Sunday, August 22, 2010
Always In the Mood for Food
Time to take a break from my summer travel eats and tell you about the amazing meal I had last night. We, lucky folks that we are, headed to another installment of In the Mood for Food's dinner/concert series and were, yet again, overwhelmed with the quality of food and entertainment. The menu was a pan-Mediterranean feast and solo bassist, Mark Dresser, blew us all away with his sensational sonorities. (That's him playing, with Chef Philip watching in awe, over on the left.)
First to hit the table were these accompaniments - a tiny mince of jalapeno, and a cucumber salsa. The straight pepper was a bit much for me but the salsa was perfect. It had just the right amount of heat and I loved stirring it into my....
... gazpacho! This was a delicious blend of tomatoes, veggies, and herbs that really whet the appetite for the rest of the meal. Best gazpacho I've had in a long time if not ever.
Next up we had a fattoush salad. This is exactly the kind of food I love eating - substantial but not heavy. In this case that meant lots of greens and veggies, hummus, and shredded bread all tossed in a light and vinaigrette. The hummus itself was quite impressive - rich and smooth - and I thought this salad was the bee's knees (or some other more vegan-friendly phrase).
The small plate for the evening was the show-stealer for me. These roasted squash blossom were stuffed (2 with a homemade vegan ricotta and 1 with a red lentil pate) and smothered in an heirloom tomato sauce that was to die for. Not only aromatic and visually enticing (the picture doesn't do it justice), this dish was supremely tasty. It definitely rivaled all the best dishes served at high-end vegan restaurants like Millennium. Chef Philip really knocked it out of the park on this one.
But the entree was no slouch either! Bright and vibrant flavors exploded in this stuffed zucchini dish. With a ton of summer veggies, Rancho Gordo beans, and an herb/rice mixture that In the Mood for Food could package and sell, it was a great ending to the savory dishes. We were all completely sated and ready for some music. After that? Dessert, of course!
Still whirling from the vibrations of double bass in our bones, we all turned our attention back the table just in time for this vision of beauty to arrive. Our dessert was a tofu and yuzu 'cheese'cake with a walnut/date crust and a berry sauce to beat the band (unless, of course, the band is Mark Dresser, in which case it's a tie). It was a smooth and creamy, sweet and delightfully tangy, ending to our evening.
I've said it before, but I will go to as many of these dinner concerts as possible. I always leave impressed, inspired, and FULL! :) I highly recommend everyone in the Bay Area makes their way to one asap!
Next up: I return to the summer eats and take you all over Florida, culinarily speaking anyway. Stay tuned!