This Monday I turned 26. My dear friend Elizabeth (check out her amazing company Closet Rich for the best vintage designer duds here) invited me to a chef prepared 4 course vegan meal with an optional wine pairing at the chef’s home in Los Feliz, a night I knew would be a perfect way to celebrate turning another year older.
Anne Lee, a vegan chef and graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute, created Castle Gourmet Dining as a pop-up dining experience, a prepares a festive and unique all vegan menu each month for 12 lucky diners. Here’s a little more from her website:
“For each meal, Chef Anne Lee combines gourmet techniques and presentation with locally sourced organic fruits and vegetables, focused on health but sparing no expense for taste. Menus are carefully selected using the freshest available ingredients, so each menu will be unique based on what fruits and vegetables are in season and bursting with flavor. The dinners are crowd funded, prix fixe, and vegan by design, with seasonal or internationally inspired themes. Invite only dinners ensure each diner is cared for and given five-star treatment in an intimate setting. Dinners are designed not to imitate traditional meat-based dishes but to create new menageries of tastes based on palates of flavor to create familiar but new sensations.”
The theme for her December menu was “A Holiday Winter Feast,” and feast it was. Here is the menu I had the pleasure of devouring on Monday night:
First: Duo of Haricot Verte and Cream of Mushroom Soup, layered and topped with Crispy Onions ~ A play on the traditional holiday favorite “Green Bean Casserole.”
Second: Market Fresh Maple Roasted Squash and Winter Vegetable Salad ~ Warm maple roasted squash tossed with the seasonal best from the local farmers market.
Main: Hearty Vegetable Wellington, Sweet Potato Puree, Crunchy Lentils, Reductions of Persimmon and Balsamic.
Dessert: Spiced Apple and Cranberry Crème Brulee, Gingerbread Crisps, Vanilla Crème Fraîche
And wine pairings (aka one red and one white) by Silverlake wines!
I can’t possibly tell you how amazing this dinner experience was because there are not enough words to describe. I could go on and on about how creamy and playful her soup was, how I begged for the recipe, how perfectly frizzled the brussels were in the salad and how everyone talked about her dressing for days, how beautiful and hearty her puff pastry was, and how decadent and creamy her brulee was and how that gingerbread man got eaten faster than anything on my plate – but it would take a lifetime. Instead I will just say that I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend the Castle Gourmet Dining experience. Anne and her husband are lovely as is their home, the other diners were really cool (although brining a bunch of your friends would be the best!), and the food was on a whole notha level good. If Anne had a restaurant in LA I would eat there every day. That good.
Check out more about Castle Gourmet on Anne’s website and sign-up for her news letter! Her next dining experience is prospectively scheduled for the end of January and you KNOW I will be there. Thanks so much to Anne and Co. for making my bday so special!
Your Vegan Girlfriend
(Note: All photos courtesy of fellow diner Erin Burrell – thanks so much for the great pics!)