Welcome to the fun.
Let’s jump right in. For the past five years, Vegan MoFo
has been striving to change misconceptions about the limitations of a vegan diet, by highlighting the delicious meals that can be created, cruelty-free.
Since 1994, Eric Tucker
, has been using his culinary mastery to show people that you can cut out the animal products and the oil, and fill all that space with fantastic flavour!
Okay, so, he has had a lot more practice – which may explain why after one evening in his restaurant I have totally changed my expectations about the potential of plants (and I thought they were pretty amazing before). I have never been treated to such an unbelievable eating experience in my life.
A meal at Millennium
was on my bucket list. I’ve heard people rave about it for years. I own both cookbooks
and attempt Tucker’s creations whenever I have someone really special to impress.
Walking into the dining room was a bit surreal. I felt like I was entering the set of a favourite television show because I’d seen it all before but couldn’t believe I was actually standing there.
The atmosphere is elegant but not pretentious. Nicole and I were greeted with warm smiles and treated to incredibly attentive service throughout the meal.
When we planned our a stay in San Francisco, a visit to Millennium was at the top of the itinerary priorities. At the time we didn’t know our stay would coincide with a special dining event.
An exciting tasting menu in celebration of heirloom tomatoes.
Once we sat down and began to read the menu, we realized we were about to live the dream of judging Vegan Iron Chef: Battle Tomato. Every element of each dish was carefully crafted to allow the flavours to shine. The staff even picked the tomatoes from a local farm to ensure they were at peak freshness. Here is what Eric and his team created:
Amuse Early girl tomato & roasted pimenton tartare, crisp tomato skin, carpaccio of Aunty Ruby’s green tomatoes, grilled olive flatbread, tomato leaf aioli, smoky fig & tomato paté.
One Grilled Peach & Radicchio: gold tomato & crisp polenta crouton “panzanella” with gold balsamic vinaigrette, ground toasted hazelnuts, fennel pollen & cacao nibs, basil leaves, basil oil.
You may never have considered combining fennel pollen and cacao nibs – neither had I, but this course was a stunning example of how perfectly paired, high quality ingredients can elevate a simple dish to something spectacular.
Two Fresh Corn Masa Sope: cashew-achiote “cheese”, sweet & spicy tomato-habanero sauce, gold cherry tomato & nopales salsa.
Three A Shady Lady Tomato Coconut Masala:butterball potato-chickpea cake, roasted Lobster mushrooms, cauliflower, zucchini & romano beans, melon-cherry tomato salad, red onion pakora.
Three B Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Provencal:tofu crusted, cinnamon scented tempeh-walnut sausage, stewed tomatoes with chartreuse & caramelized fennel, chrysanthemum greens, pistachio-mint relish.
Dessert Marzano Tomato-Pineapple Upside Down Cake: roasted gold blossom tomato & aged black garlic ice cream, candied tomato & watermelon relish, jalapeno-black garlic brittle, pink pepper anglaise.
It is hard to explain in detail how mind-blowing this dinner was. In between bites, I kept saying “I’m totally ruined for all future meals”. Since I have to continue to eat and Eric is not hanging out in my kitchen waiting for my next order, I’ve decided that instead of giving up and resigning myself to the fact that I may never experience a meal like that again, I will be happy it happened and be inspired by the potential it substantiates.
It set the bar for vegan cuisine very high. It gives me a whole new level of deliciousness to strive for. Luckily, VeganMoFo
will keep me in the kitchen playing and practicing.
In case you’re curious, my MoFo plan includes:
1. Posting at least every weekday – but most likely you’ll see posts here every single day;
2. Weekly themes (starting each Monday);
3. Lots of new recipes; and
4. A giveaway or two.
What is the most mind-blowing vegan meal you’ve ever eaten?