Category Restaurants

Slow Fast Food at the Clover Food Lab

The Slow Food movement may be trendy and growing, but yesterday I had 30 minutes between meetings in Harvard Square and I needed to find some lunch in a hurry. So I headed to Clover Food Lab — a lunch-counter with ample seating that bills itself as “a new kind of fast food.” Clover aims for speed, and the menu lists the number of minutes each item takes to prepare. But unlike McDonald’s or Wendy’s, Clover’s food is local, seasonal, made-to-order, and organic when possible. It is, if you will, a Slow Food version of fast food.

It is also, I might add, a vegetarian restaurant — one that often has a line stretching out the door. (And honestly, how often can you say that?)

My favorite Clover sandwich is the Chickpea Fritter, a parsley and cilantro-laced falafel, served in a pita with cucumber and tomato salad and pickled cabbage. Though I admit that I’m curious about the Barbecued Seitan. Given how often Clover sells out of food (see photo below of the menu, snapped on a day when only soup and rosemary fries were still available), I feel confident in saying that Clover’s offerings are consistently delicious. Though I realize you don’t read The Roasted Beet to hear The Cook’s opinion. So one of these days I’ll take The Professor on a date to Clover!

The Cook’s Birthday, Myers + Chang, and Genki Ya

It’s been a slow two weeks at The Roasted Beet for various reasons: a house guest, a friend in the hospital, a stomach bug, a bad back and The Cook’s birthday!

“Birthday girls don’t cook,” I told The Professor. “So we are going out to Myers + Chang for Chinese or ordering sushi from Genki Ya.”

I adore Myers + Chang. No doubt there are restaurants in Boston’s Chinatown that serve more traditional Chinese food. But I dream about M&C’s dumplings, plump with shiitake mushrooms and Chinese greens, not to mention the red-miso-glazed carrots. Mmmmm … I must sign up for the next M&C cooking class.

That said, faced with the prospect of finding a parking space in the South End, lugging the baby+car seat=20 pounds many blocks, and then trying to keep Ella from running wild, we ordered in from Genki Ya, my favorite Japanese delivery joint.

And. Yum. Yum.

I could write a long post about why people wanting to eat less meat should eat more Japanese food, but here’s the short version: Japanese cuisine isn’t meat-centric, doesn’t treat vegetables and grains as an after-thought, and is full of interesting flavors.