Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sweet Water & Rubaiyat Love

Last Friday night, my boyfriend Sean and I went out for dinner at the Rubaiyat, and I had a burger and fries. Here's the best part: it was vegan!

For those of you who aren't familiar, the Rubaiyat is a beautiful Indian/Mediterranean restaurant sandwiched between the Marquette Food Co-Op and the Children's Museum on Baraga Ave. The Rubaiyat has always been one of my favorite restaurants, but now that I'm vegan, I have a whole new appreciation for it, since it's one of the only places in town where one can get delicious and truly satisfying vegan meals. (Basically, it comes down to the Rubaiyat and the Sweet Water Cafe. Third St. Bagel makes a pretty good vegan Middle Eastern bagel sandwich, too.)

At the Rubaiyat, I ordered the Taj Mahal, which is described on the menu as follows: "Curried black bean burger served with chutney, red onion, lettuce, and tomato on house focaccia." It was accompanied by Greek fries, which are a combination of white and sweet potatoes tossed with the Rubaiyat's house seasoning. I dumped malt vinegar all over them, dipped them in ketchup, and was in french fry heaven. The burger itself was wonderfully spiced, black bean-y and filling, and the chutney was excellent. The focaccia bread was, of course, incredible, as focaccia always is in my experience.

I'm so glad that pita bread, or naan, and focaccia are generally vegan, because they have always been my favorite kinds of bread. I also love sourdough. The Sweet Water Cafe sells loaves of their homemade vegan bread, with their ingredients listed right out on the glass display case so you know exactly what you're eating. I really appreciate that. Their Three-Seed and French Sourdough breads have been staples in my kitchen ever since we went to the Sweet Water for breakfast the week before last. 

We also went to the Rubaiyat back during my first week of veganism, and I had the House Salad with Lemon Tahini dressing. That dressing is so good, I don't even know how to describe it to you. It's an experience. You just have to try it. When I raved about it to our waitress, she answered, "Oh, I know! Good thing it's good for you, because I eat it on everything!" For dinner that night, I had the Kath Katha Curry, which is spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers and cabbage in a "highly spiced coconut curry sauce," served over basamati rice. This meal was hearty, flavorful, and just made me feel good about life. It was also a huge serving, so I even had leftovers for two more meals after that.

The Rubaiyat offers many yummy vegan appetizers as well. They make what is quite possibly the best hummus in town, although you can't really ever go wrong with hummus and pita. Last Friday, I also tried the Babaganouj, which is a word that I've always heard but never known what it is. Apparently, it's "pureed roasted eggplant dip with garlic, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil." I am a sucker for anything that includes garlic, tahini, lemon juice, or olive oil, so I automatically knew I would like it. And I did, but not quite as much as the hummus. It's definitely worth trying, though.

That about wraps it up for tonight. Keep checking back for more tales of my experiences in the veganning. :)


  1. I'm glad to hear the project is going well, and that you still have plenty of tasty things to eat! I think you're definitely setting a good example for other aspiring vegans.

  2. When I think of veganism, my first question is always, "What on earth are you allowed to eat?" But I guess a lot of it comes down to how the food is prepared, sometimes more so than what the food is. This is wonderfully insightful. Thanks!

    Also, my quality of life has tripled knowing that Marquette has an Indian restaurant.

  3. Thanks for your comments, guys! There are definitely still lots of tasty things to eat as a vegan, if you know where to look and what to get. And like you said, Paige, a lot of it DOES come down to the preparation. For example, did you know you can puree flax seeds together with water and use it for an egg substitute when baking? I didn't til recently, but what an awesome solution for vegan bakers! There really are more than enough awesome alternative foods that are available to vegans.

    And you must try the Rubaiyat at your earliest convenience! Just not on Sundays or Mondays, because they are apparently closed then, as I discovered when I tried to go there for lunch today.

  4. Your post made me hungry, even though I was eating lunch while I read it! I want to try that black bean burger and those fries. Your writing has a wonderful flow and is done in such a warm, friendly style. Well done!
    Proud Mom of the Blogger