Today was a great day at work since I got to talk with my co-workers and invited external bloggers about blogging and social media as well as go to lunch with my friend and co-worker Kara. Kara and I get to eat and talk over lunch often at work in New Brunswick and the bonus to great lunchtime conversations is that she’s a vegan. The best part of eating out with a vegan is getting them to order first, this usually gets you the best menu review as the vegan and wait staff go thru item by item describing the ingredients. Our office is very close to several very good restaurants so choosing which one is always fun. Today we chose Evelyn’s authentic Lebanese cuisine. The sunny day and outside seating gave us a very warm Mediterranean feeling reinforcing the Lebanese choice.
To support my sandwich survey, which I hope you will take if you haven’t already (I’ll wait while you do it) I decided to order two classic middle eastern sandwiches, the gyro and the shawarma. The shawarma has tender beef marinated in a mixture of middle eastern spices, lettuce, tomato, onions and sauce on a thin pita. The gyro contains spicy slices of combined beef and lamb, yogurt sauce, lettuce, tomato and red onions on a fat pita bread. Both sandwiches had a nice crunch from the veggies and spicy meat tastes. Although both sandwiches came on pita bread it seemed to me that they were two completely different types of pita bread. Anyone know about this? The sour taste of the yogurt on the gyro was a nice contrast to the lamb/beef meat combo.
When I did my undergraduate degree in Nova Scotia, Canada, the gyro was street food near the colleges but known there as a donair and it came with a sweet garlic sauce instead of the yogurt sauce. The donair is so popular in Nova Scotia that a chain of Greco Donairs has opened stories all over the Maritime provinces and the sweet sauce is sold in grocery stores in half liter containers.
Since this was our 5th or 6th trip to Evelyn’s, Kara and the waitress quickly reviewed the vegan choices and she selected the veggie salad. A delicious combo of mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and mint dressed with a wonderful lemon- olive oil-paprika vinaigrette. It was a huge serving of salad for lunch so Kara was generous and gave me a side plate salad. The crisp veggies were a great match for the lemon and paprika dressing that really brought out the best in this salad and this from the guy who ordered two meat sandwiches with a vegan lunch companion. Was I compensating for something? LOL
Another bonus eating with Kara was she usually does and did today, order the homus (their spelling). The chickpea-garlic combo is very good at Evelyn’s. Their version is special because of the paprika and the high quality olive oil they top it with. Matched with the fresh pita bread, it was a great addition to the meal.
* Apologies to W. Shakespeare, but co-worker and friend Tricia reminded me that it was Shakespeare’s birthday this week so I had to work in some vague reference or lose credibility with all my readers that took English Lit past high school. LOL
Evelyn’s Restaurant & Bar, 45 Easton Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901 732-246-8792