Veggies Punching Above Their Weight

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PHOTOGRAPH BY ERIC HELGAS FOR THE NEW YORKER

When scanning the hard news, feature stories, reviews and profiles we are on the lookout for stories that address any of a group of themes, generally related to better treatment of the planet we live on. We are interested in creative approaches to making better human treatment of the natural world more likely, more palatable, so to speak. After reading this article about magnificent results from modest parcels of land cared for by relatively common folk, we see a parallel theme in this restaurant review; it qualifies:

DINING FOR THE MODERN HERBIVORE

“Vegan” evokes two images: judgment for abstemious virtue or scarcity on meat-centric menus. Neither happens at Ladybird.

By Jiayang Fan

…Of some two dozen tapas, the most successful were the least expected and the most unassuming. The olives and cornichons—perfectly pert, coated in seasoned rice flour and gently fried in chili oil—proved to be the kind of addictive nibblers that make you forget the etiquette of communal dining.The cauliflower, nestled in a bed of robust chive pesto, lemon ricotta, and chia, was both flavorful and masterfully subtle. Charred eggplant, topped with feta and apricot-jalapeño jam, had the zestiness of Sichuan-style eggplant without a slick of grease. Other formulations, however, felt overwrought. A caramelized artichoke heart was so besieged by the marcona-almond-and-crème-fraîche glaze that its natural freshness was buried. Mushroom pâté was paired inventively with fig compote and black vinegar, but tasted almost nothing like either mushroom or pâté.

One night, a vegan and three omnivores reflected on the romantic travails of the urban plant eater over a majestic spread of vegetable charcuterie that included roasted grapes, beet “chorizo,” and cashew-milk brie…

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