Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Weekend for the Record Books

For those of you sauntering over here from Cristin's blog, this might seem a bit repetitive, so I apologize in advance. I do have something after the food stuff that isn't included on Cristin's blog, so stick around for that! :)

This past Friday, I went to Sublime, an all vegan restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale. My roomie, Ling, just passed her candidacy exam before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, so she didn't really get a chance to celebrate. She organized a trip to Ft. Lauderdale as her celebration. The restaurant was extremely cold, but the ambiance was nice. The bathroom even sings a song about washing your hands when you enter. Our party included myself, Ling, Bri, Cristin, Jess, and Elliot. Everyone coordinated to order something generally different from each other so we could try as many dishes as possible. I was hell bent on getting a bite of everyone's food and forced everyone to order dessert. Mean, I know, but it's not every day I can order ANYTHING on the entire menu and not have to worry about what the ingredients are. As Cristin pointed out, there were a lot of substitutions made in the cooking. Not all vegan cuisine relies so heavily on faux ingredients, but I think the restaurant thinks it will show people they don't have to give up all the foods they love. There's still "beef" and "cheese" in veganism. I would have preferred a few more dishes that didn't rely so much on substitutions. I'm glad that I went to Sublime and got a chance to try their food. It was delicious overall. Interestingly, they were doing a promotion where you received a $20 gift card if you spent more than a certain amount. We clearly did, so we got the gift card. I said as the lone vegan in the group that I should get the card. Everyone agreed, but then Cristin stipulated that I could only have it if I would use it to take someone on a date. Since I'm not ready to date (in any way, shape, or form!), the gift card is hanging on the fridge at Cristin and Jess's house for when I am ready. It's going to be super dusty by the time I'm ready. *le sigh

I'm happy to have friends that are willing to be adventurous in their eating habits, so that way I have someone to share the alt-cooking experience with. I'd like to try another nearby vegan restaurant - Darbster in Lake Worth. Since raw food was suggested as the next adventure, I found these two places online: Pure Living Food in West Palm Beach and The Soma Center in Lake Worth.

Our dishes & some comments:

- Appetizers: pesto polenta, bread with garlic margarine, and eggplant rollatini. I've never had polenta before, so I was unsure of what to expect. The texture is obviously gritty, but the taste was pretty good actually. The eggplant rollatini had tofu ricotta (similar to what is in the VwaV cookbook), faux mozzarella, and was breaded and crispy. It was delicious, but I also really LOVE tofu ricotta.

- My dish: Shepardless pie with a side of brussel sprouts in a yellow Hollandaise-type sauce. The shepardless pie was a little salty, probably due to the mashed potatoes. The beef was replaced with Gardein crumbles. The menu said the pie would include jalapenoes, but I didn't taste any. I also ordered a side of mac and cheese, just because there are a million variations of vegan mac and cheese on the internet. It was not a faux cheese melted onto pasta, it tasted like the cheese was a mix of margarine (likely Earth Balance) and nutritional yeast. It was baked in a little ramekin so it had breadcrumbs on the top. It was as good as I expected it to be, so I think I'll try to find a similar style recipe for the next time I want to cook mac and cheese at home.

- Bri and Jess's dishes: Penne Puttanesca - The noodles were tossed with tomato, basil, capers, olives, and roasted peppers. The sauce had a nice little kick to it, but we all agreed there should have been more veggies included in this dish. Not only for flavor, but also just for color.

- Cristin's dish: Broccoli and cheddar quiche with a kale salad - Cristin ordered a quiche when she went to Sublime before, so she knew what to expect. It looked like a giant slice of tofu cake, haha. The taste of the quiche was good, but she said the kale was bitter because it wasn't cooked. Very strange to serve a bitter vegetable raw.

- Elliot's dish: Mushroom ravioli - The menu said the pasta was made in-house. The ravioli were very flavorful; they had an intense mushroom flavor, so I don't think I could have ate several of them. I have only recently started eating mushrooms, so I don't think I would have been able to enjoy a full order of the ravioli.

- Ling's dish: Margherita pizza - As simple as it sounds. It was a wheat crust topped with rice cheese, diced tomatoes, and basil. I really like rice cheese, so I was happy to see it being used in a restaurant. Pizza Fusion offers Follow Your Heart for their vegan cheese, but that's soy based. Not that there's anything wrong with soy, but it's not for everyone.

- Desserts: Coconut cake, chocolate nirvana, and pumpkin cheesecake. The coconut cake was very moist and had a nice texture to it. The chocolate nirvana was extremely decadent and definitely way too rich for one person to enjoy alone. The pumpkin cheesecake was the dish I was the most curious about because I wasn't sure how the cake would be textured. I couldn't tell if the cheesecake was made from really soft tofu and a soy-based cream cheese. I mostly tasted a cinnamon apple sauce taste over the pumpkin, which I was fine with because I don't particularly care for pumpkin flavor. The cheesecake was not as firm as I remember dairy-based cheesecakes being, but it was still tasty.

- Cocktails: Tangito (looked great with chunks of citrus in it), watermelon margarita (mine!), Lychee, and a spiked cider (sake and cider, odd combo).

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