Usually when we have out-of-town guests come to visit, their first food-related request is crab. Sometimes they have a specific place in mind that they’d like to try, but most of the time we get to choose for them. Recently though, we had some vegetarian visitors who weren’t interested in finding crab on the menu, and since I’m no expert on vegetarian fare in Baltimore, they selected Liquid Earth in Fell’s Point for dinner.
This is a restaurant we’d probably never wander into without dinner companions who were specifically searching for vegan and vegetarian fare. With oddly-shaped tables, mismatched chairs, and psychedelic music playing both inside and outside, Liquid Earth was everything I (very stereotypically) expected it to be. Their menu is different from the norm as well; rather than splitting up the meal options by course or even main ingredient, a full half of this menu was devoted to either raw food or juices.
We each settled on a juice blend, ranging from the safe (the Orange Pearrot, a mix of carrot, orange, and pear juice) to the spicy (the Lip Smack, a blend of carrot, apple, and an aggressive amount of ginger) to the downright unusual (the O.C. Loco, a concoction of carrot, apple, celery, parsley, and spirulina). There were ingredients on even the juice menu that I’d never heard of before, like spirulina, an algae that is often taken as a supplement for any of you other clueless folks out there. Our drinks arrived in 2-cup Pyrex measuring pitchers, accompanied by a glass to pour into. The juice was fresh, frothy, and completely addictive, although I can’t say our group was a big fan of the O.C. Loco. We also sampled the guacamole as an appetizer, which was chunky and well-seasoned, though my purist of a fiancé believes that tomatoes have no place in guac (obviously Liquid Earth does not agree). My only complaint was the ratio of chips to dip: for you ambitious dippers out there, your guacamole will be finished long before your chips run out.
Of the five members of the group, three opted for “pizzas” off of the raw menu. While an interesting concept, and particularly appealing for those in the group that were lactose-intolerant, the raw pizzas left something to be desired. The crust was cracker thin and the sauce was, of course, cold. With no cheese on top, it bore little resemblance to any kind of pizza I’d ever eaten. And while the vegetable toppings were tasty, it wasn’t enough to even out the unsatisfying crust for those who had ordered it. The two (warm!) sandwiches we also ordered, however, definitely an improvement. We sampled a portabella mushroom sandwich with sprouts and avocado, as well as the table’s favorite entrée – a sandwich called Picnic, with pears, apples, melted brie, and just a bit of mustard on a crusty, toasted baguette. The sandwich was delicious, and so enormous that I could only finish half. Not that it went to waste; the table passed it around and finished it in no time flat.
Leaving Liquid Earth, I have to say I felt pretty healthy. Not that anything I’d eaten was a nutritional superstar, but it was fresh, honest food prepared with a focus on quality produce. But I guess, in the interest of full disclosure, I should also mention that our little group turned down the vegan cookies that were offered for dessert and marched around the corner to get gelato. Because sometimes a satisfying sweet treat is just what you need at the end of a healthy meal.