Pardon the darkness of the images, if you will. Though mood lighting is perfect for well, mood lighting, it isn't all that kind to accurately capturing the delicately crafted plates we were presented. I digress.
I think the food gets better every year. To start, we were presented with an almost comically vibrant bowl of purple sweet potato purée (purple accuracy not quite depicted, but imagine: the most royal purple, multiplied by a billion plus infinity. Get it?) made with coconut milk, crushed peanuts, green onion and a mix of African spices. Insanely good. While I've had purple regular potatoes, I've never ventured into the purple sweet variety. Now I know what I've been missing.
Next came a salad of Pink Lady apples, frisée and smoked tofu. All these flavors mixed in with crushed pistachios, watermelon radishes (some of the prettiest I've seen to date), dried cranberries with cider and grain mustard vinaigrette.
Course three was a winter vegetable pakora, which is basically an Indian-inspired fritter. A combination of root vegetables and cauliflower, the pakora came on top of a red lentil and sweet potato hummus and was presented with a carrot-ginger chutney.
Next was (and this one was for me only) an exotic mushroom and leek risotto. Due to his mushroom aversion, cute Colin had a more basic, though still delicious, risotto. Made with a combination of farro, barley and arborio rice, the risotto came with a miso-red wine broth, fried sunchokes and a drizzle of porcini oil. Amazing.
Course five was my favorite, and I'm not just talking about this meal in particular. I mean, maybe of all time. Ever, in my entire life of food thus far. THAT is a serious statement. A cauliflower griddle cake, which was so good that my swooning and favoritism could have been decided right then and there. Still, it went on top of a serving of saffron, almond and grilled carrot quinoa (YES), a combination of braised purple kale and gold raisins (ALSO YES), a nora chile-black garlic aioli (EXACTLY) and was finished with a parsley-caper salsa verde. I'll take a dozen more platefuls of that, please.
As if we could possibly eat another bite, when our waiter asked if we wanted to take our dessert to go I believe I audibly scoffed. Dessert to go? Please. What do I look like. Not when there's almond-pear tart to be had! On a super sturdy almond crust (tasting much like a cross between a classic biscotti and almond macaroon), was a roasted pear tart, surrounded by a roasted pear purée, orange blossom pink peppercorn ice cream and coconut powder. First of all, this powder stuff was awesome. I'll take all my foods in powder form from now on. And the ice cream, almost perfumed and only mildly sweet, was the perfect counterpart to this naturally decadent tart.
As I've said in years past, it's hard to not anticipate good things to come when you ring in the new year with a meal like that. Spring & Vine does it again: Happy 2014!