Up to this point in the weekend, the food at the festival had been good. Just good. Not great. Nothing had wowed me. In other words, I was still waiting to go gaga over something.
In spite of this, I strutted into the Ferry Building with my chin up high. Brush that dirt off yo shoulder.
Having seen the menu beforehand, my expectations weren’t high. In fact, I was a bit nervous about how vegan-izable the meals would be. Especially given the minimal veg-friendly options available at the previous Foodbuzz events.
Things got off to a rocky start as there were zero vegan appetizers. I didn’t really care since I was still full from the tasting gala – ha! Instead, I sipped on a glass of white wine before we were led upstairs to the second floor above the Ferry Building to be seated for dinner.
I’m happy to say, the tides turned at the gala dinner.
You know things are looking up when your table setting has more wine glass than you can count on one hand. Wine pairings for each course? Yes please.
If there’s one thing I learned from Julia Roberts, it’s how to approach fancy shmancy silverware.
The food was prepared by Paula Leduc Catering and the wine was from Bonny Doon Vineyard.
The first course was a Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Wild Arugula and Basil Puree which was paired with a 2009 Bonny Doon Vineyard Ca’del Solo Albarino.
It was simple and tasty. I love golden beets but rarely eat them, so I was quite pleased. The Albarino was also probably my favorite wine of the night.
The second course was Seared Tofu “scallops” with Braised Fennel and Garnished Fried Fennel Fonds with a 2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc.
Since the non-vegan option was scallops, it was so clever how they made mine look nearly identical. Unfortunately, the tofu was a bit bland. I used the sweet candied orange to add flavor, but I steered clear of the fennel. I know others love the stuff, but I really don’t like fennel. It’s one of the rare exceptions to my I-like-every-vegetable claim. I suppose it’s more of an herb than a veggie, but whatever.
For the entree, they brought me a Mushroom Stack with Local Wild Mushrooms and Butternut Squash Puree and was paired with a 2006 Bonny doon Vineyard le Cigare Volant.
The mushroom tower was so good! I love mushrooms! Love love love them.
The butternut squash puree was also perfection. It was about as pure as it gets, and I loved that it didn’t have any complex seasonings detracting from the squash. Butternut may have usurped pumpkin in my seasonal obsession rankings after this meal. Straight up.
And then there was dessert.
The night ended on a sweet note with a Poached Pear filled with Sorbet and served with Orange, Grapes, and Medjool Dates.
The final wine pairing was a 2008 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vinferno dessert wine.
If I could have made love to the dates, I may have. The pear was also perfectly caramelized, and somehow the sorbet accented it without making it too sweet.
After dinner, we were eager to hit the town. The first bar we went to, Clock Bar, was nearly at capacity and our feet were way too sore.
Since nobody else seemed to be in the mood to stand either, we all made our way back to the Sir Francis Drake lobby. But not without a bathroom photo sesh.
Although I was ready to rock when dinner ended, after trekking from bar to bar, my motivation to rally was waning. In the end, the 50 year old in me won, and we all made our way back to our room where I happily face planted onto my bed. At least I managed to change into pajamas, which is more than SOME people can say [cough, cough, Holly].
Thank you Foodbuzz for a perfectly wonderful vegan meal. This was the kind of food I was hoping for, and as a result, Saturday’s Gala was a night I will never forget.