Meatless Mondays at Harina Artisan Bakery Café

Eating vegetables just got better at Harina Artisan Bakery Café with its Meatless Mondays! Undeniably, vegetables are rarely found in dining tables or even at gatherings. Although we make it a point to have them served at our tables, it always has to be accompanied with meat to add taste and flavor.

Harina Artisan Bakery Café has made us realize that vegetable can taste even better without meat.  They aim to promote healthy eating and saving the environment. You read it right kids, saving the environment isn’t just about recycling. Being meat dependent gives companies reason to occupy land to make way for their cattle or livestock; the more the demand, the more deforestation will happen.

Having said that, don’t expect any meat on the menu on Mondays as they have a special vegetarian menu for that day. Starting with the refreshments – Green Electrolyte a refreshing concoction from cucumber, lemon and lime and Red Electrolyte, a thirst quenching mix of fresh apple and watermelon juice.

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For appetizers they have fruits which is said to help your digestive system prepare for the task at hand and help your system absorb the nutrients easier.

The Red Planet is not a Martian inspired dish but a thick slice of warm watermelon, topped with cheese, arugula and crushed walnuts and/or pine nuts, drizzled with balsamic glaze. It’s warm because the it’s slightly grilled. It’s a perfect combination of sweet and salty taste in a warm fruit serving, it’s just out of this world (get it?)

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Melon Celery Salad is a refreshing mix of melon cubes and crunchy celery with sour cream – yogurt dressing. Yogurt is home made so no artificial ingredients are added to make the yogurt.

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For the soup, they have the Lentil Soup, with of course, lentil, malunggay and okra. Lentil has mungo like taste and texture. We have okra on our pakbet and sinigang but I don’t eat them because of it’s slimy texture and I don’t like taking in the seeds. After consuming the whole bowl of it, I came to realize that we just have to cut our okra to smaller bits to make it easier to eat and swallow.

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The first of the three main dishes will surprise you Kimchi Fried Rice with Barbeque. How can barbecue be meatless? At first glance of the plate it sure looks like meat to me. It’s served with flavorful kimchi rice and grilled bell peppers, but what makes the barbecue?

It’s the  soybean curd skin. It’s imported from South Korea, if I remember it right. We do have bean-curd here, but the quality isn’t that good. The soybean curd texture feels like meat and the barbecue sauce made it taste like meat too. Although the kimchi rice isn’t as spicy as it should be, it’s probably done to give emphasis on the soybean curd skin barbecue which was really good.

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The Arroz Cubana is a savory mix of potatoes, carrots and soybean curd, served with rice, papaya chutney, fried banana and fried egg.  Still no meat but tastes like the real one, only better because it’s the healthier option.

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My favorite among the three is the Dinuguan. It’s bloodless, but it’s still dinuguan (kinda confusing right?) It’s made from rich black stew teeming with black mushrooms, banana blossoms, and soybean curd. It also has fresh sampaloc leaves which I really love. The degree of spiciness is just as I expected in a dinuguan. It taste and feels like the real dinuguan, but since there is no trace of blood on it, I may just call it ginulayan. Don’t you ever go Meatless Monday without ordering this. It’s served with puto or steam rice.

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If you don’t feel like taking on a heavy meal you can try out their the Bruschetta Platter. It comes in three amazing mixes served on top of toasted slices of classic baguette. Avocado, Asparagus and ArugulaHerbed TomatoesSliced Mushroom with Cheese.

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All recipes were developed by the Harina’s owner’s friends Sally Yunez and Judy Lao which have been vegetarian for years.  Most of the dishes were products of experimenting at home to serve to their non-vegetarian guests. Being vegetarian doesn’t limit you from adobong kangkong, nilagang kamote or vegetable salads, there’s more to it. They are even working on a meatless version of the popular Kapampangan dish – Sisig. This I got to see… and taste.

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Harina Artisan Bakery Café proves that Vegetarianism isn’t scary nor it is a sacrifice for being cruel to nature. It’s actually very rewarding. It’s the how nature intended food to be, no artificial flavorings, no preservatives, and no meat. Vegetarianism isn’t all vegetables! There’s grains, legumes, and fruits too. By the way, profits from Meatless Monday will go to charity. Since no charity has been chosen yet, I would like to nominate PETA.

In general, what we are presenting in Harina is real food, what food should really be — all-natural, handled responsibly (no artificial flavorings, no preservatives, non-modified ingredients). As much as possible, we stay true to the product’s nature. We want to present it the way nature wanted it to be.” Harina Artisan Bakery Café owner, Atty. Marina Demeterio

Don’t forget to take home these baked goodies anytime of the day.

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Until next Monday!

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