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.
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.
ST. TIMOTHY’S: WOMEN OF HOPE RETREAT & PARISH MISSION
ST. FRANCIS HIGH SCHOOL & THE CATHOLIC FOUNDATION OF SACRAMENTO
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