Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge 2015 -- Thai Basil

It's Day One of the fifth annual Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, so I had lunch with my friend Cathy at a restaurant that's new to the challenge -- the always vegan-friendly Thai Basil. There seemed to be a little confusion about whether the challenge items were available at lunchtime or just for dinner, but they decided to go ahead and let me order from the challenge menu for lunch.

Everything looked good, but I couldn't possibly order all of it, so I skipped the winter curry (for now) and feasted on smaller items.

First to come out of the kitchen was a delicious plate of spicy fried okra and pumpkin, breaded in a gluten-free flour and, according to the menu, "sprinkled with heirloom garlic infused sea salt." Sorry for the blurry photo!

Next, I had a cup of pumpkin coconut soup, consisting of a wonderful coconut broth filled with cubes of pumpkin, a few different types of mushrooms, and a variety of herbs and spices. It was excellent!

The third dish was a beautifully-presented miang kum, individual endive leaves filled with a surprising mix of ingredients so that every bite was different. Bits of lime, ginger, garlic, shallots, coconut, tofu, and I don't even remember what else created an amazing flavor explosion.

Even though I was stuffed, I couldn't leave without ordering dessert -- a fabulous plate of mango sweet rice. The sticky rice, served with coconut syrup, and the mango provided a refreshing ending to a lovely meal.

Thai Basil is located at 2431 J Street, and their phone number is 916-442-7690. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

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