Fresh Friday here at From Fries To Fit!
Although todays post is dedicated to my vegans…there’s no doubt that ALL vegans, carnivores, and vegetarians alike would go batshit over the beautifully crafted food at The Gadarene Swine. The VEGAN sister restaurant to Scratch BarLA, in which chef Phillip Frankland Lee offers a complicated, artistic but perfectly paired array of mostly animal fats & proteins. My kinda thing. FOR SURE. The Gadarene Swine is the OPPOSITE. Ode to the Vegetable! (without skimping on the flavor of course!) Have you ever heard of a meat eating chef opening up a vegan spot? Yeah, me neither. Well, when I caught wind of chef Lee’s “no animal, all vegan” new venture here in Studio City, I thought, “hmmm this could be perfect!”
Listen, I’m no vegan, and clearly, he ain’t either honey, but as a food lover…foodie…whatever you want to call it, I can appreciate the art and tastes of all cuisines. The “Valley” has been on the way up in restaurant culture. The fact that I don’t have to shlep back to Downtown or Hollywood to have a delicious and interesting meal, makes me fuckin’ jump for joy! So, when my brother’s GF, Sarah, a veggie aficionado, came into town from Vancouver, I knew this was going to rock her world.
Sarah, Mom, & I walk in, and are immediately drawn to the beautiful, rustic garden patio. Wood, plants, and succulents everywhere. A mini oasis if you will. Let me make something clear here…this isn’t your typical “Veggie Grill” experience. This is fine dining babes. With that said… expect fine dining prices.
As we cozied up with our Pinot’s, we selected various dishes from the A La Carte menu. Other menu options include: 3 different chefs choice tasting menus, with option of wine pairing. So fancy for the “valley”right?!. Haha. Get into it people. It’s an experience, ok?! The staff was very nice. Each dish explained, and service was above par.
First up…Olive Stuffed Olives…. Holy, BEST THING I EVER, SO CAREFULLY PUT in my MOUTH!!!! Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside without being greasy. Made with a touch of honey.
Each presentation better than the next. Homemade, lightly toasted sourdough alongside crushed tomato oil with balsamic glaze. This was so delicious! So full of flavor. I mean…it’s in a nest for god’s sake.
Ok, here’s where it gets really fabulous. Look at those colors! This, ladies & gents, is a multi-colored blackened cauliflower, over a bed of creamed cauliflower, topped with dehydrated cauliflower chips & chopped pistachios. O.M.GEEEEEEEE! Loaded inside a beautiful clay bowl, the display itself makes you NOT want to share. Chef Lee somehow manages to separate the flavors of the same vegetable through different textures and seasonings. FAVE!
Ok, mind you…I’m not eating all of this alone. Lol. Between 3 of us, we shared everything. Here is a shot of our next dishes up.
Dirty rice and Hand torn pasta with shaved onions. Both incredibly flavorful! The pasta was done al dente with pureed tomato sauce filled with great texture derived from capers, fresh greens, shaved onion and even, a hint of sweetness from a lil fruit. Perhaps it was pineapple. Not sure, but it definitely held up to, even some of the best pasta I had in Italy recently.The crispy rice was incredible. Brown rice flavored with nori, filled with mushrooms, squash, crispy onions, shaved carrots, avocado… etc. Honestly one of the best vegetarian/vegan meals I have ever had. I know ya’ll, bold statement, but I felt fresh, not heavy. Not one bite of tempeh, tofu..none of that. Everything centered around the “vegetable”.
In that bigger piece of heavy & beautiful pottery, is roasted mushrooms over burnt mashed sweet potato. Woohoooo!
Heres a close up. Beautifully dressed with a hint of acidity, the flavors pop in your mouth, & you really hone in on all the smoky flavor of the roast. With a mix of different mushrooms, fresh peas, greens, and a few crunchy nori chips, it all comes together in a big bowl of “Bitch, taste thissss!!!”