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"Garden Grill" Debuts Today at Hillcrest Farmers’ Market

Hey San Diego friends! Get your compassionate butts up early & head over to the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market & show your support for the grand opening of the Garden Grill

Here is a sneak peek at some of the menu items ~

Menu:

  • STONE IPA BEER BATTERED AVOCADO TACOS ~ A crispy Stone IPA beer battered avocado on a bed of fresh cilantro, purple and green cabbage. Topped with our house made creamy cilantro Pepita dressing and organic Sriracha. 
  • BREAKFAST TACOS ~ Scrambled organic tofu, plant-based sausage served on a bed of sauteed spinach. Topped with our house made creamy cheeze sauce.
  • RAW TACOS ~ Organic dino kale, walnut “meat”, fresh tomato salad, and nut-cho cheeze all wrapped in a romaine leaf. Gluten Free - Raw!
  • CHICK’N ‘N’ WAFFLES ~ Cinnamon spiced waffles, country fried chick’n, herbed mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy.
  • THE REUBEN ~ Two toasted artisan pumpernickel rye swirl deli style bread slices, smeared with our house made Russian dressing, our locally made raw organic sauerkraut and thinly sliced house marinated deli style Reuben meat topped with melted mozzarella style cheeze!
  • BEER BATTERED MUSHROOMS ~ Stone IPA beer battered crimini mushrooms along side our house made creamy dill sauce.
  • AND MORE!!!

All ingredients are 100% plant based Vegan. No MSG, no GMOs, no refined oils or sweeteners. We use local organic ingredients whenever possible.

Oh my heavenly yum! Be there. 

"Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret" 

Hey San Diego Friends!  "COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret" is premiering this Tuesday July 15th at the Hillcrest Cinema & a few tickets are still available. Please join us in viewing this groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary that follows an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today, & investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it! This film is expected to be as eye-opening as "Blackfish" & as inspiring as "An Inconvenient Truth."

Tickets can be purchased here & be sure to stick around after the film for in-depth Q & A with the filmmakers. 

If you are not in SD, click here for screenings in your area. 

Hope to see you!

Health Nut Muffin | Lemon / Chia / Strawberry Jam Grammy’s Birchermuseli | Coconut Yogurt / Local berries / Oats Breakfast Panini | Gluten-Free Sourdough / Tempeh Bacon / Avocado / Basil Aioli / Roasted Bell Peppers / Savory Potato Hash / Wilted Greens Minty Sundae | Quinoa Brownies / Mint Chip Ice Cream / Raw Chocolate Sauce

Sunday Pop-up Vegan Brunch with Katie’s Healing Kitchen!

Holy Yum!!!! What a way to spend a Sunday ~ with good friends & delicious food at the Wine Vault & Bistro for Katie’s Healing Kitchen’s"Vegan Pop-up Brunch." 

Today, Katie took over this typically omnivorous restaurant & prepared an all out awesome vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, & refined sugar-free brunch! She delighted us with 4 courses of amazing eats, mimosas, fair trade coffee & more. Check out this menu: 

Sip ~

  • Morning Jolt | Fair Trade Coffee / Coconut Cream 
  • Superfood Green Tea | Goji Berry / Pomegranate
  • Citrus Mimosa | Champagne / Orange 

Eat ~

  • Health Nut Muffin | Lemon / Chia / Strawberry Jam 
  • Grammy’s Birchermuseli | Coconut Yogurt / Local berries / Oats
  • Breakfast Panini | Gluten-Free Sourdough / Tempeh Bacon / Avocado / Basil Aioli / Roasted Bell Peppers / Savory Potato Hash / Wilted Greens 
  • Minty Sundae | Quinoa Brownies / Mint Chip Ice Cream / Raw Chocolate Sauce

Yum! Right? The proof is in the pictures! And all of this deliciousness for only $30!

My favorite dish of the day? Hmmmm, it’s a tough call, but if I had to choose…I really loved the "Breakfast Panini" ~ some of my favorite things wrapped up in a sandwich! Contrary to popular belief, when grilled or toasted, gluten-free bread is not bad at all! Of course not all are created equal, so I asked Katie which brand she prefers. She uses Cook’s GF Sourdough Bread which you can find at the co-op if you’re local. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the "Minty Sundae" knocked my socks off, come on! Ice Cream for brunch? Don’t have to twist my arm. But honestly, in true Katie fashion, everything was fantastic!

So, if you are in San Diego & you have not been to a pop-up or cooking class with Katie you are missing out! Katie has an upcoming dinner pop-up on July 22nd that you do not want to miss. The theme "LONGEVITY." Who wants a bit more of that? I know I do!! Check out Katie’s lovely website for more information & to RSVP. And to learn more about Katie, be sure to read my extensive review of her Thanksgiving Cooking Class & her Superfood Breakfast Guest Post

Be sure to sign up for her mailing list & newsletter. Hope to see you at a future event!

JUKE at Bottlecraft North Park Inside JUKE Cauliflower Steak with roasted cauliflower, apple-curry, couscous, greens & marcona almonds. Bibimbap with roasted tofu, forbidden rice, greens, pickled shiitake, watermelon radish, & gochujang. Chilaquiles with refried beans, chips, roasted tofu, avocado & gochujang. Romesco Salad with roasted root vegetables, manchego, toasted hazelnut, raisins, greens, & romesco dressing.

Restaurant Review & Interview with Juan Miron of JUKE

For several years the "MIHO Gastrotruck" has a fixture on the San Diego foodie scene. They were the first “gourmet” food truck to hit the scene back in 2010, & inspiring single handedly inspired the San Diego Food Truck movement. Prior to MIHO rolling around in their artfully designed truck selling delicious hand-crafted farm-to-table street food, about all you’d see on the streets were “roach coaches” that you were better off avoiding. MIHOs arrival changed everything. I remember tracking them down at the Adams Avenue Art Walk, their very first weekend in business, ordering a vegetarian "Bahn Mi" & sang its praises here. Not only was the food awesome, the guys behind the wheel/kitchen/concept were awesome too. MIHO started showing up all over town, & soon you were fighting off long lines & big crowds in the hopes of reaching the counter before the good stuff sold out. The best part…they always offered a few vegetarian/veganizable items on the menu. So imagine my disappointment when I heard the announcement that the truck would be semi-retiring. The truck would still be available for private catering events, but no longer making the weekly rounds. Major sadface.

All was not lost, however, just re-imagined, as Juan & Kevin, the duo behind MIHO, partnered up with Bottlecraft in North Park to open "JUKE", a small farm-to-table “cafe” counter hidden in the back of the shop. Their culinary concept focuses on a “neo-traditional” menu that highlights internationally inspired street foods. For those of us of the veggie inclined about 1/3 of the menu is vegetarian &/or veganizable. While it’s not a physical restaurant, communal style seating is available outside.

About Juke: 

JUKE is a new school of thought on what, how & why we eat. This means a healthy balance of ingredients, an honest way of cooking, & a more conscious approach to the composition of each dish. JUKE’s neo-traditional menu draws inspiration from the beloved flavors of California, Baja, Asia & the Mediterranean. With a bedrock of local farms & sustainable food practices, JUKE features a menu that celebrates vegetables & grains, but is still in many ways an homage to the casual, international street food that MIHO is known for.

Last month, Juan graciously invited me to JUKE to try out their veganizable options & of course I jumped at the chance! I was treated to the "Cauliflower Steak" with roasted cauliflower, curry-apple sauce, herbed couscous, toasted marcona almonds, & greens, & the "Bibimbap" with roasted tofu, forbidden rice, pickled shiitake, greens, radish & gochujang, made vegan by holding the poached egg. Both were super fresh, flavorful & delicious. If I have to play favorites, the cauliflower steak it is! As I am a fan of every component of this dish, it was an easy choice. Sweet roasted cauliflower over a mild, yet tangy, green curry, fluffy couscous, tender greens & crunchy marcona almonds? Sounds like my kind light, yet satisfying meal. While I, gracefully, stuffed my face, Juan & I chatted about MIHO, JUKE, & the future:

Vegenista: The MIHO Gastrotruck really helped to shape the San Diego Food Truck scene. How did you get involved in the food business & what led you to launch a food truck? 

Juan Miron: Kevin & I have always been super passionate about food, where it comes from, how its prepared & the experience it creates. My wife & I were hosting underground beer supper clubs since 2006 as a creative outlet for both of us. In 2008 I started working at The Linkery, SD’s original farm to table restaurant, that’s where I met Kevin & soon enough he & his fiancé joined Farra & I on the beer dinners. We did that for a couple of years & ultimately, we knew we wanted to strike on our own & pursue a business opportunity. That’s when we caught wind of the food truck scene in other cities & instantly we knew that was our next step.

V: You recently retired the highly successful food truck & launched JUKE inside of Bottlecraft North Park. What inspired you to make the change? How did the concept of a counter & the partnership with Bottlecraft come about?

JM: For us every decision is all about progressing & enhancing the experiences we offer. We left the streets at the beginning of 2013 as we had planned to transition into a full time catering company. The essence of the food truck scene had evolved & was not fulfilling anymore. Catering had been an area of our business that we always enjoyed, creating memorable experiences around food for special events, this just felt right. A year later the opportunity to reconnect with our followers came when Brian from Bottlecraft mentioned that he was planning on putting a kitchen & would love us to do it. We then decided to open up JUKE. 

V: Thank you for offering vegetarian & vegan friendly menu items! How would you describe the style of food you are serving at JUKE & how is it different from MIHO?

JM: MIHO is internationally inspired street food., where JUKE is a new style of food, “neo-traditional” as we call it. It’s our take on traditional dishes, with our twist, while maintaining our bedrock of sourcing from local farms & using a sustainable approach to all that we do. It’s a reflection of the styles of food we enjoy eating, baja, mediterranean, asian, with a conscious thought on balancing greens, grains & meats, with a few vegetarian & vegan items too. 

V: Do you have any other exciting plans/projects in the works that you would like to share?

JM: Yes, we just launched our cocktail catering company, "Please & Thank You," & we thrilled to be able to add that on as another service under the "A MIHO Experience" brand. Again this was another project where it just seemed natural for us to offer bar catering for all the events that we do. 

A few days later I was back for more, bring my friend Anna along for a Sunday afternoon brunch. I’d had some cocktails the night before, so a strong pour-over coffee & a belly filling meal was calling my name, so naturally, I was drawn to the "Chilaquiles," - hold the carnitas add tofu - with vegetarian refried beans, tortilla chips, avocado, roasted tofu & gochujang. While it was tasty enough, it doesn’t quite rival the vegan chilaquiles masterpiece from Gracias Madre, but it was just what the doctor ordered to ease my hangover. Need I say more? Anna went for lighter fare & ordered the "Romesco Salad" with roasted root vegetables, manchego, toasted hazelnut, raisins, greens, & romesco dressing. If you wish this to be vegan, hold simply omit the cheese. She enjoyed the fresh & flavorful salad, however, as I’ve read in other reviews, it was a bit overdressed causing the greens to get a little soggy. Romesco is a rich dressing, so just a dab will do ya! Maybe order it on the side? As we were finishing up our coffee, another patron sat beside us with the most beautiful bowl of fresh fruit & cashew “yogurt.” We decided that our bellies could expand just a little bit more to make room for that delicious treat…Cashew Parfait” topped with homemade granola, seasonal fresh fruit & mint. As expected, it was divine. I could definitely taste the cashews, as I use them for various creams & sauces around here, but never thought to make it a thick, yogurt consistency. It was definitely rich! But the fresh fruit & mint helped to lighten it up a bit. I will most certainly be back for more of that! 

So, if you are in the San Diego area & have not made your way over to JUKE, why wait any longer? They’re open Tues-Saturday from 11am-9pm, & from 10am-7pm for Sunday Brunch. Remember, they are located INSIDE Bottlecraft in North Park, between 30th & Ray Street. Keep up with JUKE on their website, Facebook, & Instagram

A big thank you to Juan, JUKE, & the MIHO family for the hospitality invitation to check out this exciting new establishment! #EATJUKE

San Diego Kale Festival 2014
Sorry for the shot notice on this friends, as it has just come across my radar! If you love KALE, you’re in San Diego, & your Saturday hasn’t already been jam packed with activities…then check out the "Kale Festival 2014”at the San Diego Peace Garden. There will be demos, workshops, yoga, films, children’s activities, FOOD, & more!

WHEN: Saturday Februarary 22nd 9am - 5pm
WHERE: SAN DIEGO PEACE GARDEN
3850 Westgate Place, San Diego, CA 92105
FESTIVAL MISSION:  The Kale Festival is a day to celebrate & learn about local & sustainable food through workshops & demonstrations. We come together to envision a better & more just food system.

Get more details & the full family friendly schedule here. 
HAIL TO KALE!

San Diego Kale Festival 2014

Sorry for the shot notice on this friends, as it has just come across my radar! If you love KALE, you’re in San Diego, & your Saturday hasn’t already been jam packed with activities…then check out the "Kale Festival 2014at the San Diego Peace Garden. There will be demos, workshops, yoga, films, children’s activities, FOOD, & more!

WHEN: Saturday Februarary 22nd 9am - 5pm

WHERE: SAN DIEGO PEACE GARDEN

3850 Westgate Place, San Diego, CA 92105

FESTIVAL MISSION:  The Kale Festival is a day to celebrate & learn about local & sustainable food through workshops & demonstrations. We come together to envision a better & more just food system.

Get more details & the full family friendly schedule here

HAIL TO KALE!

Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam! 
San Diego friends! Join me this weekend for Local Earth’s Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam
When:  Saturday February 22nd from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM          
Where:  Sunset Cliffs State Park
Sunset Cliffs has a special place in my heart. I spent my early years in Ocean Beach living with my Mom, & after we moved out to the “country” I would return to OB to spend time with my Dad. My Dad was an “avid surfer” & still is today - in his 60s (he lives in Costa Rica, go figure). Most of my time spent with my Dad was on the beach. I’d play in the sand while he surfed, then we would picnic on the cliffs with chips & sandwiches. Those are some of my fondest memories of time spent with my Dad, who doesn’t have much of a presence in my life anymore. You’d think going to the cliffs might make me sad, but it’s just the opposite - being there brings me peace. It’s one of 2 places in San Diego (the other is Self Realization) that I go when I want to sit in nature & decompress. Being as it is one of the “sweet spots,” I was so happy when I received this invitation. Environmental activism, yoga, organic/vegan potluck, community, music, & dance. Sign me up!

Local Earthlings, we are so excited to join together in community once again! Our February Beach Cleanup social is an event that you don’t want to miss! It will be a day to connect with the earth, each other, and the power of the breath.
We are starting our spring cleaning a little early this year with the Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam taking place Saturday February 22nd from 10:00 AM till 4:00 PM at Sunset Cliffs State Park in Ocean Beach. The plan is to meet in the Sunset Cliffs parking lot around 10 AM, spend a few hours cleaning up the trails in Sunset Cliffs park breaking around noon to share some delicious organic food that will energize our bodies for what’s coming next. At 1:00 PM there will be a community taught yoga class with live guitar, followed at 2:30 PM by an amazing immersive yoga Samba dance experience led by Elka Haeckel. So bring your hands, a willingness to get a little dirty, some yummy food, & the light of your smile. We can’t wait to share your presence coming together to beautify our community, flow through asana, connect with our breath, drink in the sunshine, & dance to the vibrant beats of some live percussion….together.

The weather has been pretty close to perfect around here, so I expect this will be a gorgeous day! Hope to see you there!

Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam! 

San Diego friends! Join me this weekend for Local Earth’s Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam

When:  Saturday February 22nd from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM          

Where:  Sunset Cliffs State Park

Sunset Cliffs has a special place in my heart. I spent my early years in Ocean Beach living with my Mom, & after we moved out to the “country” I would return to OB to spend time with my Dad. My Dad was an “avid surfer” & still is today - in his 60s (he lives in Costa Rica, go figure). Most of my time spent with my Dad was on the beach. I’d play in the sand while he surfed, then we would picnic on the cliffs with chips & sandwiches. Those are some of my fondest memories of time spent with my Dad, who doesn’t have much of a presence in my life anymore. You’d think going to the cliffs might make me sad, but it’s just the opposite - being there brings me peace. It’s one of 2 places in San Diego (the other is Self Realization) that I go when I want to sit in nature & decompress. Being as it is one of the “sweet spots,” I was so happy when I received this invitation. Environmental activism, yoga, organic/vegan potluck, community, music, & dance. Sign me up!

Local Earthlings, we are so excited to join together in community once again! Our February Beach Cleanup social is an event that you don’t want to miss! It will be a day to connect with the earth, each other, and the power of the breath.

We are starting our spring cleaning a little early this year with the Sunset Cliffs Beach Cleanup & Yoga Jam taking place Saturday February 22nd from 10:00 AM till 4:00 PM at Sunset Cliffs State Park in Ocean Beach. The plan is to meet in the Sunset Cliffs parking lot around 10 AM, spend a few hours cleaning up the trails in Sunset Cliffs park breaking around noon to share some delicious organic food that will energize our bodies for what’s coming next. At 1:00 PM there will be a community taught yoga class with live guitar, followed at 2:30 PM by an amazing immersive yoga Samba dance experience led by Elka Haeckel. So bring your hands, a willingness to get a little dirty, some yummy food, & the light of your smile. We can’t wait to share your presence coming together to beautify our community, flow through asana, connect with our breath, drink in the sunshine, & dance to the vibrant beats of some live percussion….together.

The weather has been pretty close to perfect around here, so I expect this will be a gorgeous day! Hope to see you there!

LOVELIKEBEER’s “Brûlée”: Vegan French Brunch!

I meant to post this weeks ago. Oops, better late than never I suppose?

A few weekends ago, LOVELIKEBEER brought something to San Diego that you don’t see everyday around here. Three words. Vegan. French. Brunch. And let me tell you…

If you know me, you know I am a shameless & self proclaimed Francophile. I love Paris. It’s probably my favorite place in the world, & it’s hard to believe it was 7 years ago that my Mom & I celebrated my 30th (now you know how old I am!) birthday in "The City of Light"Tais Toi Mon Coeur.  So when word got out about the theme of their next event, I was thrilled. And when I heard the event would be titled Brûlée, my mind went to many a sweet spot — creme brûlée French toast, perhaps? And while my mind wandered not too far off, I was right about one thing…French Toast…Brûlée, actually I was told, was more of a play on words,  as in "Brew-lée" ….ah yes, I get it. Since LOVELIKEBEER is all about artisan food & craft beer, it makes sense. So clever, those boys. And, while I didn’t get my creme brûlée French toast (a fabulous idea if I do say so myself), I certainly did have my fill of delightful French inspired food. 

But to start…as you’re always safe in showing up early to a LOVELIKEBEER event, they had something special set up out in front of Toronado, the brunch venue, which was Mostra Coffee serving up fresh pour over coffee & hot apple cider. A nice warm jumpstart to Sunday Funday! I had planned, & failed, to have a quick brunch with some coffee & no alcohol so I could carry on with a productive Sunday, I was quickly distracted by two words…”beer mimosa.” Okay, just one, I suppose. I mean, a mimosa made with Modern Times Beer, a brand new & vegan owned local brewery, is enough to at least make one take pause, right? So ordered it was, & smoothly down it went. Followed by my favorite meal of the brunch the “Savory Crepe” with asparagus, soyrizo & meyer lemon hollandaise. Mmmmm…crepes! So quintessentially French, & not an easy feat to prepare, especially vegan, & I should know, as I own a crepe pan & have spent many a Sunday morning trying to perfect them. These pillowy crepes were stuffed with spicy soyrizo & topped with a creamy & zesty vegan hollandaise that I would love the recipe for (hint, hint)! Yum-o. And, as rumor has it, this might just make it on Toronado’s regular brunch menu, & oh no, then here we go…Sunday Funday, every weekend. Thanks, thanks a lot. 

After the crepe came the French toast, a “Hazelnut Stuffed French Toast,” mind you, with a dark chocolate drizzle & raspberries. Can you say, decedent? Why, yes…just take some crusty bread, stuffed with homemade nutella, topped with melty dark chocolate, garnished with tart raspberries & lest I forget washing it down with Modern Times’ Black House Oatmeal Coffee Stout. Yes, you heard me. Quite a pairing, indeed! 

Next arrived the “Potato Pave 5 Spice Scallop with Wild Mushrooms, Beets, Butternut Squash & Puffed Grains,” which I didn’t try myself, but was enjoyed by my friends, & which I must say was the most beautiful presentation of the day…food imitating art imitating food. Now I wish I’d had a bite. 

Finally came the “Carrot & Coconut Cake” that we just absolutely could not say no to, especially since it was paired with the “bright, peppery, & velvety” saison, which is one of my favorite beers. The cake was so moist, with a wonderful balance of carrot & coconut…not to sweet, but not too “crunchy” if you know what I mean. A delightful way to end the meal.

Too bad we can’t to this every weekend. Unless we move to Paris!

À bientôt.

Earth Squeeze on Kickstarter

Hey San Diego readers, you must check out this fundraising campaign for Earth Squeeze, our fine city’s newest pop-up juice stand that uses only locally grown, farm-fresh produce & sells at farmers markets all over the county!

Here is what founders Mike & Lauren have to say about their awesome concept: 

Earth Squeeze is going to be a mobile, “pop-up” juice stand in San Diego. This means that we will travel among farmers markets in San Diego county with our juicers, buying local, farm-fresh produce & juicing it on-site to order. We also plan to juice produce purchased by farmers market customers.  

Our goal is not only to teach our customers about the benefits of incorporating live, raw juice into their diets, but also to promote the value of buying local organic produce from San Diego farms. We are strong believers that the future of the food revolution is going to be centered on strong local agriculture, & we hope to strengthen this movement with our efforts.

We have found the commercial kitchen we will be using to store & prep some of our produce. This has allowed us to move forward with applying for all of the necessary licenses & permits we need to vend at farmers markets.  We have already launched full speed ahead into our social media advertising campaign, & are quickly developing our name in the community. Our recipes are ready to go, but before we begin…

We need your help! We are turning to Kickstarter for help raising funds to pay for a centrifugal juicer, a whisper generator, & other equipment necessary to sell at a farmers market. We are grateful & appreciative of any & all pledge amounts.

Thank you!

I cannot wait to visit them at the markets & get my fresh local juice on. So what do you say? Why not watch their video, & back their project if you can? They have some sweet rewards for backers. Click here to show support for Earth Squeeze!

Vegan Tasting Menu at Alchemy

'Twas the night before Thanksgiving…

I’ve always been a fan of Alchemy in the sleepy, but trendy South Park neighborhood of San Diego. I love their approach to cultural faire, small shareable dishes, & their “Dirty Pickle” martini is my favorite cocktail in town (extra dirty, extra pickle!). So when their PR team contacted me & invited me & a guest to attend their “Thanksgiving Before Thanksgiving Vegan Tasting Menu,” how could I resist? Oh but, Thanksgiving eve! Shouldn’t I be to be prepping for my own Thanksgiving feast? Perhaps, yes, but it sure is fun to be catered to once & a while! So I called up my pal, Nichole & we headed out for a pre-no-turkey-day treat. And what a treat it was! 

To start, we were served a cup of "Tomato-Fennel Bisque with Almond Milk, Fennel Fronds, & Roasted Garlic Oil." Wow…this was so flavorful! Tomato & fennel is such delicious combination, with the subtle anise flavor of fennel bringing a bit of sophistication to the classic tomato soup. The garlic oil drizzle, made the soup rich & savory. Oh, if only there were some crusty bread to dip in. But, then again, I’m so happy the bread basket doesn’t exist in this restaurant. No thank you, carb-overload! I’ll have enough of that come Thanksgiving.

Our second course was an "Artichoke Salad with Pickled Purple Artichokes, Watermelon Radish, Jonagold Apples, Oro Blanco Espuma, & Pedro Ximenez Reduction.” The presentation was beautiful, & the dish itself had so much potential. But… I love pickled anything, so when I read the words “pickled” I was excited, but upon tasting the dish, it didn’t seem as though the artichokes were “pickled” at all. So I was slightly underwhelmed.I absolutely love watermelon radish, & the apples were crisp & tart yet we agreed that the components of the dish didn’t seem “cohesive.” If I were to make this myself, I would serve it on a bed of peppery arugula, with a bit of crumbled cashew “goat cheese.”

The third course was a gem. "Manicotti with House Made Vegan Ricotta, Broccoli Rabe, Crudite, Cilantro Pesto, & Pepitas.” Me oh my. That ricotta! I would like the recipe please. It was so creamy, with a slight sweetness to it. At first thought it was tofu based, but now I am thinking perhaps it was cashew based? I’d sure love to know, it was delightful & I can imagine it in all sorts of culinary creations. Along with that delightful ricotta, the filling consisted of broccoli rabe, which added a bitter bite, & zucchini cappelini, which imparted a sweetness & unique texture. The manicotti was topped with a zesty, herbaceous cilantro pesto & baby garden carrots. So cute. I enjoyed the wine pairing with this dish which was a glass of Nicole Chanrion - Cote de Brouilly.Oh, how I do love a French wine. It was dry & spicy, with a dark plum & blackberry finish. An interesting choice to pair with a pesto dish, as I usually prefer a crisp white wine, but I enjoyed it. I like wine, so I am easy to please. 

The final course was the always anticipated dessert course. "Guava Shaved Ice with Brûléed Forelle Pears & Crystalized Hibiscus." The shaved ice was light & refreshing, with a hint of rosemary that I really enjoyed. I’d expected the pears to be a bit more “brûléed.” We were also treated to the cocktail pairing which was a "Hibiscus Port Wine Cooler" that was sweet & lovely. It was a beautiful pairing, but left me wanting more. It would’ve acted a a perfect palette cleanser before a warm, rich dessert. It was a Thanksgiving dinner after all — bring out the pumpkin cheesecake, or some coconut cinnamon ice cream with baked apples! Perhaps they thought we’d prefer to save our calories for the big day? I find this happens a lot when I go to vegan dinners & non-vegan restaurants & it’s frustrating, especially when I know how incredible vegan desserts can be. I wish these chefs would be a bit more adventurous in the dessert department. I was just listening to the latest Compassionate Cook podcast & CPG mentioned the same thing. In her case, she sent a copy of her book Joy of Vegan Baking to help inspire the chef. Bold! If only I had a cookbook to send! 

All in all, it was a very enjoyable meal, & I appreciate their enthusiasm & effort. Not many restaurants in San Diego cater to vegans, let alone prepare an entire menu for them one night a month. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to have an elegant vegan meal. The restaurant is nestled on a quite corner in one of the cities best neighborhoods, so enjoy a vegan meal, some delicious wine & a stroll around the streets lined with darling little craftsman bungalows. Sounds like a perfect date night to me. 

Also, a very kind thank you to Alchemy for hosting me & my friend. We are so grateful for your invitation & hospitality. I will certainly be back for another tasting.