Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vex in the City: Part 17 Mela

Taste of the food >< >< >< The first time meraviglioso, quattro farfalle (splendid, four butterflies). The second time not the greatest preparation, due farfalle (two butterflies) .
Look of the food >< >< >< The presentation of the food was still appealing (unless you looked under my very scorched panini which was all black).
Environmentally-Responsibility >< >< >< There is reuseable cutlery and plates. I also like that clients may dine on the sidewalk in the summer time. I have also seen the owner open the large garage door to adjust the temperature of the restaurant which indicates to me that less energy is being consumed.
Health Savvy >< I did not see any print or online material about the benefits of eating food at this restaurant.
Hospitality/Warmth >< >< The first time I went in April, the owner/chef was so warm and friendly. In December, he was less social. The staff person was nice enough but she did not inquire about my meal or check on me.
D├ęcor/Vibe >< >< >< >< The decor was clean, bright, fresh, and simple and fun. The orange walls, stools, and little knick knack crafts made Mela Vegetarian feel almost more European. The large window welcomes light and a view of the busy street. Mela is small and cozy.
Added Perks >< None
Ethical and Community-Minded >< >< There is a bit of information where groups and communities could place some information however Mela has no website and from what I can tell, no outreach.

Price (for a main course)
$ 0-$ 9 >< I have only been to Mela during lunchtime so I know that you can eat a meal for this price but it does not include a drink or dessert.

Sometimes one restaurant visit just does not give you a full picture of the quality of the food or the service. The first time I went to Mela Italian Vegetarian Magic Cafe was una bell'esperienza (nice experience). Mela serves both vegetarian and vegan options. The chef and proprietore (owner) called me signorina, got to practice my "broken Italian" (I studied Italian for four years in elementary school and one course in university), and the food was amazing. I felt like a valued customer as evident in one of my first blog posts here. So you could say I was looking forward to visiting Mela the next opportunity that became available. Dove e la magia? Where was the magic? I must say that my second and most recent visit to Mela was cosi-cosi (so-so). First of all, the owner did not deal with me directly but spoke through his staff member which I thought was rude. Okay, okay, he may have been busy this time but I was asking if I could take photos and review the restaurant. She said, "Yes". Then when I left, I expected a warm "good bye, thanks for your patronage" but that did not happen. Plus, the eggplant vegan panini that I had months ago paled in comparison to the one that I had on my second visit. First, the inside of the sandwich was a bit cold and then the bottom was completely black (charred) plus it was the last one. Thank God, my company was amazing-- the pastor at my church. She had vegetarian pie and really enjoyed it. I think I could have chosen to exchange the meal but it did not occur to me since I was so engrossed in conversation. C'mon Mela. This was your chance to score extra brownie points from me but I'm sorry that you missed the mark this time.

She had this loaf/pie which contained different veggies (I don't remember which ones). She really enjoyed it.

The beautiful eggplant parmigiana (vegan version) panini which looks a little well-done from the top...

but burned to a crisp on the bottom.

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