A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

Alchemy: Vegan Tasting

[caption id="attachment_1854" align="alignnone" width="640"]Alchemy Sign Alchemy Sign[/caption]

 

UPDATE: ALCHEMY IS CLOSED!! THE RESTAURANT THAT IS GOING TO TAKE ITS PLACE IS RUMORED TO BE 100% VEGAN!

 

SOUTH PARK.  Once a month, Alchemy fills a glaring void in San Diego – the vegan fine dining experience.  San Francisco has Millennium, and Crossroads  recently opened in Los Angeles.

So how can a San Diegan celebrate a special occasion with vegan cuisine borne of creativity and artistry?  Simple.  Mark your calendar for the fourth Wednesday of the month, then head to Alchemy.

True, Alchemy offers vegan options on its regular menu, daily.  (See my previous post on Alchemy, but be aware that some of the dishes have changed!)  But the masterminds behind Alchemy have also created a special 4-course dinner menu – called the “Vegan Tasting” – that takes place on the fourth Wednesday of every month.  Each course changes each month, as do the wine pairings.  After my December tasting, I walked out into a brisk night feeling warm, inspired, and full of holiday cheer!

 

[caption id="attachment_1806" align="alignnone" width="316"]Vegan Tasting Menu Vegan Tasting Menu[/caption]

 

1st Course: Split Pea Soup:

 

A thoughtful soup can impress as much as an entree.  Case in point – the split pea soup infused with leeks, garlic, pea vines, and chive oil.  It was full bodied, smooth, but delivered a subtle spice that created warmth on a chilly night.  I soon found myself staring at the bottom of an empty bowl.

 

[caption id="attachment_1795" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Split Pea Soup Vegan Split Pea Soup[/caption]

 

 2nd Course: Warm Couscous Salad:

 

The second course was beautifully plated – trunks of English cucumber overflowing with Israeli couscous and topped with rhubarb, pomegranate seeds, and micro kale.  But the flavors again stole the show.  Specifically, I enjoyed the playful contrast between the cool baseline of the cucumber, the slight sweetness of the couscous, and the pronounced tartness of the rhubarb and pomegranate.  Each seed punctuated the creativity of this plate.

 

[caption id="attachment_1796" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Warm Cous Cous Salad Vegan Warm Cous Cous Salad[/caption]

 

 3rd Course: Spaghetti and Meatballs:

 

The main course proved that a talented chef can reinvent the classics with resounding success.  At first blush, I saw only meatballs.  But nestled in the middle of the plate, I found the “spaghetti” – delicate strands of spaghetti squash dressed in roasted garlic and dairy free parmesan and butter, coupled with heirloom tomatoes and bloomsdale spinach.  The tiniest bite delivered substantial flavor, enough to stand toe to toe with the meatballs.

From my previous life as an eager omnivore, I know what a good meatball tastes like.  And without hesitation, I can say that these were the best meatballs I have ever touched with a fork.  Ever.  I do not know how the chef did it.  I imagine the spices were plentiful and complex.  But I think it is fitting that a restaurant called Alchemy combined a mixture of plant-based foods and spices to yield the perfect meatball.

 

[caption id="attachment_1797" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs[/caption]

 

4th Course: Pots De Creme:

 

Finally, it was time for dessert.  The Pots de Crème had the consistency of mousse, but with a deep flavor of dark chocolate.   Further, with cocoa nibs sprinkled on top, this dessert delivered a double dose of chocolate love.  I also loved the presentation – small, yellow flowers that added a splash of color to the dish.  And yes, I did eat a few, because edible flowers are delightful!

 

[caption id="attachment_1800" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Pots de Creme Vegan Pots de Creme[/caption]

 

Alchemy’s interior is cozy and unique.  Soft lighting and a friendly, knowledgeable staff create a relaxing environment for dinner.  Don’t forget to check out the silver tree rising from the center of the restaurant or the local artwork adorning the walls.  Alchemy offers a welcome departure from normal.

 

[caption id="attachment_1801" align="alignnone" width="640"]Alchemy Interior Alchemy Interior[/caption]

 

Alchemy excels at preparation – all of the dishes tasted fresh and were meticulously spiced – and presentation – each dish was thoughtfully arranged and plated.   It makes eating at Alchemy a truly enjoyable experience.  My fiancé and I split a wine pairing (someone had to be able to drive home at the end of the night!), and enjoyed them all.

My favorite part of the meal ended up being something intangible.  Life, especially during the holidays, can be stressful and rushed.  It was cathartic to enjoy the time and progression of a 4-course dinner.  So thank you, Alchemy.  I will be back soon.

 

Practical Tips:

 

Want to know the menu for the next vegan tasting? Alchemy regularly updates the home page with news and information, including the vegan tasting menu!  Check out Alchemy’s website at:

http://alchemysandiego.com/

 

Also remember that Alchemy often sells out of the vegan tasting menu.  To ensure that you don’t miss out, make a reservation!

1503 30th St

San Diego, CA 92102

619.255.0616