I’ll be the first to admit that I am skeptical of vegan food. I’m not a fan of tofu, seitan, soy curls, cashew cheese or any other vegan product dressed up to taste like meat and dairy products. I don’t like imitation anything. I loved Nutshell when it was in existence because they celebrated fruits and vegetables in the most glorious execution of their dishes. It was amazing food.
Tonight my sister talked me into checking out a vegan restaurant on Division. I was hesitant. But it was the best meal I’ve had in a while. A while. In fact, Portobello was divine.
We started out with Shaved Fennel and Orange salad and Crostini with Corona Bean, Artichoke, Sun-Dried Tomato Spread and Fresh Basil. The salad was fresh and crunchy, the wonderful licorice flavor of fennel with the tangy orange was magic in my mouth. And the crostini. Well get outta here. I love bean spreads. They are very much underrated. This one was smooth and packed with flavor. It’s hard to go wrong with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. The beans are just the creamy canvas.
For dinner, I ordered what I thought sounded like the farmer’s market on a plate. Spicy Potato Gnocchi with Summer Squash, Cherry Peppers, Tomato Sauce, Oregano and Fried Garlic. I was right. But it was also like a hug on a plate. In Italy. On vacation. The creamy potato pillows melted in my mouth, quite literally and the spicy peppers snapped me out of my bad mood. The fried garlic was a beautiful finish to the gnocchi, with a satisfying crunch.
Chelsea ordered the Mushroom Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic, Marinara and Daiya Cheese. I wasn’t going to like the cheese. But it was tolerable. Does it taste like mozzarella? Um no. But it does satisfy the need for a creamy, melty substance on top of the chewy crust and tomato sauce. I looked at the website for Daiya Cheese, and well, honestly, I’d rather not know what’s in it. It doesn’t sound appetizing at all. But luckily for us, it actually was. And not just the cheese – the whole damn pizza.
Well done, vegans. Well done.