered the Vegan Caesar Salad (Yes, Nathan's brother eats vegetables - a true inspiration!) and posed for this lovely photo:
And Jillian ordered the Sweet Potato Quesadilla, which I didn't get a picture of but looked delicious.
I'm pretty sure no one enjoyed the dining experience as much as I did, but everyone was a good sport about it and I really enjoyed my birthday dinner!
After dinner, Nathan seemed about maxed out with "healthy food," so we headed for home rather than getting dessert. But once we got home, he decided we should walk to McDonald's (there's one within a mile of our house) and have sundaes, since what's a birthday without dessert?
From The Red Lentil to McDonald's - an ironic yet satisfying 27th birthday.