Walter Mencken 4 p.m., May 3
Vegan Cuisine Popping Up with Craft Beer in North Park
It’s something I accepted about myself a long time ago. While I respect vegans (hey, more meat for me, right?), their cuisine will never scream out to me with the same regularity or intense volume as a juicy cheeseburger, piled high plate of barbecue, or smoky slab of pork belly. Yet, I really enjoy getting out of my meaty everyday routine and taking a walk on the vegan side.
I find the nature of this culinary style dictates the use of imagination, more than any other cooking category, to be effectively delicious. Gastronomic invention and ingenuity turn me on more than foie gras, oysters, truffles, and…oh my God, am I really saying this…beer. It’s the whole reason I cook, the whole reason I immerse myself in the dining culture, and the whole reason I spend just about every waking moment in search of exciting food tidbits. So, to me, the primary allure of vegan cuisine is the fact the individual preparing it will almost certainly be employing their creative juices as much as a stove, grill, or oven.
A local entity known as LOVELIKEBEER gaining traction for “pop-up” style vegan contributions to the local scene, is using their noodles to add singular vegan-friendly dishes to restaurants around town via a new “menu series.” The first eatery to have one of their dishes debut is Sea Rocket Bistro. It’s the latest collaboration between LOVELIKEBEER and the North Park sustainable seafood restaurant.
This cooperative effort will take place on June 14 when, from 5 to 10 p.m., diners will be able to order barbecue grilled seitan (protein derived from wheat…a new one on me, I have to admit) served with spicy house-made kimchee, a kimchee-based barbecue sauce, grilled corn, green beans, and local citrus fruit. And since this isn’t LOVELIKEWHEATPROTEIN, there is a beer component. The aforementioned dish is being paired with Mira Mesa-based Green Flash Brewing Company’s Hop Head Red, an intensely bitter brew balanced out by a sturdy, caramely malt backbone.
LOVELIKEBEER’s goal is to build a list of restaurants offering their dishes on their menus on a semi-frequent basis. The goal of the group and this series, in addition to celebrating vegan fare in unison with craft beer, is to raise money for charitable purposes. Proceeds from the seitan dish, which will be offered as a $20 pairing, will be donated to Seeds @ City, an urban farm at San Diego City College that trains students in sustainable agriculture.
If ever there was a time to trade meat for wheat, this might be it. Sea Rocket Bistro is located at 3382 30th Street.