Jason and I usually stay home on New Years Eve. Unless we are on vacation or staying at a hotel somewhere, we would rather not be out on the roads.
This year, we hired a driver and went to dinner. We were back home before midnight to cheers prosecco with Basil. It is tradition for him to stick his nose in our glass, then make a face from the bubbles. The face that makes me call him Snarls Barkley.
In 2012 I have some big and fun plans involving food, and if there is a great place to kick the year off right, it would be Portobello Vegan Trattoria.
With a special prix fixe menu for New Years Eve, there were two choices for each course, three choices for dessert. Jason and I opted to order one of each and share, so we could enjoy everything. We also chose the beverage pairings.
We each ordered a cocktail to start. Jason chose the drink special, this fruity red beauty. I am not a whiskey drinker and I loved this – a wonderful blend of blood orange and hibiscus!
I almost liked it more than my drink. Almost. I chose a vibrant concoction of pepper vodka and ginger, topped with an apple garnish. I’m not one for New Years resolutions, but the lush libations I’ve been enjoying lately has me resolving to be a more creative bartender at home.
roasted, marinated portobello mushrooms topped with pickled pepper, red onion, basil, capers, condimento balsamico. with herb crostini
A great beginning! Loved these flavors together, capers were a nice touch
House-made Macadamia-Cashew Cheese:
with petite arugula salad and house-made membrillo. with gluten-free toast
Despite a dislike of macadamias tracing back to an 8 year old Kristina eating too many in Hawaii, this was one of my favorite courses! The macadamia cashew cheese was like nothing I’ve ever tasted, and I am already working on my own version. The membrillo was a sweet addition (like quince paste) and these flavors were meant to be enjoyed together – a bite of the arugula included. Gluten free
Brut, Gruet, Mew Mexico
Creamy Cauliflower Velouté:
potato, leek, fennel and cauliflower soup with roast fennel, crispy cauliflower, arancini and truffle essence
One of the gluten free offerings, and another of our favorites. The crispy cauliflower was a nice accent, and we both love arancini (rice ball). Simply genius to use them as a soup topper! Delicious flavors throughout.
Ravioli en Brodo:
roast butternut squash stuffed ravioli, with spiced apple cider and caramelized onion broth. with roasted hazelnut oil & fresh sage
Jason is not generally a squash fan, so I figured most of this would be mine. Wrong! He loved it, saying “are you telling me this is what squash is supposed to taste like?” The ravioli were pillowy sweet, and the broth was amazing – we tipped the bowl to finish it all. Fresh sage was a strong flavor that played nicely with the others.
Pinot Gris “Tikka’s Run,” Lemelson, Willamette Valley, Or ’10
Citrus Marinated White Trumpets with Truffles:
Pan roasted white trumpet mushrooms with porcini risotto, Swiss chard, truffle demi-glace and fresh Oregon truffles
Another gluten free choice, and a good one. Hearty and comforting, this was creamy and deliciously woodsy at once. Vegan demi-glace boggles the mind.
slow-braised house-made seitan with truffle-leek whipped potatoes, garlicky broccoli and brandy-green peppercorn demi-cashew cream
This still has me reeling. Being gluten-rich, seitan is not something I generally eat. This seitan? The best I have ever tasted. I have never been a “meat, gravy and potatoes” kinda girl, and was very surprised how much I loved these flavors and textures. Some serious comfort food right here. The broccoli is hidden within the potato, cozy under the seitan blanket. There was a lot of it, we both loved it, it made us happy.
Pinot Noir, Forefront, Willamette Valley, Or ’09
with salted caramel ice cream
oh my. salted caramel ice cream is why I chose this one. then celebrated the buttery soft crust of this sweetly decadent tart.
lemon icing glazed fritters with cashew anglaise sauce
Another amazing offering – cakey fritters with tart icing paired with a sweet cashew cream. simply perfect ending, especially with the beverage pairing:
We left full and happy – with Jason making plans to return very soon. For a guy from the Midwest to enjoy this as much as he did is a great compliment, indeed.
A great start to the year.