Waste Not, Want Not: 6 Dishes + Drinks for Root to Shoot Dining #vegforward

Chefs dream of an ideal kitchen in which there is zero waste. Every part of every ingredient is utilized in some fashion. This lowers food costs, reduces environmental strain, and forces them to get creative with those remainders and byproducts. It’s a boon for diners, too, by exposing them to palate-expanding flavors and creative textural components that elevate dishes in unexpected new ways.

In the last decade, the tip-to-tail movement has seen a huge resurgence, as chefs have turned offal and offcuts into menu stars. Now they’re taking the same approach to vegetables. Call it root to shoot. No longer are pea shells, tomato skins, or potato peels merely going into the stockpot, on the compost pile, or, worse yet, the trash. Now they’re playing key roles in some of the chefs’ most memorable creations. Here are six dishes and drinks for root to shoot dining.

Garrison, Washington, D.C. 
Tomato skins are full of flavor and nutrient dense. But oftentimes they end up on the proverbial cutting room floor. Chef-owner Rob Weland is a longtime admirer of what our grandma used to call love apples. While heading up the kitchen at Poste years ago, he offered a 20-course, tomato-centric tasting menu. At his latest venture, he dries the skins of various heirloom varietals and uses them to garnish his colorful tomato salad.

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Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica, California
Dehydrated beets create the “soil” in executive chef Jeremy Fox’s signature Beets and Berries dish. Not wanting to throw out the resulting juice, he infuses it with rose geranium and turns it over to bar manager Aaron Ranf. Ranf devised the Beet Royale, a play on the Kir Royale with beet juice, prosecco, gin, and lemon. Waste reduction has never tasted so good. [Photo by Aaron Ranf]

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Ribelle, Brookline, Massachusetts
Chefs Tim Maslow and Brandon Baltzley wouldn’t dream of tossing out a single scrap of tomato. The skin is dehydrated and ground into powder. The excess juice is transformed into smoked tomato vinegar. And the seeds are mixed with chia seeds to create mock caviar. The whole tomato is then compressed in the vinegar and speckled with the “caviar” and powder, as well as fresh cheese, burnt shishito oil, brined horseradish leaves, and fresh grated horseradish. [Photo by Brandon Baltzley]

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I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter: 17 To-Die-For Vegan Dishes #vegforward #chooseveg

Ask any chef or vegan eater and they will tell you that what you’ll experience at today’s #vegforward restaurants is not your grandmother’s vegan diet. The plant-based food culture has evolved exponentially beyond bean sprouts and garden burgers. The cuisine at the 52 Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in America is thoughtful and progressive — and playful, too, as you’ll see below. And while the chefs may have decided to skip the dairy, among other things, the fact that the dishes are vegan is, in a way, a happy (and sustainable) by-product of their creativity.

You see, these forward-thinking culinary pros are simply smitten with plants — the idea of plants, the texture of plants, the colors of plants, the flavors of plants. We could go on, but you probably get the picture. The possibilities and combinations are endless, and the results, whether rustically simple or elegantly elaborate, are delicious. Check out these 17 to-die-for vegan dishes from some of our 52 #vegforward restaurants.

Langos at V Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This Hungarian fried potato bread gets a vegan twist when topped with smoked beets and a lush sauerkraut remoulade from chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby. Take our advice and order one for everyone at the table. You will not want to share this divine savory doughnut of a dish.

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Artichoke Oysters at Crossroads, Los Angeles, California
The land trumps the sea in chef Tal Ronnen’s presentation of this delicate jewel of a dish. It includes artichoke purée, crispy oyster mushroom, a yellow tomato béarnaise, and kelp caviar.

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Kale, Corn, and Sweet Onion Pakora at The Herb Box-DC Ranch, Scottsdale, Arizona
These gluten-free bites from executive chef Becky Windels are made up of kale, fresh corn, and sweet onion coated in a chickpea batter with crushed fennel seed and turmeric and fried crisp in rice oil. Plated with a roasted yellow pepper aïoli and a sweet hot Serrano garlic glaze, Martha Stewart loved these so much that so much she asked, “How is this made?”

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Savoy Cabbage at Natural Selection, Portland, Oregon
Stuffed cabbage finally gets the filling it deserves. Emerald Savoy cabbage envelopes a harmonious trio of quinoa, sweet peppers, and sultanas in chef Aaron Woo’s exquisite version.


Deviled Turnips at Encantada, Baltimore, Maryland
Who needs eggs when you’ve got turnips bedeviled by tofu, chickpeas, Dijon mustard, turmeric, and other savory spices from executive chef Melanie Molinaro? These are fun enough for a picnic and still sophisticated enough to accompany an ice-cold martini.

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Papillote at Equinox, Washington, D.C.
Chef Todd Gray’s papillote expertly combines cauliflower mushroom and Brussels petals with curried kabocha squash, artichoke hearts, and gently sweet quince vinegar. It’s almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.

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Zen Salad at French Meadow Café & Bluestem Bar, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Power up with this goodness-on-a-plate salad. Steamed organic brown rice is covered with organic blanched kale and fresh housemade hummus and guacamole. It is appointed with crispy radish, cucumber, scallion, and organic micro greens, and then studded with roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives, and toasted sunflower seeds. A roasty Harissa vinaigrette brings it all together.

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Tomato. Parsley. Onion. at The Gadarene Swine, Studio City, California
Chef Phillip Frankland Lee keeps it simple when tomatoes take the plate. This seasonal stunner stars marinated raw tomato, parsley, and onion. They sit atop a throne of sweet corn pudding and are crowned with crispy tomato, parsley, and onion.

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Happy World Vegetarian Day! Here Are the 52 Most #vegforward Restaurants in America #chooseveg

In celebration of World Vegetarian Day and Vegetarian Awareness Month, we’re thrilled to announce the 52 Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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Featuring many of the restaurants that helped establish the vegan and vegetarian eating movements, such as Moosewood in Ithaca, New York, and Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, as well as newer vegetable-centric eateries that have moved plant-based cuisine into the mainstream, such as Al’s Place in San Francisco and Vedge in Philadelphia, the complete list features winning restaurants in 14 states and the District of Columbia. California has 15 winning restaurants, followed by New York with 13, Pennsylvania with six, and Maryland with four. Illinois, Oregon, and Washington all have two eateries. Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin are also represented.

Gadarene Swine Chef These are Chefs Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Lee

Vegan restaurants represent 21 spots on the list, as do vegetarian-friendly eateries; vegetarian restaurants account for the remaining ten. While most of the winning restaurants have deep ties to growers and emphasize seasonal, farm-to-table dishes, a host of global cuisines proved popular, including Afghan, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, and Shojin. A significant percentage of honorees easily accommodate diners with gluten allergies or sensitivities.

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More than half of the award winners were founded in the last five years, with seven winners opening their doors in 2015 alone, such as Plant Food and Wine in Venice, California, and Encantada Restaurant in Baltimore. Landmark vegetarian restaurants also dot the list, with some having been in business since the seventies, including Blind Faith Café in Evanston, Illinois, and Irregardless Café in Raleigh, North Carolina. Standout restaurants skew heavily toward providing an upscale casual dining experience as opposed to fine dining, though several winners cater to this affinity.

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Of the vegetable-forward food movement, Matthew Kenney, renowned chef and CEO and founder of Matthew Kenney Cuisine and academy notes, “The market is blossoming all over the world for plant-based cuisine. It’s just now expected that all progressive restaurants will have a vegetarian tasting menu or vegan items on the menu.”

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A Dozen Blue Ribbon Breakfast Sandwiches to Kick Start Your Day #BetterBreakfastMonth

The humble breakfast sandwich is no longer the purview of fast food joints. Now chefs are creating gourmet versions that eschew rubbery eggs and limp rolls for high-quality ingredients in creative presentations. Whether these sandos arrive on an English muffin or a biscuit or in a tortilla or a pita, they are guaranteed to give you a sunny disposition. In honor of Better Breakfast Month, here are a dozen blue ribbon breakfast sandwiches to kick start your day.

Boqueria-Soho, New York, New York
You’ll sound super fancy when you order the bocata de huevos, but you’re really just asking for the egg sandwich. This Spanish-styled startup sammie is far from ordinary, however. It comes with a fried egg, tangy mahón cheese, pickled red onions, cilantro, peppery pimentón aioli, and your choice of avocado or housemade pork sausage.

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Zengo, Washington, D.C.
When Sir Mix-a-Lot rapped, “My anaconda don’t want none/Unless you’ve got buns, hon,” he was clearly voicing his preference for breakfast sandwiches served on steamed buns. That’s what we like to think, anyway. At this Asian-Latin fusion joint, they pile the warm white pastries with bacon, scrambled eggs, salsa verde, and white Oaxacan cheese. We’re sure the “Baby Got Back” hit maker would approve heartily.


MP Taverna, Astoria, New York
This fully loaded egg souvlaki should be known as a Greek hangover cure. The pita comes packed with spicy lamb sausage, French fries, onions, and feta. In between bites, you can rationalize your questionable choices from the night before to your understandably skeptical dining companion.

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Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.
Consider this break-of-day treat a high-end Egg McMuffin. Scrambled eggs, pork sausage, and American cheese (of course!) are packed between two halves of an English muffin gussied up with a spicy aioli. Ronald McDonald, sorry, but you are running a so-distant-we-can’t-even-see-you second in this race.

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The Garden at the Four Seasons Hotel, New York, New York
Executive chef John Johnson evokes the bagelwiches you used to put together when you had breakfast at your bubbe’s house. A sesame-speckled circlet comes with ribbons of smoked salmon, plenty of cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions, and capers. Not included: your grandmother’s constant questions about why you haven’t settled down yet and produced lots of grandchildren for her to spoil.

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Brio, New York, New York
You’ll need two hands to tackle this hefty breakfast burger. The epic edible comes piled high with a fried egg, apple wood-smoked bacon, a shroud of melted Provolone, arugula, and tomato jam. Remember, there’s no shame in requesting extra napkins.

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