The first time I moved away, I naively thought that I’d find all that Athens, Georgia, had to offer, but on a much larger scale, in bigger cities—I was wrong. I’ve moved to several cities over the last 10 years, and not one comes close to matching that certain something that can be found only in Athens.
No, it’s not just the PBR that gives it spirit. It’s the small town, the sense of community, the music, the musicians, the school, the night swimming, the late-night dance parties, the local coffee companies, the late-night dance parties at local coffee companies, and so on. Any place with this much soul and creativity is bound to have delicious food as well, and Athens does.
The Grit is an institution in the Athens food scene, and The New Yorker says it has a “reputation as the indie-rock Moosewood.” Ask almost anyone who has been to the mostly musician-staffed restaurant and they will tell you that the Golden Bowl is the must-order item. Cubes of tofu are sautéed until chewy and then coated with generous amounts of nutritional yeast and soy sauce. The double-fried goodness is then served over a scoop of brown rice, and you can add sautéed veggies to the mix if you like. This recipe has been tested hundreds of times by my man, who was a cook at The Grit, so I can vouch that it’s a good one. Enjoy.
Golden Bowl With Veggies
15 oz. extra-firm tofu
Vegetable oil for sautéing the tofu
Soy sauce, to taste
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 small bell pepper, diced
1/2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and then sliced
1/2 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and then sliced
6 medium button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup blanched broccoli florets
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
Nutritional yeast, to taste
2 cups cooked brown rice
•Cut the tofu into cubes smaller than playing dice. Lightly oil a nonstick skillet and place over high heat. Allow the oil to heat slightly, then add the tofu. Sauté, tossing with a nonmetal spatula, until evenly and lightly golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
•Sprinkle lightly with soy sauce and sauté briefly to further brown the tofu. Remove from the skillet, draining and discarding any excess fluid. Rinse and wipe the skillet dry.
•Add the 1 Tbsp. oil and place over high heat. Once the oil is very hot, add the tofu and all the veggies.
•Sauté, tossing with a nonmetal spatula almost constantly, until the tofu is browned and the veggies are cooked. Sprinkle with soy sauce to taste. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, coating the tofu cubes and all the vegetables. Tossing vigorously, sauté for a few seconds. Remove from the heat.
•Serve over 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked brown rice in a bowl.
Makes 2 large or 4 small servings