In recent years, I've seen an increase in vegan options being made available in my tiny city's eateries. Most of this has been the result of new Middle Eastern or Asian restaurants opening and of the establishment of a vegan-friendly vegetarian juice bar/bistro called Nirvana (whose Facebook page is frequently speckled with enthusiastic promises of free hugs to patrons by its young yoga-fiend staff).
|At 3 pm in the afternoon, I was one of five customers chowing down.|
|A few items on the board.|
|Chatty diners. (Nice 'stache!)|
I liked it so much, in fact, that when my host Mike and I met up for a cup of coffee at Humani-T Cafe to discuss where to go for dinner my last night in the city, I suggested that we try out its newer second location, Mary's Place Café II at 5982 Spring Garden Rd, so that I could compare and contrast the two.
Our enthusiastic and helpful server answered our questions quite patiently and took our orders. Mike and I both opted for a starter dish on the appetizers section of the menu that offered tabouli, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, baba ghanoush, hummus, tahini sauce, garlic sauce and flat bread. The presentation was somewhat more involved than it had been at the original Mary's.
Seriously more involved than it had been at the original Mary's! Sadly, though, my friend and I both agreed that although the sesame seed encrusted heart-shaped falafel added a nice (if corny) touch, they were sort of dry and bready and not what either of us had expected. I regret not having tried the falafel at the other location so that I could have compared the two.
To round things out, we ordered a side of toasted potatoes in garlic sauce that ended up leaving us with waaay too much food for us to finish off. At $5 a huge basket though (some of the ones in the photo below had already migrated to our bellies), they're a scrumptious carb-laden treat to get if you're just looking to split some munchies over a beer.
Will I return to either place when I go back to Halifax? Probably. Mary's Place on Robie St is the sort of spot to which I'd drag an old friend to sit down for a cozy late lunch and conversation over coffee. Although the service at the second location was awesome and the food was pretty good, the bright lights and student-oriented vibe didn't appeal to me as much. I probably wouldn't squeeze Mary's Place II into a brief visit, but it would be the sort of spot I wouldn't rule out visiting again if I actually lived in the city.
I have to admit, though, that as someone with limited vegan options in my small city that the thought of having either of these places here is definitely appealing. I miss Halifax already.