The last thing I had at Victor Jr.’s in Culver City was pizza whilst in the death throes of a huge site launch at work. It all related to sex (the pizza, not work – that’s an entirely different blog, I’m afraid) and stimulated some funny, and sometimes x-rated, offline discussions about sex and food. Unfortuantely, a more recent experience with Victor is far more modest, as it was a power lunch last Friday for work. I don’t mix business with pleasure. Er, not this month, at least. ;)
Victor Jr.’s menu is very home-style Italian: obviously pizza, sandwiches like meatball and chicken parmesan, and “Italian dinners,” which are really just pasta in combination with garlic bread and salad. Though I am far from vegetarian, I opted for a special, vegetarian lasagne; partly because “vegetarian” made me feel less naughty about eating lasagne (though I am quite aware that the caloric and fat difference is probably negligible), but more because lasagne is something I rarely make myself. Young, single (and tres hip *wink*) people don’t usually make roast turkeys, crown roast of pork, or lasagne.
The lasagne was pretty, with little curled edges, stacked atop each other. It had red sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese like regular meat lasagne, but with the addition of broccoli florets, diced zucchini, sliced mushrooms, and black olives. It wasn’t bad, since by the end of the lunch meeting, I had finished most of it. But it wasn’t good enough make me stop and really take notice beyond what I described above. Or perhaps I just seriously engrossed in the *yawn* discussion. Nah.
But later, as I thought about everything I had eaten during the day as I always do, the lasagne reminded me about appreciating vegetables for being vegetables. There used to be a time when vegetarian dishes tried to disguise grains, ground vegetables, or tofu as meat, to appear less vegetarian, as if there were something wrong with vegetables. If it’s a meat dish, then it should have meat; but if if a vegetarian dish, then it’s quite right to have vegetables, not an apologetic “meat substitute.” The focus should be less on avoidance of meat, and more on love of the vegetable. Though I didn’t love Victor Jr.’s lasagne, I appreciated that they maintained the integrity of the vegetables.
On a side note, I will go on to say that Victor Jr.’s garlic bread is something for which I wouldn’t mind in the future walking the half block in my work heels *pain*. It actually did make me take notice, and I ate three. Was I just bored during lunch? Was I really that disinterested in the discussion that the garlic bread was the only thing that saved me from drifting off to food fantasy land? No. It’s just pretty darn good, blanketed with butter, screaming garlic from ten feet away, and dressed up nicely with herbs. Oregano, I think.
Three pieces of garlic bread and lasagne for lunch. As if 2nd quarter sales forecasting wasn’t enough to put me into a coma...