A trio of sorbets- we especially liked the basil one:
Maybe we've just experimented for too many years at home with meat free meals and maybe we've eaten at too many ethnic restaurants that really get how to prepare vegetarian food but, we have to say, we didn't find a lot of inspiration at the Savor the Summer Garden event. We appreciate what they are doing but just didn't walk away with many ideas or any dishes that really excited our taste buds. Several years ago, we went to one of the Society's Meat-Out events. This was definitely an improvement on that. That was held in a church and got so crowded that we had to eat outside on the church steps after a very long wait in the buffet line. As we recall, there were some prepared foods by companies like Amy's Organics at that Meat-Out. We were grateful that wasn't the case this time.
There were several rooms that had serving stations with different offerings. Each room had tables and chairs but it still felt very crowded and confined as people stood in line out of the doorways, tried to get by the people in line at the doorways, etc. It was also awkward (and a little icky) to jostle our plastic plates and plastic utensils from room to room when we were asked to not get new plates for each dish since they were running low on plates. As for the food, maybe our expectations were too high. There just didn't seem to be a lot of flavor in the dishes. Just like dishes with meat, vegetarian food can be greatly enhanced with spices. We were looking forward to the Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Peanut Pesto but, not only were the vegetables way too raw to stab our plastic fork in, we did not taste peanut pesto. The Oven Roasted Cauliflower, Vegetables in Curry Sauce, Ratatouille, and Quinoa were all good but nothing special in that "Oh my gosh I can't believe they did that all with vegetables" kind of way. We liked the Chickpea Sliders but were surprised that beans, tofu, and tempeh were so under-represented. Those are all such great blank canvases that we would have thought for sure there were going to be some innovative dishes utilizing them. Maybe they didn't fit into the "Summer Garden" theme. Things ended on a disappointing note in the last room which our menu said would have Fruit Tarts but, not only did we not find those, the huge platters that had "Vegan Cookies" signs in front of them were empty (this was a little after 2 and the event went until 3).
It was nice to see the Chef's Academy and also nice to see that the event was so popular. We'd love to hear thoughts from anyone else who attended.
(In the spirit of full disclosure, we must say that we were kindly offered complimentary tickets to this event but, as bloggers, we felt that we couldn't ethically accept them. We happily bought our tickets and experienced the event in our usual covert way.)