Spoonriver: The tour

Used to be, Cafe Brenda was the local vegetarian place to be. Now Brenda Langton's restaurant is just one of the places to be. Langton is not only one of our town's trailblazing chefs (she's been cooking professionally here for almost 40 years), she's also something of a visionary who thinks of food as preventative medicine and aesthetic beauty. It's true, she serves a bit of everything on her menu now, including the most responsibly raised poultry and meat available probably anywhere. But she hasn't left her veggie-forward mindset behind, not by a long shot. Her dishes boast produce so fresh it's likely to jump up off the plate and kiss you, fragrant perfume of herbs and spices, and ingenious and unabashed use of seeds, grains, and legumes — almost the entire menu is naturally gluten free, and about half of it is vegetarian.