Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day dining at Vine and Bean

I don't even know where to begin. My Mother's Day brunch at Vine and Bean was so incredible.

Despite having never been to Vine and Bean before, after reading Douglas Trattner's review and Heights Eats' review, I knew this would be a great place to take my mother, who loves breakfast-y foods and who also happens to be a vegetarian. (Non-vegetarian grandma came along for the ride, too, but she's generally not all that picky about what she eats. Although I'd call her taste in food questionable at best because she's a big fan of the Olive Garden.)

As soon as we walked into the door of Vine and Bean, I felt at home. And not because it's set up like a real home. There was just a nice, warm, homey energy. After telling a few different people that I had a reservation, we were seated at a table adjacent to the fireplace, in what was probably a living room at some point. It was ridiculously cute, and quaint and nice. Picture something you'd see in a magazine about nicely decorated homes with a bit of a quirky vibe. (There was a fake rhino head in the doorway above our table. That sounds tacky, but it actually fit in really well.)

It took a little while for a server to come to our table, but that was ok. It sort of fit in with the laid back vibe of the restaurant, and who really wants to be rushed through their Mother's Day meal, anyway? My mother had been hell-bent on getting a mimosa since I told her that I'd gotten a reservation at Vine and Bean. She'd never had a mimosa before, but darn it, she was determined to get one. (She actually ended up getting two since my grandmother wasn't really into hers. I didn't get one since I don't drink anything with carbonation.) Grandma got the largest coffee I've ever seen and ironically, I got the smallest water I've ever seen. Our drinks came out quickly but it took a little while for our server to come back. But again, we're patient people.

My mom had hoped to get an omelet, but they don't use any egg substitutes in anything made at Vine and Bean. At first my mom questioned that, but I explained that Heather Haviland is all about using whole, natural ingredients. Like eggs. (What's really in an eggbeater, anyway?) So she decided to order the macaroni and cheese instead. (with cheese containing rennet, which probably isn't any worse for a vegetarian than a real egg)

It came out of the kitchen all hot, and bubbly, and cheesy. I took a small bite and was impressed with the flavor. It wasn't nearly as "heavy" tasting as it looked. It had a really nice cheese flavor, but wasn't overwhelming. My mom loved it, although she thought it was very rich. She only managed to eat about half and took the rest home.

Grandma ordered the vanilla bean waffles. She wasn't so sure about them because our waitress told us they didn't come with syrup. But it did come with peaches, cream, and carmel sauce. Grandma and I are cut from the same sugar loving mold, so I convinced her to take the risk and try them.

I was jealous of her waffles when they came to the table. (and honestly, I might get them next time I go) They looked and tasted SO good. The peaches were fresh, the waffles were airy, and what's not to like about carmel sauce?

I ordered one of the daily specials - a roasted vegetable ratatouille over polenta with a side of pita bread.

I have to say that I really liked my meal. All of the vegetables tasted fresh off the vine and despite not being a big fan of polenta, I thought the flavor and texture combinations worked extremely well together.

After we were all finished, it took quite some time to flag someone down and get a few boxes. But again, that was ok since we were really enjoying our time together and the restaurant. (just be mindful of that if you plan on going there - this isn't a place to rush in and out of) As we stood at the counter and my mother paid (I know that makes me sound like a deadbeat, but she really wouldn't let me pay!), I admired the teeny pastry case. There were cupcakes, brownies, cake slices, and more. Everything looked decadent and delicious. (I took a brownie home, but more on that later.)

We're generally a picky bunch of ladies, but I know we all left feeling satisfied. I feel fortunate to have gotten to spend some quality time together with my fam (I manged to not kill anyone - yay!) and to have discovered a great new place to eat at. I can't wait to go back! I encourage any east sider to give Vine and Bean a try. You won't be disappointed.

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