Charm City Vegan

Here’s a review of Baltimore’s Liquid Earth Restaurant from Katie, followed by some words of wisdom from the poet Percy Shelley, courtesy of the poet Sandra Miller!

The Holy Grail: A Great Vegan Reuben

by Katie Fisher

The food item I remember most vividly from my (benighted, pre-vegan) college years in Baltimore is the Reuben sandwich, that rich, grilled edifice of meat, cheese, Russian dressing, and the sauerkraut that brings it all together. Back then, in that seafood- and meat-happy city, about the only un-animal thing you might find at one of the famous markets was fresh vegetables, and you’d be lucky to get a green salad at a restaurant.

Has that ever changed! Happy Cow now lists 116 restaurants in Baltimore where you can find vegan options (or check out the more manageable vegan/vegetarian top 10 list). If I lived in my old south B’more apartment today I could walk over to the Cross Street Market and enjoy a veggie burger at Gangster Vegan Organics, or pop up to Little Italy for a vegan pizza at Angeli’s Pizzeria. If I found myself at the Baltimore Museum of Art I could choose from five vegan options at its upscale cafe. On the campus of my alma mater, UMBC, I could now find numerous vegan options, such as veggie taco salad and Szechuan tofu.

Read more: Charm City Vegan

Recently John and I spent the day in Charm City and had lunch at the mysteriously named Liquid Earth in Fell’s Point. Housed in a c. 200-year-old dairy building, with ungentrified tin ceilings, exquisitely patinated wood floors, and the most welcoming proprietors, this tiny restaurant sort of felt like home. We opted for sandwiches, and the vegan Reuben was every bit as good as the old version—better, actually, because of the addition of roasted red onions recommended by the amiable young waiter. The marinated portobello sandwich with lentil tapenade was pretty stupendous too. Our vegan lunch was a kind of prayer for the cows who once suffered on the premises.

The diorama in the bar at Liquid Earth

Liquid Earth also offers burritos, raw veg wraps, vegan sushi, fresh juices (the ginger shot was eye-popping), frozen drinks, and much more. Our only disappointment was that we were too full to eat more. Next time maybe I’ll try raw tacos (romaine and collard leaves filled with nut meat, avocado, tomato, onion, and cashew sour cream) and The Kitchen Zink (hemp milk, honey, banana, multivitamin, liquid antioxidant, soy protein, ginseng, gingko, lecithin, and ice). But hold the honey.

An Early Voice Against Meat: Percy Shelley

Sandra Miller draws our attention to an article on The Marginalian‘s website about the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s vigorous advocacy for animals. Author Maria Popova says, “Writing during the final chapters of the First Industrial Revolution, [Shelley] notes that meat-eating is part of the power structure — only the wealthy of his era could afford feasts of flesh. But while the Second Industrial Revolution and the rise of capitalism have seemingly equalized and even inverted this symptom of the system, the foundational malady remains just as true, perhaps even more grimly so: In most industrialized countries today, commercial agriculture subsidies have made cheap meat more accessible to the poor than healthy produce — animal flesh is now baked into the most elemental political and governmental structure of our society.” Shelley urges us to stop eating animals, and points to what we in 2023 would call the intersectionality of animal exploitation and other societal cruelties:

“The advantage of a reform in diet, is obviously greater than that of any other. It strikes at the root of the evil. To remedy the abuses of legislation, before we annihilate the propensities by which they are produced, is to suppose, that by taking away the effect, the cause will cease to operate.”

Shelley urged, “By all that is sacred in our hopes for the human race, I conjure those who love happiness and truth, to give a fair trial to the vegetable system.”

Read the entire article here.

Keep the Recipes (and Restaurant Reviews) Coming!

We’d love to keep featuring a vegan recipe, restaurant review, or shopping tip each week. If you have an old favorite, or have tried something new recently, please write it up and send it to John or Katie. Desserts, salads, sandwiches, entrees . . . anything that tastes good!

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