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Essensia's Conscious Bite Out: A Recap

Last night, Conscious Bite Out's

monthly dinner took place at chef Frank Jeannetti's Essensia at the

Palms Hotel. The event was hosted by  founders

Marcela Andron and Veronica Menin. They stressed choosing restaurants

that support vegan- and vegetarian-friendly diets, as well as

using local products.

The hourlong cocktail reception was held on the airy loggia, where two

bartenders prepared "spa cooler" cocktails, an organic

blend of Veev açaí spirit, fresh lime juice, seasonal cucumbers, and mint. Sporadically

served throughout the mingling of about 40 guests were

sweet-potato/pumpkin croquettes, portobello satay, and eggplant


People sat at communal tables of ten while Chef Jeannetti explained the tomatoes used

in the chilled vine-ripened tomato soup were from Paradise Farms in

Homestead. The black pepper was the only nonorganic

product in the dish.

The salad was a universal favorite. It

consisted of red and yellow beet carpaccio with shaved fennel,

organic arugula, Maytag blue cheese, candied walnuts, and dark cherry

balsamic vinaigrette.

Guests had a choice between pan-roasted

local hog fish -- served with smashed sweet plantains, charred

sweet-corn edamame succotash, and orange-yellow pepper cumin sauce -- or

the vegetarian alternative of truffle-scented spinach and wild

mushroom risotto with aged Parmesan and white alba truffle oil.

The dessert was a fresh strawberry

panna cotta made with organic berries from the Redland.

The dishes were plucked from Essensia's regular menu, and the dinner cost $85 per person.

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John Zur