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Restaurants & Bars 13

Alice and Friends Vegetarian-long, but read the end at least

CMC | Apr 29, 200312:25 PM

I know I'm not going to do this place justice in explaining it but I'll try. I suppose, this being a food web-site, I'll stick with the food and service first.
We "started" with two appetizers. 30 minutes after ordering them (which was 15 minutes after being seated, so that's 45 minutes inside), the first one arrived. A few minutes later the second one arrived, closely followed by our entrees and, finally, drinks. We did have water, though. Room temperature water with no ice, but water nonetheless. The first appetizer to arrive was Lady Fingers and they were a red bean paste rolled in a cookie like (but not as sweet) dough then I assume fried. They were OK, but not worth a 30 minute wait. Then we had the worst spring rolls in the history of the world. Take away the admittedly decent sweet/hot sauce that was covering them and there is NO taste. I even took one apart. There's a lot inside, too. Somehow, it all has the same bland taste.
On to the entrees. Here, Alice hit 1 for 2. My yakisoba was, again, beyond bland. There was some good, fresh brocoli that had good, fresh brocoli taste. The rest was just a big plate of essentially the same taste inside the spring rolls. My girlfriend had some un-meat Korean BBQ. The BBQ sauce was good and the un-meat was decent enough and the white rice was done perfectly. Nothing amazing, but at least a dish one could enjoy.

Now for the WOW part.


Alice and Friends has to be the strangest place I've been to in a long time. Right when you walk in the New-Agey alarms start to go off. No problem with me really. But, after being seated in front of the Master, I mean the television, we started to really get what this place is all about. On the TV a DVD was played on repeat (about an hour long program, but service is so slow that we saw it 1 1/2 times). This is when we got to here the Master speak. The Master is a Chinese/British woman age 30-50 who leads a spiritual movement to bring together all religions (noble enough, I suppose). There are also pamphlets and books around Alice and Friends with pictures of The Master on them. The tables, are written on with sayings and essays by the Master. If I remember correctly, some of the names of items on the menu have something to do with the Master and her movement. In other words, you are really getting some serious indoctrination by eating here. I have to question why it takes 30-40 minutes to prepare vegetarian dishes. Could it be that they want to keep people here longer to hear the Master? And here's what weirded me out the most. Almost every customer that came in to eat (and there were a good amount) seemed like they came here all the time. Almost to the point where this is the only place they go. Is this indoctrination working on these people? To the point that they are almost brain-washed into eating at Alice and Friends? The food just isn't that good to justify going there that much. Unless you want to please the Master. And the Master does make a point of extolling the virtues of being a vegetarian.

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