Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Heavenly Dinner with Auntie E

While my restaurant reviews are rare, I seem to be starting a trend here by including guest visitors (or people I visit) in my postings. My lastest guest is my ever-fun Auntie E. She's Mom's younger sister and is in town for a visit. I wanted to have a little time alone with Auntie E before Mom's big family party on Sunday so I was very happy when she suggested we dine at Veggie Heaven in Parsippany, NJ.

We opened with a bowl each of the Vege Spinach Wonton Soup. It was tasty, with just a tiny taste of seafood in the wonton. I would guess that there might have been seaweed in the wonton, but I didn't ask for the ingredients. However, it's great for people who wish they could eat the wonton soup in non-vegetarian restaurants, but cannot because the broth is made from chicken stock and the wontons have pork meat inside.

Next, we moved on to a couple of appetizers. This was a tough decision because I usually order the Boneless B.B.Q. Ribs (more than likely a soy analog). E and I decided to try some completely different appetizers for a change and ordered the B.B.Q. Stick in Beef and Fried Yam. As you can see here, the "beef" on a stick was very much like a kabob, with colorful peppers and pineapple chunks between the thickly sliced wheat gluten. It was served with a sweet sauce that I didn't use.

The Fried Yam was batter dipped and deep-fried yam bits. Unlike most soggy, limp yam fries, these were crisp and firm. It was refreshing to taste such well done fries. But I'm still going to get the fake ribs next time.

For our main dishes, we decided to try one veggie-only entree and one fake chicken dish since we had not-beef in the opener. On the left here, you can see our aptly named Sauteed String Bean with Snow Peas and Broccoli. There's easily more than one string bean there, but I'd hardly fault them a typo in their menu with such a flavorful dish.

This dish was served with a savory brown sauce, while the next dish had a white scallion sauce.

The other entree, Fresh Garden Walnuts, also had string beans and snow peas, but it had a completely different flavor. In the menu, Veggie Heaven had specified that the dish has "Brussels sprout, apple, string beans and chunk chicken topped with walnuts sauteed with white scallion sauce."

Maybe E got to all the sprouts before I could, but I couldn't find any. Plenty of yummy walnuts and not-chicken to be had. The walnuts were crispy, with some kind of light coating. Years ago, this dish used to have honey coated walnuts, but these didn't have a honey coat. It was almost like cinnamon, but not the flavor, just the texture. I really don't know what it was, but I'd order it again.

All the vegetables were perfectly cooked, as were the meat/chicken analogs. They so often are overcooked and rubbery, but these were not. They were tender with just enough give to be cut with a fork.

Neither dish was spicy hot, and I think perhaps next time I'll try a spicy entree just to see how they do with the flavor.

This was E's fortune. Mine said "We create our fate every day we live."

All things considered, between the delicious fare and the impeccable service, I give Veggie Heaven an A. Oh, and dinner with Auntie E was an A+, per usual.

P.S. For Mom's party, I'm going to bake (and photograph) a cake from Vegan with a Vengeance. I'll try to take pictures of all the chocolates I've been making for Dad's party on Sunday and post them here for your enjoyment as well.

1 comment:

Robyn said...

I remember those walnuts! (Covered with honey, at least.) Those were sooo good. I also liked their salad. Never had the fried yam, but it sounds awesome.