Millennium Heirloom Tomato Dinner: Aug. 31st, 2011
Last night, I had one of the most delicious meals I've ever eaten. The setting was Millennium, my favorite restaurant in San Francisco; the company, foodie friends as stellar as the meal we were served. Millennium's Executive Chef Eric Tucker and his staff created a spectacular vegan Heirloom Tomato Dinner featuring tomatoes from Eatwell Farm.
The special menu began with the Amuse above; early girl tomato & roasted pimenton tartare, crisp tomato skins, carpaccio of Aunt Ruby's green tomatoes, grilled olive flatbread, tomato leaf aioli (yes, tomato leaf), smoky fig & tomato pate.
In addition to the wine pairing, there was a Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar. As this was my first Bloody Mary experience, I understand from my friends that I am now ruined for life as far as Bloody Mary's go. There were three mixes: Traditional (Sons & Daughters of New Zealand Pink Paste Tomatoes), Exotic Traveler featured below (Thai Curry Green Zebra Tomato & Melon) and Don Juan (Gold Tomato with Habanero). Below are images of the many tomatoes, herbs, and additions that you could build into your Bloody Mary:
I split my vodka into two glasses and tried both the Traditional (I added red and yellow tomatoes, jalapeno, and cilantro) and the the Exotic Traveler (I added green tomatoes, cilantro, and shiso). Eric stopped by at the end of the meal and told me I had to try the Don Juan and brought me another set-up. All three were spectacular - the traditional was wonderfully savory, the Exotic Traveler, very fresh and, well, exotic tasting, and the Don Juan was hot!
Move over Libby's - I'm truly inspired to experiment making my own tomato juice concoctions!
OK, back to the food.
The salad course consisted of Grilled Peach & Radicchio on a Skewer with gold tomato, crisp polenta crouton panzanella with gold balsamic vinaigrette (hiding in the back, but the best polenta ever!), ground toasted hazelnuts, fennel pollen & cacao nibs (!), basil leave and basil oil:
And my favorite dish of the meal: Fresh Corn Masa Sope with cashew-achiote "cheese", sweet & spicy tomato-habanero sauce, gold cherry tomato & nopales salsa:
The sope (a thick masa pancake) was so creamy and tender with fresh crunchy corn, the richness of the "cheese", the fresh salsa, and the beautiful presentation - I could eat this every day.
Diners had the choice of two entrees: I chose the Shady Lady Tomato Coconut Masala, with a butterball potato-chickpea cake (with the most wonderful chunks of potato), roasted Lobster mushrooms, cauliflower, zucchini & romano beans, melon-cherry tomato salad and red onion pakora (on top -incredible!):
The other option was Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Provencal with tofu custard, cinnamon scented tempeh-walnut sausage, stewed tomatoes with chartreuse & caramelized fennel, chrysanthemum greens and pistachio-mint relish:
And, finally dessert: Marzano Tomato-Pineapple Upsdie Down Cake with roasted gold blossom tomato, aged black garlic ice cream, candied tomato & watermelon relish with jalapeno-black garlic brittle and and pink pepper anglaise:
What's truly amazing to me is the tremendous wealth of ingredients utilized in this menu, not just the extensive varieties of tomatoes, but the incredible and complex details that were part of every dish. If you want to experience these special menus, get on the Millennium mailing list and book early. The place was hopping for this incredible menu and the service was, like the rest of the experience, stellar.