Continuing on from my last post about our recent trip to vegan-friendly California, we were in San Francisco for less than 24 hours on this trip, but had only one real dining destination: Millennium. It was my birthday, and there’s no place I’d rather eat at for a celebration! My husband even bought me a new camera for my birthday that features low-light capabilties so I can take better restaurant photos without a distracting/annoying flash.
I’ve been to Millennium many times, and am convinced that there is no finer vegan restaurant. I’ve brought several omnivores there too (even children of cattle ranchers), and they’ve always raved about their meals. The menu constantly changes, aside from a few standards, and Chef Eric Tucker places an emphasis on fresh, healthy and in-season organic ingredients, and taps elements of world cuisines without being too exotic.
During this visit, the menu predominantly featured a mix of Asian ingredients that created unique flavor combinations.
We started with the Mirin Glazed Sesame Rice Balls.
I’ll admit we dug in too quickly to get a good picture of the whole plate. Oops. The official description is: kabocha squash, ginger & star anise puree, spicy shiitake mushroom, chile & edamame relish, nori paste, shiso. My description is: OMG. Sweet, tangy, savory – they were an umami-esq delight.
Decision time was tough for the main entrees. I went with the Sweet Soy Glazed Tempeh.
It was the Indonesian style peanut sauce that sold me. Other ingredients included seared udon noodles with broccoli rapini, carmelized onion, fermented black beans & ginger, coconut-kaffir lime dressed snap pea & cabbage salad, and fuyu persimmons. Crazy delicious! One of the things I love about Millennium is how they use such a wide variety of flavors in each dish, but they complement each other perfectly. Every bite was a new taste experience.
My husband selected the Masa Crepe, which offered a nod to Mexican flavors.
The dish included cilantro-tofu cheese & roasted corn filling, roasted zucchini-pinquito bean hash, habañero-tomato cream, pickled nopales salad, and a pumpkin seed & cilantro emulsion. Again: wow!
We had to get two deserts, because we couldn’t decide between them. The first was a Warm Chocolate Cake.
It was filled with hazelnut ganache and poached seckle pear, and served with vanilla bean crème anglaise and chai ice cream.
I don’t remember the name of the second desert and it’s not on the menu anymore.
I remember it had figs, plus chocolate, plus some kind of yummy ice cream. Sorry, I didn’t take notes!
Since we had eaten so much vegan food in LA the two days before, we were worried that we would be too over-stuffed to enjoy our meal at Millennium, but the quality and variety of the food was able to cut through the pack and provide a truly amazing experience. Also of note, the service was impeccable at Millennium and we always enjoy their interesting variety of local and organic wines.
Before heading off to the airport the next day, we had breakfast at Herbivore in the Mission District.
This was the first time we’d been to Herbivore. I’m not sure how we could squeeze any more food in, but we gave it a hero’s try. They had a great breakfast menu. My husband had the basil pesto scrambled tofu and a side of blueberry cornbread.
I had the breakfast burrito and a chocolate donut (I can’t resist vegan donuts).
Both meals were great, but I don’t think we were able to finish either of them. In fact, the donut went in a to-go box. The breakfast potatoes were cooked perfectly – golden brown and flavorful. The blueberry cornbread was also another highlight. Service was a little slow, but we were the first ones in the door so I think they were still getting prepped. I hope we can get back there someday to try lunch and dinner!
Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to Greens on this trip but I know it’s a must-try. We never seem to hit the right window of time to go there. We made it there during opening hours once, but they were too packed to seat us so we got something from the to-go counter. Maybe next trip!