As we all know, springing for fancy dinners out all the time can get pretty expensive. The key words here are 'all the time' -- and this got us thinking. We love Huey's and Mayuri and Brother Juniper's and Saigon Le and Fino's and Tracks, all excellent, low-key, locally-owned, reasonably-priced everyday places to eat, but we try not to overdo it when it comes to going out to eat. Most days, we aim to prepare three meals a day at home. But the restorative powers of a supernice meal presented by an inspired, talented chef? It's well worth the expense every now and then. Think of all you receive for the cost: looking forward to the new experience, relaxing due to the attentive service that ensures everything's taken care of, committing to memory the new flavors and inventive ideas that you can take home to your own kitchen, soaking up the beautiful atmosphere that surrounds you, and enjoying something unique with the much-loved family and friends who join you. So our idea is this: go for it a few times a year. Consider doing this seasonally; save up and make a point to splurge on an over-the-top meal sometime during the spring, summer, fall, or winter. And anticipate how life will stop for a little bit and allow you a few hours to enjoy something delicious.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Circa's Totally Vegetarian Dinner
We attended Chef John Bragg's Totally Vegetarian five-course dinner at Circa this past Wednesday night. Here's the deal: Chef Bragg did not rely on the old tricks. There was no fried tofu and only one faux meat dish on the entire five-course menu. Instead, he delivered flavor and texture combinations that would be a revelation to anyone, meat-eater or not. Out of the eight friends and relatives at our own table, only two were strict vegetarians, but everyone was freaking out about how great the courses were. In addition, each course was paired with an organic wine from Heller Estates. It was so much fun to take a sip of wine, taste the cuisine, and then the wine again to determine whether the wine was supposed to match the flavor of the food or to contrast with its complex flavor. Everyone loved the sweet potato flan, which was served with a traditional green Mexican pumpkin seed sauce. I enjoyed the 'duck' cassoulet, a rich and substantive mix of beans and seitan with a side of crusty bread. The Wife, dessert-fiend that she is, favored the orange-chocolate crepe. Simply put, it was a three-hour culinary extravaganza. You, too, can experience Bragg's vision and largesse on Sunday nights at Circa through the month of September. Call Circa ASAP for details and reservations: 901.522.1488.
Posted by The Chubby Vegetarian at 10:50 PM