Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco Birthday Dinner – 5-course tasting menu, wine pairing, custom cakes, oh my.

On December 26th we flew over to San Francisco to celebrate my birthday in the most absurd and delightful surprise way I’ve ever had. After a remarkably straightforward, and easy trip through US Customs, a quick and painless security screening, and a window seat on the air plane on a direct flight, we left behind the storm warnings and cloudy days in Toronto and were basking in the sunshine in SFO. It seems we left right in time, because while I was looking forward to having a bit of snow, the storm front that was hitting Toronto wasn’t my idea of a good time. After checking in to our hotel (a mere block away from Millennium) we relaxed, enjoyed the complimentary wine hour at our hotel, and got ready for dinner. Entering the restaurant is always a bit weird because walking through the Tenderloin area of San Francisco with it’s display of overt poverty, addiction, and illness, in an area full of hotels, tourism, and theaters is quite the contrast. It’s also hard for me not to think about the last time I  ate at Millennium and saw a shooting after dinner. It’s an area permanently blended with weird reality of have and have not, and it’s not something easy to overlook (at least it’s not something I can ignore.)

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Vegan fine dining at Millennium in San Francisco.

Well, it seems no trip to San Francisco (at least as a vegan with money to spend) is complete without visiting Millennium (580 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA). I’ve heard only good things about it, and I know it’s on the “To Eat” list for many vegans, so I had to take the opportunity to see it. Sunday – Wednesday they have a prix fixe ($39/person), with an optional wine pairing($12/person), so I made reservations for Sunday night, and went with a fellow PPKer. It’s in the Hotel California, and looks like any other fine dining restaurant, but still has a comfortable casual feel. It seemed to rely on natural light, so as the evening progressed it became more difficult to take pictures of the beautiful food. This was the Cornmeal Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes, with a lovage remoulade, picked green cherry tomato & cucumber salad, topped off with tarragon. I liked this quite a bit, but my dining companion got the Salt & Pepper Coriander Crusted Oyster Mushrooms (with a nectarine-kaffir lime lemon grass dipping sauce!!!), and they were AMAZING, but I didn’t get a picture. My friend got the Buckwheat Dosa. It had an eggplant & zucchini masala filling, smoked cardamom & toasted cashew korma (which was delicious), coconut mint chutney and a methi(aka fenugreek), melon & purslane salad. Sure, this isn’t what I think of when I hear dosa, but it was beautifully presented, and tasty. I was glad to get a few bites of it. I…

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