Last night’s blogger dinner at Rosebud was just awesome. The 6 of us came in expecting a simple 5 course vegetarian tasting menu that turned into a 3 hour 10 course veggie explosion with flowing booze and riotous laughter.
From left to right: Laura and myself in front; Lee, Stacy, Corinne, and Heather in back. (Thanks to Lee for this pic!)
Laura approached chef Ron Eyester to prepare a vegetarian tasting dinner for us in his very meat-centric restaurant Rosebud. We were delighted to hear that he was actually really excited by the challenge!
He started us off with something none of us were expecting, a veggie cocktail!
It was tomato vodka, pickled cucumber, and soda with the springiest little baby heirloom tomatoes. I was really expecting this to be savory like a bloody mary, but it was sweet! So interesting to have the flavor of tomato in a sweet drink, it really made the tomato taste like the fruit it really is.
First up was a play on pate, pink-eyed pea pate with pickled radishes on crispy toast. As as someone who loves to eat split pea soup on toast, this was fantastic.
Then just as we were talking about how refreshing a good caprese salad is in the summertime, this gorgeous bowl of spicy tomato broth with a thick piece of buttery mozzarella topped with apricots came out! Perfect timing.
And since tomatoes are really hitting their peak, the next course was a sliced heirloom crimson tomato with sriracha pineapple and fresh parsley. Very refreshing.
And then the only flop of the night, a potato soup with a broccoli puree pool and soft boiled farm egg, sprinkled with dehydrated cheddar. I was so excited for this but it was crazy levels of salty. Chef Ron knew it too and apologized with a free bottle of off-the-menu wine! Can’t argue with that.
I’m not a wine person though so I ordered a Sazerac instead. Rye whiskey, bitters, and a citrus twist. Very boozy and very good.
At this point, we were all thinking it was about to wrap up and dessert would be out soon, so when this enormous plate of curried brussels sprouts with shaved carrots and crispy won tons came out smelling like an aromatic asian street-food cart, we were stunned.
This was the favorite dish of the night for most, and while I loved it, I was completely enamored with what came next.
Mac. And. Cheese.
I was painfully full and yet still managed to finish every bite of this lusciously creamy goat’s milk mac and cheese with young cauliflower, dinosaur kale, and crispy Ritz. This is the kind of food that makes you gain 10 pounds just looking at it, but it was so worth it!
At this point, we all had that kind of glazed over-fed look on our faces, and then out comes this little beauty. Tempura eggplant over red curry tomato sauce and topped with file beans, feta, and olives.
Apparently these file beans are only in season for a few short weeks before they’re gone again. They were wonderful, somewhere in between a green bean and a wax bean, sweet and snappy. The eggplant was loved by even the eggplant-haters in the room.
Dessert yet? Nope.
What looks like a risotto is actually leek and oyster mushroom rice grits in a tomato vegetable broth and topped with a charred baby leek.
This was incredible, and if it had come earlier in the meal I would have downed it in three bites, but with how painfully full I was I could only manage to graze on it. Chef Ron told us that he used nearly 20 pounds of leeks to make just our 6 portions! They had been cooking down all day. I felt so bad to not be able to finish this little labor-of-love.
Then finally came the first of 2 dessert courses, bleu cheese and blueberries with a port-balsamic reduction. So good together and the reduction was nice and sweet.
And the finale, spiced bruleed peaches over salted caramel ice cream.
I don’t know how I found room for this but somehow I managed.
Chef Ron offered us all some small-batch bourbon to go with our dessert. Being a serious whiskey girl, this thrilled me. The sweet caramel notes in the bourbon were brought out by the sweeter caramel ice cream. Fantastic pairing and I’m so impressed that Chef Ron didn’t hesitate to serve straight bourbon to a group of 6 veggie-eating girls.
The whole experience was phenomenal. We all felt really special being doted on in our little private back-room sanctuary for this epic veggie feast, or “veggie jam” as Chef Ron called it.
Thanks Laura for organizing and thanks girls for the fun company!