Last week I had the opportunity to try some really amazing vegan food. If you know me, you know I tried my hand at vegetarianism and it only lasted about a year, and I always broke the rules a little bit anyways. It's definitely a challenge to feel satisfied when you feel like you're missing all these flavors and textures you love. S+M Vegan does such an amazing job at recreating those, I wish I knew how to cook like them! I've seen this vegan chef couple coming up in the Bay Area food scene over the last few years, so it was really a treat to experience one of their last pop-up dinners in San Francisco.
Feastly is a service that provide chefs and diners with a unique dining experience. One reminiscent of a home cooked meal, where guests are encouraged to interact with the chefs and fellow diners. This particular pop-up was hosted at a location named The Lab, a warm, modern space located in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood.
The first course of this four course meal was a delicious spreadable garlic herb cheese, whole grain mustard, and a romaine salad with sesame Caesar dressing with pickled red onion and radishes along with some freshly baked ciabatta. At one point I leaned over to my boyfriend and asked 'is the bread vegan too?' and of course it was. I really didn't know it was possible to achieve such soft spreadable cheese without using dairy, or to replace the umami flavor anchovy gives to Caesar dressing.
The second course was hands down my favorite part of the meal. Pheniox Pasticifico fresh eggless organic pasta coated in cheese and black pepper cream, finished with ground black olive, shaved toasted almonds and Arbequina extra virgin olive oil. The noodles were soft but not chewy, and the flavor was tremendous. Lots of black pepper, but I was not complaining one bit.
The third course was a beautiful plate of petite roasted eggplant, seared lemon and herb sauce, roasted cherry tomatoes topped with fresh herbs and flowers. The sauce was similar to a pesto but a little more complex. The eggplant was rich and juicy. The whole meal was served family style, and the eggplant was a little tricky to split up between us all, but definitely worth the work.
I enjoyed dinner with one of my favorite beers, Tangerine de Brettaville by Almanac Beer Co. Part of their Farm-to-Barrel program, varieties of sour beers are created by aging specific yeasts and fruits in oak barrels to create a complex combination of tart, sweet and funky. This particular beer is a favorite of mine because it's the right amount of sour and the right amount of sweet.
Feastly & S+M Vegan did a fantastic job putting this dinner together. I was really happy that my first time enjoying this food was in this setting, and that my first time in this setting came with such highly anticipated food. I look forward to experiencing the food in a new setting and experiencing the setting with new food. Life is about growing, and eating too.