What: Dinner at a famed vegetarian restaurant!
Where: Millennium Restaurant, San Francisco, Calif.
When: December 11, 2009
Why: To pretend we're rich and fancy for one night (read: charge it).
The Scoop: Before Sara and I return to our respective hometowns for the holidays, we had one goal: splurge on a decadent vegan dinner at Millennium Restaurant! Was it worth getting all dolled up and braving an unusually chilly winter night to get the 411 on one of San Fran’s most esteemed vegan eateries? Well, duh.
After confirming our reservation with the hostess, we spent a few minutes admiring the charming retro vibe of the Hotel California—the building Millennium calls home—before being seated in the cozy, vaguely 1920s-decorated dining room. Maybe our table-for-two was the perfect spot for people watching, and maybe we did some good-natured gossiping while waiting for the waitress to arrive.
Of course, our first order of business was to take a gander at the extensive beverage menu. Sara started the night by sipping on a Current Affair, a cozy combo of vodka, vanilla agave, and crème de cassis, while I opted for the slightly spicy Fiery Basil-Grapefruit Margarita. Thankfully, the restaurant offers a complimentary breadbasket to tide guests over until their appetizers arrive. We figured it was only sporting to clear the entire thing, especially since the bread came with a deliciously addictive side of chickpea spread.
Now, here's the thing about fine dining for the budget conscious: go big or go home. Sure, we could have split an appetizer, skipped the entrée, and called it a night. That sounds fiscally smart, right? Wrong. That sounds lame. After parting ways with the breadbasket, we happily welcomed the arrival of our appetizer, the Savory Bread Pudding Gratin. The verdict: Crazy. Delicious. This rich bread pudding had mushrooms, cashew cream, and a host of other savory ingredients that could convert even the most obstinate carnivore (yes, at Millennium, that is part of the goal).
Deliberating over which entrée to order was a difficult task (sometimes life is hard), but I finally decided on Pumpkin Curry, and Sara chose Masa Gnocchi. We asked our server to recommend wine to pair with our dinner, and she brought us two glasses of tasty, earthy red wine. Molto bene!