Brew News

The Flaming Ice Cube

Boardman

(www.facebook.com/theflamingicecubeboardman)
Chad W. Lutz
By now, unless you’ve been living under a crude rock formation, you’ve probably heard of plant-based lifestyles. The basic premise of any plant-based lifestyle is to do just that: subsist on plants alone. That means grains, legumes, fruits, fungus, and vegetables. Anything derived from those substances is fair game. Anything else is stankonia. A 2008 study reported by Vegetarian Times showed an estimated 7.3 million Americans adhering to plant-based diets. Another study, this one compiled by The Vegetarian Resource Group in 2011, reported a contrasting 15.2 million vegetarians in the U.S., with around 7.6 million people adhering to strict plant-based diets (Veganism), excluding dairy and eggs.
 
What is really interesting to note is the Vegetarian Times study also showed, of the 7.6 million vegetarians, nearly sixty percent followed the diet for 10 years or more. In a world of culinary choices as simple as picking up your phone, ordering online, or scanning your local supermarkets, convenience stores, or stopping off at a drive-thru without ever having to get out of your car, the vegetarian lifestyle takes a lot of patience and practice and some serious dedication to follow. With the kind of chutzpah necessary to follow through on diets of such temperate caliber, it’s no wonder various communities have popped up all over the country to guide newcomers and help “keep the faith”, so to speak, in time-tested veggies.
 
One of the perks of having communities like this spring up across the nation is the broadening of our nation’s palette. Instead of sauntering into Mom and Pop’s Diner and ordering the meatloaf or spaghetti specials, there are any number of culinary establishments out there offering not only international and modern cuisines but lifestyle-conscious menus, as well.
 
Enter: The Flaming Ice Cube. This quirkily-named restaurant lives up to the strangeness of its nomenclature in offering eclectic, plant-based menus as well as super chipper and attentive staff and an adjoining knitting shop, where one might purchase local art, incense, hand-crafted clothing, and books. Set up in deli-style format, The Flying Ice Cube in Boardman boasts a long pastry counter filled with Vegan and Gluten-Free treats toward the back of the restaurant and next to the kitchen, with an open seating area containing ten to twelve tables set up and butting right up against the large bay windows up front. On nice days, staff set up tables and chairs outside for people to use on the sidewalk. The interior is somewhat small but quaint and homey. Even with four or five other groups in the restaurant the noise levels never got too loud, but you never felt like you had to hush or everyone would hear you either.
 
The rich tones of the walls set the taste buds up for exactly the same kind of treatment upon first bite. My girlfriend and I tried the Vegan artichoke dip as an appetizer, which was made out of cashews and every bit as delicious as traditional spinach and artichoke dip. There were even large chunks of artichoke in the dip, which was served with toasted pita. For a main dish I ordered the "TLT", which stood for Tempeh Lettuce & Tomato. I was originally going to get a Mexican rice bowl, but the restaurant no longer carried it and had forgotten to take it off the menu. However, as the old playground rhyme goes, "First is the worst, second is the best," so went my meal. The contained Asian seasonings with Veganaise, rich roma tomatoes, cucumber slices, and kale on toasted ciabatta. It came with a seasonal black bean salad that I wish was around for every season.
 
My favorite person in the world went a different direction and ordered the Asian rice bowl, which contained a mix of quinoa, veggies (peppers, onions), tofu, and a plum sauce made in-house. She substituted the tofu place of tempeh. I still consider it one of her Top 5 best decisions I’ve seen her make in the amount of time I’ve known her. Jokes aside, that shit was good. I only had a bite, but that’s all I needed. Literally: I was bursting at the seams from the appetizer and my main course.
 
Health food can be expensive, but the bill was actually pretty modest all things considered. All together, we ordered an appetizer, two main courses, a smoothie, and a dessert for under $40.00, including tip. That’s a dine-out win in my book. We both, of course, swore off food for the rest of our lives, seeing as how we were stuffed out our gills, but less than twenty minutes later we were munching on granola and the dessert we purchased.
 
If you don’t like plants, this place probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re plant-curious and looking to pop that culinary cherry, I’d say give The Flaming Ice Cube a try. I doubt you’ll be let down. And, if you love plant-based foods, I’m pretty sure you have just found your new spot. The best part is there are TWO OF THEM. The one in Boardman is a sister restaurant to one located in Downtown Cleveland. So, no, you don’t have to drive an hour out of your way just to nom on a plant-based menu, unless, of course, you really like animals. In that case, I highly suggest Wagon Trails animal safari. Watch out for the camels. They're aggresive smoochers.
The Flaming Ice Cube
1449 Boardman-Canfield Rd. Boardman, Ohio 44512
(330) 726-4766
Monday–Saturday: 10:00am – 9:00pm
​Prices: $3.45 to $12.95
www.flamingice.com