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!

The sisters who own and operate One World Café. Executive Chef Susan Novak is a parishioner of St. Thomas Aquinas in Hampden.


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.

Culinary Confessions - One World Cafe
Culinary Confessions – One World Cafe
  • Do you have a favorite meatless recipe?

  • How is your Lenten Practice going?

Your comments help encourage us and our movement. Please post your comments here!

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.




MARCH 10-12



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Posted in Culinary Confessions, Events, Faithful Foodie, Restauraunt Reviews | 4 Comments

4 Responses to “Faithful Foodie Adventures: One World Cafe”

  • My favorite meatless recipe (also gluten free!) is a gluten free Van’s waffle with almond butter from Trader Joe’s on top, a little Nutella on top of that, a sprinkle of cinnamon and enjoy with a glass of Almond Milk…yum-o! :-)

    My Lenten practice is going well, it is very, very hard giving up my diet coke and my dark chocolate, but its teaching me patience and being grateful for what I have. Looking forward to your visit to Raleigh, thanks for the restaurant review.

    Posted by Karen Rutigliano on February 27th, 2013 at 9:27 pm.
  • Christ is among us,

    I’m Ukrainian Greek (Eastern Rite) Catholic, and we abstain from meat and dairy on the first day of lent and on Good Friday. My Father taught me to make a Potato Soup without meat or dairy. Our first day of lent begins following Forgiveness Vespers on Cheese Fair Sunday (10 Feb 12). Some years ago, we had a “meatless” pot luck following Vespers. I surprised everyone with my soup.

    You start with a batch of pealed, cubed, boiled potatoes. Leave them in the water they were cooked in. Create a rue with flower and oil. I’ll let the flower brown a bit to darken the soup before adding the oil. I’ll add it to the potatoes and water and thicken it until it gets to the correct consistency. Don’t forget to add salt and pepper to season it.

    Christ is among us – Glorify Him!

    God Bless!

    Greg Pyshny

    Posted by Greg Pyshny on February 27th, 2013 at 10:57 pm.
  • Fr. Leo –
    There is a wonderful men’s conference coming up in March in Syracuse New York. Maybe you would like to post it on your website. Three wonderful speakers: Joe Lombardi (grandson of Vince Lombardi and NFL coach), Fr. Dave Pivonka (priest and author), Patrick Madrid (author) are on the slate. Here is the link to the conference.

    I enjoyed your vegan clip. Grace Before Meals is a great ministry. Thank you.
    Bridget B

    Posted by Fr. Leo on February 28th, 2013 at 2:26 pm.
  • Thanks, Fr. Leo, for the excellent article on vegan and vegetarian meals. Besides tasting good, this type of food also reduces inflammation.

    My favorite meatless recipe is a quick and healthy dessert: Raw Mango Ice Cream. Use a food processor fitted with the blade. Add 4 small-medium frozen bananas, broken into chunks. (Peel the bananas before freezing.) Add 2 cups of fresh or frozen mango and a good squirt of lime juice (about 1/2 teaspoon). Process on high until well-blended and creamy. Serve immediately and freeze any leftovers. At this time of year, I enjoy my raw ice cream with a cup of hot lemon tea.

    Posted by Chris Grande on March 4th, 2013 at 2:01 pm.

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