The Hairy Vegetarian in Asbury Park - Twisted Tree Cafe

Posted by Steven Russell on Friday, August 14, 2015


I love a new experience, especially when eating out. I love trying new foods, new ways of cooking favorite foods, interesting combinations of familiar foods, and different ways to use spices and herbs to flavor foods. I also love familiar things. I can go to a restaurant ten times and get the same thing each time.

Sometimes all of these things seem to happen at once at one restaurant. I had a pleasant combination of these the other day at the Twisted Tree Café in Asbury Park. I had heard of the place because of their vegetarian offerings, but I had never been there. On a Friday right after I had taught yoga at Kur Wellness Studios on Bond Street I headed down the street toward Cookman. I thought about turning right to go to the sub shop, but something pulled me left. I saw a few tables on the sidewalk down the block, so I went to check out what was there. It was Twisted Tree. So I went in. It looked like a fun place. You walked up to the counter at the edge of the kitchen and ordered what you saw on the blackboard menu overhead. There was a sign dangling down with their soup of the day: Coconut Curry. I had to have it. I also ordered the Bean Wrap. I asked the woman behind the counter what it was. She told me that they drained their chili and made a wrap out of it. I was intrigued. I asked her if it was vegetarian. The chef, who was right next to her, said that all of their soups were vegan. Even better, I thought.

The soup was out of this world. It appeared to be a spicy curry broth with chickpeas, peppers, and tomatoes. I was truly excited while I ate it. I was so excited I took the empty bowl up to the counter and asked if they ever gave out the recipe. The woman giggled and said, “I wish.” The chef kind of rolled his eyes at me and turned back to his work.

The wrap was an open tortilla with the above mentioned chili, avocado, what appeared to be canned tomatoes, corn, and black beans. A salad was also on the plate with a side of tahini dressing. The chili was almost exactly how I made mine, except for the corn. After the unique soup experience, this familiarity was welcome. As I ate it I also noticed for the first time how similar my chili is to how I remember my mother's. Well, except for the ground beef.

So this excellent pairing of the exotic and the familiar made for a great lunch. And sitting in the sun on the sidewalk watching the local Asbury Parkers was fun, too.

The Twisted Tree Café is at 609 Cookman Ave, Asbury Park, NJ


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