This month has been filled with some of the greatest injustices a cat can ever endure. I have been shut away multiple times in a single room, for hours while a stranger bangs around in our bathroom. Every evening, when I am finally allowed to come out, it has all been changed again and again. I have no idea what was wrong with the old bathroom, it smelled much better, less like fresh paint.
The sights I saw one day were enough to keep me hiding under the bed until after my people came back from one of their many Wednesdays that they visited Otto’s Pub & Brewery. Oh yes, that brings me to the topic at hand, the best bites my people had this month.
They were all focused on Otto‘s this month. Every Wednesday, when the daily menu would go up, they would make plans how they could meet after the stranger wrecking my bathroom left. One day, Millie ran 8 miles to meet Frank there. They didn’t get to take pictures of that meal and Millie came home with an ear ache but they also brought the food home boxed. They weren’t letting any of it go to waste.
One Wednesday, they had a vegan dish of Root Vegetables and Rice that had fancy mushrooms in it. The sauce was so good, I could smell it on their breath when they came home! I acted like I wanted a kiss but really wanted to smell that sauce.
Another Wednesday, they shared a Stuffed Pepper with Provençal Sauce and a plate of Beets, Tempeh and Grilled Tofu in a Tarrgon and Citrus Demi-Glace. Millie was all geeked out because Chef Pete allowed her to come back to what the kitchen calls the lineup. It is when the chef describes each of the specials of the evening to the staff so they know just what has gone into it and how to describe it. They each then get to taste it so they can be knowledgeable servers for the evening meal. She heard Chef Pete share that his black bean soup was thickened with a bean purée as opposed to a roux of butter and flour. She was heartened to know such care was being put into making meals vegan and knowing the difference from being vegetarian. Millie bowed out of the tasting since she knew that she was ordering many of the tasty bites later. She ended up loving the pepper filled with grains and black beans and the chefs have a great way with every tomato sauce they touch.
Some of the other things Otto’s has had on their Vegetarian Wednesday Specials I know I would have liked even more since they have cheese in them. They have had lasagna and pizzas, all very creative in flavor combinations. My people won’t eat cheeserz pleaserz any more since they have become vegan but I would be much pleased if they brought some back for me! The Asian Tofu Pizza this week would have been great (they heard people loved it) and I would have picked around the tofu for that Amish Cheddar they put on it!My people say that Chef Pete and the newer Chef Steve have been out-doing themselves with the vegan and vegetarian specials every Wednesday. They had the most scrumptious Grilled Polenta this week that they could hardly believe it was vegan! It came out piping hot, that gave it a crisp grilled exterior and the interior was a perfect texture. It wasn’t oily nor not too dense and seasoned just so. The tangy acidity of the slow roasted yellow and red tomatoes along with a premium olive oil made this maybe the best appetizer they have ever had. For $7.00 it was priced just right and they were so glad to have decided to share a little something extra at the beginning of the meal.
They usually just get the main vegan special and, even after their delicious appetizer, decided to do as they normally do. They each got a different vegan special and shared a bit with each other. The first special was Jerked Tofu. The extra firm tofu was not marinated but seared with peppery Caribbean spices so that its exterior was crisp and spicy. Eaten on its own would have been a bit much but balanced the hot with some sweet in a salsa of tiny diced mango, pineapple, red onion and sweet red pepper. The side mash of rutabaga and vegetables added a complimentary starch that stayed with the theme of the dish gave symmetry to the over-all palate.
You can see this isn’t your everyday gastropub fare; the second vegan special this week was a Vegetable Panang Curry. I have heard from many Abyssinian cats that curries in the middle east are nothing like what we American cats ever experience. This curry was along the lines of what any central PA diner would expect, not blistering hot, a little sweet and coconut based. That said, it was as good as, if not better than, any Panang Curry sauce that any of the local Thai restaurants serve. Along side a fluffy jasmine rice timbale, the sauce covered a bricolage of vegetables. The colors were well-balanced with cute little peas and broccoli florets adding the green and the textures reminded my people of what is usually served with a Massaman Curry.
Other things that they carried on about after they got home were how nice it was that the green beans were seasoned and hot but not over cooked. They also liked the micro greens that have been topping many of the specials this month. They were sad not to have had room for the dessert, Mango & Sticky Rice nor the Gazpacho soup. So many good things on Wednesdays at Otto’s and the chef shared that it would continue even after the religious season of Lent.
Because of all of this good news, I have been given the honor of announcing that Otto’s Pub & Brewery BiNah Rating has gone up not just 1/2 but a whole star. The kitchen and wait staff seem so much more in the know about what a vegan or vegetarian can eat and the Wednesday Vegetarian Special are currently among the best in the region of Pennsyltucky.
Now I have to take a nap and prepare for a great weekend with my people hanging out and cooking at home. The bathroom is to be completed today and I will get to show it off to Amy when she visits. As I mentioned in February, I love when she holds my dish for me while I eat. Life is good and my people are very happy with the food in their town.