You might not be aware, but right next to Mosaic Church, in Ocean Springs (1064 Thorn ave, to be precise), there is a brand new place to enjoy some great food. It is called “The Kettle Cafe and Tea Room. I heard about it’s opening, and i saw the place, but i didn’t know much about it. Then i heard the words that had doomed every other place like it i ever heard about. I heard it was a vegan restaurant.
I don’t know what your opinion is, yes, YOU! The person reading this article right now. I don’t know what YOUR opinion is about vegan food, but mine was most definitely not a high opinion. I am, by admission, a meat-etarian. I like meat. If it’s green, there is a 98% chance i have no interest in consuming it. So, i was skeptical.
I did, however, know some people that knew Somer Cochran, the owner/operator of this new vegan establishment. I decided i wanted to write an article about it. I wanted to make sure that all of the vegan-minded people out there knew they had a brand new choice where they could enjoy their favorite vegan delicacies, so i got in touch with Somer and did an interview…..via text message. I wanted to stay as far away from anything remotely vegan as i could. Then a funny thing happened. Somer invited me to come TRY the food. There was immediately a war within my brain. “I can’t go try that! It’s vegan!” thought one part of my brain. The other part of my brain said, “You have to have journalistic integrity. You cannot speak about a new food option without having tried it. That would totally lack integrity.” So i accepted.
I must admit, i was very hesitant. But i pressed on. I went into the (absolutely beautiful) Kettle Cafe and Tea Room. I was very impressed with the warm, inviting atmosphere i found inside. As i began to peruse the menu, my beautiful, but just as inexperienced, wife in tow, i realized just how little i knew about the vegan menu. Somer was kind enough to offer a suggestion. I took her suggestion and went with the teriyaki selection. It was at this juncture that was introduced to the wide variety of specialty teas they have. I ordered the earl grey tea (what else what a Star Trek fan order?).
After placing our orders, Somer asked us if we’d like dessert with that. “I didn’t know vegans ate dessert,” i thought to myself. “Yes, please. We would love to try the lime tart and the almond butter bar, please.”
The tea arrived quickly, piping hot, and full of a new flavor i had never experienced before. It was delicious. Then came the food. I could feel my heart racing. I was nervous and excited. What would this experience be like? Will it be pleasant, or will i run out screaming in horror at the tofu i just ate? Ok, mild exaggeration maybe. That’s when Somer’s mother, who helps her around the cafe, offered me some vegan sriracha sauce, that was made in Texas, for my sandwich. And…….drum roll…… It was fantastic! It was nothing like what i’ve always heard that tofu tasted like. It was really good.
We asked Somer about that misconception. She replied, “there aren’t very many people in South Mississippi that know how to cook tofu correctly. It’s a lot like meat. It has to be marinaded, and cooked correctly, or else it might not come out tasting great.”
Let me just say, as a registered, life-long, meat-etarian, Somer knows how to prepare it correctly. It was great tasting stuff. And then there’s the dessert. It was even more fantastic. My wife had the almond butter bar, ala mode (with caramel ice cream). Wonderful flavors in both.
If a full meal is not what you’re looking for, The Kettle Cafe and Tea Room is an absolutely fantastic place to go and grab a book from her “book nook,” enjoy an amazing dessert, some good, flavorful tea, and just enjoy some quiet reading and contemplation.
If The Kettle Cafe can win ME over, i know that it has something to offer absolutely anybody, vegan or not. So find a time and go check it out. I guarantee you will be greeted with a smile, warm, quick, friendly service and great food. You absolutely will not regret it, and you will probably leave with a much more favorable impression of tofu, just like me.
If you’d like to go and check out the menu, you can do so at their web site www.thekettlecafe.com