vegansaurus!

01/27/2014

From the Garden Greenhouse Brunches in Berkeley!  »

The first Sunday of January, I had the honor of being invited to and attending a Greenhouse Brunch in Berkeley, hosted by Kyle and Ashley Knies of From the Garden. It was incredible! The food was divine, the atmosphere was lovely, the company was fun, and the presentation of everything, from the table settings to the food to the greenhouse itself was just spectacular. Believe me when I say I could go on and on and on, so let’s just cut to the chase and get to the visual part of the presentation. Thank goodness for the phenomenal natural lighting (photography is not my forte); everything tasted even more delectable than it looks! 

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The brunches take place in Ashley and Kyle’s beautiful greenhouse in Berkeley. Every detail is catered to—just look at this gorgeous table setting! Coffee and tea are available before the courses are served, as well as throughout the meal. 

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Greenhouse Mary with sake and a breakfast biscuit sandwich! Non-alcoholic cocktails are available upon pre-arranged request. 

The very first course was a Greenhouse Mary, made with sake, fresh celery juice, parsley, black pepper and sage. Ashley explained that the intent (besides being super tasty) of serving it first was to wake up our palates! I DO NOT LIKE Bloody Mary’s, and before you tell me I just haven’t had the right one, please rest assured that I’ve had them all. I’m team Mimosa over here and I couldn’t be happier about it. However, there’s a new brunch drink in town, so thank you Ashely and Kyle, my Sunday breakfast beverage preference isn’t quite so cut and dry anymore. 

The next course was a biscuit breakfast sandwich, featuring a flaky roasted garlic biscuit (best I’ve ever had), yuba “bacon”, grilled onions and fuerte avocado. Brunch was off to a fantastic start! 

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Grilled jerk tofu over a variety of greens, baby carrots and  beets and a blood orange mimosa. 

Next up we had a bergamot-lavender soda, which I unfortunately did not take a get a picture of. It was nice to have refreshment course between meal courses, to talk and digest a little bit. Truth be told, I did scurry off to Santa Cruz on a whim the night before, and then walked about a trillion steps before 11:30 am, so I mostly just listened and digested. We were then served a flavorful second course salad with radicchio baby roots, carrots, beets and spicy grilled jerk tofu. The spiciness of the tofu paired excellently with the bitterness radicchio and sweetness of the baby carrots and beets. Kyle and Ashley brought out an additional habanero sauce, but I did not find myself needing to take part in that kind of additional spice. The third refreshment course consisted of a blood orange and tangerine mimosa! I’ve already told you how I feel about mimosas, and this one was no exception (PHENOMENAL) so without further ado, let’s move on to the main course and dessert! 

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This is everything.  

The final savory course consisted of mac’n cheez, steamed purple kale and smokey, black-eyed peas topped with celery root. I love to scarf down my food as quickly as possible (a very attractive trait), but I ate painstakingly slow as to savor every single bite. Somehow I still managed to finished before everyone else. I overheard Ashely telling a brunch companion that the mac’n cheese recipe could be found on their blog, so I pulled that baby up as soon as I got home. After the brunch, Kyle told me that he made black-eyed peas for this occasion to bring good luck to the new year, which was another detail of the meal I very much admired!  

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The final frontier.

By the time dessert came out, I was stuffed. However, there’s always room for dessert, isn’t there? We were served a peanut butter pie with banana ice cream, peanut butter brittle and chocolate ganache. Kyle and Ashley are flavor and texture geniuses. There are no words, my mind was blown. 

Now that we’ve gone over the January 5th brunch, I’m sure you’re wondering how you can get in on this action. Kyle and Ashley present their Greenhouse Brunch (I heard in summer they have dinners!) once a month, and you have to RSVP by email for a space and payment information (they ask for a $40 donation). You can follow their blog, Facebook, and Twitter for up-to-date information about these gatherings, and also know that they are available for catering and personal chef needs within the San Francisco Bay Area! Kyle and Ashley are so talented, and such incredible people, I just cannot wait to see where From the Garden takes them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: keep your eye on this powerhouse couple!

12/22/2013

Have a Hella Vegan Eats Holiday!  »

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I’ve put absolutely everything concerning Christmas off until the last minute, and I’m fine, I’m fine. It’s going to be okay, I’m sure I can figure out what my entire family wants for Christmas in the next 24 hours, wrap their presents, finish up at work and pack. 

If you are like me (Working best under pressure? It’s a gift, not a curse, I swear!) and the food has yet to be figured out for your festivities, I got great news for you! Oakland’s own Hella Vegan Eats is still offering holiday catering, with small bites, tamales and desserts! Today is the last day to order; check it out! They ask for orders of at least $150 — you could be set for a week, or realistically two very indulgent nights, with four of those delectable sounding pies! 

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You can email or call Tiffany and Sylvee with orders and questions at HellaVegan@gmail.com or 510-282-8233. Be sure to check out their Facebook page so you can “like” everything! 

As if there was any doubt in your mind about Hella Vegan Eats at your Holiday event, let’s revisit a photo of their Thanksgiving feast, via my pal George. 

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Scrumptious! Get it, Bay Area! 

12/10/2013

Meet Kyle and Ashley Knies of From the Garden!   »

I am so excited to present you with the Bay Area’s newest vegan food venture: From The Garden, brought to you by newlyweds and all-around-awesome couple, Kyle and Ashley Knies! Their meal delivery boxes were mentioned in our SF Bay Area Thanksgiving write-up, now let’s get to know them a little bit better. Kyle is a professionally trained and incredibly talented chef while Ashley is a holistic health counselor — talk about a power couple right there! Their Berkeley-based company, From the Garden, is available to the Bay Area for a variety of services including: personal chef needs, cooking classes, catering events, food delivery and beautiful, monthly, greenhouse brunches. Curious? Just take a look at these sample menus

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Be sure to keep an eye out for this up-and-coming vegan powerhouse duo — I know I will be! Follow them on Instagram at @itsfromthegarden, Twitter at @chefkyleknies, and Facebook here, for upcoming events and fabulous food photos. Their blog offers a plethora of delectable looking recipes, while their website is a wealth of information about what they can do for you! You can also email them at chefkyleknies@gmail.com with any questions, or to reserve their services.

{Wedding photo via Kyle Knies} 

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