Apparently it’s not the first time they’ve heard that about Lauren’s Special.
Choosing what to order is always a challenge at a place like The Mason Jar Café. With so many local, organic options, the hardest part about deciding what to order—is having to decide on what not to order. Fortunately, Lauren has come up with a solution to this very serious problem…
Lauren’s Special is basically a pile of humble ingredients. A base of black beans, French lentils, and arugula, topped with ranchero sauce, seasonal roasted vegetables, poached eggs or tofu, cilantro, and avocado. It’s so simple, yet the artful layering of the ingredients and flavors make it unassumingly complex.
The first layer of earthy lentils and beans, complemented by the freshness of the arugula, make for a solid foundation, especially after marinating in the ranchero sauce.
Chef Abel’s ranchero sauce is the real deal. It’s one of those things you could eat with a spoon. Or bathe in. It’s bright, robust, and plays host to a fiesta of flavors that gives the dish some appreciated spunk.
The next layer is always a welcome surprise of different combinations of roasted vegetables. No matter what shows up on my plate, they always have a beautiful caramelized coating that seals in and concentrates all those fresh, natural flavors.
Chef Abel also succeeds where many restaurant chefs fail by being able to transform wiggly little cubes of tofu into something magical. His tofu never fails to have a perfectly seasoned, crispy golden crust and a center so creamy it pretty much melts in your mouth. The menu states I have to choose between the magic tofu or the satisfaction of piercing a pair of silky poached eggs and watching the yolk ooze out like lava.
I can never choose. I order both.
I still haven’t figured out who Lauren is, but on behalf of the Michiana region I’d like to thank her for her brilliant contribution to society. And also to The Mason Jar Café for changing it’s status from special to staple.
The Mason Jar Café is located at 210 Water Street in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Photo Credit: Kelsey Maiko Bock