Monday, September 7, 2009

Veg Out: Basic 4

Any time I'm at the Reading Terminal Market, I briefly consider eating something from Basic 4, the lone vegetarian vendor at the market (unless you count the produce merchants). Then I wander by, hesitate at the line, am instantly distracted by someone's spinach pie or giant rustic sword of bread or the smell of taco sex wafting from 12th Street Cantina. As many times as I've walked by, I've only eaten there twice.

Recently, I received an email from Basic 4 announcing their new look and press sampler. I didn't get around to picking mine up (we were supposed to pick it up on a Thursday only and I never got around to it). They finally have a website and are doing the Facebook/Twitter marketing rain dance.

The "new" Basic 4 looks like the old Basic 4. Some of the food is labeled now. The set-up appears to be the same - frenzied kitchen, notes of disorganization. My wait was extremely long. The woman who took my order was also cooking and flitting about. Another woman spent the entire 20 minutes that it took to get my order cutting a tray of vegan brownies as painfully slow as possible.

The menu has changed slightly, but the old one is still posted above the kitchen. The new one is much tinier and taped to the counter plexi. I almost didn't notice it. I went with the the vegetarian corned beef, thinking it would be both quick and interesting, something I wouldn't find elsewhere. I asked for soy cheese but never got it. I added a vegan cookie, was told to wait for it, but chucked it up to a $1.25 loss after deciding I could stand around no longer and didn't have time to discuss the wee refund. At that point, I didn't even mind. I was just concerned with my lunch being decent.

It was...alright. I don't return for alright. There are sandwiches out there that often require great hassle, but are worth it (Falafel Nazi, navigating Septa for a Fu Wah hoagie). You know the ones, the sandwiches that demand immediate reflection.

1 comment:

BradyDale said...

I hate this place. It's so disorganized. They don't understand anything. They have a massive array of counter space that's unused yet they don't seem to notice that they are tripping all over each other inside.

One time I went and they had a section labelled something like SANDWICHES. Then beneath it, it said something like: Whole grain bread, lettuce, tomatoe.

In menu'ese, this implied everything under that heading was served on whole grain bread with the veggie fixings (my details might be off here, but the point is the heading applied substantial bread for everything under it).

So I ordered one of the things beneath it and it came in a pathetic little pita. I objected. Not only did they have no patience for my objection they acted like I should have known. I tried to explain to them how their menu was misleading, but they just didn't get it.

Why are so many vegetarian places so disorganized and annoying? Grumble.

I have to be honest... the only veggie thing I really dig at Reading Terminal is the Euro Sandwich on whole wheat at that pizza and pasta place right at the South Entrance. But... it's almost $8, which is just more than I'm usually game to spend at lunch. Beyond that... nothing there is really that great for a veggie on a lunch break, IMHO.