Sunday, February 22, 2009

Five-Sixty by Wolfgang Puck

You had me at Cucumber Martini! Seriously, though—Five-Sixty, Wolfgang Puck’s new culinary venture in Dallas, is a surprising treat for vegetarians and vegans alike. My friend Sara and I visited the hotspot atop Reunion Tower last night with the intentions of catching up over a nice bottle of wine and light finger foods. After reviewing the pricey wine list (even normally dirt-cheap Spanish wines were nearing the $100 mark), we settled on a couple of Cucumber Martinis instead. Made with muddled cucumbers and basil, the mojito-style gin martinis were, for lack of a better word, über-smart!

In truth, Five-Sixty’s dinner menu was not at all vegan or vegetarian friendly, but the sushi menu proved feast enough for both of us. We decided to start our martini munchies with a vegetable maki roll and an order of tempura eggplant. While the eggplant’s miso sauce was deliciously jammy and tart, the eggplant itself was slightly undercooked. Then we were given the news that the sushi bar ran out of rice, so there would be a long wait for our maki roll. So far…not impressed. But while we waited for our maki roll, Sara and I enjoyed several other delightful dishes. Much like Spanish Pimientos Padrón, our sautéed Asian peppers were nicely prepared and fun to eat (you never know when you’ll get a hot one), and the tempura green beans were fabulous when dipped in the accompanying house soy sauce!

Sushi chef, Hiroyuki Fujino, visited with us to explain the rice situation and offered us a complimentary platter of assorted vegetables. The tasty dish included house pickled cucumbers, eggplant, and fresh asparagus. Creamy in taste and texture, the pickled eggplant was, hands down, the best part of the platter. And although I really didn’t need any more food, I had to sample the maki roll that did finally make it to our table. The modest looking roll appeared average, but there were definitely some interesting new flavors I hadn’t experienced in a vegetable maki roll before. I picked one slice apart to try to figure out its contents but, admittedly, I had already imbibed too much of my martini to make a fair analysis (no judgment, please). Regardless, it was wonderful and well worth the wait!

Throughout the evening, Sara and I continued to comment on the great service at Five-Sixty. It’s no secret that Dallas diners can be high-maintenance, and for such a busy night, we were impressed to have received such warm and special attention. Amid the motley crew of businessmen and plastic divas, it’s nice to know a couple of thirty-somethings can enjoy a fabulous vegan dining experience at one of the city’s new “it” places!

Reunion Tower
300 Reunion Blvd
(214) 741-5560

Thursday, February 19, 2009

David "Avocado" Wolfe and Chad Ashley Vandenberg Live

Local entrepreneur and raw superfoods advocate, Maria Whitworth, alongside Johnny Raw Appleseed of Bliss Café & Elixir Bar, presented international superfoods guru David “Avocado” Wolfe and visionary entrepreneur Chad Ashley Vandenberg to Dallas last night for a motivational seminar about the health benefits of raw superfoods. Though the event may have come off a bit as an infomercial to some, the seminar was nothing short of inspirational! I attended the event with a couple of friends, one who is a strict vegan and another who dabbles with new diets weekly...or so it seems. I was excited to introduce raw superfoods to my friends, as they have helped me reach a new level of awareness with my food choices. Don’t get me wrong—I am not a raw foodist, nor do I claim to be the healthiest person on the planet, but I do generally eat raw during my normal work hours (mostly out of convenience), and have to admit that I notice a huge shift in my equilibrium when I incorporate superfoods into my diet.

During the event, David Wolfe spoke passionately about the health and beauty benefits of superfoods and educated the audience with historical facts about cacao, goji berries, and various other ancient foods. (Did you know cacao was, at one point, the only accepted currency in Mexico?) David's high energy alone spoke volumes for the message he was touting! In his innately comedic form, he led the audience through a richly colorful story about his travels and exploration into the raw superfoods lifestyle, offering advice on the transition process in a non-judgemental and charismatic way. The group of excited followers cheered him on like groupies at a rock show—quite entertaining!

Attendees of the event were able to sample products by Chad Ashley Vendenberg, local raw food entrepreneur, Amy Hirsch of Amy’s Raw Chocolate Delights, and Johnny Raw Appleseed of Bliss Café & Elixir Bar. Chad’s offerings included several variations of chocolate hearts, Amy offered several berries and chocolate treats, and Johnny helped us wash those treats down with a chocolate elixir that will be available at Bliss Café & Elixir Bar. And I did get the scoop on Bliss from Johnny. According to her, the raw food haven will be opening in March or April. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a March opening!

Click HERE for more information on Elements For Life superfood products.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

David Wolfe in Dallas

Join local raw foodists as they welcome David "Avocado" Wolfe (one the world's leading experts on raw superfoods) to Dallas! The free event is being sponsored by Blass Raw Cafe & Elixir Bar, set to open this this spring. 

Click HERE for more information.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cafe Madrid

I'm hesitant to suggest Cafe Madrid in the Knox/Henderson area to any of my vegan friends in blogland. While there really are plenty of vegan options, ordering can be tricky, and the outcome is less than fantastic. I'd been craving setas al ajillo (strange craving, I know) and Spanish wine all week, so I set up dinner with some friends at Cafe Madrid last night. Their tapas menu and wine list looked promising, so I was excited to try the place. 

Our server was great! He suggested a couple of wines and helped me decipher the menu to accommodate my dietary needs. None of my selections were terrible, but I felt they were overpriced and, quite frankly, boring. It's awfully hard to mess up fried potatoes, but Cafe Madrid came pretty close with my patatas bravas, which were slightly undercooked, yet tasted a bit burnt. 

The espinacas pirineos and the obviously pickled espárragos blancos were palatable at best, but my setas al ajillo were a complete disappointment! Typically sautéed in olive oil and garlic, these mushrooms tasted more like they were nuked in red wine, vegetable oil, and a dash of garlic salt. Had it not been for the excellent service and fabulous wine, dinner at Cafe Madrid would have been a total bust. I might be convinced to revisit the place for further wine exploration, but I'll be sure to tote a bottle of Bragg to tweak my tapas.