Winkles* and Recipes
I found a new bio-winkle and restaurant in downtown Brussels yesterday. I suppose, I didn't find it. It has been around for quite some time - a little fact that is betrayed by the rickitiness of the shelving units and the well -layered information walls, which if you are into yoga, meditation or learning Russian rhythm dancing, are quite helpful. The selection was as good, if not better, than Shanti and Tsampa, and offered me an atmosphere that allowed me to continue kidding myself (chant: I am not a yuppie, I am not a yuppie...buying dried mushrooms, miso soup and extra firm tofu does not make me a yuppie).
The shop, before lunch, was just crammed - a line snaked all the way back to their well stocked walk in fridge. I was hungry, and I hate queuing. So, we dropped the basket and headed for the staircase.
Den Teepot, the restaurant, is perched above the shop and feels more like the inside of a tropical bird store than any restaurant in Brussels I have ever been to. Bright yellow and green walls, with a couple of hokie murals, were less than soothing to my eyes, and the sarried and abrupt hostess only added to the intense entrance into our lunch stop. The menu, found on each wooden table, is inside a plastic insert and warns guests that they, essentially, have no choice. They offer: Miso Soup, The Plate of the Day, Rice, Bread, and a couple of beers, teas and juices. I was unsure about the whole thing (to how many wacky places can you take your patient-but-non-vegan boyfriend?) but K was up for the challenge.
The plate of the day was macrobiotic, consisting of: a mini mound of brown rice which was encircled by a tasting of various other foods: broiled Belgian Endive, black beans, carrots, boiled cabbage, and a couple of other not so memorable dishes. I could have stayed for a vegan desert (cakes, tarts etc), but the idea of hitting the road was much more enticing. On the upside - the meal cost us 19 euro, and that included the beer and tea that we ordered with our 'meal'. Overall - Den TeePot is a great idea, but lacks something (taste). I will head back to the shop though - I was impressed with the selection of soy products, bulk goods and eco-friendly cleaning products (they even make a car wash)....
The day was hardly over - I started writing (rewriting) a paper I have to give at a presentation and then re-give at a conference, we went for mojitos at Roxy, I found a wooden watch at DeDees, I found a great clothing shop downtown, and....MediaMarkt informed us that the oven was still no where near complete.
Still lacking in proper appliances, I did manage to make up for the wonky Thursday night meal with a DIY dish that impressed me!
Tempeh (cut into 1 inch by 4 inch slivers)
In one heavy bottomed and non-stick pan I heated the mushrooms and onions until they were quite soft.
I added all of the spices to the onions and mushrooms (recreating the smokey flavour of the other night's dishes).
In the second pan I cooked the tempeh, browning it on both sides - I added a little bit of tomato chutney to it. I think, next time, I would try and make (or buy) a salsa instead. The spring onion went into this pan as well - though more as a garnish then an essential ingredient.
The tortilla shells were smeared with hummus and an extra dollop of the chipotle sauce. This was followed by a generous filling of the mushrooms and tempeh. They were folded up and down they went.
It was a fantastic dish. Next time I would add some chopped black olives to the tempeh. I really recommend it to anyone looking to do something a little different from the regular vegan staples. The flavours at first glance might not add up (hummus and chipotle sauce), but it was well worth the gamble. We enjoyed the wraps accompanied by a good bottle of wine and the new Mountain Goats C.D. - all so good.
We thought the fun was over....but no way. We had made a quick stop at the Asian Grocery shop (KY) to pick up some coconut milk. That wasn't the only thing we picked up. We were in a wacky mood and wanted to try something really...unusual....so we opted for the NEON green and pink Thai Desert, otherwise known as: Suong Sa Hot Luu. The packet informed us that we needed to Chauffer le Hot luu for one minute - but we decided to be daring and eat our Hot LuLu (as it immediately became known as) without warming it up (mostly because we don't own a microwave). The excessive packaging included: a packet of funny agar agar noodles (neon green), tapioca pearls (hot lulu), coconut milk, and sugar water. It was actually really yummy - and super fun to eat.The night ended with a whole lot of Wallace and Grommit
*A winkle is a store in Flemish