Tuesday, July 21, 2009

M Cafe de Chaya's Big Macro and My Cardinal Rule of Dining

I didn't really want the Big Macro at M Cafe de Chaya two Thursdays ago. The thought of ingesting a hot bunned item was not particularly desirable to me on the warm summer evening, and I was still marginally full (and frustrated) from the drippy Cool Haus ice cream sandwich I'd eaten earlier in the day. After my somewhat disastrous encounter with the trendy frozen treat (half of which ended up on my skirt), I was not at all in the mood to manipulate my mouth around another sandwiched food product.

Especially one of the burger variety. Carl’s Jr’s motto, “If it doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong in your face,” is well-deserved. Burgers, veggie or otherwise, are inevitably messy.

What I really wanted was a salad. The Gado Gado ($11.45) with golden tempeh triangles, frizzled onions and peanut dressing that Susan from Reservation for Three had “tweeted” about earlier in the day. Or the M Chopped ($11.45) with tofu, tempeh bacon and other exciting things that my friend Ashley was set on ordering.

They both sounded exceedingly more appealing than the Big Macro, except they violated one of my cardinal rules for my evening meals out.

Thou shalt not order “just a salad” for dinner. (Other rules include thou shalt not salt food before tasting it first, and thou shalt not dine at any establishment that resembles an Applebee’s or TGI Friday’s.)

Despite the impracticality of many of my non-dining related rules (ie. thou must touch the airplane prior to boarding to ensure a safe flight), my reasons for avoiding the salad at dinner are really quite sensible.

1. They don’t fill me up.

2. They don’t fill me up.

3. They don’t fill me up.

Given that it was only 6:00 pm and Ashley and I were on our way to the screening of Julie & Julia at the Arclight, I knew that ordering a salad would be a foolhardy decision. Not only would it require me to eat again before bedtime (or suffer through a night of insufferable belly rumbles), I would inevitably spend the entire movie salivating over cubes of butter and lobster. Watching food on television/“the big screen” while hungry is akin to listening to a running faucet when one needs to use the restroom, and I was not about to put myself through that sort of cruel and unusual punishment.

So I went against my immediate craving (for the first time in a decade), and ordered the Big Macro ($11.45) with a side of M Café’s righteous kale with spicy peanut sauce (which I have enjoyed on previous occasions).

Ultimately, the Big Macro proved to be a nice rendition of a veggie burger. Made with whole grain brown rice and topped with some unidentifiable “special sauce,” lettuce, tofu cheese, onions, and sprouts, it is a moderately compelling way to vegatize one’s diet without sacrificing flavor or texture. It didn’t provoke me to make any affectionate declarations or “yummy” noises, but it did accomplish something even more impressive.

It filled me up.

I sat through the entire movie without the slightest hint of belly envy as Julie cooked/ate her way through Julia Child’s cookbook. And that night I enjoyed the restful sleep that comes courtesy of satiation.

Score one for the Big Macro.

And score two for my cardinal rule of dining.

I shalt continue to abide by my stance against the “just a salad” dinner. Long live the entrée. (And Ashley's side order of fries that I may have sampled whilst she was in the bathroom.)


Jenn said...

I have that very same battle with myself sometimes. LOL. Good thing you went for the sandwich.

The Duo Dishes said...

Even a big honking salad won't last you? If it's a greens with vinaigrette thing, no way. Hunger will arise within 60-90 minutes. But if it's chock full of fruits, veggies, nuts or meat, it feels just right. M Cafe has a lot of good eats there though. Just wish it wasn't so crazy during the lunch hour.

yutjangsah said...

yum that looks good. it's been ages since i've been to m cafe but i used to love their rice bowls w/ tempeh and veggies. i used to eat there a lot when i was an aquatarian and sometimes i had 'just a salad' for dinner but i think my stomach sack was smaller then. : )

Elra said...

Hmmm, yeah get that gado gado. Or, comeover to my house, I'll make you one. The authentic one that no other restaurant here will be able to make it. Sounds good?

Esi said...

I tend to be one of those weirdos who can get full of a salad, but when presented with the choice between a salad and this honkin' sandwich...I'd probably go with the sandwich.

Gastronomer said...

Good call, Diana! Salads are lame. Even $17 ones!

Diana said...

Jenn - All hail the beefy sandwich! Even if it doesn't contain any beef. ;)

Chrystal & Amir - The honking salad does last me and I actually do make salads for myself at home for dinner, but I have something against ordering them out for dinner! Not sure why. Maybe I think that if I'm out I should be going... all out?

Sook - I think I need to work on shrinking my stomach sack. It's tough work keeping it satisfied!

Elra - I'd love a recipe! I am on the look out for more tempeh recipes so if you have any, send them my way!

Esi - I actually can be full of a salad too (especially at lunch), but don't typically like eating them for dinner unless I'm making it myself and loading it with goodies. :)

Cathy - You are never going to let me live that down, are you?