Today, I have something a little different to share with you. No, not a delectable recipe, but something just as drool-worthy. I was fortunate enough to be invited to a special Pop-up dinner this past weekend, hosted by Lane Gold, author of Vegan Junk Food. Thankfully, I stayed off of Instagram long enough to be surprised by the food that was served to us; otherwise, I would have seen all of the spoilers that Lane was posting!
I brought the always fun Eva, of Dirty Rotten Vegan, as my date; plus, I knew a few other of the dinner-goers, such as Brian Patton and his wife, Jennifer Chen, and Laura Hooper Beck. As a whole we enjoyed meaningful talks, lots of cheers-ing and even more laughs; more importantly, the food was amazing.
Lane’s mission with this pop-up, this first one being named “An Ode to Summer Comfort Food”, is to hold intimate vegan meals throughout the LA area. Now, the series is named the Vegan Dining Club, or #vegandiningclub on any and all social media. She has shared with us that the next installment will be brunch-based (!!!) and at a cool venue in Echo Park (if I’m remembering that correctly). I can’t wait to go to the next one!
This dinner was held in a very eclectic building, functioning as a community art gallery when not being used to serve food. It’s a small building with spray paint all over it, a kitchen as one half of it, the dining room/gallery as the other half. The location was pretty random, but I absolutely loved it.
I’m glad that I brought my “nice” camera out to shoot some photos, although the lighting was a tad unforgiving, which my excuse for not having the best pictures. Without getting too wordy about the food, I’ll briefly describe the dishes. Just know that all of it was tremendous and you could tell that there was a lot of love and effort put in to each dish.
When bringing up the topic of any holiday my boyfriend truly couldn’t care less, even his own birthday! Needless to say, Valentine’s Day is no different; I am not super huge on Hallmark holidays either, so nothing usually happens on the 14th of February each year. I say usually because this year LOVELIKEBEER was putting on a vegan dessert and beer pairing event down in San Diego and I really wanted to go to it. To give you a bit of background on LOVELIKEBEER, the organization is led by two gentleman by the names of Derek and Corey. They’ve put on a few different events over the span of 2011, all having to do with vegan craft brews and food. Here’s an excerpt from their about section:
LOVELIKEBEER is an organization dedicated to creating inspiring Vegan Food and Craft Beer events in San Diego with a charitable purpose. We work with local artisans and entrepreneurs to host culinary events which incorporate innovative, vegan cuisine, craft beer pairings, and a donation to a local charity.
Great events for a great cause? I’m in! So, we made the two-hour trek down to Tiger! Tiger! Tavern in San Diego; not realizing that there would be delicious vegan dinner options as well, we ate before leaving.
The drive wasn’t too bad, just a little traffic and the scenery was gorgeous as usual. Once we got to the tavern, we opened the door and walked into a large, dimly lit area that had four long communal tables with bench seating that were decorated with Chimay candle-holders and deep red rose petals. Definitely giving off the romantic vibe for V-day.
I grabbed a menu, took a seat and was immediately regretting that I had already eaten; so much of the food sounded delicious! I had put myself in quite the predicament, but got past it and looked to the dessert and beer pairings. Of the three, only two really stuck out to me. This was mostly because the odd-one-out was a donut, which I am not a fan of, paired with Framboise which is a raspberry beer-like beverage that sort of reminds me of a wine cooler. I did hear that it was quite delicious, but it just didn’t sound like my cup of tea.
The dessert that I decided to start with was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie with Caramel Sauce and Salted Peanut Brittle paired with Hangar 24’s Chocolate Porter. Let me tell you, this dessert was seriously good. It was rich and decadent, and almost a little too heavy but I loved it. I made sure to drink the beer intermittently with having bites of the dessert and the balance between the two was bordering on perfect. The stout had more of a dark chocolate feel too it, and broke up the intense sweetness of the brownie and caramel sauce with ease. I would love to recreate something like this at home!
For my second, and last, dessert pairing I chose to order the “Date Night” Rice Pudding, which was Coconut Date Rice Pudding paired with Automatic’s 3-Speed Brown. Besides the excessive amount of flowers atop of this dessert, it was great to end on. Compared to the brownie, this rice pudding was light and not to sugary, but had great subtle flavors of coconut and dates. A great approach to this dessert is to eat a spoonful slowly, and at the same time waft the scent of the brown ale into your nostrils. Doing this brings an excellent coffee note to the rice pudding that you can’t necessarily get through imbibing it.
Tiger! Tiger! Tavern has a great vibe and a terrific selection of brews, amongst them are some from Automatic Brewing Co. which is their in-house brewing company. The brewmaster for Automatic used to be a brewmaster at Stone Brewery in San Marcos for years, this should give you an idea of the quality of their brews!
After finishing off the desserts, I thought that I’d enjoy just one more beer before heading home. I typically stick to darker brews, so I thought that I’d try out the Ovila Quadrupel from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. This beer ended up being full of flavor and a little on the sweet side, which is how I like my malty, dark brews; it had a smooth finish and wasn’t very heavy. I would definitely order this again.
Overall, it was a great experience and I enjoyed meeting the guys that put this together along with Melissa from Vegenista, who is a total sweetheart and a couple of other people from around the area. I can’t wait for LOVELIKEBEER to put on their next event, which looking at their past will tell you will be in roughly two months. Woohoo!
This is a vegan food blog, run by Jackie Sobon, that covers everything from indulgent desserts, to healthy dinners, and even raw recipes! I also write up restaurant reviews and am sort of a beer snob. You'll find that there is something for everyone, here!
If you would like to contact me about photography jobs, testing out a recipe, review your restaurant or just have a question you'd like me to answer email me at: [email protected]!