I've been online acquaintances with Chef Scott Winegard for a while now, after I became obsessed with his gorgeous Tumblr site showcasing his vegan creations, and have been eagerly awaiting a chance to finally get to attend one of the Nasturtium dinners that he puts on with his partner Elena Balletta. It seemed like every time one came up, I was out of town, had some other event already planned, or was otherwise unable to make it. Finally the stars and planets aligned, I made my reservation for last night's dinner, and what followed was nothing short of magic.
|Fig. Marmite. Dill.|
|Cucumber. Fennel. Almond. Tarragon.|
|Butter lettuce. Watermelon radish. Wax bean. Cherry-herb vinaigrette.|
|Green tomato. Chanterelle. Polenta. Fresh chickpea.|
|Summer squash. Tomato.|
|Semolina cake. Roasted peach. Basil ice cream.|
|Blueberry - Lemon balm.|
It was a real pleasure to finally get to meet Scott in person, and he was as I imagined him to be: warm, welcoming, and genuinely excited to present some spectacular vegan food to us. (Hopefully next time I will get to meet Elena too.) If I didn't get this across in my description of the dishes, let me say this about Scott's & Elena's cooking: this is vegan food at its very best. The entire menu was a showcase of the freshest seasonal ingredients, sourced locally from the farmer's market. This was all real food, no processed or faux ingredients to be found. Each dish was simple, meaning a minimum of ingredients/elements on the plate, but presented so artfully and beautifully that you couldn't help but be dazzled. I truly hope that in the near future we might see a real brick-and-mortar Nasturtium restaurant, of which we will be loyal and devoted regular customers. If you live in New York, keep an eye out for one of the next dinners, they are not to be missed!