Friday, November 26, 2010

ThanksLIVING at Angelica Kitchen

Happy turkeys.
Image from Farm Sanctuary.

I hope that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the past few years we've had several friends over for Thanksgiving and I've done almost all of the cooking, but this year we've been incredibly busy and therefore decided to keep it simple and go out to eat, and let someone else do the cooking for a change.

Hearing the laments from veg friends forced to spend their Thanksgivings in the presence of a turkey carcass, I felt very blessed indeed that even after we decided to eat out, we still had several vegan options to choose from. It was incredibly difficult deciding between Candle Cafe, Blossom, Foodswings, and Angelica Kitchen, to name only a few places that had incredible looking all-vegan Thanksgiving menus, but after weighing all the factors we decided on Angelica Kitchen. 

Angelica Kitchen gave us a beautiful, very satisfying meal to remember. I was really happy to see that the restaurant was absolutely packed. So many people having vegan Thanksgiving feasts!

The meal started off with a plate of Jerusalem Artichoke-Black Olive Pâté, served with sage-onion crackers and these beautiful watermelon radishes. It was almost too pretty to eat. We also got a small dish of pickled vegetables - cranberry balsamic baby beets, Szechuan cauliflower, and minted green beans. It was as colorful as it was tasty. I even enjoyed the beets, and I don't normally like beets, so that's saying a lot.

For the second course we shared both of the soups. One was a rich, dark mushroom broth with escarole, roasted garlic, and seared shiitakes. It was amazingly complex and had a deep, concentrated mushroom flavor. I loved it. The other soup was a delicious celery root bisque with roasted apples and "autumn spices." It was rich and creamy and reminded me a lot of the celery root soup I made recently from Tal Ronnen's cookbook.

Next we had a salad course of endive and baby lettuces with shaved fennel, radicchio, pear miso dressing, and rosemary toasted pecans. It was good, but it's salad. What else can I say about it?

Then we came to the main courses. There were two options, so of course we got both and shared them. One was a seitan en croute (didn't I just have some of that?), served over roasted garlic horseradish cauliflower puree, with sauteed spigarello and a red wine porcini mushroom reduction. This was fantastic, but my only complaint was that they went a bit overboard with the sage. There was almost a full layer of sage leaves wrapped inside the phyllo pastry crust. I like sage, but not that much. Actually I have one other small complaint. Alongside our entrees, we got a side of maple roasted root vegetables and Dijon roasted brussels sprouts. The flavors of the side vegetables were very good, but they were totally overcooked and mushy. Not the way I like my brussels sprouts, but it was a very small mar on an otherwise spectacular meal.

The other main entree was the heirloom bean tamales, with a filling of swiss chard, almond cotija cheese, and Rio Zape beans, topped with a creamy pumpkin pipian sauce and finished with grilled poblano chili crema and pomegranate seeds. I don't know what most of those words mean, so maybe you can Google them, and get back to me? All that I do know is that these tamales were perhaps the best tamales I have ever tasted. The flavors were seasonal and yet totally unexpected, a wonderfully pleasant surprise on the Thanksgiving menu. From now on, I think that tamales should be included at all holiday meals. These were mind-blowingly good.

Speaking of mind-blowing, we still had our dessert course to work our way through. There were three choices, so we didn't get a picture of the poached pear with cranberry caramel sauce, opting instead for the pumpkin pie and the chocolate truffle tart with pistachio crust, vanilla bean cream, and black cherry coulis. The pumpkin pie was flawless, the texture and spices were perfect in this classic Thanksgiving dessert. And the chocolate truffle tart... I don't know how they got it so perfectly rich and smooth. It was so good, I was completely stuffed at this point but I just couldn't help going back for yet another bite of this chocolate tart. It was heavenly.

I really hope that you all enjoyed a wonderful, loving holiday, full of delicious vegan eats. I'm thankful for the beautiful meal that we had, and I'm thankful for all of the kind, thoughtful, and compassionate people out there - like you - with whom I've had the honor of connecting with thanks to this blog.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. That sounded absolutely amazing. I don't think words can describe how jealous I feel. There is one restaurant (Thai/fusion) serving vegan gourmet food in Finland which is very good, but here in the Netherlands I've yet to find one. Sure, a few good vegetarian restaurants, but nothing nearly as complex and exquisite.