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u'Bloom is a new organic vegan cafe in downtown Bellingham. It\u2019s located between Holly and Magnolia on Cornwall Avenue. Photo by Daniel Berman/The AS Review'

Alex Bacon/The AS Review

Hello, my name is Alex Bacon and I am an open-minded carnivore.  Out of curiosity, I made a trip to Bloom, a new  organic vegan café in Bellingham.

I grew up eating meals planned around which meat was for dinner.  But that is not to say I do not like vegetables.  Broccoli and peas are my favorite veggies and I’ve been known to munch on others.  I like the green food group, but not enough to give up meat.

To put my food philosophy in simple terms:  I eat food that tastes good.  I’ll try almost anything once, and if I like it, I’ll continue to eat it.

One of the many reasons I have never considered a vegetarian or vegan diet is that I have no idea what to make in a mainly vegetable diet.  As far as I can tell, I’ve got about two options:  salad and stir-fry.  I was curious to see what other things people have come up with.

My friend Rachel and I walked into Bloom, located on Cornwall Avenue, on a gloomy Tuesday evening.  The sky outside was dark and grey. Bloom had warm, ambient lighting.  The room smelled like vegetable soup.

We seated ourselves and waited for menus.  I was a little disappointed at how long it took for us to get them.

While we waited, I took a look around.  There were mismatched tables and chairs, warm yellow walls, tropical plants, bookshelves and eclectic lighting in the form of large pink swirly balls.  There were two spaces for musicians to play, one smaller platform in the front corner of the café and a larger platform in the back.  The space felt too large for the intimate setting of the café, even though the room was split in half by bookshelves.

Once we got our menus, Rachel and I ordered tea.  Other beverage options were water, smoothies and the herbal tonic of the day.  The steaming tea came quickly in large blue pottery mugs.  I had fun trying to fish my tea bag out when the tea was done steeping.

The menus were very simple and noted which foods were raw and gluten free.  I was very happy to see the menu wasn’t full of foods with bell peppers or tomatoes. I can’t stand bell peppers and they seem to be in everything.  Also, I am very picky about tomatoes.  It’s a texture thing.

For the main course, I ordered a “superfood salad quinoa bowl” and Rachel ordered a waffle.  The superfood salad quinoa bowl consisted of kale, collards, chard, mixed greens, cabbage and carrots with a tangy dressing over warm dill-seasoned quinoa.  The waffle was made with flax and spelt flour.  It usually comes with maple syrup, but Rachel ordered it with nut butter instead.

The salad bowl was interesting.  There was just a hint of dressing on the greens, which had a bitter aftertaste, but the dressing was tangy enough that if I had had more, the balance would have been perfect.  I found out later that I could have asked for more.  The quinoa was tasty.  Rachel reluctantly had a bite and said, as a person who has never liked quinoa before, that it was good.

The bowl was rather large, about the size of a small mixing bowl, and I ate it all.  But, after the bowl was empty, I was still hungry.  It wasn’t as satisfying as finishing a steak.  I felt like I had eaten a first course and that there should have been something to follow.

The waffle was fantastic; it’s probably the best waffle I’ve ever eaten.  It was full of flavor, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The nut butter complemented the waffle perfectly. I enjoyed it so much that Rachel gave me her leftovers.

Bloom strives to be a zero-waste business, so when we asked for a to-go box for the rest of the waffle, all they had to offer was a compostable cup.

I wasn’t impressed with the service.  There were about 14 customers in the café and a staff of one waitress and a cook.  Two of the tables had been served before we arrived and one table had been seated shortly before we had been.  It took forever for us to get menus, our waitress didn’t tell us anything about specials or suggest anything from the menu and things took a long time to find their way to the table.

When we went to the counter to pay, the woman behind the counter, who was also the cook, was very knowledgeable and full of suggestions, but by then it was too late.  I filed her suggestions away for another time.

The final verdict from an omnivore:  if you’re going to visit Bloom, get the waffle.

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u'Photo by Daniel Berman/The AS Review'