Recently, a car trip from Baltimore to Dallas included a detour down into North Carolina so that I could go to the year-old vegan restaurant, "Plant," in Asheville. I had looked at the menu and could hardly wait to try some of the wonderful meals.
One of the enormous rewards of being the author of The Sexual Politics of Meat is the opportunity I have had to meet people who have read my book. One of these people is Laura Wright, a vegan postcolonial ecofeminist working on a book project on popular cultural representations of veganism who blogs at http://veganbodyproject.blogspot.com/
We arranged to have dinner at Plant, and incredibly, Jason, the chef was able to join us, too. Like an author, a chef creates something new and sends it out into the world. Sometimes authors hear from their readers, but from what I could see at Plant, this chef is hearing from lots of people! They are responding to their meals at Plant by coming back for more.
While I had poured over the menu, when the moment of decision arrived, it was hard to choose. When in doubt, don't choose. Thus for appetizers we had
FLAME & HERB SEITAN SKEWERS with sour cream, fried banana & sea salt, and greens:
SMOKED HUMMUS with roasted garlic bulb, cucumber salad, pickled peppadew, and grilled house bread:
CHEESE PLATE--chef's age cut [made with cashews!], rosemary amber & fruit, mixed olives, black garlic oil & vinegar, house bread:
The RED CURRY TOFU (with jasmine rice & kaffir lime cakes, teriyaki broccoli & Thai basil, galangal-peanut curry, and argula). This curry could be enhaled it was so fragantly delicious:
PEPPERCORN CRUSTED SEITAN with truffled zucchini puree, grilled eggplant, tomato & wine sauce, shitake bacon:
WILD FOREST with lobster and morel mushrooms (which I believe were breaded and fried), smoked-jalapeno mashed Yukon potatoes, herbed baby vegetables, ciabatta, micros:
It was so hard to decide what desserts to get.
I had blackout pie with a cocoa cookie crust, dark chocolate-peanut butter mousse, banana-macadamia ice cream and berry agave:
My companion ordered three scoops of ice cream: mint chocolate, mocha, and, gosh I don't remember. They were all luscious:
The next day, leftovers made the sixteen hour trip (including stops for the two dogs who traveled with us) back to Dallas very bearable. I wish I could have taken some of the ice cream along!
What a vegan chef like Jason accomplishes is to provide us all with new experiences. I knew that vegan food would never get boring; but I never imagined vegan food was going to be as stupendous, inventive, creative, and delicious as what I ate at Plant, or last spring, at Vedge. Cutting-edge, vegan cuisine just around the corner, or well, sixteen hours away.