Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vegan Small Plates Dinner at Sankhya Yoga.

I first heard about Small Plates Philadelphia though my local yoga studio - on short notice. So I expected the turnout for the 5-course tasting menu with drink pairings for $10 to be relatively intimate. Especially since it is a small, newer studio. I could not pass up that deal - a vegan option! with drinks?! - and a yoga class taught right before dinner? I was in. And I easily convinced my yoga buddy and husband to join me.

The class and dinner was held at Sankhya Yoga's sister studio on Brown St., caddy-corner to Honey's Sit n Eat. We had a packed room for practice, so I was glad to see that dinner would be more than just a handful of folks. After yoga, a ton of guests showed up for the dinner itself. At least 50 people quickly filled the studio.

Small Plates Philadelphia is Steve Gravelle, local blogger of Or Until Golden Brown, and Jared Lucas, founder of Urban Ecofarms, and they were showcasing a new solution to organic and fully compostable tableware - Fareware

All of the food was prepared from scratch in Gravelle's South Philly kitchen. Wine and beer selections were chosen by the Wine School of Philadelphia's Zach Morris.

We jumped in line, anticipating a hungry, pushy crowd, but we were in a room of extremely polite and friendly
folks, and chatted with quite a few of them throughout the evening. 

Our First Course was a Vegan Red, White, and Blue Bean Burger on a pillowy wheat bun, with avocado crema and homemade chips.  I was impressed that even the buns were made by Gravelle, even if the sliders were more than a few bites and therefore not the easiest finger food. We found a spare corner and dissected our sliders, enjoying the garnacha.

We used one Areca Leaf Plate for the entire dinner and tried to use the same cup, as instructed, and the plates were composted at the end of the night and given to a farmer from Roxborough.

The plates were sturdy, appealing, and reusable - a plate I would definitely consider buying for parties and events. Most plastic tableware is not only terrible for the environment, it always looks tacky and dumbs down the presentation of your food. Not these plates. They were stunning.

The next course was a Vegan Mushroom "Wing" (the meat course had chicken wings) and I never like to feel that I am getting a veganized version inspired by a meat dish -- but this was different. The marinade on the mushrooms was rich and wonderful, highlighted by a lime ginger dipping sauce. Pair that with a ginger beer and you've got refreshing finger food.

By this time the vibe was "Yoga House Party" and this was something I could get with. Groups of yogis would trickle back into the studio room and practice in between courses, photographers were snapping away and making me wish I had brought my camera along (I had assumed it would have been rude and I never bring valuables to practice). 

There were vegans everywhere. The photographers were vegan. YES.

Third course brought on a Mashed Sweet Potato Bruschetta with Sauteed Kale and Onion. One of my most desired combos, and yes, you can bet I found the largest piece I could and washed it down with a Gewurztraminer.  I need more of this wine, immediately.

We decided to stick it out for the Fourth Course (including yoga, we had been there for 3.5 hours and I was thinking about my Mavea Water Pitcher full of cold, filtered water as dessert).  Ah, we were rewarded with a Vegan Apple/Orange/Lemon Cornbread (served with an IPA). Turns out, adding a layer of apple slices to the top of your cornbread is incredibly worthwhile. I'll have to try that soon. 

The recipes should be posted on the Or Until Golden Brown blog soon - I'm curious about the tofu-based crema and sauce - which were my favorite components of tonight's tasting. 

For $17 total, I got to try some excellent wine, get my Om on, and have a crack at multiple courses. There were some small issues with feeding a large, unexpected crowd (they were only anticipating 30 but easily had to feed double that) but everyone got a taste of what Small Plates Philadelphia was about and I left in a cloud of yogi-wino bliss.


thesundayflog.com said...

that sounds absolutely amazing, and i cannot get over the price! i would love to do something like that!

kellywhitephillips said...

I'll let you know if they do it again!

foodfitnessfreshair.com said...

That does sound amazing. What a bargain too. And a yoga class on top of that? Win-win.

Steve Gravelle said...

Hi! I'm Steve, and I run oruntilgoldenbrown. Thanks so much for attending our event, and thanks for blogging about it! I just found your blog through google analytics and I wanted to drop you a line. If you ever want to chat about vegan food, yoga, or whatever, please e-mail me at steven.gravelle@gmail.com. Thanks again!