Catholic Culinary Confession:
One World Cafe
As we continue our journey in the Lenten Season, I know that we make a big fuss about “fasting” on Fridays before the Easter Celebration. To help us with eating meatless meals, I offer you a unique faithful foodie adventure about One World Café in Baltimore that I wrote in collaboration with the Catholic Review Newspaper’s Culinary Confession. If you bring a copy of the article with you, this vegetarian restaurant will even give you a discount on your final bill! So go support this deliciously healthy and Lenten-friendly restaurant, owned and operated by two sisters, and a local parishioner!
In the Book of Daniel, because they didn’t want to break their Jewish dietary restrictions, the prophet Daniel asked the prison guards to give the Jewish servants only vegetables instead of the food from the king’s table. This allowed them to keep within Jewish tradition, but I think they must have also known something parents have always encouraged: eating vegetables is good for you! And sure enough, at the end of their trial period, these “faithful foodies” were much healthier – truly a sign of Godly living.
Now I know that when it comes to going to a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, it can worry some meat lovers. Will I be satisfied? Do they just serve salads and veggies? Admittedly, I also find it difficult to enjoy a “forced upon” diet, especially if it comes with a moralizing, or what some might call “tree-hugging” or “animal-protecting” attitude. I don’t need to feel guilty just because I like steak.
But rest assured, while One World Café certainly caters to veggie lovers, I was very satisfied by the food and comfortable with the casual and friendly service. I was also edified to hear the sisters who own One World were subscribers to the Catholic Review.
The One World atmosphere is eclectic. The front room is a true college-hipster hangout. Bright painted walls give a modern vibe for an area that serves as a bar for alcoholic beverages, coffee, and pastries. Wi-Fi invites the earphone-wearing laptop crowd for homework or hanging out. The main dining room, by contrast, is a bit bare, but clean. Diners were equally eclectic, encompassing seniors, college students, and families with young children. However, street parking and stairs down to the dining room may be inconvenient for some patrons.
The staff was primarily young and bohemian-fashioned with tattoos and piercings, especially the, I have to admit, ominous-looking bartender, who turned out to be very kind and well-mannered. Our waitress was informative and patient with my many food preparation questions. I sensed no meat-lovers guilt trip. The staff seemed content simply to serve good-tasting food. And, to their credit, the food was quite good.
With a combination of vegetarian and vegan foods (no animal products or dairy), I sampled familiar flavors, including a Philly cheese steak (less), packed with caramelized vegetables and a well-marinated seitan (“wheat meat”) that produced the texture of tender beef. The baked non-chicken parmesan used densely breaded tofu that looked and tasted like layered lasagna, served with a tasty but, in my opinion, unnecessary side of linguine marinara. A Greek-inspired veggie gyro, a tasty variety of vegetables wrapped in pita, was served with a traditional tzatziki sauce. The creamy mushroom soup was hearty and comforting. They even offered vegan desserts that still felt rich and decadent.
The food portions were generous, especially considering the moderate pricing. These dishes, personally created by chef-owner Novak, left me feeling satisfied. For me, the most creative dish was the Maryland-inspired crab-less cake, made with shredded zucchini. Combining it with traditional binders gave the cake the texture of back fin crabmeat.
My experience of One World Café gave me a new perspective and respect for plant-based menus. Hunger satisfaction and a non-preachy approach to healthy eating makes One World Café a great restaurant for more than vegetarians and Friday meals during Lent.
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Let us pray:
Father as we continue this Lenten tradition of abstaining from meat on Friday, help us to hunger for the Body and Blood of Christ. May this discipline remind us of what we can do without, and how we cannot do without You. Sustain our Lenten observance and help us to become more the people You want us to be. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
ST. TIMOTHY’S: WOMEN OF HOPE RETREAT & PARISH MISSION
ST. FRANCIS HIGH SCHOOL & THE CATHOLIC FOUNDATION OF SACRAMENTO
Food for People on a Difficult Adventure
My typical “Faithful Foodie Adventures” share great food finds from my travels. However I want to write about a different kind of “adventure” this week – one that brings challenge and fear instead of excitement and joy. Besides having no place to call your own, or a comforting place to lay down your head, one of the biggest fears for the population considered “homeless” is the uncertainty of their next meal. While their journey is a difficult one, we can offer them many different points of hope along the way.
This past week, Our Lady of the Fields Catholic Church in Millersville and the House of Hope hosted over 60 homeless people in a program called Winter Relief. For the past nine years, Our Lady of the Fields has provided guests a place to sleep, shower, clean up, eat home cooked (and quite delicious) meals, and most importantly, experience God’s love without a forced, preachy, or judgmental message.
Volunteers at Winter Relief get a sense of holiness talking with the guests that comes from the Corporal Works of Mercy – especially feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. There is an immediate understanding that homelessness has no quick fix or simple solution, but that helping them is as easy as opening your door and caring for them. Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta gives a saintly example of the positive impact this kind act can have on the world.
To partake in this Faithful Foodie Adventure, you need only help in some way – big or small. The efforts at Our Lady of the Fields show the world its truly living the Gospel holiness by extending the sacramental life to a tangible act of love in a big way. However, a famous quote from Blessed Mother Theresa suggests even small acts make a difference as long as you “do small acts with great love.”
Last week, I included from my trip to New York a photo of couple Mark and Jennifer, Jennifer as Mark’s girlfriend. Well, I got the following email from Mark himself:
So congratulations to the happy married couple, who will receive a copy of Spicing Up Married Life as a ‘wedding’ gift! Maybe they can teach about true love at their pizza school, using Spicing Up Married Life as their curriculum guide! Also, the proper link to their website is www.pizzaschool.com, so be sure to check them out!
Your questions, comments and postings, help inspire our readers with ideas and encouragement. Join the conversation and post your comments below.
Let Us Pray:
Father, in this winter season, we pray for all adversely affected by the weather – especially the homeless. While it’s easy to make judgments and assumptions about the people who find themselves in this situation, help us to see first the fact they are children of God. And while we may decide not to give them money or to take them into our homes as a guest, may we have the strength and lived faith to at least greet them, look them in the eye, treat them with dignity, and offer them a sincere prayer. Make us true instruments of the Corporal Works of Mercy, we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.
|Savoring Our Faith in Rome!|
This was a big year of filming the new episodes of my show on EWTN “Savoring our Faith,” which currently airs every Wednesday at 6:00pm Eastern Time. On top of the 13 episodes, we filmed 2 extras shows for Christmas and Easter. In October 2012, we also took the cameras to Rome and filmed 4 special traveling episodes of the show.
Here’s what we did. We began each episode on location at a famous site in Rome -a church, park, or piazza. We discussed the Roman Christian significance while making faith, historical and cultural ties. At the end of that segment, we visited a nearby eatery for a sampling of the local flavor. This travel tip could help pilgrims find great dining experiences along their pilgrim way. It was also a great chance to see the workings of a real Italian kitchen and meet some great chefs! After sampling the food, we moved our show into the student kitchen at the Pontifical North American College in order to recreate a version of that dish at home.
The objective was simply to create tangible reminders of your trip to Rome by reminiscing over the flavors of that Roman cuisine! It’s very Jesus-like. He says, “Eat and Drink in Memory of Me.” With these new episodes, we give pilgrims an experience to recreate a meal so that they remember the restaurant, and more importantly their spiritual experiences at the nearby shrines and sites.
These episodes will air in the next season. And when they do, I’m sure these shows will provide inspiration, travel tips and food ideas for your own faithful foodie adventure. For me personally, I will gratefully remember how members of the Italian film crew were “impressed” that I could cook such authentic Italian Flavors. It certainly helped that before I served the food to these naturally born Italian cuisine critics that I prayed “Grace Before Meals!”
On a very sad note, I want to express my condolence to Jenny Stephens and her family who mourn the death of Deacon Joe Stephens. The Stephens family home is where we film our Savoring our Faith Episodes. I recently learned that Joe, a permanent deacon, passed away suddenly. This is a very sad time for their family and our Savoring our Faith Crew. We prayerfully remember this good man, a humble servant, a faithful husband and loving father. Thank you Deacon Joe for opening your home to us. May your soul rest in peace and may your family know of God’s consolation and mercy.
Your comments encourage us. They remind us that people are reading and sharing in our movement and the good news. Please post your comments, questions and responses HERE.
|Let us pray:
Jesus, you teach us to remember your covenant love and paschal sacrifice through a sacred meal. May we never forget to invite you to every dinner table by our simple prayer of thanksgiving for your bountiful blessings. Give us a great sense of joy knowing that our good memories can be easily recalled making a meal in that memory – whether it be a memory of a trip, pilgrimage or a happy thought of special people in our lives. Give us the desire to keep the good memories alive! And may Deacon Joe’s soul experience your mercy and peace, and may his family know of God’s consoling love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Atlantic General Hospital Community Health Fair
Millsboro Middle School, Indian River School District 302 East State St., Millsboro, DE 19966
CONTACT: Dawn 410-641-9268 email@example.com
Outside Da Box
St. John Neumann 2900 E Main St. St Charles, IL 60174
CONTACT: Eric 630-242-4898 firstname.lastname@example.org
Catholic Charities “Come and See” Fundraiser
CONTACT: Mark 717-657-4804 email@example.com
Family Faith Festival at St. Patrick Church
St. Patrick Church, 1000 N. Beckley Station Road. Louisville, KY 40245
CONTACT: Tim Grove | firstname.lastname@example.org | 502-719-0362
Holy Hour Presentation at Columbia University
Columbia University 405 West 114th St. New York, NY 10025
CONTACT: Fr. Dan O’Reilly | 917-685-6175 | daniel.o’email@example.com
A Conversion – Inside and Out!
This week, I’d like to share with you a restaurant review that I did for the Catholic Review, the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s paper, for Catholic news and culture. It’s about a local restaurant that was featured on the Food Network’s hit show, “Restaurant Impossible,” with master chef, Robert Irvine. I love this show because it reflects the pain but also the power of “conversion” by showing to the failing restaurant owners the “sins” in the restaurant industry, while giving them hope through a transformation process. You can see the food and Faith analogy very clearly. Enjoy this faithful foodie adventure and culinary confession.
Conversion – in Faith or in the food business – transforms us inside and out. That’s what Zandi’s Grill in Millersville, MD, experienced. Located near my new assignment, but obscured in the back of a business plaza, Zandi’s once-failing restaurant received an extreme makeover by Food Network’s muscled, meaningfully meal-minded superstar-chef, Robert Irvine, in his hit show “Restaurant Impossible.” He transformed the restaurant and its owners, with just $10,000 and 48 hours. It’s rather dramatic seeing how the change of heart is often more difficult than physical changes of the space. But both are needed in a true conversion.
Zandi’s has about 15 tabletops and a bar area that seats about 12 people. Bright colors, modern fixtures, and a signature eye-catching wall design create a whimsical place for breakfast or lunch – the only meals served there. The layout restricts groups or large families, but it’s ideal for singles or couples.
Steadfast time slots for breakfast and lunch restricts the menu choices. Brunch is not an option, and this presented challenges in evaluating their food. I was just too late to get an omelet! Disappointing – especially since an omelet, featured on the show, is easy to make (but also easy to mess up). The polite waitress apologetically explained how the kitchen was too busy, even though the restaurant was only half-filled when I arrived.
The dishes I ordered were well-prepared and flavorful, even if the signature burger (bacon and blue cheese with a fried egg) was overcooked, not medium-rare as I requested. Hand-cut fries, a flavored aioli, creamy crab cake appetizers seared on a griddle, and the tilapia sliders were tasty and appropriately priced. However, it took 30 minutes to arrive! The milkshake, also featured on the show, was typical but a sweet ending.
My biggest concern was the slow service. While the solo waitress and one of the owners were polite and friendly, they seemed frazzled and unprepared – not an uncommon experience according to online reviews. It is obvious that they need more staff – especially since the Food Network show gave them much-needed exposure and a boost for success, i.e., busyness! The show revealed how the owners lacked passion in their approach before the renovation. My experience at Zandi’s indicated an ongoing need for conversion in this area. But it’s understandable, since a conversion of heart and a change of old ways don’t happen in just 48 hours, but a lifetime.
I enjoyed visiting Zandi’s, especially since I’m a fan of Chef Irvine’s show. I wish them well. But this experience reminded me that conversion doesn’t come instantly. Like this restaurant, our Faith communities need to be ready to serve the hungry crowds. If we aren’t ready, they will go elsewhere. And, if our churches aren’t packed on Sundays – like a good restaurant – then perhaps we may need ongoing conversion ourselves: a transformation inside and out. And Zandi’s proves it is possible.
Check out this video of a parish in North Carolina – where my friend is the pastor, and check out how a transformed church has resulted in a vibrant and packed church every Sunday! Click Here.
|Let us pray: Father in Heaven, help us to experience a conversion of our life both inside and out – which affects not only our physical changes, but also the interior transformation of heart and mind. May all of those who seek to improve experience the grace of someone who is willing to intervene and point to the One who can give us a New Way, New Hope, and New Life, through Christ our Lord. Amen.|
Are there any restaurants that you would like to review? Please post your comments to give our members your unique insights – these help us all! Post your comments below!
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17TH
St. Anastasia Parish, Troy, MI
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org (248) 689-7192
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19TH
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, 10700 Aboite Wayne International Airport
Hot Springs, Cold Drinks & Corny Jokes!
In my limited experience and knowledge of Alaska, I imagined the scene as cold and snowy. The travel tip to visit the town of Chena Hot Springs opened my mind to a warmer – in fact hotter – side of Alaska. The natural hot springs, beautiful natural surroundings, and opportunities for outdoor recreation make for a great detour or destination. Chena Hot Springs are quite a distance from Fairbanks, so people who drive to Chena go for one reason alone: to soak in that mineral-rich hot spring. The local patrons swear by the healing properties of this water.
While no religious miracles have happened in Chena, like those attributed to the healing waters of Lourdes, France, I can say this quiet spot provided a rustic retreat-like setting where people can certainly quiet their souls and rest. In some cases, finding quiet and peace in this busy world could be considered miraculous.
This resort – the only thing in this town – is a unique place. It has different tours and attractions, such as a geothermal plant, a dog kennel where dogs are trained for the Iditarod, as well as multiple outdoor trails that you and your family can explore by bike, horseback, or cars with four-wheel-drive.
(The steam from the hot springs.)
When you arrive, prepare to relax and enjoy the beauty! That was the case for me. After the long drive, I arrived in a very punchy and silly mood. To make it even more funny and festive, our first tour was to the largest permanent ice sculpture garden/bar/lounge in the world. From the outside, this looked like a big-time tourist trap. But after I entered this chilly sanctuary, I was quite impressed. The psalm, “Ice and snow bless the Lord,” came to my mind, instantly. I’ve seen fantastic ice sculptures before, but I’ve never been in one.
(One of the many ice sculptures in this ice garden.)
This tour was filled with paradox. The hot springs and the ice lounge were like an ironic joke. The mesmerizing beauty of the artist’s ice creations, the long drive, and the fun company that joined me at the ice lounge started to warm up my silly sense of humor and playfulness.
(Watch this video and see just how much corny fun I had in this place.)
Let’s just say, it is good to laugh and even better if you can laugh at yourself! To help warm up your sense of humor, here’s the recipe for a cool drink for a hot summer day. I’m sure a few sips of this drink will help you enjoy yourself in this busy world. Of course, you have to be of legal drinking age to enjoy this one. And that’s no joke!
Click here for more summer drink specials for the entire family.
Let us pray: Father in Heaven, help us to have a humble disposition to laugh at ourselves and to see the humor in truth – especially in the face of challenges. May our summer travels and vacations be filled with enough joy to refresh our weary souls. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(It’s ridiculously humbling/embarrassing to see advertisements this big!)
Do you have what it takes to be a stand-up comedian? How were my jokes? Do you have a joke that you can share with me and our subscribers? Your posts, questions, and comments help us to lighten the mood and to be a leaven in society. Post your comments below.
(One of the many beautiful views.)
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Eating Through Alaska
One of my travel philosophies is that you should see a new place through the eyes of God and through your stomach.
(Click to watch and share some of my Faithful Foodie Adventures in Alaska’s food culture.)
Seeing through the eyes of God means that a traveler makes a concerted effort to visit some of the local religious sites. For Alaskans, surrounded by so much natural beauty, it was easy to sense God’s presence. The changes of the weather, the rugged but beautiful terrain, and the almost 20 hours of sunlight was awe-inspiring and humbling. An experience of God is an one of humility, awe, and renewal.
(Chena Hot Springs – off the beaten path!)
In a more tangible sense, I had the chance to visit a significant church in Anchorage – the Holy Family Cathedral. It was, surprisingly, a very simple building, small and without much ornamental decoration, especially compared to some of the other cathedrals I’ve visited in the past. But not many cathedrals - even some of the most decorated ones – can say a Pope visited, blessed, and prayed at this spot!
(Plaque to commemorate the visit of John Paul II.)
It was inspiring for me to see a vibrant and active faith in this diocese considered missionary territory. I was especially edified to see young families coming to daily mass to worship God with sincere faith. These visits to local shrines always fill my soul with a greater appreciation for our universal Catholic Faith. No matter where I go in the world, I can always find a spiritual place to call home!
(The simple but faithful interior of the Cathedral.)
The second part of my travel philosophy, seeing a new place through your stomach, has obvious implications. You eat as many of the local foods as possible! For me, that meant the famous Alaskan king crab, fresh salmon, halibut cheeks, reindeer a.k.a. caribou, mooseand, if possible, a dish that came from a whale. I was able to sample most on my wishlist, minus the whale. I was not north enough to visit the local Inuit villages to taste their whale preparations. Maybe next time?
(Alaskans say that moose are so large and meaty they can feed a family for almost one year.)
Thanks to our subscribers (a.k.a. “fam” – short for family, rather than “fans”), Twitter followers and Facebook friends, I was directed to many delicious dining spots. Your tips and recommendations were excellent! But be prepared to spend a bit more money for food – and just about everything – in Alaska.
A money-saving travel tip I can offer is to avoid the big restaurants in Anchorage and even fast food places, as it will only frustrate you to know that you’ll pay almost double for a meal that is supposed to be cheap! Instead, patronize offbeat dining spots and the food trucks. I found some great ethnic and gourmet food trucks that provided hot, fresh, delicious, and substantial food for a very reasonable price. With the money you save on less expensive meals, you can splurge at least once on your vacation to get to the famous Alaskan fare.
(Halibut with blueberry vinaigrette at the Denali Grand Lodge.)
The biggest food tip of all is to pray before you eat! I’m not trying to sound like a pious priest, but, after hearing of the harsh and dangerous conditions native Alaskans endure to hunt and gather food for their families, I realized just how spoiled I have become when it comes to purchasing food. Learning more about the local food production scene in Alaska may even inspire me to try my hand at gardening, fishing, or even hunting. One of these days!
For now, I thank God for grocery stores, farmers, hunters, ranchers, and everyone else who cooperates with God to give me ingredients to make the food that will nourish the hungry soul.
Let us pray: Father in heaven, we are humbled by the thought of where our food comes from. Lord, we pray in thanksgiving for all of the people involved in the process of providing food for our world family. May all of these resources never be wasted but generously shared with those who go without. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Talkeetna’s Famous Seward’s Folly Hamburger at West Rib & Grill.)
What was the most unique food you ever tasted on a vacation or trip? What was the most expensive food item you ever tried? Was it worth it? Do you work directly with food production, such as farming or ranching? How does this job affect your faith and your spiritual practices? Your posts encourage our movement and our members to stay connected and inspired. Post your comments below.
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