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Walking, Eating, and Listening with Joy

Posted Oct 25 2009 12:00am
I haven't been feeling 100% lately, hovering somewhere between sickness and wellness, but I still managed to have a fantastic weekend, due in large part to some amazing people and events.

Amazing person and event number one: Karine Brighten and Farm Sanctuary's Walk for Farm Animals. Karine is a Vegan Wife Extraordinaire and an event planner, so she was the perfect person to plan the SF leg of this annual walk. There were tons of goodies to bid on in the auction, yummy food samples, goodie bags, inspiring speakers, and prizes for top fundraisers. Speaking of which, turns out my $655 contribution garnered me 3rd place and a gift box of animal-friendly Aveda products. Hooray! Icing on the cake was the perfect weather we had, but the real winners are the animals. Go Farm Sanctuary!


Amazing person and event number two: Last night, the husband and I headed to Oakland for another fantastic meal and concert provided by Philip Gelb's In the Mood for Food dinner/concert series. We've been to these events before and will go again and again every time we're free. The intimate setting, lovingly-prepared vegan food, and world-class musicians make these events one of my favorite things about living in the Bay Area. Last night was a pumpkin menu and we started off with a delicious pumpkin and white bean soup with pumpkin seed pesto.















It was superb on its own but, with the addition of that chili oil, it really sang - and helped clear out my sinuses! Its brightness also contrasted beautifully against the earthiness of our next dish:

Here we have my fave of the evening - pumpkin gnocchi in a walnut/sage sauce. You could have given me a bottle of that sauce and a straw and I would have been happy. Luckily, my friendship with Philip means I got to go home with extra sauce and I will be incorporating it into dinner tonight for sure. I gotta try to get the recipe out of him because something tells me there's more to it than walnuts and sage. In any event, it was homey, warming, and fall-tastic. Love it.

Our entree was a squash stuffed with lentils, pistachios, and chantrelle mushrooms. Another savory, plate-cleaning winner, though I must say I think my favorite part was the brussel sprouts on the side. I'm just a brussel sprout fanatic. :)

video

In between the entree and dessert is the concert, and last night's really blew me away. Check out the video above. The visuals aren't great, but just listen. Daniel Berkman plays the kora (a 21-stringed harp/lute from West Africa) with such passion and beauty. He had the entire room mesmerized. We were even willing to delay dessert to hear him play longer, so you know he had to be good!

Speaking of dessert, Philip provided a perfect light ending to this autumnal meal: Baked Asian pears stuffed with oats and raisins and a side of homemade pumpkin ice "cream". Just sweet enough, the warm spices really capped off the meal nicely, and the cashew-based ice cream was creamy and cool. A wonderful pairing.

All in all a terrific weekend thus far. For the rest of it, I intend on just relaxing and enjoying the lovely weather. Heading to a new-to-me restaurant tomorrow evening, so stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, enjoy your weekend and eat well!
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