Elegant but affordable, progressive but pleasurable, pan-Asian but not dangerously eclectic, a touch didactic (a glossary chalked on the wall defines tempeh and soy), but charmingly so, with affordable wine and interesting tea — Green Elephant is something Maine could use. In recent years the vegans of Portland have pressed their cause through foie gras protests and preachy “festivals” (see "Ethical Eating," September 15, 2006, and "The Taste of Sanctimony," May 11, 2007, both by Brian Duff). On the national level vegans turned a manifesto into a best-seller (Skinny Bitch) by packaging animal-rights arguments as diet advice from a fashion model. But while a good model can touch the soul, in the long run vegans will make their arguments best by making food that affirms life through the palate, not despite it. In this way Green Elephant is a big step in the right direction.
Brian Duff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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