If you have ever been to the Ithaca Farmers Market, you might know of a popular stand called Macro Mamas, famous for its delicious lime peanut noodles that are found all over Cornell’s campus. Macro Mamas is run by a group of women from the Finger Lakes area who are, according to their website, “cheerfully merging their talents in order to create fantastic market menus.” While most people will easily recognize and praise the infamous peanut noodles, Macro Mamas offers other creations that are beginning to pop up around campus in places such as Gimme! Coffee. According to their website, “each dish is its own exercise in co-creation, welcoming new found inspiration and varied ingredients, from [their] own fresh herbs to plants foraged from nearby hillsides.”
Gates Hall’s hidden gem, Gimme! Coffee, is arguably the best place to buy coffee on campus, despite its lack of BRB acceptance. The layout of the small coffee stand is simple yet classy in its clean-cut white backdrops and bold red print proudly displaying its name. The tidiness of the stand makes it all the more visually appealing and with the appropriate funds, grabbing a coffee here is always a pleasant experience. After your eyes are immediately drawn to the red “Gimme!” sign, you will notice the abundance of fruity scones, buttery croissants and extra large muffins in the glass case. One may easily pass by the fridge on the left and go straight to the ordering post, but the fridge should not be overlooked. Often there is a line for coffee, so as you wait, peek into the fridge and check out all the additional goods that are offered. Inside their fridge you can discover a myriad of Macro Mamas’ Macro Meals.
Macro Mamas focuses on plant-based foods, which means most of the dishes are vegan. Macro Meals vegan protein bowls feature an assortment of different vegetables and grains. The contents of the Macro Meals will change frequently. When I went last Friday, the bowl was an unusual combination of ingredients that pleased my taste buds. The first aspect of the bowl was brown rice and Red Fife with cumin gomasio (a sesame and salt mixture). This rice dish was the base of the bowl. Next, smoky black-eyed peas were listed as a kind of cold bean salad, followed by cumin-roasted sweet potatoes and celeriac, then Brussels sprouts with lemon-poached pears and pistachios and finally, kohlrabi (a German turnip) and apple salad with lime parsley. I was intrigued because while I like all of these ingredients separately, I wondered how such a multitude of different textures and flavors would merge. That being said, I was delightfully surprised with how it all came together.
The rice base was not overwhelmingly flavorful and thus served as an agreeable foundation for all the additional creative flavors. It had a subtle taste of cumin that was just the right amount. The rice was cold, but also fluffy and hearty. The sprinkling of black-eyed peas had a refreshing and salty flavor to them, adding moisture to balance the dryness of the rice portion. My favorite part of the bowl was the sweet potatoes, my new current obsession. They were perfectly crispy and surprisingly not soggy. They had a cumin flavor and were paired with celeriac. Not only was the texture of these celery roots incompatible with the rest of the dish, but the chunks of celeriac were too large and bland, making them the worst part of the bowl. Although I am not a huge fan of Brussels sprouts, I appreciated how they tasted in contrast to the pears and pistachios. This innovative combination was the correct amount of sweet and salty. The apple salad on top was an excellent and refreshing addition.
I noticed, however, that I ate each bit of this meal separately because I was worried about mixing it all together and getting too many unconventional flavors and textures at once. I enjoyed eating each section and only mixing a few of the different components, like the sweet potatoes and rice, or apple salad and beans. This made the bowl less overwhelming than it could have otherwise been. My friend, who also got a bowl, ate it differently. She mixed all the ingredients, and I think she found it less agreeable. While I finished mine contently, she was deterred from it about three quarters of the way through.
So, in conclusion, would I order a grain bowl again? I think I would. I am a huge fan of rice bowls and different vegetable dishes, so this was right up my alley. My bit of advice, however, is to relish each part of the bowl on its own. Also, I think it is necessary that I address the price of these bowls. At $12, each bowl is very expensive considering how small the portion is. I understand that the vegetables are all organic and locally sourced from the Finger Lakes area; nevertheless, the price would definitely influence whether or not I buy it again. I still look forward to seeing what other kinds of inventive meals Macro Mamas has to offer and whether or not they gain popularity to the same extent as the company’s mouth-watering peanut noodles.
Serves: vegan, plant-based bowls
Vibe: clean, healthy and modern