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Virtuous Vittles

Do your body–and your taste buds–a favor, and give the wildly innovative menu at Silver City's Peace Meal deli a try.

 

Don't be frightened. The huge, at-first-undecipherable menu boards at Peace Meal Cooperative deli may leave you at a complete loss about what, or even how to order, but the friendly worker-owners will kindly walk you through it. And the unique and healthful food is tasty, and the only such of its kind around for miles–maybe even galaxies.

Peace Meal is a vegetarian deli in Silver City's new The Hub Plaza, specializing in vegetarian (no meat), vegan (no animal products) and "live" (uncooked) foods. If your idea of lunch is along the lines of McSomething, the fare at Peace Meal will take a little getting used to. But if you're feeling adventurous–and looking to do something good for your bod–you've come to the right place.

Peace Meal serves up a different soup for every day of the week (cup around $3, bowl $6) with bread (eight kinds to choose from) or homemade "live" sesame crackers. Monday is for Miso, which comes chock full of vegetables and delightfully spicy with garlic, with or without aramé seaweed. The sesame crackers are unique, delicious and generously sized.

The cold case holds a variety of salads ($5-$6), served as-is or made into a sandwich. Curried tofu is a vegan option for those eschewing eggs, though no matter how much curry you put in, it's still tofu masquerading as eggs. The traditional egg salad is more popular, and wins the flavor contest. "Mock tuna" is a decent substitution for the traditional fish, and avocado-onion salad, tofu-Greek and hummus all make wonderful sandwiches. The creamy avocado-onion is nice and chunky. Feta cheese flavors the tofu in the Greek paté-like dish, with kalamata olives adding wonderful saltiness.

There's also a green salad ($3.50 small, $5.50 large), with crunchy options like walnuts and sunflower seeds, and vegetarian sushi rolls ($5).

Then there's the "Pesto Pizza" ($4)–an amazingly flavorful, crispy concoction bearing no resemblance to what the "Papa" delivers. To call it "pizza" is unfair to the unusually creative fresh fare that it is, and only more confusing to average Joes trying to sort out this menu. The "crust" is that wonderful sesame cracker, really big pieces of it this time. First they are slathered with a non-traditional pesto–made of miso, walnuts, pine nuts, olive oil and garlic–then topped with chopped fresh tomatoes, kalamata olives and green onions. Hormone-free feta cheese is optional, and worth the extra buck as it makes a more savory and substantial meal.

Wash it all down with juice or natural soda from the cooler, loose-leaf herbal tea or fresh juice made to order from organic fruits and veggies. The apple-carrot-celery-ginger is lively.

Desserts are, well, probably a little too healthy for most palates, McSomething-oriented or not. Take your pick between "carob-almond delights" or their own special version of halvah with coconut and cardamom. Then again, perhaps you've been virtuous enough for one meal. And Alotta Gelato is just around the corner! –Donna Clayton Lawder

 

Peace Meal Cooperative Vegetarian Deli, at The Hub, 601 N. Bullard St., Silver City, 388-0106. Open Mon., Wed-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun., 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Closed Tuesdays. Serving lunch and dinner. Brunch on Sundays. No credit cards accepted.

 

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