Of Roots and Blooms Vegan Food

Of Roots and Blooms recently made an announcement that they are working on two cookbooks and unspecified future projects TBD so if you haven’t been before, it’s only a few weeks before they are changing their schedule. Up until end of September they will pop up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont, and up to end of August they will finish popping up Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. After that, who knows what will happen: apparently not even owners Nick and Carina, who only share that they don’t have anything solid except knowing “this while operation is about to morph into a new incarnation and life phase”

So hurry in now to try some of the best vegan food I’ve ever had! Here’s a look at some example greatness Of Roots and Blooms vegan food I’ve been able to enjoy to entice you to try it, and that vegan food isn’t all raw or dry food – it can be luxuriously rich too in the right hands.

This grilled cheese with cashew fromage fort, cheddar, spinach, toasted levain and side of chips reminds me when I first fell in love with them as a Cheese Plate cart.
Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This grilled cheese with cashew fromage fort, cheddar, spinach, toasted levain and side of chips reminds me when I first fell in love with them as a Cheese Plate cart. Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their grilled cheese with cashew fromage fort, cheddar, spinach, toasted levain and side of chips reminds me when I first fell in love with them as a Cheese Plate cart.

And just as you would expect, this mac and cheese is so rich and creamy that you can barely tell it’s not real cheese but vegan cheese. This is their IPA Mac and Cheese, made with Culmination’s Phaedrus IPA and topped with rushed pretzels and chives.
Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their IPA Mac and Cheese, made with Culmination's Phaedrus IPA and topped with rushed pretzels and chives Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their IPA Mac and Cheese, made with Culmination's Phaedrus IPA and topped with rushed pretzels and chives

One of the things that really impresses me though beyond that is how incredible and inventive they are at creating vegan adoptions of East Coast seafood, like New England clam chowder, shrimp scampi, clammy linguine, meatball or cheesesteak sandwiches. This is their surprisingly evocative of the sea but vegan and so velvety Vegan Oyster Stew with cashew potato cream and oyster mushrooms, served with oyster crackers
Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Oyster Stew with cashew potato cream and oyster mushrooms, served with oyster crackers Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Oyster Stew with cashew potato cream and oyster mushrooms, served with oyster crackers

Or how about when they made Vegan Lobster Ravioli with vegan lobster meat, chives and almond ricotta stuffed into red bell pepper pasta with tomato saffron cream sauce with Calabrian chilies and almond ricotta topped with arugula and peas.

Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Lobster Ravioli with vegan lobster meat, chives and almond ricotta stuffed into red bell pepper pasta with tomato saffron cream sauce with Calabrian chilies and almond ricotta topped with arugula and peas Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Lobster Ravioli with vegan lobster meat, chives and almond ricotta stuffed into red bell pepper pasta with tomato saffron cream sauce with Calabrian chilies and almond ricotta topped with arugula and peas

Don’t miss out on desserts either – which can varry to mousse to cheesecake and more. This is the Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake with rhubarb sauce
Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake with rhubarb sauce Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake with rhubarb sauce

You can follow OfRootsandBlooms on Instagram to see what will be their menu of the week – they change every week. As mentioned, they are at noon to 8 pm at Culmination Brewery (2117 NE Oregon) until end of August and Wednesday at 3-10 PM at Bottles (5015 NE Fremont) until end of September and after that it’s unclear.

Have you heard of Of Roots and Blooms vegan food before, what do you think of some of the dishes they offer, what would you try?

Signature

Tesoaria Wine and Vegan Food Pairing

I admit I’ve been a wine club member and even longer a fan of TeSóAria wines. Recently they have started offering vegan tapas on their daily tapas menu to accompany their dozen or so wines that are available at any one time to taste or purchase by the glass, in flights, or in bottles, and many of those wines are award-winning. At the time of the brunch, they were up to 97 medals!
Award winning wines at Tesoaria Award winning wines at Tesoaria

And now, starting today they have set aside every Thursday for what they call Vegan Thursday: Shut Up and Eat Your Vegetables night where all the tapas will be vegan – the menus are available starting at 5 PM. They also will be offering a vegan brunch with wine pairings by reservation only (one seating)  every few weeks. It’s not often that you see vegan food paired with wines, and it’s worth highlighting for my vegan friends out and there – and even if you’re not vegan, the Tesoaria Wine and Vegan Food Pairing is so good you will want it anyway.
Tesoaria Wine and Vegan Food Pairing at a vegan brunch - owner and winemaker John Olson describing the wine Tesoaria Wine and Vegan Food Pairing at a Vegan Brunch - yes pairing vegan food and wine- owner and winemaker John Olson describing the wine
The name for TeSóAria Vineyard & Winery comes from combining Terra (earth), Sol (sun), Aria (air and music) which are three important parts that make their wines so unique. Owner and winemaker John Olson and his family love music, and it is part of the TeSóAria experience. At their wine members pick up parties I’ve often enjoyed hearing his children play music and sing, and they host live music in the Portland Tasting Room on Saturdays. While aging the wines in the barrels, TeSóAria plays music through Bose speakers to keep the wine moving – as well as possibly imparting a little extra terroir.
Music is part of the Terrroir of Tesoaria Wines

The TeSóAria Wine and Vegan Food Pairing Brunches will be offered every few weeks as a special event  – aka, they will not be weekly so check their events listing on the website and sign up for their mailing list to be in the know. The next Vegan Brunch at the Portland Tasting Room is Sunday, July 24th, 11am $45, tout compris. Limited seating, RSVP required to events @ tesoaria.com

The food is inspired newly each time so expect to see new creative additions all the time by Chef Max Germano and Sous Chef Daniel Escalle (seen here preparing the Vegan Cassoulet during the vegan brunch) for what will be on the menu.
Tesoaria Vegan Brunch - Sous Chef Daniel Escalle preparing the Vegan Cassoulet.

Here’s a look at the inaugural vegan brunch I attended to give you an idea of what the experience could include with the 4 courses with the wine pairings.

Tesoaria Wine and Vegan Food Pairing: Vegan Brunch

1st course

Chicory Salad with Roasted Apricot Vinaigrette and croutons paired with 2015 Vermentino Secco and 2014 Field Blend #1. The greens in this salad included endive, frisee, arugula and interestingly some wasabi greens to add a hint of spiciness.
TeSóAria Wine and Vegan Food Pairing Brunch 1st course Chicory Salad with Roasted Apricot Vinaigrette and croutons paired with 2015 Vermentino Secco and 2014 Field Blend #1 TeSóAria Vegan Brunch 1st course Chicory Salad with Roasted Apricot Vinaigrette and croutons paired with 2015 Vermentino Secco and 2014 Field Blend #1

Candied pepitas with radishes and macerated apricots add additional texture and flavors to the plate that I thought were best brought out by the Field Blend #1 since each dish gave me a chance to go a White vs Red: Who Did It Better comparison.

The Field Blend is the red wine that is a tribute to old school wine making where winemakers are more focused on the flavors then getting hung up on specific varietals. TeSóAria, by the way, cultivates more than 25 different varietals from the Southern Oregon Umpqua Valley, Celestina Vineyard in Medford Rogue Valley, riesling from Willamette Valley, and some from Northern California.

2nd course

Homemade Cashew Cheese Stuffed Peppers with Tabouleh, Sweet Romanesco and Mint Oil paired with 2015 Riesling (sourced from Willamette) and 2014 Bull’s Blood (a Hungarian style red wine). He has a specific way he tells the inspiration story behind the Bull’s Blood name though rest assured there is no bull harmed in the story or in the wine making. One new trivia I learned though is that the Kadarka grape they use for this red were smuggled vines from Hungary that he inherited (he’s a rebel, but didn’t smuggle them in himself, phew)!
TeSóAria Vegan Brunch 2nd course Cashew Cheese Stuffed Peppers with Tabouleh, Sweet Romanesco and Mint Oil paired with 2015 Riesling and 2014 Bull's Blood TeSóAria Wine and Vegan Food Pairing Brunch 2nd course Cashew Cheese Stuffed Peppers with Tabouleh, Sweet Romanesco and Mint Oil paired with 2015 Riesling and 2014 Bull's Blood

With the surprise spiciness from the peppers I thought the Riesling was the winner of this pairing to balance out the dish, though normally I like drinking the Bull’s Blood on it’s own!

3rd course

Vegan Cassoulet with Fava Beans and Maitake Mushrooms, Chickpea Croutons, Roasted Vegetables, White Miso, and Tahini paired with 2015 Bella Rosa and 2012 Vindetta Reserve.
TeSóAria Vegan Brunch 3rd course Vegan Cassoulet with Fava Beans and Maitake Mushrooms, Chickpea Croutons, Roasted Vegetables, White Miso, and Tahini paired with 2015 Bella Rosa and 2012 Vindetta Reserve TeSóAria Wine and Vegan Food Pairing Brunch 3rd course Vegan Cassoulet with Fava Beans and Maitake Mushrooms, Chickpea Croutons, Roasted Vegetables, White Miso, and Tahini paired with 2015 Bella Rosa and 2012 Vindetta Reserve

Cassoulet is traditionally a peasant dish with beans and meat, and I enjoyed here how the use of mushrooms and miso really gave an extra thickness to the cassoulet to make it meaty like without actual meat. For me the Vindetta Reserve red wine was my preferred pairing of the two.

4th course

Dessert came as a Rosemary Shortcake with Apricot Jam, Apricots, Lemon Olive Oil, Fried Rosemary and Muscat Agave Nectar. The apricots are macerated in the Bella Rosa that here is also paired with the dish (2015 Bella Rosa Secco).
TeSóAria Vegan Brunch 4th course Rosemary Shortcake with Apricot Jam, Apricots, Fried Rosemary paired with 2015 Bella Rosa Secco and 2015 Sparkling Moscato TeSóAria Vegan Brunch 4th course Rosemary Shortcake with Apricot Jam, Apricots, Fried Rosemary paired with 2015 Bella Rosa Secco and 2015 Sparkling Moscato

The other wine pairing here is the 2015 Sparkling Moscato, showing off their recently started TeSóAria Sparkling Wine Program – this particular Moscato just won a Silver Medal at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and they were confused/surprised when he entered the wine in a growler! You see, the sparkling wines of TeSóAria are on tap and you can purchase them by the (refillable!) growler here in the tasting room.

Other Excuses/Rationalizations to stop by the Portland Tasting Room:

  • On Tuesdays the Portland Tasting Room hosts Pizza Tuesdays where every Tuesday, housemade pizza is complimentary and certain wines are on special. Open house from 6 – 9 PM or until they are out of pizza.
  • They also hold Hangry Hump Day every Wednesday at The Portland Tasting Room. Chef Max’s complimentary yummies and Wine Specials vary based on the week which in the past can be as varied (and making for fun wine pairings!) as from fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, lamb gyros, chicken teriyaki, to chicken tikka masala or smoked chicken biscuits with mac and cheese and more. Open house from 6pm to 9pm or until the food is gone.

The vegan only nights are only on Thursdays, but they have also added vegan options to their always available tapas menu that includes choices like
Tasting Boards with the Tesoaria Sparkling Wine at the Sparkling Wine Release Party

  • the vegan Olive Tapenade made with Castelveltrano and Kalamata olives with herbs and toasted bread;
  • Cheese Board with house baked bread;
  • Charcuterie Board that includes Ghost Pepper Salami and housemade charcuterie items;
  • the vegan Mezze Board with Hummus, Lebneh, Marinated Olives, Roasted Almonds, Cucumber and Flatbread;
  • Focaccia Pizza (including vegan pizza option);
  • Smoked Salmon brined in TeSóAria Bella Bianca wine before being cold smoked;
  • House cured ham sandwich with brie and house made mustard, greens and lemon chive vinaigrette
  • TeSóAria Housemade Candy Bars with salted almond shortbread and vanilla caramel topped with dark chocolate and Maldon sea salt!

On the Thursday Shut Up and Eat Your Vegetables Vegan Takeover day, a recent visit yielded for me choices like

  • Samosas with curry cauliflower and potato with a spiced tomato sauce, suggested pairing 2015 Riesling but you can try whatever wine you’d like, I prefer red wine to white myself and there are plenty to choose from, many are award winning as you can see from the 100 medals Tesoaria has won with their wines
    Tesoaria's Thursday Portland Vegan Takeover Menu - Shut Up and Eat Your Vegetables, Samosas with curry cauliflower and potato with a spiced tomato sauce, suggested pairing 2015 Riesling though you can do whatever pairing you choose - I prefer red wine to white myself and there are plenty to choose from, many are award winning as you can see from the 100 medals Tesoaria has won with their wines Tesoaria's Thursday Portland Vegan Takeover Menu - Shut Up and Eat Your Vegetables, Samosas with curry cauliflower and potato with a spiced tomato sauce, suggested pairing 2015 Riesling but you can try whatever wine you'd like - I enjoyed a red because I prefer red to white wine
  • Portobello Sandwich with house made that day ciabatta, romesco, pickled peppers, roasted fennel greens, suggested wine pairing 2014 Bulls Blood though here I tried the 2014 Primitivo which was just as excellent!
    Tesoaria's Thursday Portland Vegan Takeover Menu - Shut Up and Eat Your Vegetables, Portobello Sandwich with house made that day ciabatta, romesco, pickled peppers, roasted fennel greens, suggested wine pairing 2014 Bulls Blood though here I tried the 2014 Primitivo which was just as excellent!
  • Som Tam Salad Rolls with a charred peanut and black garlic sauce, suggested pairing 2015 Vermentino or 2015 Bella Bianca; the charred peanut and black garlic sauce provide a savory and funky taste to mimic fish sauce but in a vegan way
    "Tesoaria's
  • Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Cake with macerated apricots, strawberry rhubarb compote, and fresh cherries, suggested wine pairing sparkling muscat, one of the sparkling wines of Tesoaria that you can get to go in a growler!
    "Tesoaria's Sparkling muscat in a growler bottled for you from the tap at the Tesoaria Tasting Room on North Williams

Their tasting menu also includes 5 flight options that include tapas paired with three glasses of wine – cheese, charcuterie, the wine maker’s flight with chef’s choice (1 of the wines will be the live barrel), or a library wine flight with chef’s choice of tapas to pair with the wine.
Open house at Tesoaria with a dozen wines to taste Open house at Tesoaria with a dozen wines to taste

Suffice it to say you will not lack for choice for types of wine to try at TeSóAria. Usually there are a little more than half a dozen white wine and a dozen red wines to choose by the glass or to make a wine flight, plus 2-3 sparkling wine you can try. Purchase a bottle of wine from the live barrel and they will hand bottle for you and write a custom message.
TeSóAria offers live barrels in their Portland Tasting Room for you to taste and will hand bottle if you puchase a bottle TeSóAria offers live barrels in their Portland Tasting Room for you to taste and will hand bottle if you puchase a bottle

TeSóAria wines are only available directly from the winery through their tasting rooms, mailing list, and wine clubs.

Locations of TeSóAria Tasting Rooms:

  • The Portland Tasting Room: 4003 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227
  • The Roseburg Tasting Room & Winery: 512 N Curry Road, Roseburg, OR 97471

Tesóaria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Signature

Farm Spirit Vegan Restaurant

I visited Farm Spirit Vegan Restaurant last year as part of my September Dinner celebrating my wedding anniversary with F. Then earlier this month we went for a second visit to see what magic they could pull in terms of their artistic presentation and locally sourced all completely vegan celebration of flavors during a winter season.
Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland

Also, we were celebrating a belated Valentine’s and dating anniversary. I don’t see why once you get married you wouldn’t celebrate both the dating anniversary and wedding anniversary, right? For Valentine’s we stayed in on the actual day and made fondue at home because it’s just too crowded and it’s more expensive to dine out – so we make this “Valentine’s Date Night” on a day after the actual holiday instead.
Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland

Although Farm Spirit has a set spot that they use, they operate as a pop up restaurant where you purchase tickets to your dinner before you go from their website for either Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evening  – there is only one seating per day. Your online reservation will be to one of their Tasting Menu chef’s choice dinner courses for $75. The tickets prices listed already include a gratuity, so after paying for your reservation you only need to show up and enjoy! The courses are all vegan, and by request can be prepared gluten free too with advance notice. Some dishes do contain nuts.

Additionally, you can choose to buy a supplement of a beverage pairing of 6 total glasses to go with dinner that is either non-alcoholic ($27) or wine pairings($38). You can purchase this when you make your dinner reservations, or wait until you arrive and see the menu for the evening to choose, or purchase each glass a la carte.
Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland

The logistics of service will change in April. They plan to have more seatings per night, starting at 5:15pm and going as late as 8:30pm by not seating all their 14 seats at once. When I return again to see their spring line up I’ll have to let you know how that is!

Even when they change their seatings, I expect they will continue their gorgeous presentation, vigilance to fine dining service with changing out of silverware and attentiveness to filling your beverage and making sure you want for nothing. But there’s no pretense here, In fact it is the exact opposite –  still very laid back as they might sing or dance a little to the music streaming, and they don’t mind and in fact encourage if you use your hands to eat, lick the sauce from the plate, and maybe when serving dessert serve themself a little bit of ice cream too.

When you arrive, you will look for your seats labeled with your last name,  all the seats are part of a chef’s counter so you can see them plating the next courses and speak freely with them on how they were inspired or created their dish.
Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland

Then, the parade of colors begins… we were welcomed first with warm homemade bread with local olive oil as we waited for the other guests to arrive. Did you know you can get locally made olive oil in Portland from Oregon Olive Mill? At the end of the meal, we saw Chef Tim preparing the rolls for the dinner the next evening as our dinner service was ending so they would have time to rise – so your bread truly is made fresh that day that you are served it.
Greeted with homemade warm bread when seated at Farm Spirit while waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive at the single seating that evening. This will change in April when they go to multiple seatings, but maybe the bread will still be the welcome dish! Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, Chef Tim preparning the homemade rolls to rise for tomorrow's dinner

Head Chef Aaron Adams introduces everyone on the Farm Spirit staff we’ll be seeing this night, including himself, Chef Ricardo, Chef Tim, and Chef Taylor.
February 2016 Farm Spirit Dinner night - head Chef Aaron Adams introduces everyone on the Farm Spiritstaff we'll be seeing this night, including himself, Chef Ricardo, Chef Tim, and Chef Taylor The motley crew of Farm Spirit PDX - head Chef Aaron Adams introduces everyone on the Farm Spiritstaff we'll be seeing this night, including himself, Chef Ricardo, Chef Taylor, and Chef Tim (left to right) The motley crew of Farm Spirit PDX - head Chef Aaron Adams introduces everyone on the Farm Spiritstaff we'll be seeing this night, including himself, Chef Ricardo, Chef Taylor, and Chef Tim (left to right)

Now the dinner courses:

We selected the Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing, where there is one glass paired with every 2-3 courses. That started with Lemon and Thyme Kefir.
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Lemon and Thyme Kefir Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Lemon and Thyme Kefir

Bouquet with filbert yogurt to snack, a dish we were encouraged to eat with our hands by holding the little bouquet and dipping it by not being provided silverware. I wiped the yogurt off the plate with my fingers til nothing was left.
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Bouquet with filbert yogurt to snack

As always, it’s fascinating watching the plating magic happen and their exquisite eye to detail – and the tease of seeing the next dish be created before your eyes and aromas of the next course after that being prepared!
Farm Spirit - careful plating that you can watch and you can talk to the chefs with questions as you sit at a chef's counter Farm Spirit - careful plating that you can watch and you can talk to the chefs with questions as you sit at a chef's counter

Warm smoked beets and preserved wild blackberries with fir, petite greens, and buckwheat
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Warm smoked beets and preserved wild blackberries with fir, petite greens, and buckwheat Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Warm smoked beets and preserved wild blackberries with fir, petite greens, and buckwheat

The next beverage pouring was Anise spiced Apple Juice
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Anise spiced Apple Juice Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Anise spiced Apple Juice

Arugula raab, smoked walnut milk, raw croutons, herb stems, and itty bitty kale chips
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Arugula raab, smoked walnut milk, raw croutons, herb stems, and itty bitty kale chips Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Arugula raab, smoked walnut milk, raw croutons, herb stems, and itty bitty kale chips

We were all wiping the plate clean of this rich next dish of Smoked potato puree, charred leeks, potato chips, ash, and black shallot – porcini jus, I was so impressed how melt in your mouth and flavorful this is without having to resort to the normal butter and cream or lots of garlic which are the usual supporting players.
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Smoked potato puree, charred leeks, potato chips, ash, and black shallot - porcini jus Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Smoked potato puree, charred leeks, potato chips, ash, and black shallot - porcini jus

Swiss chard stuffed like ravioli with cultured filbert, vegetal kvass, and parsley oil. This beauty took a while to compose, and it was fascinating how they sealed those pretty little leaves into “ravioli”. It’s dishes like this that show off how just because food is vegan doesn’t mean it can’t be bold without having to resort to a lot of spices – here fermentation to produce the kvass (a fermented liquid).
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Swiss chard stuffed like ravioli with cultured filbert, vegetal kvass, and parsley oil Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Swiss chard stuffed like ravioli with cultured filbert, vegetal kvass, and parsley oil

Next up for the drink pairing on the housemade non alcoholic side was Ginger Beer
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Ginger Beer Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Ginger Beer

When we saw the carrot course of Roasted carrots with burdock puree and herbs coming up F and I were bracing ourselves because it was our least favorite dish from our last dinner in September, but this time we really enjoyed it – the herbal flavor was dialed back from our initial experience.
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Roasted carrots with burdock puree and herbs Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Roasted carrots with burdock puree and herbs

Next Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing – Earl Grey Kombucha
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Earl Grey Kombucha

Sunchoke (pureed flesh and crispy skins), watercress pudding and fermented sunflower seed puree was my least favorite of the night, if I had to choose from. I’ve enjoyed many a crispy sunchoke whether it be fried or baked and these didn’t measure up to the memory of those. I didn’t mind the watercress or the sunflower puree – but the sunchoke didn’t seem to get elevated in any way I could discern, which seemed like a missed opportunity when they were hitting it out of the ballpark with all the other dishes.
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Sunchoke pureed flesh and crispy skins, watercress pudding and fermented sunflower seed puree Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Sunchoke (pureed flesh and crispy skins, watercress pudding and fermented sunflower seed puree

Wild winter shroom, parsnip puree, turnip rapini, black garlic, and texture of roots
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Wild winter shroom, parsnip puree, turnip rapini, black garlic, and texture of roots

The most pretty beverage of the evening, Lingonberry Sage Rejuvelac
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Lingonberry Sage Rejuvelac

At first, F saw how the little bruschetta like next course featuring pickled red onion and mustard seed sounded plain, and that as a non-onion lover he wouldn’t enjoy it. Thankfully, when we actually tried the course of Tim’s Volkornbrot with puree of filbers soured in rejuvelac, pickled red onion, and mustard seed, my hunch that Chef Tim’s homemade Volkornbrot bread would easily be able to stand up to such strong sounding flavors proved to be right. If I had to go on a diet of just bread and water, I would definitely pick Volkornbrot because it’s so hearty and filling packed with grains and seeds that’s healthy but also packed with chewy texture and flavors. If you haven’t had it before, I recommend visiting one of my favorite artisan bakeries in town, Fressen that specializes in German style bread. Anyway, when it comes to vegan bread though Tim’s Volkornbrot is the best vegan bread period I’ve ever had.
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Tim's Volkornbrot with puree of filbers soured in rejuvelac, pickled red onion, and mustard seed Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Tim's Volkornbrot with puree of filbers soured in rejuvelac

Now we are getting to the last and final home stretch, the 2 dessert courses, and the final housemade beverage pairing of Sarsaparilla Kefir
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Sarsaparilla Kefir

Fred’s favorite dessert of the two dessert courses was this Chewy and soft apple with chestnut and rosemary
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is the one of two final courses of dessert, here A chewy and soft apple with chestnut and rosemary Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is the one of two final courses of dessert, here A chewy and soft apple with chestnut and rosemary

However I throw my vote to possibly the healthiest dessert I’ve ever enjoyed, the Pumpkin seed ice cream, butternut, caramel, pumpkin seed milk, and granola
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is the last course and our 2nd dessert, here Pumpkin seed ice cream, butternut, caramel, pumpkin seed milk, and granola Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is the last course and our 2nd dessert, here Pumpkin seed ice cream, butternut, caramel, pumpkin seed milk, and granola

At the end of the meal, Chef Ricardo takes your order for final beverage service to end the meal (included with the meal so regardless of whether you had any wine or housemade beverage pairing). Thoughtfully, you get 4 choices, 2 coffees (caffeinated and decaffeinated, and you can get evaporated cane juice and/or hazelnut milk) or 2 teas (I went with the oolong here).
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, at the end you have choice of coffee or tea, and there are caffeinated and uncaffeinated options as well Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, at the end you have choice of coffee or tea, and there are caffeinated and uncaffeinated options as well

And sweetly, at the end they send you home with a little baked good to go that you can enjoy while thinking back on your wonderful meal during breakfast the next morning
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, at the end they send you home with a little baked good to have for breakfast the next morning Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, at the end they send you home with a little baked good to have for breakfast the next morning

If you’re married, do you celebrate your dating anniversary? And whether you are independent or partnered, do any of the courses we had that night call out to you that you’d want to try?

 

Signature

A September Dinner at Farm Spirit

I’ve had Farm Spirit on my wish list for quite a while since they first opened a few months ago in mid June, and recently for our wedding anniversary F and I enjoyed a Saturday evening 12 course dinner there.

Farm Spirit is completely vegan, and their dinners are purchased by ordering online a ticket to one of their 9 or 12 course chef’s choice dinner courses. The tickets prices listed already include a gratuity, though beverages are extra and you can choose from individual wine glasses to individual housemade non-alcoholic drinks, or a flight of either of those. The flights can be pre-purchased on the website, or  you can order the flight or individual drinks at dinner and pay for them then.

Wednesday and Thursdays are 9 courses for $65, and Friday and Saturday nights offer 12 courses at $75. You arrive slightly before 7 PM which is when they open the doors for everyone. When they serve dinner they do so when everyone arrives and everyone gets their courses simultaneously, so don’t be late as you’ll hold everyone else up!
Outside of Farm Spirit at 1414 SE Morrison Street waiting for doors to open (they did around 6:50 for our 7pm dinner) The inside of Farm Spirit consists of 14 seats Inside of Farm Spirit, at seating. Chef Ricardo welcomes us at the door and explains the beverage program while Chef Tim is on the final prep of the first course. Inside of Farm Spirit, at seating. Your placecards have your name from the reservation to indicate your seats. Wall behind the bar at Farm Spirit

The 14 seats inside Farm Spirit are right at a chef’s bar, which will remind you of a omakase bar such as the chef choice dinners at Nodoguro, or Holdfast. You get to watch them plate every course, which is pretty impressive as they plate the next upcoming courses on each side of the two induction burners in the center.

I was pretty excited because F, who is vegetarian, never accompanies me to these kind of chef’s choice fine dining dinners and has never had the experience of seeing chefs running the pass and the incredible art for the eye that these food plates offer besides culinary art for the palate. Also, he has a much better cameraphone than I do (Nokia Lumia 1020 vs my Samsung Galaxy S4) that is incredible at picking up light.
Seating at Farm Spirit Seating at Farm Spirit Inside of Farm Spirit, at seating. Your placecards have your name from the reservation to indicate your seats. Chef Aaron Adams is working on the prep of the second course.

The chefs of Farm Spirit are serious about their food, and serious about service that includes placecards for your assigned seats, replacing napkins when a guest is on a bathroom trip, and changing out silverware a few times (but not every course – each seating has a silverware rest used for a few courses before the next swap).

At the same time, Farm Spirit has a very laid back, playful vibe. During the 3 hour dinner experience, we saw a little dancing, a little singing, and the dining soundtrack varied from Under Pressure to Safety Dance.
Front of Menu on September 5, 2015 at Farm Spirit Back of Menu on September 5, 2015 at Farm Spirit\

As you can expect at a farm to table restaurant like this, the menu changes based on the availability of what is at the Farmer’s Market or the various farms they buy directly from, which Chef Aaron Adams seems to be at pretty much everyday as he listed off seriously half a dozen markets and farms from where he sources his ingredients.

Alongside Chef Aaron is Chef Ricardo (who also is the man behind the handmade drinks and all fermentation be it pickles, kombucha or yogurt) and Chef Tim (tweezer master who also bakes the bread and is responsible for desserts), and the three men pow-wow every week to decide what the dishes will be.

But, here’s what we had on September 5th, 2015.

First Course

Smoked eggplant pureed with fennel jam on housemade bread
Housemade bread, a smoked eggplant pureed, fennel jam

As I enjoyed my Tempranillo for the night, F had ordered the homemade non-alcoholic beverage flight so Chef Rico poured the Watermelon Mint Juice as Chef Adam explained the course and the philosophy of Farm Spirit and where they source their food.
Chef Aaron Adams of Farm Spirit explains the philosophy of the restaurant and where he sources his ingredients Chef Ricardo pours the Watermelon Mint Juice, the first of the housemade non-alcoholic drink flight Watermelon Mint Juice

Second Course

Celtuce, harukei turnips, peach puree, Soarer cucumber, fried walnuts
Celtuce, harukei turnips, peach puree, Soarer cucumber, fried walnuts Celtuce, harukei turnips, peach puree, Soarer cucumber, fried walnuts
This was one of F’s two favorite platings because of the charm the plating of a plant made from plant. This was the dish Chef Aaron was adding the nuts when we first walked in to be seated as Chef Tim worked on plating the third course…

Third Course

Tomato Water, plums, herbs, basil oil, nasturtium capers, cherry tomatoes
Plating of Third Course by Chef Tim at Farm Spirit Tomato Water, plums, herbs, basil oil, nasturtium capers, cherry tomatoes
As casual as Farm Spirit it, still felt too soon to be lifting bowls to our lips to drink every single drop of this course. Not sure we’d be shy the next time we have a bowl presented to us though.

Fourth Course

Summer Squash, ground cherries, arugula sauce, yellow tomato vinaigrette, calendula
Summer Squash, ground cherries, arugula sauce, yellow tomato vinaigrette, calendula
You can’t help but admire what a pain this probably was to prep and plate but with such effect at the end. As Chef Aaron began to plate the next course (we saw the tomato leaves in sauce being warmed by him as we enjoyed this first squash course), Chef Rico finished plating with Chef tim this Summer Squash dish and shifted back to beverage director role as he poured the next homemade non-alcoholic drink, the Earl Grey Kombucha
Teamwork by Chef Tim and Rico in plating the Summer Squash, ground cherries, arugula sauce, yellow tomato vinaigrette, calendula Chef Rico pouring the Earl Grey Kombucha Earl Grey Kombucha

Fifth Course

Squash Blossom stuffed with crushed potatoes, tomatillo, sweet corn, peppers and chilis, tomato sauce, tomato leaves dish
Squash Blossom crushed potatoes, tomatillo, sweet corn, peppers and chilis, tomato sauce, tomato leaves dish
Chef Aaron read everyone’s minds in explaining that yes, see, tomato leaves are totally edible and his 90 something year old grandmother has been eating them for decades.
Chef Aaron putting together the Squash Blossom crushed potatoes, tomatillo, sweet corn, peppers and chilis, tomato sauce, tomato leaves dish Chef Aaron putting together the Squash Blossom crushed potatoes, tomatillo, sweet corn, peppers and chilis, tomato sauce, tomato leaves dish

Sixth Course

Eggplant, coriander filbert yogurt, fried hazelnuts, fennel pollen, mint, dill
Eggplant, coriander filbert yogurt, fried hazelnuts, fennel pollen, mint, dill Eggplant, coriander filbert yogurt, fried hazelnuts, fennel pollen, mint, dill
I think the Eggplant was just roasted, grilled, and smoked or some combination that involved more cooking than one fire element, despite being listed as simply eggplant on the menu. I loved how smoky the eggplant was, and the combination with coriander and pollen.
Eggplant, coriander filbert yogurt, fried hazelnuts, fennel pollen, mint, dill Eggplant, coriander filbert yogurt, fried hazelnuts, fennel pollen, mint, dill

Seventh Course

Roasted (after Sous-Vide in aromatic herb bath) Carrot, smoked walnut milk, cabbage cider, golden beet juice
Roast Carrot, smoked walnut milk, cabbage cider, golden beet juice Roast Carrot, smoked walnut milk, cabbage cider, golden beet juice
Has a carrot looked so good before?
Roast Carrot, smoked walnut milk, cabbage cider, golden beet juice

Eighth Course

Chanterelles, celeriac puree, chervil, onion cream, chard
Chanterelles, celeriac puree, chervil, onion cream, chard Chanterelles, celeriac puree, chervil, onion cream, chard
We loved how creamy the celeriac puree is to give us richness in this dish. It was dramatic watching this plate begin to be plated given it started with Chef Tim literally firing each plate with a blowtorch.
Chef Tim just literally firing up the plates for the next course Chef Tim just literally firing up the plates for the next course

There was a little too much chervil in this dish for my taste that threw off the balance of the dish,  but still all the plates were scraped clean up and down the chefs bar. This dish was paired with the next homemade drink of the flight, Golden Beet Apple Ginger non-alcoholic beverage
Golden Beet Apple Ginger non-alcoholic homemade beverage at Farm Spirit

Ninth Course

Filbert yogurt and ash coated potatoes with herbs on red beet kombucha with a River Rock presentation
Chef Aaron painstakingly prepearing the Filbert yogurt and ash coated potatoes with herbs on red beet kombucha with a River Rock presentation Chef Aaron painstakingly prepearing the Filbert yogurt and ash coated potatoes with herbs on red beet kombucha with a River Rock presentation Chef Aaron painstakingly prepearing the Filbert yogurt and ash coated potatoes with herbs on red beet kombucha with a River Rock presentation
Filbert yogurt and ash coated potatoes with herbs on red beet kombucha with a River Rock presentation Filbert yogurt and ash coated potatoes with herbs on red beet kombucha with a River Rock presentation

Both F and I loved watching this plating happen since it was being done right in front of us by  Chef Aaron and Tim as they painstakingly arranged each element, picking just the right ingredients down to watching Chef Aaron carefully consider which potato from the roasting pan to use.

Tenth Course

Candied Sungolds, basil, rye, olive oil semi-freddo
Candied Sungolds, basil, rye, olive oil semi-freddo Candied Sungolds, basil, rye, olive oil semi-freddo
Finally, the dessert courses right? So full already… the pairing of homemade beverages for this course was the Melon Pear juice. This was another dish where I thought it was slightly off balance because of the intensity of the basil sauce, though I have to admire its color.
Melon Pear juice

Eleventh Course

Blackberry, olive oil cake, licorice mint, fennel pollen, anise glass
Blackberry, olive oil cake, licorice mint, fennel pollen, anise glass
The white powder you see Chef Tim carefully plating with is olive oil powder. This and the next course were paired with Apple Fennel Thyme Scrub that is diluted a bit with soda water for effervescent bubbles.
Chef Tim plates the Blackberry, olive oil cake, licorice mint, fennel pollen, anise glass course Chef Tim plates the Blackberry, olive oil cake, licorice mint, fennel pollen, anise glass course Apple Fennel Thyme Scrub

Twelfth Course

Seascape Strawberries, aqua faba, lemon filbert cream, sorrel, hardy kiwis
Seascape Strawberries, aqua faba, lemon filbert cream, sorrel, hardy kiwis Seascape Strawberries, aqua faba, lemon filbert cream, sorrel, hardy kiwis
We got to hear a little ode of love to aqua faba by Chef Aaron, who explained that this was a solidfier that can replace the traditional role of eggs in desserts – aqua faba is created from chickpea liquid, which means it is also gluten free and natural instead of a processed starch or gluten or soy. So that meringue you see up there on the plate – I could not tell the difference between one that would have traditionally been made from egg whites. So it definitely works and tastes right.

To finish, we were treated to a hot beverage service which included coffee or tea, and I went with the green tea. Chef Rico also gave us a little goodie bag of zucchini bread for us to remember Farm Spirit by later that night/the next morning.
Warm beverages to finish off the dinner at Farm Spirit - I went with tea while F went with coffee Chef Rico joyfully passes out his zucchini bread wrapped in white paper Chef Rico's Zucchini Bread A goodbye gift from Farm Spirit via Chef Ricardo's zucchini bread

We wanted to enjoy the food upon serving so that we could taste it at the peak of the intended temperature, but each plate was so gorgeous it was hard to limit myself to only 30 seconds of photo taking. I’m curious to see how Farm Spirit will find the upcoming winter where the produce variety dwindles from the summer and autumn bounty, and wish them all the best. I love the concept and the way they focus on really putting together unique flavor combinations. They really celebrate and show off that when you get the best product, you don’t need meat or dairy to enjoy deliciousness.

Farm Spirit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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