Last Friday night was a big one from a food and friends standpoint: we had a long-awaited dinner with Stacy and Vince at Bondir Restaurant in Cambridge. It’s always fun to be with them, and the restaurant lived up to its outstanding reputation. It’s a small place with amazing food, prepared uniquely each night, based on the best ingredients available. The staff adapted as best they could to our schedule (three different arrivals, one from as far away as Chicago), and to our eating preferences (primarily vegan for us, the full range for Stacy and Vince). The knowledgeable and gracious service was greatly appreciated.
I can’t remember each dishes, but all four courses were excellent. As you may know, I don’t often go for desserts, but the chocolate sorbet was the best I had ever had. At the end of the meal we got up to make the table available for the next diners, and then they relocated us to a seating area at the front by the fireplace and gave us complementary glasses of port or liqueur. The decor was warm, colorful and altogether cheerful. I look forward to our next visit there, and perhaps to try their new location in Concord, too.
While we’re on the Dining Out theme, I wanted to mention a particularly good soup I had at lunch at EVOO in Cambridge while discussing a project with one of my grad students. The dish was a Thai Curry Sweet Potato Soup made with Coconut Milk. It also provided a lovely picture to share with you.
Tonight’s dinner at home was an unusual one. Last weekend I was going through my stacks of cookbooks, and at Barbara’s urging, I looked for books I never use and might sell or give away. In that search I came across Charlie Trotter’s stunning book, Vegetables, and since he had just passed away suddenly a few weeks ago, I was curious to look through it again. Published in 1996, it had arrived in my library long before my vegan days began, at a time when vegetables were much less important to me.
One of the recipes that caught my eye was “Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Broccoli Juice”. It was much less complicated than many others, and it was visually attractive.
Barbara had agreed that it looked intriguing, and since she was doing Thanksgiving preparations much of the day, it was my turn to cook, so I gave it a shot. Here is the work in process, after the cauliflower head was roasted whole and the broccoli juice had been made and plated. Slicing the cauliflower vertically, filling two plates, and serving them with a delicious 2011 Le Fief du Breil (organic, biodynamic Muscadet from the Loire by way of Social Wines) was all that remained for enjoying a reasonable facsimile of Charlie’s handiwork. Lots of pure, clean, genuine flavors of both food and wine.
Since I was unsure if this dish alone would suffice for dinner, and because I wanted to clean up the refrigerator a little with items needing to be cooked, I prepared a second course — a vegetable and heirloom beans stew on top of leftover brown rice. The stew contained:
- diced celery, carrot and red onion
- roasted eggplant cubes
- leftover cooked mushrooms
- cooked Rancho Gordo Scarlet Runner beans
- pitted black Italian olives
- passata — organic from Lavalle
That finished off the meal properly.