For a birthday treat, we drove 2 hours after a snowy week (30 inches over several days) to get to a Valentine's Day catered 7-course meal at the Kindle Cafe, a vegetarian speakeasy.
Let me explain: the chef caters and teaches and does not yet have a restaurant of his own, but man does he have credentials from the San Fran progressive culinary movement. I can't wait to see what he and his wife do when they get their own place. For now, they take reservations and serve dinner at a rented coffee shop that is a very cool space. I cannot imagine the amount of schlepping this takes, but it is an Experience to eat this way and one we must repeat.
We had never done this before either. It is BYOB, one of the best meals I've had in my life, and put on by two incredibly gracious hosts, Chef Vincent (who would qualify as a celebrity chef on the West Coast for those who know healthy savory food) and his wife Carolyn, who is famous for her yoga and other healing arts. What is better for celebrating love then food this good, born of caring for the human body and free of violence and exploitation?
Kindle Cafe food is not reliant on fake meats or soy but makes an incredible use of vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seasonings, and the sauces were simply amazing. At every course, we stopped and looked at each other over the first bite, murmuring "OMG is this good!" It is that kind of meal, and I guess they do this all the time, and I am just not used to being catered to in this way.
The meal included fresh apples with a maple cream sauce, a two-color soup (seriously cool with red on one side and white on the other) of celery root and beet, a wild mushroom and lentil stew, mushroom ravioli alfredo, and more. This alfredo sauce is better than the cheese and cream version, and the maitake mushrooms were so tender. The price for this much quality and quantity is very fair at $50 pp, and I think the regular (non-holiday) meals are less.
Some other cool things:
* Parking behind the building, which was a godsend after many feet of snow ruining the roads and parking in a small town where it is already hard to park on a weekend night.
* Bamboo utensils, which were washed and returned to us after each course, as well as beautiful handmade plates and bowls for the most part. Got to get me some of these!
* Intimate lighting and candles which transformed an already cool coffee place.
* Free-flowing lemongrass tea and mineral water made by the coffee cafe owner.
Why oh why do I have to drive so far to get food this good for both body and soul? Can't wait to see more by these very creative people.