When my parents were planning their visit to San Francisco, my mom asked me if there were any restaurants I’d like to go to. I immediately thought of Millennium. I’ve wanted to eat a meal there ever since I first heard about the restaurant, and our visit confirmed everything great that I’ve heard.
I was shy about taking pictures of our meal and didn’t use flash, so the pictures are almost unidentifiable. My mom had the excellent idea of asking for a menu though, so I know exactly what was in each dish.
For appetizers we shared the Black Eyed Pea Fritters and the Sesame Crusted Oyster Mushrooms.
The fritters came with aji chile coconut cream and jicama-apple-pomegranate salsa, and I thought they were kind of like a take on falafel and tahini sauce. The cold, crunchy salsa was great with the soft, hot inside of the fritters. Our waitress described the mushrooms, which came with lemongrass-grapefruit-chile sambal and watermelon radish relish, as vegan calamari, and I have to say it was an accurate description. We debated which appetizer each of us liked best, and I think the table was split in half.
I knew which entree I wanted almost right away, the one that seemed the most original: Seared Nettle Polenta Cake.
I’d heard of nettle tea, but didn’t know for sure that nettles were edible. Edible they were! The polenta cake came with sage & Meyer lemon tofu “cheese”, seared rapini, chanternay carrots & artichokes, mushroom & fennel sugo, fried capers and pine nut bread crumbs. To be perfectly honest, not all of these components were easily identifiable to me, but they came together perfectly. The tofu “cheese” gave a distinct tang to what was otherwise an earthy dish, and the fried capers and pine nut bread crumbs provided good crunch.
Ah, that’s a better picture. Mom got the Chimichurri Grilled Portobello Mushroom, which came with sunchoke & root vegetable hash, saffron scented IPA & French lentil brodo, escarole with caramelized onion & roasted apples and smoky orange-almond romesco sauce. She said she was sold at “portobello”.
Dad ordered the Winter Tamale – a roasted pumpkin, pinto bean & caramelized onion filling, chocolate-almond mole, sauteed winter greens, cabbage & avocado salad and carrot-habanero sauce.
BF got the Black Chanterelle Mushrooms En Papillote, which may not have been a great choice for him since he doesn’t like to touch his food. As our waitress explained, En Papillote means “in paper”. Don’t worry, he successfully opened the package with a knife and fork. This dish included borlotti bean & leek confit with exotic mushrooms, barley risotto, creamy sherried root vegetable ragu and seared winter chicories. He chose this for the mushrooms and barley, and I think he got more beans than he bargained for.
The picture of dessert is the worst of them all, and I don’t have the exact description, but I can tell you that it was a spiced ginger baby bundt cake that came with ice cream, the flavor of which I don’t recall. I do recall that it was very, very tasty.
Summary: Go to Millennium if you get the chance. It’s just as good as you expect. I will definitely be going back as often as possible.
Oh, and since mom likes taking pictures of me, here I am at the Saturday morning Ferry Building Farmers’ Market holding a daikon radish sample for mom, since she had never seen them before.
My CSA has not been stingy with the greens lately, so I’ve been trying to find different ways to prepare them. Here’s the CSA delivery:
leeks, fennel, bok choy, chard, kale & collards
carrots, red onions, navel oranges and two kinds of pear
The CSA newsletter came with a recipe for Creamed Greens that looked really good, and so I tried veganizing it with the chard. It didn’t turn out exactly as “creamed” as I expected, but it did taste really, really good, so I’m renaming it.
This is even better than it looks, I promise.
2 Tbs Earth Balance
1 large onion, diced
1 large bunch chard or kale, washed and cut into 1/2-inch wide ribbons, stems chopped
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer or milk
1/2 cup vegan parmesan (I used the sesame parmesan from Uncheese Cookbook)
salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and chopped stems, and saute on medium heat until translucent. Add greens to skillet and cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until greens are wilted. Turn heat to lowest setting and add creamer or milk. Stir for two to three minutes, the sauce will thickenn slightly. Add vegan parmesan, and continue to cook until sauce is thickened to your liking. Add salt & pepper to taste, and serve.
In addition to cooking greens, I’ve been learning to enjoy them raw. I knew I liked raw kale salad, but had my doubts about the heartier collard green. I wilted the greens using the same method as kale and dressed ’em as simply as possible, and this was very tasty. I wouldn’t want to eat raw collards every day or anything, but when you’ve got greens coming out of your ears this is a nice alternative.
Also pictured is a roasted veggie tofu quiche that tasted amazing but didn’t hold together exactly well, so I’ll be making it again soon then posting the recipe.
Raw Collard & Carrot Ribbons
1 bunch collards, washed and cut across into thin strips
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
2 medium carrots, julienned
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp agave nectar
In a large bowl, combine collard, olive oil and salt. Massage with your hands until the collard turn a bright green and seem a bit wilted. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
Random baking: I had a large portion of butternut squash just sitting on the counter, so I cooked it, pureed it, and subbed it for pumpkin in the Pumpkin & Carob Chip Muffins from Vegan Lunchbox.
There must’ve been something off about my batter, because the tops puffed up kind of funny. They got crispy though, which is nice, and the muffins tasted great.
At one point I had large amounts of leeks piling up in the fridge, so I finally made the White Bean & Leek Cassoulet from Veganomicon. I’ve been wanting to try this recipe ever since I got the book over a year ago.
I was expecting this to be really amazing based on other internet reviews, and while it was quite comforting and tasty, it left a little to be desired. Maybe my hopes were too high. I think maybe I used too many potatoes or cut them too large, because I felt like the starch of the potatoes overshadowed the biscuits. Also, I didn’t put enough salt in the gravy, and I don’t think the biscuit recipe called for enough salt either. The gravy was nice, but the overall flavor of the dish was a little “flat”, if that makes sense, so I think when I make it again (and I will), I’ll add some mustard or lemon juice, or something else that will give it some zing.
Next up: My first experiences with fennel, including the quiche pictured above.