What I Ate Wednesday #2 + B52 Cafe Review

Guys, I’m so glad I picked today (Tuesday!) to record what I ate because I had some really fantastic food. I’m also excited to report some big plans & ideas for this space in the coming month. I am striving for 3 posts a week:

  • a bowl recipe along with some meal planning, shopping, and prepping tips
  • a jar recipe along with a link roundup of recipes & readings from other sites
  • a What I Ate Wednesday post or a more in-depth post on meal planning or food philosophy

I also have a lot of learning and growing to do when it comes to recipe development, photography lighting and staging, WordPress mechanics, and promoting my blog. Basically everything. I’m just bumbling along here. So I’m just focusing on enjoying the process and trying not to get too overwhelmed with everything I don’t know how to do! Anyway, on to the good eats.

For breakfast I just had a smoothie because I had very specific intentions to go overboard with tasty vegan food at lunch. I made a pretty basic smoothie with wild blueberries, banana, kale, hemp hearts, and Vega protein & greens powder.

Smoothie with wild blueberries, banana, kale, hemp hearts, and vega one protein & greens
Smoothie with wild blueberries, banana, kale, hemp hearts, and Vega protein & greens

For lunch, my friend Gemma picked me up and we went to B52, a new vegan cafe in Lawrenceville that we’ve been dying to try. It was small and crowded for lunch and the atmosphere instantly struck me as exactly the kind of restaurant I had been hoping for- and this was before we even opened the menus!  There were little bites of vegan brownie to sample while we waited. I don’t even need to specify “vegan” because everything on the menu was vegan and it was a little surreal since I’m used to having to choose between two vegan items or, more often, to order the hummus app and specify “no cheese” on an entree salad.

Free vegan brownie sample at B52
Free vegan brownie sample at B52

Their drink menu included kombucha on draft, some cool flavors of soda, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and an espresso bar menu. I wound up getting an Americano with a little bit of their (homemade!) almond milk on the side. Gemma and I agreed on how complex the flavor was with the high-quality espresso and the creamy fresh almond milk.

Americano & menu contemplation with Gemma
Americano & menu contemplation with Gemma

We decided to order a lot of food and split everything so we could try more! We were ravenous and everything on the lunch menu looked equally good (we arrived too late for breakfast, but that menu looked divine as well). We settled on trying 3 of the “Mezze” appetizers with pita- fried cauliflower, hummus, and something called fried tomatoes which was more like a stewed tomato dish with tahini sauce and a spicy green sauce. Whatever it was, I think it was maybe my favorite bite of the meal!

Mezze apps
Mezze apps

For our entrees, we decided to share the cashew cheese sandwich with fries and the wild mushroom and greens flatbread. The flatbread was pretty good, but it was even better when I added some homemade tahini yogurt sauce and harissa sauce. The tahini yogurt was super tangy and creamy & the harissa sauce was incredibly spicy (I have a low tolerance for spicy foods, though!) and smoky. We found that these two sauces really complemented each other when mixed together. The cashew cheese sandwich was flavorful and packed with crunchy fresh veggies. It came with an order of fries as a “lunch special” option. I’m really pleased we decided to go with fries because it was another way of getting all the amazing dips & sauces into our faces. The fries came with ketchup, which I didn’t touch. This is a testament to how amazing everything else was- normally I can’t get enough ketchup for my fries.

Cashew cheese wrap & fries
Cashew cheese wrap & fries
Wild mushrooms & greens flatbread
Wild mushrooms & greens flatbread
Our vegan feast!
Our vegan feast!

After we had eaten all we could manage, we got up to pay our bill and allow another party to take over our table because this place was packed for a Tuesday! The barista was making tons of drinks and very kindly told us it might be quite a long wait if we wanted to order a latte to go. As Gemma and I both work in an extremely busy restaurant ourselves, this didn’t phase us and we were more than willing to wait a little bit to get some desserts and a kombucha to go because we couldn’t seem to get enough of this place. They also had a display of fancy chocolates which we decided to skip, but I’ve been regretting that all day because I really want to know what a “tahini ganache” tastes like.

Orange-turmeric kombucha
Orange-turmeric kombucha

All in all, I am 100% satisfied with B52. It was so refreshing to have such a wide selection of interesting and flavorful vegan food to choose from, and it was all of such a high quality that it was clear someone put a lot of thought and feeling into the menu and the overall concept of the restaurant. I ate a lot more than I normally would during lunch and didn’t leave with that greasy sleepy feeling that sometimes accompanies a decadent restaurant meal. I’m going back ASAP to try their breakfast menu and their upcoming dinner menu (I believe the sign said their dinner hours start tomorrow, April 7th!).

Once I was finally hungry again, dinner was an easy bowl with the maple-ginger tempeh I’ve been testing (I’ll be posting the recipe next week). I baked the tempeh and some sweet potato chunks while I cooked rice and steamed some broccoli. I love it when all my meal components can cook unsupervised and come together with ease. I also enjoyed a beer from one of my favorite breweries while I cooked.

Maple-ginger tempeh meal bowl
Maple-ginger tempeh meal bowl
Founder's All Day IPA
Founder’s All Day IPA

Finally, to top of this day of extremely good eats, I ate the cookie I bought from B52. Normally I like my cookies to be a little chewier than this, and at first I thought it was going to be too dry. But it was really tasty dipped in some almond milk, and the sea salt on top was a really nice touch.

Sea salt chocolate chip cookie from B52
Sea salt chocolate chip cookie from B52

Thanks for reading! I didn’t intend to do a review in this post when I started out the day, but I just had such a good experience at B52 that I had to share in detail! Do check it out if you’re in the Pittsburgh area because they’re doing something really cool over there and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. Stay tuned for an Almond Satay Sauce recipe this weekend and the Maple-Ginger Tempeh next week! xo Jillian

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