Photos: WaterCourse's harvest dinner was a decadent vegan/vegetarian delight

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Chef Rachel Kesley, the kitchen magician at WaterCourse Foods, doesn't get to deviate from the menu all that often -- so when she does get the chance, you know it's going to be a meal to remember. This past Friday's harvest dinner was inspired by pinots from the Pacific Northwest and was themed around food from the region -- amazing, inspired food.

See also: - TAG|RAW BAR's vegan omakase dinner is awesome - The vegan pizza at the Marquis Theater is a show-stopper - Last night's WaterCourse Foods beer dinner in photos

Pictured above is one of the entrees -- but there were several courses to get through first.

First up was the amuse, a "crab" cake bite made from lobster mushrooms, topped with fried caperberry and dill aioli. It was paired with a Chehalem Pinot Gris 2011. The soup course was a smoked-leek chowder served with a lobster-mushroom jus, homemade oyster crackers with caraway seed and pear butter. Paired with an Airlie Gewurztraminer '07, a sip of the wine, followed by a sip of the jus, a swallow of the soup and an oyster mushroom dipped in pear butter was a perfectly balanced combination. Next up was the salad, which was truly amazing: crispy Brussels sprouts tossed with smokey mushrooms and blue cheese (for vegetarians) or WaterCourse's house-made vegan gouda (for vegans), served atop grilled Asian pears. It was paired with a Linen '09 chardonnay. The vegetarian small bite was a mushroom pate served atop grilled foccacia with pickled Brussels sprout and a quail egg, adorned with a good balsamic vinegar. This was paired with an Airlie 7 white blend from 2009. The vegan version eliminated the quail egg, but was still delicious. One of two entree options, as seen above, was a seared truffled potato "scallop" served with roasted carrots, squash demi, fava beans and mixed mushrooms, paired with an Illahe 2010 pinot noir (definitely the better wine of the two dinner options). However, the second entree was tough to beat: an espresso-rubbed seitan cutlet with a pomegranate merlot reduction, caramelized rainbow carrots, herbed fingerling potatoes and puff pastry, paired with Revelry's '09 merlot. The seitan was made with cornmeal and tofu, which gave it an extra-meaty texture and flavor -- like a fine steak. Dessert was an almond tuile with vegan marscapone and sauteed apples and figs, topped with a brandy fig sauce.

Kesley outdid herself with this meal. We can't wait to see what her next specialized menu will feature!

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