Saturday, September 12, 2009

Moonlight Cafe

I made a recent attempt to to go one of my favorites, the Vegan Garden, to find that it is still in the dysfunctional throws of a remodel. At this point, I was extremely focused on the spicy tofu soup I had intended to order, and after a brief moment of exaggerated hunger and angst, remembered the Moonlight Cafe about a mile up the hill on Jackson.

Moonlight Cafe is a run down looking restaurant that was once a smoky, karaoke palace with a surprising second menu that is entirely vegan. Now that the non-smoking laws are well established, I found the place to be completely tolerable inside, and was able to enjoy it in a way I wasn't before.

My dining companion and I sunk into a high backed booth and perused the extensive vegan version of the menu. My choice was easy: Spicy tofu soup, made with soft (they call it "white") tofu. He ordered lemongrass "chicken".
Spicy soup straight from the kitchen: mounded plate of lettuce, cabbage, sprouts, basil, mint, jalapenos and lime waiting to be added

My soup was an absolute delight. It came in a big bowl with silky white tofu blocks, fat chewy rice noodles, lots of veggies, tasty, spicy (no-MSG!) broth, and a huge plate of fresh shredded cabbage, lime wedges etc to add. What really made this soup stand apart from others similar to it was the quantity of stuff on the fresh plate. I loved the fact that just about every bite had something in it other than noodles.
Soup with all the goods mixed in

The lemongrass "chicken" was also outstanding. The fake meat didn't look particularly like chicken, but who cares, maybe it's better that it didn't. It did provide the savory deliciousness that I'd imagine one would get from sausage (cue my omnivorous sister's laugh at my imaginary meat authority), and I was amazed at how satisfying it was. I'd be hard pressed choosing what to order next time.
Lemongrass "chicken"

I am definitely a fan and look forward to a return visit. Thanks J for the company, I am so happy you're back!!

Moonlight Cafe on Urbanspoon


Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

You inspired me!! Posted some Green Tomato ideas for you on my blog. Thanks for the idea!! It was cause for much cooking and experimenting in this Tofu household!!

linda ana said...

Hey, Tofu Hunter! I went to the Moonlight Cafe yesterday with a friend, ordered the spicy tofu soup, and it didn't look like your photo. I could hardly find the tofu, and not nearly so many vegetables. Loved the condiments on the side, though, and the flavor was quite good. I can't help but wonder if you let them know (or they can tell) you are writing a blog, and thus the difference.

My dining companion really enjoyed her sweet-and-sour chicken, though...and the place was pretty crowded with seemingly happy diners at 1:30 in the afternoon.

Tofu Hunter said...

You know, there has been quite a bit of variety in what comes when I order this dish... the greatest varient is the fresh plate (one of the best parts!), sometimes they don't bring it at all! I've found that it is often necessary to ask (nicely) for the plate of fresh herbs etc and they will bring it to you.

As for the dish itself, I think you need to specify that you'd like it with "white tofu," when you order. This has always assured me nice large chunks of silky fresh tofu. It is my impression that if you don't order it like this, you end up with small fried bits and maybe even some misc fake meats.

At any rate, glad to hear your friend liked the her dish, and awesome that you checked the place out!

(AND, Happy Birthday!)