I had dinner last night with Jennifer, my friend and fellow vegan, at 58 Degrees & Holding Co., one of the restaurants participating in this month's Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge (http://www.californiaveganrestaurants.com/). One vegan selection is offered for each course, and the vegan items are indicated on the menu with a "(V)" next to the listing. Between the two of us, we tried all of them.
First up was the Vegetable Consommé, a flavorful vegetable broth that included enoki "noodles," cilantro, shaved jalapeno, and mint. It had a nice fennel taste to it, and there were sauces such as sriracha that could be added to make it more spicy.
Only one salad was listed as vegan, the Mushroom Trio, which consisted of confit portabello, tempura trumpets, and pickled hedgehogs (and who would have thought a hedgehog on the menu would be vegan?). All of the mushrooms were quite good, but I especially enjoyed the tempura trumpets, probably because tempura is one of the things that I've had to stop eating since I went vegan. The Heirloom Tomatoes were not listed as vegan because the dish generally includes cheese, but Jennifer ordered it without the cheese. The dressing was made of garlic oil and a distinctive white vinegar foam, with fennel and fines herb.
The vegan entree is Soybean Bulgogi, a plate consisting of small amounts of several items including kim chee, broccoli rabe, cucumbers, smoked tofu, and seaweed rice. The tofu was prepared in a sweet sauce that gave it a nice flavor, and I liked the contrast with the broccoli rabe, which tasted pickled.
Dessert wasn't listed on the menu, but they did have a vegan dessert plate that included chocolate mousse, slices of fried banana, and a fabulous peanut butter gelato. It was a great way to top off the meal!
These vegan dishes are offered only on the dinner menu, and only during October's Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge. If you want more vegan menu selections in Sacramento restaurants, you may want to think about visiting the participating restaurants this month and letting the chefs know you appreciate their efforts in preparing vegan cuisine.
58 Degrees & Holding Co. is located at 1217 18th Street. Their phone number is 916-442-5858, and their website address is www.58degrees.com. Dinner is served Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Tuesday.