Sustenio Family Style Vegetarian Dinner — pheNOMenal!

My husband and I had an amazing vegetarian dinner last night at Sustenio at the Elian Resort in La Cantera. Of course we didn’t know where we were going, and went to the wrong hotel — but we soon realized our error and trotted off in the right direction ——> the direction towards an absolutely pheNOM(NOM)enal dinner by Chef David Gilbert.

The meal was divided up into seven courses — but really was stretched more into nine. It lasted for 3 hours, and both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the company.

When the three desserts came out (yes, 3!), the were squeals from all around the table. The dessert was fabulous, as you’ll see below.

If you’re interested in attending one of Sustenio’s family style dinners, be sure to follow David Gilbert on Twitter (@BeyondtheKit), or check in with Geekettebits — who will probably post when the next dinner is available.  Seriously, the meal was well worth the price — and wait. I can’t wait for the next one.

Sustenio Vegetarian Feast | The Hip Vegetarian

What we all loved about the menu was the chef’s notes scribbled on the back. I often referred back to it while I was eating.

Sustenio Vegetarian Feast | The Hip Vegetarian

(left) We sat at the chef’s table, giving us a direct view into the kicthen. (right) Potato Chips, a little salty, which made them perfect.

Sustenio Vegetarian Feast | The Hip Vegetarian

(left) Pancakes with Smoky Sarrots, Bean Sprouts, and Herbs — served with Kim Chi. (right) Green Papya Salad — salty, sweet, sour and garlicky!

Sustenio Vegetarian Feast | The Hip Vegetarian

Heirloom Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Pepitas and Olive Oil. (right) Squash Soup with Curry Popcorn and Cilantro

Sustenio Vegetarian Feast | The Hip Vegetarian

(left) Fingerling Potatoes with Truffle and Watercress. (middle) Indian Pumpkin Curry with Cauliflower, Cardamom Raisins, Jasmine Rice. (left) Asparagus.

Sustenio Vegetarian Feast | The Hip Vegetarian

Cheese with South Texas Honey, Apple, Pomegranate, and 50 year Balsamic. (right) Family Style Dining — there was more than enough for everyone.

Sustenio Vegetarian Feast | The Hip Vegetarian

(left) Black Truffle, Chocolate Mousse. (middle) Tres Leche-Grapefruit Granite. (right) Pumpkin Spice Semifreddo


Potato-licious Pea Curry

photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Here was my dilemma: curry or Pad Thai.  Well I had some potatoes in my arsenal begging to be used so the curry won the battle. However the overcast day may have tipped the scales because cloudy days make me crave carbs.  Therefore I ended up with the most wonderful curry.

I originally found this recipe on Food Network when I was searching for a vegan dish for some friends. Just use olive oil instead of better and voila! Vegan.

Some tips:

  1. Sauté the onions with the potatoes until they caramelize.
  2. If you don’t like salty foods, cut the salt to 1 teaspoon, and add as desired.
  3. My Indian friends suggest that instead of grinding the Coriander seeds, just drop them directly into the hot oil and let them pop open.  This did add a nice texture to the dish.
  4. For protein, add MorningStar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips.

Potato Pea Curry

3 large baking potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup clarified butter (ghee)
2 large onions, diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups fresh or frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped

Directions Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch dice. To remove the excess starch, place the potatoes in a bowl and rinse with cold running water until the water runs clear. Drain well.

Heat 1/4 cup clarified butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until they are brown. At the same time, heat the remaining clarified butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the potatoes until they are golden and add sautéed onions.

Add the garlic and ginger, and cook just long enough to release their aromas, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cumin, turmeric, coriander, and pepper flakes. Return the pan to medium heat. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock or water, and salt.

Simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the peas are heated through. Adjust the seasonings and serve immediately.

Vegetables Korma

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Tonight I had Naan in the house that I didn’t want to go to waste, so this gave me the good opportunity to try out a new recipe that I have been saving from my Vegetarian Times magazine.  Vegetables Korma is a traditional Indian dish. To make it simple, Vegetarian Times suggests that frozen vegetables be used.  Which is a good way to combine all those individual frozen vegetable bags with only a handful of food left in them.

This can also easily be converted into a vegan dish by using coconut milk instead of heavy cream.

I was surprised by how fast the meal came together.  I placed the rice on the stove top burner to cook and by the time it was finished the meal was ready to be served.

This recipe is very mild in flavors, not spicy at all. This might be a good introduction to Indian food for those who don’t like curry or spicy cuisine.

The original recipe says it serves two, however this was a lot of food. I think you could easily serve six if you add in the chickpeas.

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

My husband said he liked it, however he suggested that the Masala could be quadrupled.  He pulled out the spice and started sprinkling it on his serving.  I thought I’d give it a try, and he made a good call.  However I will disclose that we do like Masala on our popcorn.

Vegetables Korma

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 small white onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala or curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 Tbs. golden raisins
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, such as green beans, cauliflower, carrots, lima beans, and zucchini (12 oz.)
  • 1 7-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (3/4 cup), optional
  • 3 Tbs. fat-free evaporated milk or heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. toasted slivered almonds, optional


1. Cook rice according to package directions.
2. Purée tomatoes, onion, and ginger to paste in food processor or blender.
3. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garam masala and cardamom, and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add tomato purée and raisins. Simmer 2 minutes, or until sauce thickens slightly.
4. Stir in frozen vegetables; chickpeas, if using; and evaporated milk. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 6 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Serve over rice. Sprinkle with almonds, if using.