Let me start off by saying that I’m not a vegetarian. Not only am I not a vegetarian, but I am also by no means a Vegan. Living in a world without cheese simply doesn’t interest me. But I’m open to all foods (obviously) and when I heard about Ethos Vegan Kitchen having their grand opening, I grabbed a good veg friend and went for lunch this past Saturday.
First off, the environment is fantastic. Ethos is located on Orange Ave in the space that used to be home to the bar Lava Lounge. They’ve redone a few things inside and still have a huge patio area with a view of Lake Ivanhoe. The ambiance inside is very clean, hip and calming all at the same time.
Now for the important stuff: the food! I decided to continue with my Orlando Tour of Hummus Wraps and so far this one seems to be the winner. I’ve been introduced to what could be my new favorite flavor combo-hummus and banana peppers (although in all fairness if you put banana peppers on anything I’m a happy girl). Served on a spinach wrap with homemade hummus and a variety of other veggies, the Hippie Wrap was fresh and quite tasty. My lunch partner had the What’s the Dilly, Philly? Sandwich-a vegan take on a Philly cheesesteak. Just take out the meat and mayo, add marinated Seitan (a veg friendly wheat gluten meat substitute) and veganaise (think mayo without the eggs) and voila! A delicious sandwich. In all honestly, a few bites into our meal, and after she was gushing over the sandwich, I asked my friend to swap halvsies so I could fully experience the Philly. She said no, but let me try a few pieces of the Seitan (which was quite yummy).
While we were eating the owners/chef popped over to say hello and gave us a free sample of the Shortbread. They were super nice and I realized how rare it can be to not only meet the owners, but when do you ever get to witness the pride in their eyes over the opening of their new restaurant? Their genuine amiability made me feel like I was eating at a friend’s house. Oh, and the shortbread? It was really delicious and had the perfect sweet and savory balance.
My only real constructive criticism is the beverage issue. Kudos for no soda fountain, I need to cut back on the Diet Coke anyway (urgh-I think I might have to join a twelve step program to get through that one). Also, being a tea lover, I was bummed that my only hot tea options were Tazo, and my only ice tea options were either sweetened or unsweetened.
All in all I was thrilled with my lunch experience. And my veg friend already can’t wait to go back. It’s nice to continue to see Orlando grow, not just in terms of the skyline, but also in it’s openness to expanding the wide variety of great restaurants.
After spending the afternoon shopping, my bro and I went to the new Red Star Tavern at the Fashion Square Mall. A definite ten out of ten for the ambiance-it was warm, inviting and comfortable. We split a pizza for an app and also split two sandwiches for dinner (see-he’ll go halvsies!). I probably won’t run back to this restaurant, but it was just the place for a rainy Saturday night. The sandwiches were average, but the white pizza and the two dollar drafts were perfect!