We love you.
Love, Ashley and Ryan
Man, we’ve had some really great food lately. I mean, really great. Two weeks ago we figured we’d make the drive out to Shawnee and give Moe’s Southwest Grill a try. We had a Moe’s in Virginia that I vaguely remember eating at one or two times, but it had been quite a while (like 2005 or something? AT LEAST). After checking their menu online and confirming they had tons of vegetarian options (including TOFU! Take that, Chipotle!) we checked it out. Ryan ordered a veggie quesadilla:
I got a killer order of vegetarian nachos loaded with black beans and pico:
Let me just make it 100% clear why we loved Moe’s so much: first, their menu was INCREDIBLY CLEAR on what kinds of vegetarian options they had. You could get any of their main menu options with tofu instead of meat, or you could leave the tofu off and still get an incredibly delicious and filling meal. Second (and I’m super glad this was reflective of our first experience), the manager just happened to be working the line that night, and he was very patient and helpful with us when we fumbled through trying to order our meals (Moe’s does unfortunately have some weird names for their menu items). We told him up front we came here looking for vegetarian options and he was nice in accommodating us when he didn’t even have to be. When I was struggling to figure out what I wanted to put on my nachos, I asked him if anyone put tofu on theirs when they ordered them, and he answered honestly and said he thought it probably wouldn’t taste that great. I appreciate that level of honesty. He stopped by to check on us after we had eaten our meals and handed us a pamphlet copy of the Moe’s Food Mission statement (and a coupon! Awesome!) The vegetarian page in the pamphlet mentions that you can substitute tofu for any protein and that the grilled onions, peppers, and mushrooms are prepared on a separate grill—all under the heading “Isn’t it Nice When You Aren’t an Afterthought?” It sure is. Their black beans AND their pinto beans are vegetarian and are listed as such in the same pamphlet. The price was comparable to Chipotle and we both liked the food a lot better. We’ve already been back to Moe’s once since then and despite having to deal with some idiot teenagers working the line a second time, we’re definitely Moe’s fans for life.
We also checked out Noodles and Company and had a similarly pleasant experience. They’ve had one of these in Lawrence for a few years now and I had been a few times but not in a while; it’s another good fast-casual option with some pretty solid menu items. You can get tofu as your protein with just about any menu item (or you can go protein-free, like I did), their menu is helpful in its clear indication of what’s vegetarian and what’s not, and they seem to be cool about customizing dishes (I was able to get a pasta dish without the mushrooms that the menu said it came with). Ryan got the Indonesian Peanut Sauté and I got the Pesto Cavatappi (Sorry for the washed-out photos. The lighting was kind of bad).
Ryan had President’s Day off from school and even though he had class and I had to teach that night, we figured lunch would be a good opportunity to make our way to the India Palace lunch buffet. Though I was slightly disappointed with that day’s lack of Saag Paneer, they always have a few vegetarian items on the buffet and we chowed down on Chana Masala, vegetable Korma, vegetable Pakoras and a ton of rice and Naan. The photo below is of my second, decidedly more conservative plate:
I like India Palace but even the lunch buffet is a bit pricey, so it’s not a great all-the-time option. We want to make it out to Korma Sutra in Kansas City soon for more Indian food and we still have some more places to try around town (a few Thai places we haven’t checked out, as well at the Pho restaurant right across the street from us).