Monday, November 18, 2013

The Roaming Spoon Pop-up Vegan Dinners

Pop-up dinners are all the rage in Sacramento these days, giving local chefs the opportunity to showcase their creations in a variety of temporary locations. The concept sounds interesting, but most of these dinners feature food I don't eat. So when the Sacramento Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson wrote an article last week about a pop-up vegan dinner planned for the weekend, I had to check it out.

The chef for the dinner was Sylvanna Mislang, formerly of the now-defunct Blackbird Kitchen & Bar. Chef Syl is planning to offer monthly vegan pop-up dinners through her new venture, The Roaming Spoon. Saturday night's intimate dinner was held at the Exhibit S gallery at the Downtown Plaza, where photographs of Sacramento farmers and chefs stared down at the assembled diners.

The evening began with cocktails and canapés, including black garlic schmear on Pink Lady apple slices and mushroom pâté on crackers. My husband Phil and I then joined ten other diners around one long dinner table. Chef Syl came out to welcome everyone and to introduce each course.

The first item on the menu was a beautifully-presented Watermelon Radish Carpachio. I wasn't the only diner taking pictures of this dish!

Next, we were treated to a Filipino Pansit Miki Guisado, nicknamed "Humble Soup" on the menu. The soup consisted of glass noodles in a flavorful broth, topped with carrot slices and garnished with citrus caviar and Thai basil flowers.

Our third course was Butternut and Garlic Gnocchi, delicious crispy morsels garnished with herbs and pomegranate seeds.

The gnocchi was followed by Feta Cashew Chez Mousse, consisting of Chef Syl's cashew feta cheese served with slices of Bosc pear.

Finally, the dessert was a fabulous Silken Tofu "Brulee." The tofu was flavored with coconut, as were the little gelatinous cubes on the plate. This was a lovely way to end the meal.

All of the food was creatively prepared and artistically displayed. The produce was fresh and locally-grown. In fact, Chef Syl personally harvested some of the ingredients at Rocking TH Farm in Fair Oaks the day of the dinner. It was obvious that she took a great deal of pride in her inaugural vegan pop-up dinner, and the diners all seemed very happy with her efforts.

The Roaming Spoon's website is still under construction, so the best way to get information about future pop-up dinners may be through The Roaming Spoon's Facebook page. I hope you'll have the opportunity to try one of Chef Syl's vegan dinners sometime soon.

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