Monday, June 7, 2010


My favorite restaurant definitely deserves those exclamation points. Why? Because, once again, kitchen god Eric Tucker delivered up some unique and mouth-watering fare, and I was there to take part. Lucky me. Live vicariously, won't you?

Ok, so this Millennium menu classic is nothing new to me. But, if it ain't broke, right? Crispy little gem lettuce leaves, long strings of carrot, crunchy croutons, and the most drop dead divine vegan Caesar dressing on the planet. I love this salad.

And then there was the entree. I swear I heard angels singing as I put a bite of this seared polenta in my mouth. The downright awesome seitan chorizo was a highlight for me, but the artichokes and beautifully cooked spring veggies were pretty darn wonderful, and the gorgeously bitter escarole made sure every taste bud was hit. Home run dish for sure.

Dessert was a sinfully delicious cherry chocolate torte with (oh my god, yes!) rocky road ice cream. The torte, with its rich chocolate flavor and almond mousse topping was sublime, but I am an ice cream lover through and through, and this rocky road was to die for. Perfect texture and flavor. Pints should be available for take out at all times!

Wait, what? Another dessert? This one was on the house for "liking" Millennium on Facebook. Technically the promotion is for a free appetizer for the table, and we got one of those too (killer fried mushrooms, yum), but since all 4 of us at our table had done the Facebook "liking", they were generous and sent over a free dessert too! This chocolate coffee creme brulee with ice cream and candied orange peel was pure goodness, but the coffee flavor was so strong (in a good way) that I was afraid to keep eating it as caffeine is no friend of mine. Luckily, my table mates had no problem polishing it off.

So, there you have it, another fantastic meal at Millennium. What's next, you ask? Adventure! The husband and I are off to spend a month traveling around Africa. I won't be posting again until mid-July, but rest assured I'll be documenting all the vegan fare I consume, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, have a fantastic summer and, of course, eat well!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Noodle Theory

The other night I decided to test my theory that Noodle Theory would be a great place to eat well with others. As I suspected, I was quite correct. Not only did my whole omnivorous group enjoy their experience, but the knowledgeable staff helped me navigate my way through the vegan options. I present to you the tofu garlic noodles, which I loaded on top of my order of sauteed Chinese broccoli:

It was umami-laded, garlicy goodness that I would happily eat again and again. Good to know, since this place is very near my abode. Vegans, make sure you mention your status because they had to change the noodles and/or (I really can't remember) the sauce to veganize this dish.

Okay, that's all for now. I'm busy getting ready for a big trip and there's a lot to do before we leave - including dinner at my favorite restaurant tonight. Stay tuned for details, of course, and enjoy the last few hours of your weekend!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ubuntu Extravaganza

It's been a few days since my amazing birthday meal at Ubuntu, and I think I'm finally done digesting and ready to write about it. I went in a bit wary, what with their new chef and all, but I left so elated I could have walked on air... if I hadn't been so weighted down with yummy food, that is! So, the details: I called up and made a reservation for my friends and I to celebrate my birthday. They explained that because of our group's size, we'd be served family style. Fine by me, I said, but because I'm vegan I asked that no dairy-laden dishes even be considered for the menu. I mean, it was my birthday. My friends could handle a lack of animal puss for one meal, right? Right. And so we began our 9 course journey. I'll try to be brief so this post doesn't ramble on forever, but there was a lot of food!

The infamous lavender sugar olives and calvestrano olives hit the table first. They are, as they've always been, insanely good. Addicting even. Come to think of it, I should have stopped by Ubuntu's shop next to the restaurant to pick up some of those almonds before I left town.... Oh well.

Up next were some delightfully crunchy battered and fried fava beans with a light and airy fava foam for dipping. The word genius comes to mind. So fun to look at and to eat.

Third course was a green goddess salad. Doesn't look like much, I know, but beneath the lettuce was an avocado mousse to die for. Trust me, guacamole's got nothing on this stuff. A few leaves of lettuce dunked in that goodness is happiness-inducing.

The pea and blackened strawberry dish above may well have been the highlight of the meal for me. The peas were perfection, both whole and in the sauce, and the edible flowers and pistachios added wonderful bright and savory notes, but the grilled strawberries? A revelation. I could have eaten nothing but this dish all night and been quite ok with it. Great mouth feel, amazing flavor... this dish had it all. But what came next didn't suck either!...

Look how pretty those beets are! This gorgeous plate was also quite tasty with its numerous beet offerings, microgreens, avocado slivers, and mounds of quinoa. Good looking and personality too. A win win. :)The last of our cold offerings, this salad on flatbread was awesome. Very flavorful, fresh, and full of fennel! (I heart fennel.) It was also the saltiest of the dishes so far, which I always appreciate, and it prepared the palate nicely for the hot courses to come. I should also mention that at this point in the meal, we all got fresh plates of olives, bread, and olive oil. Love you, Ubuntu.

The first hot course was homemade pasta with cilantro and red dragon carrots in a sauerkraut broth. I know it sounds weird, but it totally works. It was a nice light counterpoint to the heavier second dish:

So, remember the chickpea fries and romesco that I loved at the old Ubuntu? Well, they're back.... only now they've been deconstructed and upgraded to entree status! Here we have chickpeas, some fried and some not, bathing in a sea of the finest romesco you ever did taste. This is soul-satisfying comfort food. A savory, hearty, and lip-smacking way to end our meal. But, of course, it's not a birthday without dessert!

I never use this, but seriously, OMG. My terrible picture (we were many bottles of wine deep at this point, btw) does this dish no justice. What you're looking at is coconut rice pudding with the freshest most amazing berry sauce on the planet. My tongue had never been so happy, and I'm not even a fruity dessert person. It was hot and cold and sweet as all get out and I loved every bite of it.

Phew! What a meal. Seriously, Ubuntu, you rock. Thank you for an amazing birthday celebration. And to all of you Bay Area folk who haven't been yet - GO!

Up next, a new neighborhood find. I'm also headed to my fave restaurant in SF on Sunday, and you can expect a full report. Stay tuned and eat well!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bushi-Tei instead of Birthday

Today is my birthday and I'm having a lovely time relaxing. I actually celebrated the event this past weekend up in Napa and had one of the best meals of my life with some of the best friends anyone could ask for. However, blogging about that insane 9 course meal right now is not relaxing enough for my birthday. So, I will instead briefly tell you about a meal I had Thursday night (before the Napa trip). I had wanted to try Bushi-Tei for a while, so I was happy to finally get to go with a foodie friend of mine who also had it on her list. Plus, it was close to the movie theater for easy Sex and the City 2 access afterward (yay!). But I digress.

Bushi-Tei fancies itself a fancy place (French California fusion to be exact), so the above was my amuse bouche. Well, technically, it was my second amuse bouche because the first one they brought was beef. Communication among the staff, at least regarding my veganism, was nil. Anyway, the shroom was good enough, and we moved on, my bouche amused.

Next up was this beautiful beet carpaccio. Thinly sliced beets with a roasted paprika coulis and truffle tapenade blend perfectly and have the most wonderfully smooth mouth feel. I loved this sweetly savory dish, and that's good, because my entree was pretty lame.

Here was have some pretty dang boring vegetable risotto. The rice was perfectly cooked, as were the veggies, but the flavor was nowhere to be found. Salt and pepper? Not that I could tell. Oh well, you can't win 'em all I guess.In keeping with its desire to be all fancy, Bushi-Tei gave me a little spoon of sorbet to end the meal even though we ordered no dessert. I must say, it was pretty darn good. We still went to Fraiche afterward for real dessert though. I can't be within a few block radius of that place and not go have some organic soy frozen yogurt. So good.

Now that BT's crossed off the to-try list, I don't think I'll be back any time soon. I've got some good eats coming up this week, however, and don't forget the full Napa report is coming soon, so stay tuned... and have a great week!