and another new year


I would like to begin this post by stating (ahem, bragging) that for the first time in my adult life, I have held tight to a New Year's resolution, namely to create and maintain this here food blog, and have never felt more proud of myself in this respect. Also, I think I've figured out the loophole with resolutions: if it's something you love, you'll actually follow through.

Crazy enough to work?

As you'll remember, this whole green girl business began with a certain celebratory New Year's Eve dinner at Sprig & Vine. Well, we've been at it again: we hit up S&V again this Dec. 31st, this year with a seasonal menu even better (dare I say it?) than the last. Six courses at $65.00 per person and nary a mushroom in site for cute Colin's sake, I could hardly decide which dish was my favorite, each one more vibrant and flavorful than the last.

Good grief: my meal could have started and ended with this first plate, the seared carrot pavé. Teeny tiny serving that it was, amuse-bouche-y, I could have taken 2 dozen more and called it a night. Absolutely amazing, with almond, lime salt, cumin and smoke chile aïoli, which had just enough heat for my taste. Which, as far as heat goes, is usually pretty limited.

AND, now the root vegetable bisque. The winter version of myself was made for soups like this: rich and smooth thanks to the cashew cream, and just a hint of crunch from the grilled radicchio, apple, and onion garnish. The drizzle of porcini oil really brought out the deep roasty-ness of the root veggies, something like a parsnip and turnips and a carrot or two. Di-vine.

Salad time. Sprig & Vine always has these perfect salad combos, just that balanced mix of sweet and savory and herby and crunch. Salads always need the crunch, which was so expertly provided here with fried sunchoke. I do believe I Googled sunchokes mid-dinner, having never tasted (or seen?) one before. (Also known as a Jerusalem artichoke, it looks a little bit like a darker hot-air-balloon-shaped piece of ginger. The taste, slightly smoky and a touch of sweet.) The sunchoke mixed well with the local lettuces, mutsu apple (a sharp, Granny Smith-esque flavor), and roasted shallot and mustard dressing.

Next came what Colin deemed to be his favorite dish of the night: warm roasted red and gold beets. If you roast just about any vegetable, and I'm serious about this, you very well may hear the heavens open up with song. It's just meant to be, roasting and vegetables. These supersweet beets came with baby arugula, strawberry chile purée (?!), charmoula aïoli, cumin-radish vinaigrette, and fried red quinoa.

Also, I don't believe this picture does justice to the beautiful intricacies in this dish's presentation. Absolutely stunning.

Seared cauliflower was presented to us next, with a lemon, garlic and white wine sauce. It sat on top of an INSANE cauliflower purée which had a natural sweetness so intense it almost tasted sugared. This came with grilled leek and black lentils and was topped with olive oil breadcrumbs, which added such a  fantastic layer of crunch.

Fully, well, full by now, and though we'd both announced that we would finish everything and take home no leftovers (while cute Colin succeeded, I faltered somewhere along the cauliflower-line), we were by this point eagerly awaiting dessert: ginger five spice cake?! Part of me still doesn't believe it really happened. This was, no joke, my ideal dessert. Hold on: MY FAVORITE DESSERT EVER? I understand the extreme measures I'm taking here, but seriously, it was flawless. In all ways. I don't even know what else to say except: of course, five spice ginger cake, fennel-butternut squash ice cream, heirloom cranberries, Asian pear and gooseberry. Now do you understand?!