As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I was once a vegetarian of many years. When I was deep in the clutches of tofu and seitan, a nice meal out usually meant a trip to Evanston’s Blind Faith Cafe on Dempster.
The vegetarian restaurant has stood apart as one of the best in its class for decades running. Over the past ten years, however, the prices went way up, the menu shrunk, and the value-to-dollar ratio scaled down.
Nostalgia and the need to eat something vaguely healthy over my vacation led me back to Blind Faith for dinner last night. The restaurant is less “Cafe” than ever before. With a mission-style interior and candlelit tables, the vibe is strictly mid-scale and not at all the casual comfort I remember.
The menus, lovely as they were, were sparsely-populated with disappointing selections. The warm and inviting Seitan Marsala and mashed sweet potato dish I had hoped to find? A seasonal summer dish, I was told. I went with the Pastel Azteca, a layered black bean and tortilla selection slathered in an overspiced, awkwardly-flavored, entree-killing, excrement-brown roasted pepper sauce. I ate the whole thing, convinced that if I kept eating it, I’d come to sympathize with it. I was angling for a dining version of Stockholm Syndrome.
My dining pal ordered the Bibim Bop, asking for the “spicy stuff” on the side. A tub of spicy sauce was delivered on the side, but the entree was spicy beyond edibility. Makes me wonder what it would have tasted like had the sauce actually been added to the dish. Unlike my courageous efforts with the Pastel Azteca, my companion didn’t feel the need to go more than a quarter into the Bibim Bop.
Two lemonades, two entrees, and a cup of soup: 40 bucks without tip. I could’ve done better for less.