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

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Oops! There Goes the Pumpkin

The Hot Pot before baking.

Ah, it’s fall. My favorite time of year because the pumpkins are back in the stores. So you can imagine my excitement when I received a new recipe for Aromatic Pumpkin And Chickpea Hot Pot that my friend Stacy found in the New York Times.

Like Stacy, I was going to back this Hot Pot inside a pumpkin — even though the recipe didn’t call for it. And like Stacy, I was going to impress the socks off my dinner guests.

I made some minor modifications to the recipe. I didn’t use chunks of pumpkin when assembling since it would be cooked inside one. I planned to just scrap the pumpkin meat off the sides when dishing out the stew. That makes prepping much easier.

I also cut the chickpeas in half and instead used a can of hominy.

This hot pot recipe was super easy to prepare.  I assembled and cooked it on the stove top the night before. Refrigerated over night and then placed it inside the pumpkin to bake for our noon dinner.

Guests arrived, dinner was ready, and all I needed to do was transfer the baked pumpkin filled with this awesome tasting hop pot recipe on to the severing platter for it’s final presentation.

The Remains.

As my guests were looking on in wonderment, I picked up the pumpkin from the 9″ cake pan it was resting in and I suddenly hear a WHOOSH! To my horror the stew dropped out of the bottom of the pumpkin, back into the cake pan, and overflowed in to the stove.

As I continued to look on in horror, my friend stepped in to take over. We were able to salvage what fell into the cake pan and serve it in the pumpkin, placed in a bowl, on top of the serving platter.

Dinner wasn’t a disaster, but it sure did come close.

The Final Presentation.

I’m in Love with an Aussie (Veggie Pie, that is!)

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

Today I ran into Whole Foods Market and as I was headed to the checkout counter I was drawn to the deli area.  There next to a heated display swarmed shoppers like bugs drawn to light.  And there I discovered the Aussie awesomeness of Boomerang’s Gourmet Veggie & Meat Pies.  What a thrill to discover meat pies reminiscent of my visit to New Zealand.

For those who aren’t familiar with this Australian favorite; meat pies are flakey, handheld and considered the “national dish” of New Zealand and Australia.  For Texans it’s like an empanada collided with a pot pie.

Based out of Austin, Texas Boomerang’s nailed it with their vegetarian version of their Spicy Mexican Veggie (diced poblano peppers and jalapenos, vegetarian sausage, red beans, cheddar cheese, red pepper flakes, diced jicama and cucumber mixed in Boomerang’s Colorado sauce) and a vegan Thai Veggie (baby corn, carrots, water chestnuts, basil and cilantro all combined in Boomerang’s gourmet Thai peanut sauce).  Looks like they also sell Curry Veggie, Southwest Veggie and Spinich & Mushroom.

Photo taken by thehipvegetarian

These vegetarian delectables are a meal unto themselves.  Whole Foods was introducing them for $3.99 today and will sell them for $4.99.  This might seem steep, but these pies are thick and stuffed full with vegetables. I felt like it was a fair price, especially since I can’t eat lunch for less than $8 these days. I didn’t walk away hungry.

Checking out their website I discovered these savory pies are sold in Whole Foods throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  Don’t live near one of these awesome states or have a Whole Foods near you?  No problem mate, they also ship.