Nom^3’s take on Meatless Mondays, NOMdays, launched yesterday in Lerner. Clients picked up pre-ordered meals, which they had chosen from an option of three vegetarian dishes. Bwog was sort of impressed, sort of not.
MENU 1: Quinoa with avocado and pumpkin/marinated cucumber and chickpeas/apple
The ratio of the portions was surprising. A generous helping of quinoa with lots of tasty avocado and pumpkin dwarfed the already-small heap of vegetables and an apple of petite dimensions. While all of the food was perfectly palatable, it was nothing special, and less revelatory than expected for the $8 price tag. The dressing for the quinoa could not be described much beyond “bland.”
But wait! There’s good news. Sitting outside Lerner with a lunchbox, surrounded by the greasy messes everyone else is eating from Ferris, one realizes that there is considerably more at stake here. The food was local, healthy, hearty, and made by earnest kids with a genuine interest in food. The meal was found to be sustaining throughout the day without resulting in bloating or excessive thirst, not uncommon symptoms from Dining Services fare.
MENU 2: Tofu with brown rice/steamed kale/muffin thing
Bwog feels a little guilty calling the pumpkin spice cake/loaf/round thing the most flavorful part of the meal, but it definitely was. The orange ginger tofu was only vaguely flavorful and had a texture much like the tofu found in Ferris: institutional. The sliced almonds in the brown rice gave it some texture, but the kale had absolutely no flavor at all.
On the plus side, everything was perfectly cooked (brown rice cooked in large quantities is often under or overcooked), and the kale was juicy and tender. If NOM^3 wants to expand this program to include people who would otherwise be okay with fried rice and slops, they’re going to need to be a little less stingy with the spices.
Image via Wikimedia Commons