Monday, September 14, 2009

Umami and the Ultimate Dessert

Last night, when the husband and I were simultaneously desiring sushi, I remembered that we've wanted to go to Umami for a while now. Having walked past it about a million times in our 'hood, it's kind of always been on the back burner of my brain to try at some point. Normally, when a sushi craving hits, we head right to Cha-Ya. However, sad as it is for me, the husband really wants some fishies sometimes, and Umami delivers. Happily, it turns out they also have a plethora of vegan options.... and not just edamame (though they do have that, and it's yummy.)

Because of our unseasonably rainy weather, I knew miso soup was on the agenda, and this mushroomy version was some of the best I've ever had. Earthy and rich from the 'shrooms and chard, and with just the right hint of scallion and creamy tofu. Delicious and soul-warming.

Moving on, we split these two salads. On the left is the seaweed salad. Pretty good, but not enough sesame for either of us. On the right was the green salad. Amazing. The texture from the finely shredded radishes, crisp frisee lettuce, and pop-in-your-mouth tomatoes was great, but the cirtus miso dressing was palate-awakening. Luckily, my kind husband let me eat most of this by myself. :)

The one vegan roll offered is called "The Gardener" and it's pretty standard as far as veggie sushi rolls go... which is to say that it's very tasty and satisfied my sushi craving. Filled with avocado, pickled daikon, and sprouts, it'll definitely hit the spot.

Here's something you don't see every day. A sliced Japanese eggplant, sauteed in a miso-glaze, topped with sesame seeds, and perched atop a red curry sauce. I have a new craveable food in my repetoire. The flavors here were so deep and hearty, and of all the dishes this one had the most 'umami' for sure. So yummy!

Back at home, I finally got around to making my vegan version of something I heard about on the Food Network. I'm a big fan of the show 'The Best Thing I Ever Ate' in which foodie celebs talk about their favorite dish in a certain food category. Well, on the sweets show, someone's fave happened to be 'Sam's Sundae' from San Francisco's own, Bi-Rite Creamery. I haven't spent much time there since they're not too big on the vegan offerings (though there is sorbet), but this particular sundae sounded so good to me I knew I had to recreate it at home, sans the cruelty. What's in it, you ask? I get giddy judst thinking about it: It's the deepest darkest chocolate ice cream (I used Ciao Bella's Chocolate Sorbetto of course), topped with bergamot olive oil (go organic for the best flavor) and sea salt (I used the one on the far left from my superfancy salt collection), and whipped cream:

I went without the whipped cream for this first attempt, and though it was still outrageously delicious, I think I understand how the whipped cream would cut through some of the intenseness and lighten it up a bit. This was so good though. I love salted chocolate to begin with, and combined with the orangey olive oil it is to die for good. I can absolutely understand why someone would call it the best thing they ever ate!

This week is full of lots of good eats, including a return trips to old faves, and all new eating adventures in Minneapolis, so stay tuned!

No comments: