Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vegetarian birthday dinner

My birthday is today, but we started celebrating this weekend with a special trip to Millennium, arguably San Francisco's best vegetarian restaurant.

Millennium is acknowledging the economic crisis with a special Frugal Foodie Menu. For $39 dollars, you select an appetizer, main dish, and dessert from a subset of the regular menu.

I started with a refreshing nectarine salad. It was a very delicate dish with butter lettuce, sesame seeds, and a fresh creamy lemongrass & ginger vinaigrette. Aaron's sweet chili-glazed tempeh was popular, too, seeming to show up on every table.

Both entrees were showstoppers. Recently, we discovered a delicious vegan Vietnamese-style crepe at Merit vegetarian restaurant in Sunnyvale, so when we saw it on Millennium's menu, we had to try it. With mung sprouts, sunchokes, cubes of firm seared tofu wrapped in an amazingly eggy-flavored crep
e, it's definitely something new (to me, at least).

I opted for the French fingerling potato roulade, which is something like potato strudel, in a beautiful orange puddle of carrot puree. Haute comfort food!

In my book, the appetizer and entree are nothing more than an excuse to kill time while waiting for dessert. We shared two desserts, rice pudding and dark chocolate vegan cheesecake.

The rice pudding had just the teeniest hint of hot pepper that I could only taste at the very end of each bite -- something like a culinary peck on the cheek. Almost every dessert came with a little scoop of a sorbet or ice cream, which I really liked because it didn't force me to choose between a cakey dish or ice cream. A sherbet of pluot and Pu-erh came with the rice pudding. Pu-erh is a kind of tea, but it was wasted on me; I really couldn't identify its taste. Really, the plum and apricot stood out more.

My own dish, dark chocolate cheese cake, was delicious, but a far cry from cheesecake. It tasted like a very dense chocolate cake with a melted chocolate bar on top. The winning taste in this dish was the blackberry coulis. Very seductive taste with the dark chocolate!

To mark the occasion today, I'm planning a little trip to Sugar, Butter, Flour, a really fun bakery in Sunnyvale that has a big selection of individual-sized desserts. Watch out!


  1. Calling Millennium "'arguably'" San Francisco's best vegetarian restaurant" is rather like saying "Château d'Yquem is 'arguably' the best of the Sauternes." Millennium is in a different class from any other vegetarian (much less vegan!) restaurant I've ever experienced! Their creativity and the attention they pay to all aspects of their food is beyond remarkable.

    Happy birthday!