Bloody Beets

Life Alive!

Feast. The Goddess, subbed tofu with sprouted lentils and added avocado.

This was my first time going to a vegan-restaurant.

This was a particularly interesting experience; I’ve never been in a vegan restaurant, and to be honest, the options (and the cafe) looked pretty colorful. It’s hard to go wrong when they’re using traditional fermentation techniques and the freshest, pulled-from the backyard greens and vegetables. I wouldn’t be surprised if they _had _a backyard. Yeah, there’s no meat, and not much caramelization, but fresh ingredients should be the basis of any meal, really. Anywho, I don’t believe any of us (party of four) were vegan. Two members of the group (names have been omitted to protect the innocent) had previously gorged on all-you-can-eat meat the night before, and had gotten no sleep. I have been known to eat massive amounts of meat at Korean BBQ places back in L.A. So…I guess we were the farthest description of “vegan” that you could potentially get. We also probably left some serious carbon footprints in the restaurant. Sorry.

Colors you see in this dish. Go.

I’d like to comment on the use of beets in this dish. Usually the hotter colors of a dish (red, orange, yellow) come from the meat. Lamb is maroon, pink, beef, brown and crimson. Chicken, pork, both pink. In this case, the beets provided the vibrant maroon that contrasted beautifully (in my opinion) with the brown lentils, and the otherwise various shades of green on the plate.

The color pigmentation in beets is relatively aqueous (dissolves in water), so cooking them can be disastrous, as the pigment leaks everywhere. Your meal will probably just come out all red. Beets however, when cooked, are soft and aupple, and only contain about 3% sucrose. Some restaurants would briefly cook them in a sugar solution in order to increase their palatability, but most breeds nowadays are bred for higher sugar content (up to 20%. Makes you wonder what in the supermarket is actually unbred). Thanks genetic engineering.

Beet color (red, orange, and even yellow) is caused by betain pigments that, when digested in the high acidity environment of our stomachs, will turn out to be a neutral color, as it also reacts with the iron in our large intestine. Sometimes, an individual will be different from the rest of the population and poop out the pigment…exactly as it had gone in, creating a rather panicked, colorful trip to the bathroom (overshare?). I digest beets just fine, thanks.

When kept raw however, some slight cooking will render it be fairly soft and supple, providing not only a nice color contrast to your meal, but a different texture. Almost…meaty. None of the pigment leakage would occur either. In this case, the beets were good.

My first first formal vegan experience? Irresistibly colorful. Not bad. Every once in a while, I’d be down for something like that.

Would I be a vegan? No.

Beside skittles, this is perhaps the closest I have come to eating the rainbow. Feel free to share your alternative eating experiences.