Last December, I had the pleasure of enjoying the Winter Solstice with seven family members, feasting on the gourmet "all-vegan" fare of Sublime Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, known for its award-winning menu featuring natural and organic foods. Lucky for us they had just reopened, as hurricane Wilma had previously destroyed a portion of their property. I was one of the only two vegans in our party.
While waiting for our entrees, chosen from the eclectic menu, we drank in the beauty of the environment - sparkling glass tiles illuminated by skylights and an indoor tropical landscape surround the dining room filled with large round wooden tables and chairs and a lovely cascading waterfall window.
Chef Matthew Griffin delighted us with a complimentary appetizer of muffins with a cucumber salsa, generously bringing more as we devoured them.
Following the appetizers, I enjoyed a salad of Sweet & Sour Grilled Endive & Radicchio - plump white beans and haricot vert with cherry tomato vinaigrette ($8). My husband, Tom, ordered the Forest Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Baby Arugula and White Truffle Oil ($11). Flatbread accompanied the salads for all to taste, and one of the non-vegans in our party commented that she was pleasantly amazed that it could be egg-free and yet so delicious.
For my main course, I chose the Sublime Picatta - braised spinach, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and lemon caper sauce ($17), which was delicious and filling. Tom's main course consisted of Portobello "Tenderloin" - garlic spinach, onion rings, whipped potatoes with au poivre sauce ($16). The food was fresh and colorful with many textures and unique tastes.
Although we were full, we couldn't resist the scrumptious dessert offerings. We all opted to share the brownies, a strawberry shortcake with vegan whipped cream, and an apple strudel.
We had a lovely dining experience at Sublime. Our waiter was very personable and provided excellent service. Sublime strives to serve the freshest vegan fare using organic ingredients when available. One hundred percent of the profits are donated to organizations that promote animal welfare and the vegan lifestyle.
On the way out we noticed a plaque that read, "Sublime is the restaurant that proves its point by living up to its name!" And it does!
Serves 4 to 6
3 tablespoons fresh ginger
3 medium cloves garlic
1 cup sake (rice wine)
1 pound oyster mushrooms (caps only, no stems)
1 cucumber, seeds removed, julienned (a technique of shredding vegetables or other food into long, thin strips)
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 whole avocado, diced
1 whole mango, diced
Juice all the citrus in a large container. Add the sake. Mince the ginger and garlic, place in a cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice. Add to the citrus making a marinade. Mix in the oyster mushrooms and let sit for 1 hour. Strain and reserve marinade. Toss together cucumber, onion, tomatoes, avocado and mango. Add some of the marinade to coat. Add marinated mushrooms and serve
Caramelize* the onions in a large pot. Add the tomato paste and cook until it becomes rusty color. Add the red wine and reduce until the pot is almost dry/ Add the stock and reduce until the soup thickens up a bit. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
*A technique used to develop the sugar in the onion. Over very high heat, add the onion to a small amount of olive or canola oil and move pan around continuously until the onions caramelize.
Mix all ingredients until well-blended.
Lightly coat the tofu cubes with olive or canola oil. Bake at 350* until the outside is just crisp. Set aside. Saute the ginger and garlic. Add the peppers and carrots and continue to saute for another minute or two. Add the peanut sauce to taste. Toss with rice noodles and. garnish with cilantro, peanuts and bean sprouts.
* Sambal Olek is a paste made of chilies with no other additives (such as garlic or spices) for a simpler taste. Use this sauce to add heat to a dish without altering the other delicate flavors.
Soak the rice sheets in warm water until soft. Roll the mixed vegetables in 2 sheets (double layer) of the rice paper and cover with a damp side towel until ready to serve. Serve this light, fresh roll with plum dipping sauce (available in an Asian market) or other sauce of choice.
Sift together all dry ingredients. Place in large mixing bowl and add all wet ingredients and mix with mixer to form wet dough (dough will be very soft). Remove from mixer and knead with flour until smooth. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut with ring mold and fry at 350*F until golden brown. While the donuts are still hot, toss with Coconut Sugar. Cut small slit into side of donut and fill with Coconut Cream.
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