This weekend, Miami's love for all things meat played second fiddle to the newest star in the culinary constellation: the mighty vegetable.
On Friday night, Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, the duo behind Philadelphia's Vedge and just-opened V Street, made kitchen magic with a rainbow-hued spectrum of fresh veggies, from sashimi-thin golden beets to pleasantly bitter broccoli rabe. One-hundred-and-twenty people packed into South Beach's Tongue and Cheek eatery for a sold-out dinner extravaganza.
Philly's Vedge is its own animal, so to speak. Noticeably lacking any affiliation with the v-word (vegan, that is), this all-vegetable restaurant has earned accolades from omnivore and herbivore food critics alike. Led by Jacoby and Landau, who flew into town for 22 hours before heading back to Philly to open their newest restaurant on Saturday, the groundbreaking eatery is the new frontier of gourmet cuisine.
Friday night, the two chefs were joined by Miami's own Jamie DeRosa and Todd Erickson. Tongue and Cheek, the hosting venue, was lively and warm, with eager diners packed in for the plant-based meal.
For appetizers, the crew passed around hot, hearty celery root fritters with truffle remoulade; crunchy broccoli rabe bruschetta with tomato and piquant black garlic and marvelously zesty Korean eggplant tacos topped with kimchee.
Palates piqued, Seed co-founder Alison Burgos took to the microphone, thanking supporters and attendees for all the love. Then, Tongue and Cheek owner Jamie DeRosa, Alicia Silverstone and Jacoby and Landau took turns thanking attendees and lauding plant-based cuisine.
Next we launched into the four-course meal and wine pairing, starting with a light, aromatic cauliflower soup with saffron, paired with Ceradello's organic Pinot Grigio out of Venice.
Then came sashimi-thin, salt-roasted golden beets topped with cucumber dill sauce, capers and avocado, paired with Freg Agriculturist's organic Blanc out of Mendocino.
Third, a thick, grilled king trumpet mushroom that chewed like a steak, paired with charred broccoli and edamame puree. To drink, Stellar's organic Pinotage from South Africa.
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And the sweet finale, a hearty, sticky toffee bread pudding with sweet smoked walnut ice cream.
This was a meal that proved plants are meaty enough to make a main attraction.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.