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The Californication of Detroit’s popular vegan pop-up dinner series Chartreuse unveiled this month as the Zoetic Supper Club.  In the spring of 2013 Chef Corinne Rice moved to Venice, CA, bringing her organic, plant-based pop up dinners with her. A graduate of the raw culinary Matthew Kenney Academy, her dinners express restrained elegance bursting forth with complex flavors that I’ve rarely encountered in raw vegan dining.

All of Zoetic menus are organic, gluten- and soy-free elegant displays of local produce and healthful intent. With roaming locations and musical accompaniment, each Zoetic Supper Club experience will be unique; no two venues, menus or musicians will ever be the same.

I was fortunate to attend the very first of the series—held May 22, 2014 at the G2 Gallery—and enjoyed an evening with new friends and four artistically crafted courses. The incredible Sasha Mari played tunes for us throughout the evening; and through she has directly behind me her music was like a hushed secret in my ear. An intimate dinner like Zoetic brings together like minded people, so although I arrived alone, I carried on conversations with everyone around me. I left with the contact information of a found wood craftsman, a new found interest in exploring the culinary offering of Reno, NV and a new PETA-employed friend.

At my seat I found a BYOB glass of wine and eatable words. Nestled in each napkin was a poem by Jacqueline Suskin to guide us through the evening.

To begin we pluck purple from earth
and know the tender tune of carrot,
sweetness of pea and all hints
of bitter blended with cool cream,
with kind herb and gentle seed.

Follow this with the warmth
of soup that sings its healing verse,
spice of ginger, bright bloom
of chamomile and bold bite
of nasturtium yo balance the cure.

Reliable brassicas steady
the tradition of curry
made sweet by calming coconut
and even sweeter by the grand guide of grape.

Southern sugar sends the final
message with what Mexican reds
can conjure in custard and pulling
its weight in purity the pistachio
provides proof that all can be good
when topped with wisdom
of relish held well by chocolate
and smoked salt.

first | purple carrots. peas. brussel chips. avocado cream. mint. basil. black sesame foam.

This was my favorite dish of the evening. Young peas and floral herbs play so well together. But it was the curls of purple carrots, crisp and smoked with a subtle ‘bacon’ flavor that  amazed me. Before this meal I’d never encountered these flavors in raw food. Simply astounding!

second | ginger. chamomile. nasturtium.

The unexpected soup, different from the published menu. Afterward Chef Rice explained she felt the menu might be too puree-heavy so changed this course to a vivid vegan consommé.  A mild broth with the heat of ginger and one peppery bite of nasturtium.

third | brassicas. saffron coconut curry. cilantro pesto. grapes.

The pale green puree hide a simmering spice that lingered after every bite. The plump florets of rainbow cauliflower, steeped in the coconut curry, were a satisfying end to the savory courses. I swept up every last bit of the cilantro pesto… with my finger!

fourth | Mexican red velvet custard. pistachio pastry. reishi chocolate sauce. smoked salt.

A stunning end. Two quenelle of raw chocolate custard splatted in chocolate relish—a ruddy mushroom—sauce holding a delicate pistachio wafer. It tasted as beautiful as it looked.

The next dinner will he held Saturday July 26, 8pm at C.A.V.E Gallery 1108 Abbot Kinney, Venice… and it’s BYOB!

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