5 May

So way back when me and Ellen were first getting to know each other she said she wanted to go to the the Moosewood which is like a semi-famous vegetarian restaurant that makes a buttload of vegetarian cookbooks. It’s right in Ithaca which is where I live so I’ve eaten there a bunch, and as soon as Ellen expressed enthusiasm I was all over poo-pooing it!

“Yeah, Moosewood’s okay. It’s not great or anything.”

But I wanted her to make up her own mind so when she came to visit over the weekend it was on The Agenda with watching bad 80’s horror movies and playing Scrabble. We went for lunch because that’s when it’s cheapest. I really haven’t noticed a huge difference in the quality of the food between lunch and dinner, but there is a $5-$8 difference in price.

So I’m going to lay it all out on the table here. I usually think the Moosewood is way overrated and that their food is bland. I like their salad dressings and their desserts and I’ve had a few really good cocktails there too, but the entrees just don’t get me that excited which would be fine if the food was cheaper. But it’s not, so… yeah. When friends of mine visit from far away I say, “I can take you out to eat at the famous restaurant, or the good restaurant.” I’m being kind of harsh, here, but every time I go to the Moosewood I walk away wondering why I went there when I know better. Well, this time I went there because I wanted to see if Ellen liked it and thought I was crazy.

Hey this is what I ate:

It was some eggplant stuff. I can’t even remember the name anymore. It was eggplant and peppers and whatnot over polenta. It was pretty good. Ten bucks good? Ehh. Not really. But it did make me think that I need to do a lot more with polenta.

Pfft. Moosewood. But hey hanging out with Ellen was awesome.


Bret’s not crazy.  Well, he is, but he’s not crazy for thinking that the Moosewood is kind of overrated.  The only things that really impressed me was Bret’s salad dressing.  Japanese carrot, I think?  I want the recipe.  Maybe it’s in one of their books.

So the Moosewood is kind of overrated.  Based on a one-meal experience.  I tasted Bret’s eggplant scallopine (that’s what it was called!) and I had a bowl of Caribbean black bean soup and the French rice salad.  Here’s what the salad looked like:

It was tasty.  There was rice and all kinds of fresh herbs mixed with a vinaigrette and topped with pine nuts.  The cheese added nothing, but I do like me some cheese so I ate it.  It just tasted like something I could make at home.  The black bean soup also tasted like something I could make at home (only if I made it myself it would have been a lot more spicy).  I’m all for food that tastes like it was home cooked, but it could have been a little more exciting for the price.  Maybe if they threw in a few magic tricks to entertain us while we waited for our food.

So it’s a good restaurant.  And I’m glad I got to go and make up my own mind instead of just listening to Bret be a big downer.  The presentation is nice and the food is quite tasty, but I don’t feel like I need to go back.  Except maybe to try the vegan chocolate cake.

Next time, we’re going to one of these so-called “good” restaurants.  And I’m paying!

– Ellen


2 Responses to “Moosewood!”

  1. sidi2u May 6, 2008 at 6:38 am #

    Not the greatest price to hang out but , I know, when with the right person, even the place becomes pretty right.

    “Next time, we’re going to one of these so-called “good” restaurants. And I’m paying!

    – Ellen” – LOL

  2. Meredith August 21, 2008 at 2:40 pm #

    I think in order to truly appreciate Moosewood, you must take the whole experience into account. First, remember you are eating from a menu that changes twice a day, every day. That is a lot of work!
    Second, you must remember that they are not going for exotic or five-star, Moosewood is aiming at family-friendly dining.
    Third (and to me the most important) Moosewood buys local, organic produce much of the time, composts everything, and has quite sustainable practices. Does that not whet the tastebuds in an of itself?
    You also have to remember the HISTORY of Moosewood…how many restaurants can say that they were started by a group of hippies living communally in the 70’s, of which many STILL work there today as waitresses, cooks, and bartenders.

    Also, depending on the day you eat there, the food is different, because there are many different cooks! If you have the chance to meet a Moosewood expert, you will know exactly what to get, and what are the best dishes.

    No, Moosewood does not have THE MOST EXCITING food in and of itself, but as a whole package it is good for the mind, body, soul, and conscience.

    Happy dining!


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