Be they superfoods, antioxidant dynamos, or just plain delicious, there’s no denying the power of purple in contemporary cuisine. Eggplant swimming in exotic spices, purple cauliflower artfully perched on the edge of a white plate or beets, shiny from infused oils dressing fresh greens, amethyst-hued ingredients look beautiful and are (most of the time) part of a healthful diet. Purple, or rather PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, is the 2018 PANTONE color of the year, and this week we’re taking a look at how it’s being celebrated in liquid and solid form at restaurants around the world. On the food side of our nod to Pantone’s color of the year, here are a dozen darling places to go wild for violet.
Cannon + Belle, Austin, Texas
Austin’s culinary scene is on fire at places like Cannon + Belle, where the granola lab is every bit in demand as the kombucha on tap. Here, chef Yesica Arredondo’s farro and purple cauliflower salad is a work of art. She marinates the cauliflower and combines it with the farro and ever-so-slightly sweet mirepoix, all dressed up in a white balsamic vinaigrette. Like its legendary namesake, Austinite Angelina Belle Eberly and her six-pound cannon, the outstanding food here is a force to be reckoned with. Make a reservation at Cannon + Belle.
Yauatcha Waikiki, Waikiki, Hawaii
It’s easy to be wooed by the cassis grand macaron from gifted pastry chef Vivian Wu at Yauatcha Waikiki, a contemporary upscale dim sum teahouse. An ideal finish to indulging in her charming little dumplings and perfect to eat with tea, the macarons are filled with cassis berry compote and mousse and garnished with vanilla crémeux and vanilla bean gelato. Make a reservation at Yauatcha.
Gibson, San Francisco, California
Huckleberry is having a moment and Robin Song, the chef at Gibson, is taking full advantage. She prepares her Sonoma duck with beetroot and huckleberry. Grab a Bijou Gibson before dinner, mixed with red huckleberry vodka, violette, rhubarb, and pineapple guava foam. Make a reservation at Gibson.
34 Mayfair, London, United Kingdom
Pop ‘round to 34 Mayfair just off Grosvenor Square for a glimpse of the parrilla charcoal grill, but stay for the powerhouse beetroot and fig salad. The antithesis of a heavy entree, the combination of beets and fresh figs is an energy boost. Plus, it leaves room for dessert. If you’re turning 34 this year, this is the place to celebrate. They’ll help you mark the occasion with your very own dark purple treat, a black cherry birthday cheesecake on the house. Make a reservation at 34 Mayfair.
Vince Young Steakhouse, Austin, Texas
Let them eat purple cake. This carnivore’s paradise has an ultraviolet sweet side. For dessert at Vince Young Steakhouse, try the blueberry cake from executive pastry chef Mary Rodriguez. Masterfully assembled from a light cake, she garnishes it with candied cashews, sweet corn ice cream, mango sorbet, and popcorn. Make a reservation at Vince Young Steakhouse.
Flannel Restaurant at Topnotch, Stowe, Vermont
Stowe is one of the most beautiful mountain settings in the Northeast. The local claim to fame that is Ben and Jerry’s factory has nothing on Topnotch Resort chef Adam Noe. At his Flannel Restaurant, he dazzles diners with his beet ice cream and other purple staples, such as his Flannel hash with corned beef and roasted beets. Make a reservation at Flannel.
Area 31, Miami, Florida
Chef Alex Olivier matches his passion for seafood with all the colors of the rainbow at Miami’s Area 31, but he piles on the violet with his Caribbean snapper and purple cauliflower couscous with white asparagus and lemon verbena for an extra splash of flavor. Wine-red colored gooseberries receive featured prominence elsewhere on the menu. Make a reservation at Area 31.
Aqua Shard and Aqua Kyoto, London, United Kingdom
Aqua Shard is known for their cushy purple chairs, but diners scamper there for things like rosemary and buttermilk panna cotta with edible purple flowers and berries. At its sister property, Aqua Kyoto, the stunning Shojin Go Zen box contains 12 elements, seven of which contain purple ingredients. Make reservations at Aqua Shard and Aqua Kyoto.
Sable Kitchen & Bar, Chicago, Illinois
Chef Amber Lancaster has crafted a dynamic duo of purple dishes at her Chicago eatery Sable Kitchen & Bar. Compared to her purple-tinged pear frangipane tart with pomegranate ice cream and white chocolate powder, an order of crudité seems outrageous. However, Lancaster has found a way to transform the once-lowly party favorite with purple cauliflower and edible dirt made from dried pumpernickel bread and tahini paste. She serves it with seeded rye crackers and roasted red pepper humus. Make a reservation at Sable Kitchen & Bar.
Clay Pigeon, Fort Worth, Texas
Red wine, balsamic, and lemon salad dressings are practically expected when it comes to the omnipresent beet salad. But chef Marcus Paslay devised something different for his, a pistachio vinaigrette that paired with his roasted beets, ricotta, a and herbs. Man cannot live by beet alone – don’t leave without a black pepper and chive biscuit topped with Chef Paslay’s foie gras torchon. Make a reservation at Clay Pigeon.
NIOS in the Kimpton Muse, New York, New York
The purple Moroccan octopus dish at Nios is almost too vibrant to eat. Almost. But for diners familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine, and the chermoula relish that so often flavors it, only empty plates return to this kitchen. The octopus looks even more ultraviolet atop whole chickpeas and creamy hummus, making this dish flavorful as it is flamboyant. Make a reservation at NIOS.
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