The other pilot told them when he made the reservations that I was a vegan and to please prepare a dinner for me. It was a prix fixe for Thanksgiving and I was very curious to see what the world class chef would have served to, oh, I don't know, Natalie Portman?
First of course the bread and butter was set down. Hmmmm. I asked for some olive oil and it came with a little pitcher of balsamic. I then noticed that the table hadn't been speared with the "VEGAN HERE" pennant so as I thought, "Nah, no way here, in THIS place," I asked, "Is the bread vegan?"
Do you know it wasn't? If I really WAS somebody who had any clout in the world of high priced influence I would have made a big deal ... and told all my rich friends to give Nevis or St. Barts a try next winter instead of here. Just because. A place like this should have thought of EVERY detail. Vegan isn't a strange word here. This is a place where the suites go for between $565 and $4800 a night. Seriously, you can't make sure, with 8 hours of advanced notice, that the bread is vegan too? But ... I said nothing. I wanted to have a relaxing evening. Fighting the demons that lurk below the surface to remain submersed and let things flow off my back. Aikido.
Soup this time of year is going to be some kind of squash and tonight it was a Pumpkin Puree with Fennel and Brandy. There were some strings of something on top with a sage leaf. Now this is embarrassing but I tasted the strands, chewed them, felt the heat well up, felt the familiar consistency in my mouth and couldn't for the life of me recall the name of what I was eating. I asked and of course, (head slap here), it was ginger. (Alzheimer's?) I knew that!
The soup was creamy and tasted of pumpkin. I really didn't get a hit of fennel but did get a hint of brandy. Good, but didn't knock my socks off.
|First course was a Pumpkin, Fennel and Brandy soup. There were strands of raw ginger under that sage leaf.|
|A no Bleu Cheese here salad.|
Classically trained chefs think of us vegans as veg heads. Some do a fantastic job of working with vegetables, as evidenced here, but it seems hard for them to think outside the box. Combining a bunch of side dishes beautifully on a plate is still, well, a bunch of vegetables.
I don't think I'd ever had forbidden rice before. It was crunchy, toothy really, in a tempeh sort of way, (not an undercooked sort of way), and added a nice earthiness to the dish and a contrast texture to the veggies.
Now onto dessert. I think the dessert was the high point of the meal. I just figured on a bunch of fruit and they could get rid of the pain in the butt vegan but this was a plate of mixed berries with 3 different sorts of sorbet.
Top left:grape and walnut mint. Top right: Apricot with cardamon and tarragon. Front and center, stone fruit with potato vodka and ginger.
Although the flavor of the fruit was less than stellar, (fresh strawberries in the middle of the winter in Wyoming?), the sorbets were all outstanding. I really didn't get any tarragon but the other flavors all came through and I wish they had a bigger scoop in the kitchen.
|Best dish of the evening.|
|It's hard to feel comfortable in a place like this actually licking the dish but the melted sorbet was worth it.|
That sherry, Ximinez San Emilio, was also a perfect compliment to the dessert.
Although nothing in the meal was, "bad," I see now why people who have a ton and a half of money and stay at places like this travel with their own chefs.