My sweetheart and I attend two annual events with his fellow chefs: a picnic in late summer, and a fancy dinner dance in spring. I was extremely tardy in posting photos of both events, but always love to examine what the vegetarian or vegan options are, so thought they were worth belated blog entries. This year's dance has now come and gone. Thankfully, the veg options were drastically more inspired. The food at the picnic is the same each year, and always delicious.
This time it was at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. I love what candlelight does for a room.
The cozy atmosphere extended into the dining room. An edible centerpiece: asparagus.
Everything better with butter? Not tonight. Not a pat of butter on the table. Instead, organic olive oil, which was the perfect dip for rosemary olive bread.
First course: I'm afraid to say veal carpaccio and avocado terrine. If you don't know what's wrong with veal, please visit Farm Sanctuary's NoVeal.org site. A few years ago, it was just as horrible - foie gras.
My course, much better, don't you think? Can you imagine the suffering that would have been avoided if everyone ate what I had instead?
Next: seared sable and salmon graviox pave with white asparagus.
Instead of fish, I got seared tofu. Even though tofu is such a staple in many veg diets, I don't think I've ever gotten it at an event like this.
Entree: Noisette of lamb niçoise natural jus with potato and spinach.
A tart with broccolini, roasted red peppers, olives and capers in a marinara sauce and a slice of potato. I was stunned (and delighted) to get served something other than a plate of bland, steamed vegetables.
The cheese and salad course. I use salad lightly, since there wasn't much here.
Salad of petite mache, poached pears, walnuts, and warm mountain shaft blue cheese. I gave the cheese soufflé to my boyfriend. A few pondered, "is this breakfast?"
Dessert: Spring melange of berries in tuile with warm balsamic peppered infused syrup.
Some winced at my table at the simplicity of this (someone called it a dessert taco!), but I loved the berries. Who always needs a heavy cake, especially after a multi-course meal?
Portion sizes were thankfully smaller and the cocktail hour was pared down to a few passed hors d'oeuvres and some stations. I don't know anyone (short of the catering sales manager) who actually wants the massive excess of food at most celebrations. "The best" to me is not offering food that will go uneaten.
What did I wear? A black Laundry dress from the Revived Attire consignment shop. I paired it with my $4 dress shoes from C.A.T.S. Resale Shop I wear only at such events (oh, how I prefer flats). I also had an evening bag and wore a pin that had belonged to my grandmother, and used a wrap I've owned for ages. I did my own nails to save money.
From the clothes to what I ate, I did things in accordance with my own beliefs. If you are the lone person eating veg at your table (I often am), or wearing a second-hand dress - take pride. You don't have to do things the way everyone else does them.
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