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Hello Veggies!

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a copy of Everyday Happy HerbivoreI was so happy to see so much excitement for a plant-based cookbook and I truly loved reading all of the favorite recipes everyone shared in the comments.  Everything sounded SO delicious.

I am super excited to announce the (randomly selected) winner of the give-away!

 

Drum-roll please… 

 

Congratulations to @farrahknits!  (and now I’m totally craving a squash-n-bean burrito!)

 

 

 

And now I have something else fun to share… Have you ever had a 15-course meal?  Or food cooked by a “Mad Scientist”?  I’d never had either, but after years of curiosity, Mike and I finally treated ourselves to a dinner at Moto restaurant, in honor of both valentine’s day and our belated 2-year anniversary.  

Moto is one of the most famous and inventive restaurants in Chicago.  Known for being a pioneer of Molecular Gastronomy, the chefs at Moto use scientific tools & knowledge to create mind-bending tastes and textures, meals that might have come straight out of Dr. Seuss’s imagination.

We’d never experienced anything quite like this before, so I wanted to share some of the meal’s highlights with you.

**Spoiler Alert**:  While the featured ingredients in the recipes change almost daily, only 1-2 menu items are completely overhauled each month.  If you’re planning to go to Moto anytime this year, think twice before reading this post - the surprise of each dish is half the fun!

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Course 1: Spring Roll

One thing Moto is famous for is it’s edible menu.  Yep – diners eat the menu, both literally and figuratively.  Our first course was a Spring Roll with the menu printed directly on the rice paper.  This was not just any old Spring Roll either – it was absolutely delicious, from the tofu & pickled vegetable filling to the crushed peanuts, and especially the pineapple dipping sauce. 

In prior months, they’ve also printed the menu on toasted bread for a pb & j sandwich, as an edible crouton to be crumbled into soup, and on rice-paper with nori powder as a sushi roll.

Thankfully, a paper menu was also available so we could still refer back to the menu after we’d eaten it.

While Vegan options are available with advance notice, I ordered a vegetarian meal, which very closely mirrored Mike’s omnivorous meal (in fact, some of Mike’s courses were exactly the same as mine). 

Course 7: Cigar Tasting

This was one of the coolest dishes.  My vegetarian “Philly Cheese Steak” Cigars were so delicious – tasting of smoke, cheese, and ketchup – and completely edible down to the paper wrapper, the collard green exterior, and the edible ashes (made of freeze dried sesame seeds & cuban spices).  They were so realistic, Mike was even able to blow “smoke” out of his nose.

 

Course 8: Forest Foraging

Supposedly, these twigs were found in our own Lincoln Park.  Each twig had a Poached Quail Egg in a nest of Maple Syrup, Oats, and Parsnips.  Further foraging would reveal mulberries, mushroom puree, and pumpernickel dirt’.

Course 11: Egg-Drop Soup

This dish made me feel like it was April Fool’s Day.  It looks like a raw egg, right?  But it’s not!  It’s actually a dessert of Mango Puree set in a Lemongrass Coconut Gel.  One bite of this had all of the flavors we experienced in Southeast Asia.

Course 12: Marshmallow & Apple

Out of the five (yes, 5!) desserts we had, this one was by far the most complex.  Applewood Smoke added a campfire flavor to these Apple-Infused Marshmallows that were served with chamomile-apple sorbet, butterscotch sauce, raisins, and grated white truffle.  This was seriously a symphony of flavors in my mouth, though I wasn’t a fan of the truffles (call me crazy if you wish).

  

Course 15: Acme Bombs

These chocolate candies were filled with a melted graham-cracker ice-cream.  Once the wick (made of rice) burned out, we were told to eat these in one bite, immediately, for a chocolate and ice-cream explosion.

Overall

We had a great time and enjoyed the very tasty and surprising dishes.  As fun as it was though, we decided this much decadence isn’t really our style, and certainly isn’t in our budget to do again.  While science & creativity can certainly make an amazing meal, I think simplicity can be even more mind-blowing.  

I left this meal stuffed, yet craving the unadulterated perfection of a very ripe Strawberry.

I’d love to hear from you!

What’s the most decadent meal you’ve ever had?

Photo Bonus:

If you’d like to see all 15 courses (note: see “spoiler alert” above) check out our complete photo gallery: