Going to a vegetarian restaurant is such a treat! To review a menu and feel spoilt for choice (vs limited to the 1-3 vegetarian choices at most restaurants), to think "I can eat all of this!" is quite a joy. Even better, when the food is delicious, and the service and company, excellent.
Such was my experience last night at Millennium in San Francisco, joined by my best friend J, and two fabulous SF Food blogger celebrities (not to mention fun and lively dinner companions) Sam, and Amy (all non-vegetarians).
Millennium is a gourmet vegan restaurant in San Francisco "influenced by the flavors and styles of many cultures" and "dedicated to the essential earthly concepts of organic food production...sustainable agriculture, supporting small local farms, as well as composting and recycling." You may remember, I won Executive Chef, Eric Tucker's (et al) challenging and beautiful book : The Artful Vegan (available on Millennium's website) recently:
Filled with beautiful photos of some incredible-looking vegan dishes like African Teff Cakes with Fava-Wild Mushroom Wat and Carrot-Chile Chutney, Yellow Finn Potato Gnocchi with Beet-Merlot Reduction, Roasted Beets, and Walnuts, or Mediterranean Five-Lentil and Chard Soup with Walnut Gremolata.
The food was magnificient. So charmed were we with the small plate concept, that we decided to order and share 10 of the 15 small plates, salads, and starters.
Up top, was the Heirloom Tomato "Caprese" (herbed macademia nut "cheese", fresh basil, smoked onion date relish, radicchio salad, spice toasted pumpkin seeds, aged balsamic). The "cheese" was truly mozzarella-like and I think I must "know" that recipe.
Next was the Roasted Corn Panzanella (roasted sweet corn, grilled sour dough bread, mariniated cherry tomatoes, and basil)
You know, I don't like sourdough, but those croutons were delicious!
Opps, sadly no photo of the Avocado & Sesame Salad (sea palm, ume-pink peppercorn pickled plum, sesame-ginger dressing, tea-smoked tofu (my #1 choice). Very good, but more avocado would have been even better.
Grilled Flatbread with charred eggplant, curry leaf and coconut, roasted okra with tomato and cumin, peach-lime chutney (poor photo):
Wish there had been more of the Cornmeal Crusted Fried Green Tomato (with zucchini-corn hash, cashew garlic "ranch"dressing, ancho chile paint):
Black Bean Torte (whole wheat tortilla, caramelized plantains, smoky black bean puree, pumpkin-habanero papaazul, cashew sour cream, strawberry-cucumber salsa):
If you're a vegetarian who once loved fried calamari, here's your answer: Cornmeal-Chickpea Crusted Oyster Mushrooms:
Way better than fried calamari and even J. (who hates mushrooms), was pleasantly surprised by this one (as was I).
And, I have to admit, I have a bit of a fritte fetish right now, which probably explains why we had to get two servings of the Garlic Herb Hand-Cut Frittes:
I can't tell you how good these were and would have been happy to dip them in Heinz (although, Millennium kindly provided their own "sweet and spicy smoked tomato ketchup).
Although my photography stopped here (I also missed the delicious Herb Marinated Olives : very generous portion), we went on to enjoy the following desserts: Warmed Blueberry-Nectarine Cobbler, Spiced Chocolate Hazelnut Torte, and Chocolate Almond Midnight. (And I have to tell you, I rarely order dessert).
As sensual food and social experiences go, last night's dinner at Millennium was completely satisfying. And, as I venture out in my new singledom, and, of course, prerequesite requirements of future partners was a subject of discussion with my dear friends, would it be unreasonable of me to add to my list: must be able to prepare three Millennium style dishes? Really good frittes count!