Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Last Vegetable Dish

I was reading an article on Roger Ebert’s struggle with cancer of the jaw. After being diagnosed with the disease a few years ago his course of treatment led to the eventual removal of his lower jaw bone. Ebert has not been able to speak, drink, or eat solid food since operation.

I can’t imagine how lonely it must feel to not be able share dinner with family and friends, let alone not be able to speak. For me dinner is a major highlight of my day. While I enjoy great food, I find that even good or mediocre food is made so much better with great conversation and laughter. Hell, if you give me good enough drink I’ll spend the night laughing with friends and making fun of bad food. While I think one can be good independent of the other, when you get both it can be so much fun.

In the article they ask Mr. Ebert what his last meal was; after thinking for a little while he said he really didn’t remember. I can imagine the amount of pain in his jaw limited him considerably in what he could eat. As a food fanatic I think I can safely say that if it were me I would be (to use a Jersey Shore reference), creepin’ on the most memorable dish I was able to comfortably consume.

I can say that any last meal for me would have to include the Pea Soup with Parmesan Foam from Jean Georges. My memory of the whole thing is pretty vivid even to this day. (I won’t bore you with the details but if you really want to read about the best lunch in New York City read here.) When you taste a dish like this, it’s a sensory experience that seems to indelibly burn itself on your memory forever.

Chef's Garden Carrots

The folks at The Culinary Vegetable Institute have generously offered two seats at this Saturday’s February Earth to Table Dinner with Beej Flamholz and Erica Wides, valued at $55 a person. If you haven’t been to the CVI you’re in for a real treat (see here). What do you have to do to win these prized seats? In the comment section I want you to tell me what your favorite vegetable dish from a restaurant is. Unless your grandmother or mother owns a restaurant, I don’t want to here about it. Hopefully the restaurant is still open so we can all sample it for ourselves, but if it’s not that’s okay, too. The winner will be picked randomly on Wednesday night (giving you enough time to line up a babysitter). Good Luck!

Make sure you check out next month's Mangalitsa Pork dinner. Half of the tables are already sold for what will surely be a steel cage match between a very rare breed of pig and equally high end Chef's Garden vegetable.


  1. At the moment I am smitten with the roasted mushrooms @ Bar Cento. They're just simple enough that I could eat eight or nine dishes of them ; )

    Sarah L

  2. My favorite veggie dish would be the brussels sprouts at Melt. Each day the preparation is different, and all of them are stupendous.

  3. The roasted root vegetable entree at Vegiterranean.


  4. Unfortunately I can't go to the dinner so don't pick me but I can't wait for next month's dinner.

    Favorite veggie dishes...big fan of Michael Symon's fried brussels sprouts and creamed corn. Also loved the restaurant Green Zebra in Chicago. It's a vegetarian restaurant run by 2006 James Beard winner Shawn McClain. I am definitely not a vegetarian but the dinner I had there was one of the better dinners I've ever had.

  5. My favorite would have to be Crop Bistro's family style salad on Sundays. We had it a year and a half ago, and there was huge plate filled with white and red beets, peaches, roasted red peppers and baby greens (including mint). It was all tied together with a mildly sweet and fragrant vinaigrette. There was a great mix of flavors. We felt like we were getting the best of a fresh harvest.

  6. The Random.org number was 3, so Denise has won the two seats to this Saturday's Earth to Table Dinner. Thank you for all of your comments.