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Roots: As earthy as it sounds

August 18, 2009

Every college town needs its own organic, vegetarian restaurant/cafe. One that attempts to replicate meat in so-called “comfort food” dishes such as country-fried seitan, but also recognizes that sometimes people just want a big salad or a soup for dinner. The menu is also 50% Thai dishes, which are surprisingly tasty.

Roots is attached to Bloomington Power Yoga, where I attended classes on a regular basis. Sweaty and starving after class, this food made me feel wholesome. On the other hand, it’s a little bit expensive for what it is. I enjoy it if I’m in the mood, and they certainly don’t skimp on the vegetables, but the one time I ordered seconds on brown rice (because my first scoop was tiny), they charged me $1.50. Still, I spoke to one of the waitresses sometime, and she says that they struggle to stay in business because everything they use is organic.

Their sandwiches: DROWNING in veganaise (don’t worry, tastes exactly like mayo). However, I do not like mayo, so I learned my lesson and asked for the bread without it the next time. Of their sandwiches I have had:

-The gyro: either tofu, tempeh or seitan with salad in a pita with hummus and tzaziki. Definitely in need of hot sauce, but mighty tasty. Their sandwiches are honestly more salad than bread, which I love.INTENSIVE RUSSIAN 060

-The black bean burger: a good balance between gummy and crumbly. Nicely spiced. Ketchup = a must.goodbye bloomington 172

-The herbivore—You would think that this wouldn’t be filling enough, since all it is is vegetables, guacamole and vinaigrette, but it’s quite substantial. The guacamole is oddly sweet, but it works. Their most popular sandwich.goodbye bloomington 279

Their sauteed vegetables are pretty bland and a little bit oily, but sometimes you don’t really care… vegetables are vegetables. Add some hot sauce.

I almost always dined at Roots alone (there was live music—some old guy singing folk music), but when I brought my mom, she ordered their famous sweet potato fries. Famous for a reason, clearly.goodbye bloomington 481

Another night, when I wasn’t that hungry, I ordered a bowl of their sweet potato curry soup. It was really sweet, but had actual texture! None of the thin, beverage-like consistency of Trader Joe’s soups (Not insulting TJ’s at all… I love you).INTENSIVE RUSSIAN 026INTENSIVE RUSSIAN 028

Oh yeah, and a salad.

I ordered two different curries: The panang and the peanut sauce. All the curries have coconut milk and tofu, so the only difference is really what goes into the sauce and what vegetables are used. Served with a tiny scoop of brown rice (see above), they taste like real Thai food (at least, like the Thai food you get at Thai restaurants in America),  not like some hippie imitation… although this IS hippie cuisine.INTENSIVE RUSSIAN 014 INTENSIVE RUSSIAN 079

Roots also serves brunch and dessert, but I haven’t had either. If i were giving stars (1-5), I would probably give it 3. But just because of its existence and the fact that it’s still in business, it deserves another.

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