Cafe Witness

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Avoiding Meat Has Never Been Easier

Every time I visit The Quiet Storm in Lawrenceville, I ask myself why I'm not there more often. It probably has something to do with the location (I'm rarely in Lawrenceville, which is out of the way for my daily travels) or the absence of free wireless. But the prices are low, the atmosphere is singular (think "Beehive but relaxed") and their magazine library is a treat (where else can I peruse the latest issue of Fast Company while sipping a latte?). And I've seen several good live music shows there over the years, especially as part of the Sound Kitchen series.

But the crowning achievement is undoubtedly their food.

The Quiet Storm is a vegetarian joint, and what isn't vegetarian is vegan. Since my girlfriend is a vegetartian, and I aspire to be (I backslide into poultry on occasion), I'm always looking for places that offer variety and value for the discerning herbivore. The Quiet Storm has an amazing selection of appetizers, sandwiches, wraps and entrees, all of which meet my own personal criteria: they taste great and they're affordable. Last time I was there, I tried the spicy peanut wrap, which was incredible (and incredibly spicy -- they don't lie).

Yesterday, I was meeting Chad Sipes of the eponymous Chad Sipes Stereo to discuss a possible acting gig on Something to Be Desired (the web series I produce) and I arrived early enough to grab some dinner. I decided on a bowl of all-bean chili with cheese, sour cream and a tortilla riding shotgun. I also requested a decaf and the counterman informed me they don't have decaf (!?) but he could make me an Americano, which was, he said, basically the same. I bought in.

The drink turned out to be very good (I'd had an Americano before but didn't quite grasp its decaf tendencies) and the chili was amazing. Hearty without weighing me down, spicy without being overpowering, and a dollop of sour cream added just the right amount of texture. I loaded some into the tortilla and created a makeshift handheld burrito, but there was enough chili there to qualify as a meal no matter how you look at it. I was truly sad when the bowl was empty, and that's a rarity among cafe food.

And, for those of you keeping track at home: a coffee plus a chili at The Quiet Storm comes to under $8. (Sadly, I forgot to tip the counterman on my way out the door, only realizing it as I was driving home. I'll have to make up for it next time I'm in. Which, considering my girlfriend comes home today and will doubtlessly be craving some quality vegetarian cooking, won't be too long down the road.)


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