Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good holiday. I returned last weekend from three weeks with my husband and son in Panama, Colombia, and Argentina, an experience I hope to blog about soon.
This past weekend, my husband and I had dinner at Ella Dining Room & Bar for Dine Downtown Restaurant Week. I don't think of Ella as being particularly vegan-friendly, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that their special Dine Downtown fixed price menu included only vegetarian items. Just one item on the fixed price menu was vegan, but with help from the server, I was able to piece together a three-course vegan meal.
For my first course, I ordered a salad consisting of mixed chicories and mache, grapefruit, and walnuts. The dressing that comes with the salad is apparently not vegan, so my salad was dressed with lemon juice and olive oil instead. I love grapefruit, so it was a nice treat to find it in the salad.
My entree was an heirloom bean cassoulet that included celeriac, pearl onions, tomato confit, and herb breadcrumbs. It was flavorful and filling, although a little on the salty side for my taste.
Neither of the desserts on the fixed price menu were vegan, so the server brought me a sorbet trio, with one scoop each of chocolate, some kind of berry, and what tasted like grapefruit sorbet. Each flavor was good, but I especially liked the chocolate.
Dine Downtown Restaurant Week will end Friday, January 17th, so you still have time to check out these vegan items at Ella. The cost of a three-course meal on the fixed price menu is $31, a dollar of which will be donated to the California Food Literacy Center. According to Sacramento Business Journal's Ed Murrieta, fourteen participating restaurants are offering vegetarian entrees, a few of which appear to be vegan. I guess if you can only charge $31 for a three-course meal, it makes sense to offer vegetarian options rather than more costly meat items.
Ella Dining Room & Bar is located at 1131 K street, and their phone number is 916-443-3772. Their website address is http://www.elladiningroomandbar.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/elladiningroomandbar. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.