Last night, Patrick and I attended the 2nd Annual Vegan Wine Dinner at Meze 119 in downtown St. Petersburg.
Meze 119 is a vegetarian bistro with a Middle Eastern influence. We’ve eaten there a few times before . The food there is always great, as is the service.
I heard about this event a few weeks ago and was very excited to attend. A chance to get dressed up and enjoy fabulous vegan cuisine and wine? Of course I’d be there!
Photographic proof that I own something other than Nike tempo shorts and yoga pants.
They closed the restaurant last night for the event. We arrived at just a few minutes after 6:30pm and the small space was packed!
The menu was five courses of interesting vegan options paired with 5 different wines. Two of the wines were named on the menu and the others were blind tastes. Each dish was explained as it came out and the wine paired was given a description as well as an explanation of why it was paired.
The first course was a chilled Summer Borscht made with golden beets and paired with a Brut rosé. I’ve only had chilled soups a handful of times but this one was really good.
The second course was a chopped salad with a roasted tomato vinaigrette.
This blind taste was a Andeluna Torrontes from Argentina. I usually don’t care for white wines but I really enjoyed this one. It had a very subtle flavor and smelled (to me) like roses. The wine rep explained that the key to pairing a wine with salad is to be sure the salad’s dressing doesn’t have too much vinegar.
The third course was a Paté de Trios Légumes. This was my absolute favorite dish of the night. The blind taste turned out to be Le Paradou Grenache from France. We liked this wine so much we brought a bottle home.
The three layers were crimson lentils, cauliflower, and walnut-portabella mushroom. It was served warm with a grape leaf “crust” and gluten free crackers.
The fourth course was a Cedar Planked Tofu served with a citrus and kale slaw. This dish was paired with another blind taste, which turned out to be Merum Priorat Ardies, a Spanish red wine.
The tofu was topped with a maple syrup and was very sweet. The kale slaw had a spicy kick to it.
The last and final dish was, of course, dessert. A tofu twist on Tiramisu, paired with a Madiera from Portugal.
After dinner we hung around and spoke with the chef, Kate Gorr. She explained a little bit about her background and how she ended up at Meze 119. I was really surprised to find out that she’s not a vegetarian. From everything she told us, she is extremely conscious about sustainability and organic foods, but doesn’t always follow a vegetarian diet. I honestly think that’s what makes her dishes so unique.
It’s no surprise this restaurant was named ”Best Vegetarian Restaurant Even a Carnivore Could Enjoy” by Creative Loafing . Meze 119 was definitely one of my favorite spots downtown before, but I’m pretty sure they took the top spot after last night’s dinner.