Tomato Cocina Latina

Delicious vegetarian food shows up in some unlikely places sometimes.  When I say “Latin American and Spanish food,” your mind instantly jumps to grilled torros and arroz con pollo, no?  Not at Tomato Cocina Latina!  They have a dedicated vegetarian section on their menu that includes Paella de Vegetales, Roasted Calabasas (Zucchini), and several dishes with variations on a theme of a combination of yummy, mild feta-like cheese, Salvadorian cream, black beans, avocados, eggs, plantains, tomatoes (of course) and corn tortillas.  For the more traditional palate, they also offer vegetarian tacos and quesadillas.  Not to mention the fact that they have several delicious appetizer options for those who aren’t interested in a full plate, or for those who want to share.  They offer four different kinds of vegetarian pupusas (cheese, bean, and squash, and one that combines all three), vegetarian tamales, fried yucca or plantains with cream, and the item my hubby and I often order, Patatas Bravas, which are fried potato slices with smoked Spanish paprika and chili, served with a tart homemade mayonnaise for dipping.  Next to the platanos (plantains), this is my favorite appetizer.

As for our entrees, I had the Tipico Salvadoreño, which includes much of the combination I mentioned above.  I can’t talk enough about how good the Salvadorian cream is–it’s rich and just slightly sweet and feels decadent in a completely comforting way.  Sometimes, I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit, I order it as a side and eat the delicious homemade wheat tortilla chips with it.  Yum.  Sean had the Paella de Vegetales, which includes Spanish saffron rice and vegetables (of course) accented with orange, onion, garlic and cilantro.  It’s savory and fresh all at the same time, and the citrus notes give it a nice kick.

For those vegetarians who enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, TCL offers a pretty interesting wine list with few of the old stand-bys that you’re used to seeing in restaurants.  There are a lot of Spanish and South American wines, and I’ve almost never had a glass there I didn’t like.  I also like that a lot of the titles of the wines have an edge to them.  I always seem to like them better when they do, for some reason…

Give Tomato a try.  I think most vegetarians (and even vegans) should be able to find something to their liking here.  With some nice local art on the walls and a dance space for Latin dancing on certain nights, there’s enough of interest here to keep you coming back.

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