Meditative Grazing on Edible Art

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Good for the body (especially the palate) and the soul: it was worth the pilgrimage to Greens, one of the grandes dames of vegetarian cuisine in the US. This iconic San Francisco restaurant was doing farm-to-table long before it was a thing. We got a lovely table with a water view, overlooking the San Francisco marina, to celebrate our 26th anniversary!

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The sampler plate is highly recommended: Italian butter beans with meyer lemon and tarragon vinaigrette (best thing on the plate); spring pea and radish salad; warm roasted cauliflower with lemon oil, pepper flakes and mint; pickled gold and red beets; Bellwether fromage blanc with chives and grilled herb toasts; olives.

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I had the fresh spring roll with carrots, jicama, daikon, cabbage, jalapeños, and tofu, served with peanut sauce and grilled beech mushroom/radish salad. They cut this up to show off the colors, but it would have been easier to eat had the roll remained intact. The salad was sensational, the mushrooms richly flavored and robust.

As you can see, these folks appreciate the beauty of edible plants. And eating your vegetables can be an exquisite pleasure when they are so expertly prepared.

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This was the butternut squash gratin with poblanos, chilies, smoked cheddar and custard. I thought it was more like a timbale than a gratin, but it was delicious. It came with some creamy grilled polenta and a side of broccolini.

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I was slightly disappointed with the papardelle, dressed with morels, English peas, snap peas, spinach, herb butter and grana padano cheese. The dish was a bit more watery than it needed to be, but the flavors were good. It’s hard to resist fresh morels.

All these veggie dishes are delicious with a nice Sauv Blanc. Greens favors California wines, but I can’t quite recall what I had. The LSH of course had his usual martini with Hendricks (up) and a lemon twist.

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For dessert, nectarine cake, a berry compote and a stunning nectarine sherbet. Simple flavors of the fruit–paired with a glass of Sauternes for him and an espresso for me. Perfect.

Greens gives the recipe for the butter beans on its blog. I can’t wait to try this.

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