Gregoire’s vs. Brazil Cafe: A Tale of Two Vegan Sandwiches

All these graduation and goodbye meals are draining my wallet and filling up the blog. And most importantly my stomach.
Lunch today was cornerstone of gourmet ghetto – and not Cheeseboard or Chez Panisse, both of which I’m rather tired of hearing about.
too cute

too cute

Gregoire’s is small and cute like French people. Like the three French people standing behind me the whole time while I was eating at the bar – the only place to sit inside.  It made me want to be extra dainty and cultured in front of them. Then I spilled salad on myself. But they were basically breathing down my neck – the size of the place is its biggest setback, but most people order to go.

i'm making a "takeout container" catergory in my ratings and giving gregoire's a guac award

I'm making a "takeout container" catergory in my ratings and giving Gregoire's a guac award

The macaroni salad was alright cause’ I like it heavy on the vinegar and light on the oil/mayo. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, but I’m not a huge fan of these “salads” in general.

The vegan sandwich (6.5) included “firm tofu Provençal with oven dried tomato & roasted garlic in sliced granary bread. I think they use Semifreddi’s bread because it was chewy and aweseme (also more importantly, I saw the bag) I was apprehensive about the thick layer of brown chutney spread on each side but they turned out to be the garlic addition, completely smashed to a paste. The subtle, smoky, carmelized flavor went well with the marinated tofu which were covered with herbs. The tofu was the perfect texture – soft and creamy but dense and substantial. Kind of like mozzarella cheese without the taste of cheese, which is great for me. I also loved(!) the tomatoes bathing in their olive oil-y, concentrated juices. Like a tomato times ten in terms of flavor explosion. A couple slices of lettuce were shoved in as an afterthought and some color. It seems like there’d be too many competing flavors in this sandwich but they combined well. Wouldn’t have worked with a meat though.

famous potato puffs (4.50)

famous potato puffs (4.50)

I didn’t have the potato puffs this time, but they’re definitely worth getting once. I remember them as mashed potatoey innards formed into balls and fried, lightly salted. The buttery inside and crunchy outside make people delusional and they think it’s the best thing, worth shelling out almost 5 bucks for. Personally dont usually feel need to get it again and would rather get bread pudding instead (didn’t this time). Its deliciousness is really all dependent on the aoili – today it was a curry-based flavor that doesn’t compliment as well as garlic or roasted red pepper aioli. Also, this might be a Midwestern thing, but we had “football fries” every week in elementary school and these taste really similar.

Hot smoked Scottish salmon with creamy spinach in Dutch crunch (7.5)

Hot smoked Scottish salmon with creamy spinach in Dutch crunch (7.5)

My roomie G loved the bread (I love dutch crunch too) and creamed spinach but thought the salmon too thick and soft (almost like sashimi). At first we were impressed it was such a huge slab of fish, but I imagine I would’ve liked it thinner, drier, and chewier.

food UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitled

service UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitled

value UntitledUntitledUntitled

ambiance UntitledUntitledUntitled

wait staff attractiveness UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitled

take out container attractiveness guacamole


Because I’m a lucky lucky gal, that wasn’t the only sandwich of the day.

stupidly forgot camera. i obvs didn't take this awesome picture and will remove it if any lawsuit arises

stupidly forgot camera. i obvs didn't take this awesome picture and will remove it if any lawsuit arises

The Lambada veggie sandwich (6.5) beats Gregiore’s by a smidgeon, prob cause I’m a sucker for fresh produce. The sandwich is typically made with a layer of ricotta cheese but I asked for it on the side and didn’t have it, because it was flavorless and because the texture of ricotta’s got to be one of my least favorite. Everything else on the sandwich – corn (OMG), shredded carrots (nice, added sweetness), pimento stuffed olives (great flavor and salt to balance, especially for olive lovers), garlic cilantro sauce (fav ingredients!), and another afterthought slice of lettuce – married their flavors and textures perfectly.  On top of that, they use this awesome grainy/seedy bread for the sandwich that reminds me of the sandwiches at Intermezzo which highlight their homemade bread. Though sadly, this wasn’t as dense and quickly became soggy and fell apart before I finished half the sandwich.

free mango smoothie

free mango smoothie

Lots of diners rave about this smoothie, but wasn’t very remarkable. Imagine really sweet mango puree (must’ve been added sugar) blended with ice. But what really matters is that we got these for free with the purchase of sandwiches because apparently the owner Pedro tends to hand out free coupons. One of the girls with us didn’t have a coupon and he gave her one anyway. So Pedro, your smoothies are too sweet for me but you are not.

The three other diners I went with all got the famed tri-tip sandwich in various forms, and each promised that it deserves the hype. I should have a setting on my bathtub that turns on that garlic cilantro sauce so I can slosh around in it.

food UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitled (and a smidgeon)

service guacamole

value UntitledUntitledUntitled

ambiance UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitled (for Brazillian dance music)


4 thoughts on “Gregoire’s vs. Brazil Cafe: A Tale of Two Vegan Sandwiches

  1. Pingback: Return to Brazil « avocado a-go-go!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s