Saturday, November 28, 2009

The grand finale

Before the moment is lost for good, I have to tell you about my third and final Thanksgiving dinner.

We had originally planned to work and eat at Cafe Gratitude, who was putting on a free dinner in exchange for helping out that day at the restaurant. It sounded like fun, but cut into our gym schedule (shallow, huh?), so we were staying open to other possibilities, too.

On Wednesday night, to celebrate the four-day weekend, we went to a favorite place of ours, Merit Vegetarian, in Sunnyvale. The owner, Sam, recognized us from our many previous visits and came over to say hello. We told him about Cafe Gratitude and he mentioned that a friend of his in The City also owned a vegetarian restaurant and that he had been helping her prep for the Thanksgiving blow-out she was putting on.

Golden Era Vegan Cuisine -- located in the Tenderloin, just a short walk from our beloved Millenium -- offered a four-course vegan meal for just $25 dollars (that's half of what Millenium was charging)! And it was terrific!

We started with a savory pumpkin soup, flavored with a little curry and a lot of hot pepper. It was as smooth as silk. Non-dairy cream soups such as this one this never cease to amaze me -- how do they achieve such a glorious texture with no butter or cream?

From there, we enjoyed an entirely serviceable dinner salad with field greens, shredded cabbage and carrot, and a nicely tart vinegarette.

The third course was simply beautiful:

Faux meat fascinates me the same way that dairyless cream soups do; how do they do it? Nancy, Golden Era's owner, gave us a rough overview of how they made the faux turkey, but all I took away from it is that the outer skin, which tasted remarkably like the skin of a turkey, is made from tofu-skin wrappers. On my own, I surmised that the 'meat' was seitan (she said tofu, but it really didn't taste like or have the texture of tofu) and that the stuffing was regular old stuffing that would have been happy on just about any Thanksgiving table, vegan or otherwise.

Seitan, if you're interested, is the base of a lot of faux meat. It's made from something called wheat gluten. What that is and where one buys it I don't know, but it makes for mighty tasty fake flesh. But back to the dinner...

Being as I'm never one to shy away from dessert, I gladly took on the fourth course, a pumpkin cheesecake. It had the same tanginess of a dairy-based cheesecake and the spiciness of a traditional pumpkin pie. I feel certain that an omnivore wouldn't have felt that he was missing a thing.

Actually, there was one thing missing for me: the weight gain that invariably accompanies the day after Thanksgiving. My weight stayed exactly where it had been the day before. I didn't miss a thing!

BTW, we asked Nancy if they were planning a dinner for Christmas. She said they were considering it, but hadn't reached a final decision. So make a point of calling her (415/673-3136) and telling her to do Christmas dinner, too!

1 comment:

  1. my brother lives in san francisco and reading this blog made me miss my visits west to see him. i have eaten at both cafe gratitude and golden era! how neat. glad you had a wonderful thanksgiving season!