23 September 2008

Latin Cafe

Certain cuisines have it in for vegetarians. While food from the Indian subcontinent is made-to-order for the vegetarian diet, people from Argentina like beef, and almost everything they cook has some form of bovine flesh in it.

Caribbean cuisine also fits the "less vegetarian-friendly" mold. At Columbus' Latin Cafe, there isn't a single item on the menu that is vegetarian. The entrees are all made with pork, beef or fish.

As a vegetarian food blogger, it seems that I should launch into a scathing diatribe about the ridiculousness of only offering flesh food on a restaurant menu in the 21st century. I should pen a jeremiad about the hopelessness I feel when dealt these cruel, carnivorous cards. But I won't--because Latin Cafe managed to play the Get-out-of-jail-free card at exactly the right moment.

"How does one play this Monopoly card?" you might ask. The Get-out-of-jail-free card is played by introducing me to ethnic food that I had never heard of before, and preparing it for me even though it isn't on the menu. The mystery vegetarian dish at Latin Cafe is called mangu.

Mangu is a Dominican dish made from plantains (a Caribbean fruit similar to the banana) which are mashed like potatoes. They are seasoned, topped with onions and cheese. Mangu is mildly seasoned, and the onions add an extra dimension to the flavor.

Latin Cafe isn't going to be the most vegetarian-friendly place in the area. However, they succeed in getting my praise by introducing me to mangu. And for that, they get out of vegetarian jail free (Special side note--the salad was also very good. The croutons were deliciously seasoned).


Kate said...

Mmm, plantains. Always delicious.

deraj1013 said...

I love 'em. I also highly recommend the vegetarian patacones at El Arepazo. Out of this world!