Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ubuntu is for Lovers

As you may have guessed by now, we enjoyed a lovely Valentine's Day dinner at Ubuntu. The quick run down in case you've been living in a cave: Ubuntu is Napa's only vegetarian restaurant. They are super vegan-friendly, use amazing local produce, and (here's the kicker) have earned a Michelin star. That means the food is good, people, vegetarian or not, and we got some damn fine fare.

We started with the crispy and amazing fried chickpeas with romesco sauce. I almost never eat fried food and this sent me into decadence overload right from the start. I remembered why I used to eat so many damn french fries in high school. Fried=yummy. Nostalgia=yummy as well, so it was a win win. Right along side those little poppers, we got some of Ubuntu's famous lavender sugar and sea salt almonds. These are a taste not to be missed - like eating salty crunchy flowers.... in a good way. Can't recommend them more highly.

We were then served soup and salads. The lemongrass soup, made with coconut milk, was smooth, creamy, and over-the-top flavorful. Definitely one of the highlights of the evening. We also had the whimsical beet salad with wheat berries and microgreens. The play on textures made this tasty dish really fun to eat. The broccoli and cauliflower salad was served atop a cheesy (made from nuts) sauce that was rich and savory and really complimented the sulfur-y crucifers.

For our main dishes we went with the savory and hearty and insanely scrumptious bean stew with kale and croutons. Sooooo good. This used to be my favorite dish at Ubuntu. I say 'used to' because the potatoes with sauerkraut we also ordered were the shizzle. It may be my Irish and Hungarian heritage, but I love me some sauerkraut, and the goodness they serve at Ubuntu is on a whole other level. The potatoes are creamy and dotted with a horseradish sauce to amp up the mouthwatering flavor.

After all that, there was no room for dessert (plus I had all that chocolate back at the hotel) but I am just here to say that if you haven't been to Ubuntu you must go. It's a really special place, and the perfect ending to a day in wine country.

Right now I'm sitting by the fire and watching the snow gently fall in Tahoe. No dining out this weekend, but I've got another sugar-free ice cream report to file soon. Stay tuned.... and have a fantastic rest of the weekend!

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