4/23/2012

sprig & vine, take two

Yum

This particular meal took us back to the original founding of this blog that celebrates all green food, all takes on vegetarianism. This time, however, rather than ringing in the new year, a difficult thing to do at the end of April, we went instead to ring in new possibility: a new internship, starting this week, with a lovely up-and-coming company called Holstee. My initial introduction to Holstee came through their Manifesto, a resonating collection of words that outlines the motivation behind the company's founding, one that encourages us to live life without over-thinking, find enjoyment wherever possible, and always finding reasons to celebrate creativity.

Another piece of the Manifesto hastens us to this: "When you eat, enjoy every last bite." That being said, what better way to toast new opportunity than with a culinary celebration of vegan variety. Sprig & Vine, an entirely vegan restaurant in New Hope, Pennsylvania, has an ever-changing menu of local and seasonal ingredients. While they are also open for both Sunday brunch and weekday lunches, we decided to revisit this favorite location for their dinner hour, with options for entrees, salads, appetizers, and desserts that never dare to disappoint.


With cinnamon plum tea steeping on the table (and YES, it really is as good as it sounds), we began this meal with an appetizer of golden beet crostini. Complemented beautifully with the cashew "ricotta" and black beluga lentils, this light starter was the perfect opener without leaving us too full before the salads arrived.



Though we both decided that Spring & Vine's salads have drastically grown in size since our first visit and all others since, they have certainly not decreased in flavor or compromised quality. AMAZE. While we both ordered different options (and swapped about halfway through, which is really the way to go), I have no idea which one I liked better, both so equally full of fresh, bright, earthy flavors. The first, a combination of frisee (by far, my favorite salad green), thin slices of pink lady apple and fennel, grainy mustard dressing, and crushed pistachios on top. (Not the greatest picture, admittedly, but I can ALSO admit I was in a hurry to eat!) The second salad, which is positively vibrant, is a killer combination of Asian-inspired flavor: shredded cabbage, charred edamame, radish, spicy pickled carrots, scallions and black sesame, with a miso, cranberry, kumquat dressing. Even the biggest anti-vegetable person couldn't hate it if they tried.



Despite the amount of food that already came and went from our table, I found myself more than ready for our entrees to arrive. (Usually by this point in the meal we have ordered so much that I start to wonder if I will do more than just stare at the main dish until the waitress returns to neatly pack it into eco-friendly take-out boxes.)

BUT, I was super excited for my smash of flavors as WELL as the opportunity to try several new vegetables, which is always an exciting feat: saffron risotto cakes (SO rich and flavorful and STILL VEGAN. Monumentally impressive) surrounded by foraged Japanese knotweed (shoots that resembled larger asparagus with a tangy lemon flavor that harkened to a pickled artichoke), fiddlehead ferns (a perfectly adorable curly fern, the texture of a green bean with the subtle bite of a radish), ramps (a delicately flavored member of the onion family) and green garbanzo, all garnished with the most amazing pureed pea sauce. Honestly, as good as the entire combination was, I could have just eaten a bowl of that puree. This is not a joke.


A semi-close up of the fiddlehead, the knotweed, and the magical pea sauce. 

Cute Colin's main course came in the form of a cornmeal-crusted tempeh with a smoked maple-mustard glaze (namely, to die for), grilled asparagus (I believe that today's menu says this dish comes with grilled broccoli, and I must say, we were lucky to have the asparagus which was literally the most flavorful version of this vegetable I have ever had), beside a potato, rutabaga, and sage mash.

Also, a couldn't-pass-it-up side of kennebec potato wedges, perfectly seasoned with a side of grain mustard aïoli. Yum-o.



While we did end up taking home a good portion of leftovers (I'd say just enough for today's lunch, perhaps), we absolutely could not pass up the dessert menu, as long as it could be boxed up to-go. We knew, from previous experience of feeling too full, that it could. Though all of the decadent-sounding options were tempting, we went with a favorite from other past visits: the cookie plate. The perfect dessert for two as it comes with two of each variety, we shared a mix of the lavender snickerdoodles (probably my favorite), orange-pistachio teacakes (also damn good), and cornmeal shortbread with blueberry jam (okay, those are my favorite, too).

And no, no picture of those, because, well, we ate them before I had the chance to think otherwise.