Meeting Choobee for eats can often be an exercise in frustration. You see, we go through what seemingly is an endless array of options before we settle on a destination. Furthermore, we then proceed to over-think the menu and take forever to order. Yes, that is what happens when you get 2 food-crazed people together. Well, as food crazy as I may be, it took some persistence from Choobee to coax me into finally doing a standalone visit to Tractor. I've been here in the past as part of a food tour and the eats were good (despite featuring leafy green things that are completely foreign to me).
Naturally, she proceeded to order 4 salads including the Kale with Granny Smith apples, julienned radicchio and white balsamic vinaigrette. This was my favourite (in relative terms) as it had plenty of crunch and acidity from both the vinaigrette and apples. On the same plate, we sampled the Roasted Cauliflower with chickpeas, radicchio, orzo, feta cheese and kalamata olive dressing. I liked the crunch of the cauliflower along with the meaty chickpeas. Either there wasn't enough feta or that we didn't get any because it wasn't really apparent. With even more salads (oh the humanity...), we had the Grilled Asparagus with broccoli, butternut squash, pecans, ricotta cheese and champagne vinaigrette. This was a fairly "wet" salad, but the flavours were good though with a nice mix of creaminess, sweetness and acidity. Lastly, we had the Organic Quinoa with kale, fresh blueberries, butternut squash, mint and basil. The firm texture of the kale gave the salad some "meatiness" (had to get that word in somehow). As the ingredients suggest, there was this herby and sweet balance.
We moved onto all 3 of their available stews including the Morroccan Chicken with chickpeas. Despite the exotic name, the flavours were quite mild. I did get the ginger and possibly a hint of cinnamon, but it was lacking in effect in general. There was a decent amount of ingredients including little chunks of chicken and firm chickpeas. I found the Slow Roasted Pork with chipotle peppers, tomatoes, carrot and garlic to be more flavourful. It wasn't spicy per se, but it wasn't devoid of spice either. I felt this had more depth, possibly a direct result of the roasted pork. As for the pork itself, it was a touch stringy and in small strands. The veggies were soft while not lacking in texture.
Lastly and begrudgingly, we had the Thai Veggie with organic tofu, cauliflower, chick peas, kale and peppers. Naturally, without the benefit of meat, the stew lacked body. However, my main concern was the overall flavour profile - it was somewhat bland. For something advertised as Thai, I expected more fragrance and maybe more spice. I'm not sure of their recipe, but I would personally add a good amount of coconut milk. For the heck of it, we decided to try one piece each of the Albacore Tuna and Steelhead Salmon. As evidenced in the picture, the tuna was seared ever-so-slightly maintaining a soft rare centre. The salmon was also slightly rare in the middle ensuring that it wasn't dried out. They were simply seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon. Due to the fact we could only eat so much, we skipped the sandwiches (but you can see them here on another post). Despite my indifference with the stews, I found the food at tractor fresh and healthy. Hence, by putting a bunch of fat and salt into the stews would've been contradictory.
- Fresh stuff
- I felt healthy eating it
- Lots of choice
- Stews lacking in impact (but as I said, adding fat and salt would make it unhealthy)
- Not expensive, but not cheap either