Thursday, July 9, 2009

Green Earth Grill

Green Earth Grill
mobile food cart
Fountain Square

Tuesday is Market Day on Fountain Square - local farmers usually found at Findlay Market sell everything from fresh fruit and veg to honey and potted plants, crafters hawk gourmet cookies, organic preserves and natural soaps, and there's even a granny selling homemade monkey bread. Caitlin is cooking away, A Taste From Belgium offers Jean-Francois's famous waffles, and right in the middle of it all is the Green Earth Grill.

Green Earth Grill

Although I am not sure whether or not the little food cart is an offshoot of - or affiliated with - the Loving Cafe, a quick glance at their vegan information packet confirms that they are part of Supreme Master Ching Hai's family. The basic tenets of Suma Ching Hai's Quan Yin Method of enlightenment is similar to that of other Eastern religions: meditation and living a life in accordance with nature, which includes refraining from taking the life of sentient beings (eating no meat, fish, poultry or eggs), among other beliefs.

As with Loving Cafe, the Green Earth Grill relies heavily on meat analogues. While fake meats are not my thing, I like what GEG are trying to do and applaud their efforts to convert the meat-eating masses. Many of the office workers on the Square weren't quite sure what to make of a vegan food cart, but it seemed that quite a few of the souls brave enough to try the free samples were impressed enough to order the full meal. Right on!

There are typically three choices on offer each week, two of which appear to be regular items and one rotating special. So far I have tried the BBQ hot “vings,” which is a seitan dish seasoned with barbeque sauce to taste like chicken wings; a Veggie Gyro of seasoned tofurkey slices, grilled green peppers and onions, diced organic tomatoes and slathered with Vegenaise; and the Summer Salad, which is described as being akin to “eggless egg salad.” Comprised of similar ingredients to egg salad but made with Vegenaise and chickpeas in place of eggs, it is by far the most interesting and best tasting of the three. I don’t like egg salad – eggs plus mayonnaise is just a recipe for clogged arteries as far as I’m concerned – but this healthy alternative was a real treat.

Summer "eggless egg" salad

The only downside to Green Earth Grill’s food is that it is messy. They list the hot vings and summer salad as wraps, but both are served open-faced and brimming with filling. They are impossible to pick up without wearing half, and the plastic forks aren’t as Earth-friendly as a cutlery-free wrap would be. I would suggest they opt for larger flour tortillas and wrap them before serving.

The BBQ Vings wrap

The veggie gyro is a likewise impractical sandwich, with ingredients heaped on top of a small pita. It’s great that the Grill is so generous with their fillings, but it’s no fun constantly worrying that sauce is going to ooze out into your lap or down the front of your suit every time you take a bite. They might want to copy other gyro sellers in town and cocoon the sandwich in deli wrap paper.

Veggie Gyro smothered in sauce

Fountain Square isn’t the only location in town where the Green Earth Grill food cart makes an appearance. It was recently spotted at the Northside 4th of July parade, and is one of the vendors for Second Sunday on Main. If you see it around town, go on and give it a try. These tasty vegan sandwiches are only five bucks and you'll be helping save the planet with each bite.


Katy said...

those look soooo good! I want to try them all :) They are never serving where or when I can make it without too much effort. SOMEDAY!

Cincinnati NAMjA said...

Nice pic!

Mistie said...

Wow! Our first review! Thanks for the suggestions, I'll look into getting better deli paper to wrap the food in and will soon stock compostable forks. Sorry the sandwiches are so messy... it's street food meets business lunch crowd on Fountain Square. The reception has been great so far and we feel really great about helping people become more open to Earth-Friendly food choices! Thanks for your support! Eve Gotch, Green Earth Grill

Anonymous said...

Are these delicious looking wraps packaged so that they could travel well? I would love to take a few home.

Veggie Option said...

I wish they were more portable - if they were actually made as wraps instead of open-faced they'd be easy to transport, but what you see in the photos is what you get.

If you know in advance that you are going to get something from them, it might be worth bringing containers along.

Sami said...

Well, we can wrap them in foil and this week brought tubs to help with transportation.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I visited the stand today. Our wraps (BBQ and Summer Salad) were appropriately portioned and able to eat with out messes. We both liked our orders. Actually, I don't eat meat analogs often and was surprised at how "real" the BBQ chicken tasted.

I wish they were an actual restaurant, or at least open more often. Husband and I are both vegan and would LOVE to have more than one vegan restaurant to visit!!