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An Ode to Summer Comfort Food

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.

First Course: Tempeh Meatballs with Chipotle Glaze paired with a Bracing Shoju and Blackberry Vinegar Cocktail- The texture of these were amazing, the sauce was delicious, although a little more heat would have been right up my alley. Some of us “shot” the cocktail which was sweet and fruity.

Second Course: Minted Watermelon and Tofu Feta paired with Vodka, Mineral Water infused with Raspberries and Lime Zest over ice. Cool watermelon paired topped with a perfectly salty tofu feta, so good! The drink was slightly sweet, mostly tart, and very refreshing.

Third Course: Cold and Creamy Tomato Water Bisque topped with Cucumber, Heirloom Tomato and Avocado; paired with New Zealand Picton Bay Sauvignon Blanc. I love tomato soup, and am pretty glad that this wasn’t your average gazpacho. It was a smooth, light, cold soup that tasted like it’s hotter counterpart. I don’t usually like white ones, but this one was not to strong and not dry.

Fourth Course: Heart of Palm Crab Cakes with a Smokey Remoulade Sauce. One of my favorite courses! The remoulade sauce was a bit like a fancy, smoky tartar sauce and super delicious.

Fifth Course: Savory Mushroom Bourgignon over Fresh French Bread paired with a California Cocobon Red Wine Blend. This is a rich, flavorful mushroom dish that was a great main course. I love Red Wine blends and this one is definitely one of my new favorites, it went wonderfully with the hearty sauce.

Sixth Course: A Duo of Raw Chocolate Truffles & an Individual Boston Cream Pie. The Boston Cream Pie was very good, fluffy filling, rich ganache and delectable cake. I have to be honest when I say that the truffles were OK. The Boston Cream Pie was the star here, for sure. Also, the candle is for Brian and his wife’s first wedding anniversary, such a special night.

I just ate dinner and my mouth is still watering over all of these goodies as I look at them, again. I can’t wait until the brunch is here! Thanks again, Lane and team, you are truly awesome. 🙂

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Sunday 16th of March 2014

RE: 3rd Course, New Zealand Picton Bay Sauvignon Blanc....Have you been able to confirm this wine is 100% Vegan and not processed with any animal ingredients?


Friday 16th of August 2013

What a fun experience! I'd love to go to a special vegan dinner like that. I think the mushroom bourgignon over french bread would be my favourite dish, but everything looks fantastic.

Thursday 15th of August 2013

What an honor to be part of the Vegan Junk Food special Pop-up dinner! Lucky you! Beautiful photos of these dishes, thank you for photographing and sharing them! I want to try some heart of palm crab cakes!

Norma Chang

Thursday 15th of August 2013

Love the idea. Great combo of dishes. The heart of palm crab cake sounds intriguing,


Wednesday 14th of August 2013

Those "crab" cakes look amazing! So jealous you got to attend this event.

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