Friday, May 13, 2011

Epic Eating at Ubuntu

Yes, we had a spectacular brunch at Millennium on Mother's Day proper, but I think the highlight of the weekend was still our Friday night dinner at Ubuntu. We had the Chef's Tasting Menu, and since there were two options for each course, all of which could be made vegan, we got to try one of everything! Actually I take that back - there was only one vegan dessert option.... but it was so good we were happy to have two. Join me in reliving this insanely wonderful feast, won't you? First up - some items not on the chef's menu but that we had to have anyway:
The olives in fennel pesto and the vadouvan spice almonds were full of crazy good flavor and were the perfect way to start our meal at Ubuntu. There are always olives and almonds on Ubuntu's menu, but the spices get changed up. Last time, we had citrus olives and lavender almonds, for example. You really can't go wrong though. They're guaranteed to be good no matter the variation.

First on the tasting menu was this duo of asparagus. In both roasted and raw form, and complimented by pine nuts and currants, this inventive dish screamed ASPARAGUS! and made me want to do the same. I love asparagus, and this homage to one of my favorite veggies was delicious.

Welcome to perfection. This artichoke and lime vichyssoise with crispy potatoes had us swooning. Why the flavors of artichoke, lime, and potato work together is beyond me, but the light broth with the hearty potatoes was divine. Oh, and there were kale chips too for crunch and the perfect touch of bitter green-ness. LOVED this dish.

The "Garden Snake" salad was next and was just as tasty as it was pretty. I love greens and these were fresh, crisp, and paired with edible flowers with just the right amount of seasoning to enhance their already brilliant taste.

And how pretty is that? These roasted beets and broccoli with yuzu kosho were AWESOME! I love beets and I love broccoli and getting to drag them through those little dots of highly-flavored sauce was so much fun. Another inventive and scrumptious dish.

The pasta for the evening was this fiore with artichoke and grapefruit. Again, whoddathunk to put those flavors together? But the bitterness of the grapefruit actually paired very well with the pasta, which was silky smooth and smothered in the herbaceous sauce/broth. Could have eaten two plates of this.

There were more savory dishes, but there was also a ton of wine, so forgive me for forgetting some. I did, however, get the dessert! You're looking at a deconstructed German chocolate cake. The chocolate cake strips are sitting atop an avocado puree and are topped with coconut sorbet and crushed spiced almonds. Oh. My. God. So good. There are really no words. I just closed my eyes and thanked the universe for such good food.

Ubuntu has gotten some bad press in the past, but I don't get it. I think it's some of the most wonderful vegan food you can get anywhere and I always enjoy my meals there. Yes, it's expensive. And yes, it's small plates, so you have to order more. But the quality and thoughtfulness is unparalleled. I will definitely be back.

Have a great weekend everyone! More food soon, promise. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Saha.... again

Ok, here's something that's no secret. I LOVE Saha. Like if Pee-Wee Herman asked me, "If you love it so much, why don't you marry it?" I might actually start drawing up the paperwork to make it official. Because, you know, that's the next logical step after gays can marry. Me and Saha 4Eva!

Anyway, my mom loves it too (because she is a human with functioning taste buds), so it was our first stop on our Mom's Day Weekend adventure. I started with the fattoush salad.

Why anyone would want to muck up this tasty salad with cheese is beyond me, but you vegans will have to order it without, like I did. It's the perfect crisp and deliciousy seasoned way to start your meal at Saha. There is, however, another small plate starter to die for.

The Vegan Knaffe is a beautifully composed mound of shredded phyllo dough, vegan cream cheese and mushrooms in an out-of-this-world savory sauce. It's crazy good and you must eat it at least once in your lifetime.

Entree-wise, I'm a huge fan of the Vegan Bastilla. This phyllo purse is stuffed with veggies and vegan cream cheese and served with a crazy good saffron sauce. It's so fun to crack it open and see what vegetable surprises hide inside!

For dessert, we split the Bisbusa and mango sorbet. It normally comes with gelato, but the cake itself is always vegan. This Yemeni treat has a thin layer of crunch from the caramelized sugar, but the rest is syrup-soaked soft wonderfullness. We lucked out and got a caramelized banana too!

Not a bad start to a weekend full of delicious food, eh? Stay tuned for our meal at Ubuntu. It'll just about make your head explode. For reals. Meanwhile, have you entered the amazing giveaway at Vegan Favorites yet? Do it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Holy Crap -a Post! About Brunch! At Out the Door!

I know, I know.... it's been, like, FOREVER since I posted here. My bad. I've been busy over at Vegan Favorites, taking an e-course, and plotting a new career direction. The former will be revealed in due time, but rest assured I've been eating well during all this stuff of life too! For example, we went to one of our favorite places, OUT THE DOOR (the Bush Street location) this weekend and got to try their brunch menu. Delicious! See for yourself:

Much of the vegan brunch items at OTD are the same as what's offered on the regular menu, with one shining exception that we'll get to later. But first, let us gaze upon the papaya salad (sans fish sauce). It is the best papaya salad I've ever had, and sometimes I crave it so badly that I must get it immediately lest people get injured. There is just something about the combination of crunchy veggies and green papaya with the savory dressing, peanuts, and plethora of fresh herbs that is SO GOOD. Speaking of fresh herbs...

Check out another fave of ours from the regular menu. Those are the veggie imperial rolls. I love this dish because you take one of the crispy fried nuggets of joy, wrap it up in a lettuce leaf, add some rice noodles, and (here's the best part!) some huge fresh mint leaves, and then you dunk the whole thing in the tangy sauce. Love them! But, you know what? Sometimes you want something sweet at brunch to balance out your savory. At most omni joints, this means a fruit cup or some other such nonsense, but not at Out the Door. Oh, no. For here there lies the hidden gem of the brunch menu. The warm sticky black rice:

I can not exaggerate the tastiness of this item. Basically they take black sticky rice and add sweetened coconut milk, salty peanuts, and some pureed avocado. It is a flavor sensation unlike anything you've had. Super sweetness balanced with just the right amount of salt, all warmed to perfection and ready to dance all over your taste buds. A must-try for anyone up for a unique brunch experience!

I love Out the Door for any meal, but brunch is now officially my favorite time to go. Go too, and bring an omni friend. Everyone will be happily eating well. Promise. I also promise that you can keep up with me better over at Vegan Favorites these days, so click that link and "like" us, dammit! And until next time.... eat well!