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!

11/20/2013

Vegan guide to SF Bay Area Thanksgiving!   »

Hey friends! Thanksgiving, aka the most glorious time of the year, food-wise, is quickly descending upon us! I can’t wait to see all of your festive food pics this year! In a quandary about what to eat? I got you covered! Of course if I missed anything, be sure to mention it in the comments! After all, that’s how our relationship works, for better or for worse.

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Source restaurant will be offering their annual Gobble Platter, complete with “gobble”, gravy, creamed spinach, candied yams, homemade cranberry sauce, and a side salad. This meal is pretty epic, and I’m seriously looking forward to it! I’ll be eating it as my employee lunch (yippee!) before scooting off to the Peninsula to eat with my own family. Of course Source will be offering an array of desserts, including spice cake snowballs with orange frosting and a living pumpkin cheesecake (from me to you!), though not included in the $20.95 platter price. Mention Vegansaurus for 10% off your Gobble Platter, which will be available all day Thursday and Friday. Call 415-864-9000 for more information, or to make take-out/reservation arrangements. 

Souley Vegan is offering a SCRUMPTIOUS looking Thanksgiving day brunch buffet, 11am to 5pm. There are so many items to choose from, including a tofu loaf with rosemary gravy, blueberry waffles, herb mashed potatoes, southern fried tofu, pumpkin cheesecake with warm caramel sauce and your choice of two mimosas or draft beers. The price of this buffet is still up in the air, but I was told it will be in the ballpark of $20 - $25. Call 510-922-1615 for more details

The Plant Cafe is offering a prix fixe three-course meal, which includes a soup course, salad course, and featuring an entree of a red-wine braised portobello mushroom and lentil stew, with a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. I believe the entire meal is gluten-free as well as vegan. The meal is by reservation only, from 2pm - 8pm. It’s $50 for adults and $25 for children under the age of 12. Wine flights are available for $25. Call 415-984-1973 for more details, or to make reservations! 

Hella Vegan Eats is offering a “Festive Feast,” which is available for pick-up or delivery on Wednesday, November 27th. Time is running out, as they ask you please place your order by Thursday, November 21st! I love Hella Vegan Eats so very much; I can only imagine how spectacular their Thanksgiving feast must be! Reserve your order by calling 510-282-8233. (Please note side-dishes and desserts are only available in addition to the Festive Feast) 

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New-to-the scene cuties, Ashley and Kyle Knies, of From the Garden, are offering a Thanksgiving meal box, which they will deliver to you on Wednesday, November 27th (minimum order, two boxes). The boxes of food are $30 each and includes such delectable items as  an Herbed-Lentil loaf, apple-cranberry stuffing, green bean casserole with crispy onions, and garlic mashed potatoes! Dessert is also available for an additional fee. To reserve a box, or ask any questions (single savory items, and couple selections of pies are available) email chefkyleknies@gmail.com! 

Millennium is almost surely doing something because they always do so if you want to fancy it up, holler at them pretty soon (415-345-3900 x10) because I know they sell out and that would suck if your fancy thing was a bust because you slept on it. (And Uh, if you can, let us know in the comments what the deal is??)

If you want to bring home the Thanksgiving fun, you can get Hodo Soy Beanery yuba roast (supposedly very delicious!) from goodeggs.comOf course, Whole Foods always offers a vegan dinner available for pick-up at their many locations, while “faux turkeys” or holiday roasts are now sold at Rainbow, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. For your dessert needs, I’m always pretty stoked with the ready-made pies at Rainbow. There’s also Mission Pie, Timeless Coffee and of course pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls at Cinnaholic! Make sure you make your orders asap, as many bakeries have strict deadlines and cut-off dates!  

BONUS: If you know people in Los Angeles — check out our Los Angeles Vegan Thanksgiving Guide!

{Source Gobble Platter photo via Quarrygirl!}

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