It’s true; I’m finally getting around to creating a post on Christmas Day because it’s the only day I’ve been able to sit down and do it. Eesh! The last few months for me have been such a whirl wind of ideas, projects, collaborations and social gatherings. I’ve been working hard on finding ways to connect the vegan community here in Dallas, and I’m so thankful I’m not the only one! There’s been such a spark coming from fellow vegans in our community who are ready to make more things happen now by creating events that help heighten awareness around veganism while making it all look fun, hip and interesting. Dallas is a city that is very hungry to progress along with with many of it’s peer cities in the nation, and offering the right outlets that promote a progressive idea like veganism is very key to growing the movement here. With that in mind, I’ve been working on a project to connect DFW businesses, event and content creators to promote collaboration over competition, and I’ve joined Compassionate Collective Co., a small business created by Katie of V Apparel, to help both individuals and small business grow. We’re also hard at work on our first event, V MARKET: A Metroplex Vegan Shop Up, which will sort of be like a small, all-vegan farmer’s market. We hope it will not only provide North Texas vegans and veg-curious with yet another fun event to look forward to, but we also hope it will inspire those who are looking for a way to test their vegan food or material goods business in a smaller, non-threatening environment. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep taps on our progress! So yeah, add all of that along with working a full-time job as a vegan baker, and you might understand why I’ve been so quiet and had to place this blog on hiatus for a few months.
Enough about my own projects, let’s talk about this awesome dinner and some of the other things that are going down in the Big D vegan community! A few awesome friends of mine have been planning and coordinating stylish and sophisticated small vegan pop-up dinners, and since there’s been a great response, they’ve recently created a business out of it! The Harvest Hands helps create dinner events that invite people to do more of what we usually do best—bond over some delicious food! So far, they’ve offered some pretty unique experiences by reaching out to restaurants and businesses that don’t often or normally offer vegan fare. That’s a big win, because when businesses see that vegan can be lucrative and popular, they are more likely to offer more plant-based options in the future, which means less animals used on the menu. The Harvest Hands also have a strong goal of connection, which is so important in a growing movement. If our community is not connected, we will be remain scattered outsiders and that can make a movement’s growth stagnant, and can even eventually kill it.
I was so lucky to be able to attend one of these dinners a few weeks back that was hosted in a trendy little Denton restaurant and bar called 940’s Kitchen & Cocktails. The vibe here was industrial swank with a modern and clean finish, and I loved all of the brick and wood materials used in the decor. We had the place all to ourselves, and it was so nice!
After we all had a little time to mingle and enjoy a cocktail or two, we sat ourselves and awaited the courses to start. Here’s the event poster to glance at the menu…
This Roasted Apple Potato Soup with Homemade Bread was the perfect way to whet our appetite. It’s flavor was slightly buttery with a velvety texture and had just a hint of sweet apple. The wine paired with it was spectacular and my favorite of the night. It was crisp with just a little acidity, and it just worked so well with the soup. The sommelier was on point!
Next came the Chickpea and Corn Fritters with a Chipotle Remoulade and the presentation had me impressed! Beautiful plating, and the taste was even better. They were crispy on the outside with a flaky, almost crab-cake like filling. I would happily drive from South Dallas to Denton to eat these again; they were that good.
Then came the star entree of the show. I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting much from this dish. Sure, simple and pure vegetable ingredients can seem upscale and amazing when done right, but not a lot of chefs in Dallas seem to be able to pull off a dish that can showcase the natural flavors of vegetables while also greatly enhancing them. Chef David Rodriguez made what could have easily been a bland course into a masterpiece. The oyster mushrooms were a meaty, smokey and sweet superhero, and the butternut squash and braised leeks were the perfect texture sidekicks. I would also travel far to eat this dish again. It was simply sublime.
The finishing course was dessert provided by Vegan Noms. This plate featured Dark Chocolate Peppermint Fudge, a mini Red Velvet Cupcake and Lemon Glazed Gingerbread Cookies. My favorite was the Peppermint Fudge; it was to die for! The other two were pretty awesome, too, but you should know that I’m a chocolate fiend.
Well that concludes the recap! I hope you all are having a very Merry Christmas, and I’ll try not to be away too long again. Promise. 🙂