If you are going to have a habit, this would be the one to have! Vegenista alerted Kev and I to the fact that Local Habit was celebrating its first year of awesomeness with a weekend full of fan favorites; we had to be there. Reason #1? The return of their vegan Almond Ricotta Ravioli with Shaved Fennel. As if another reason were even necessary – ! – Reason #2 would be their 1st anniversary beer, Loci Habitus, brewed by Hess.
One of the main things we want to do with this blog is highlight outstanding restaurants that feature gourmet vegan fare. Local Habit is a true leader in this regard. They feature ORGANIC foods, with an emphasis on seasonally available, local produce. And if that doesn’t get your attention, how about a solid commitment to California craft beers and wines? Something for everyone.
As a thank-you gift to their devoted fans, Local Habit and Chef Nick spent the past weekend bringing back favorite dishes from their first year. Somehow, we all (Vegenista, Kev and I) missed our first shot at their almond ricotta ravioli – and we were not about to let another opportunity pass us by.
Of course, we needed something to keep our mouths busy as we waited for the main attraction. Again, Vegenista to our rescue, as she quickly recommended their Roasted Proios Brussels Sprouts with House Mustard and Chive, and Bread Salad with Grilled Market Veggies, Point Loma Micros, and Mustard Vinaigrette as appies.
We are already squarely in the Brussels sprouts camp, so we were prepared to be happy – but this particular creation was outrageously wonderful. The sauce had bite – the good kind of bite – the kind that makes you want to pop all the sprouts in your mouth after faking your tablemates into looking some other direction. And you could pull it off too, if your cheeks weren’t bulging with the outline of so many Ed Sullivans vying for mouth space. (Editor’s Note: Brussels sprouts are frequently referred to as “Ed Sullivans” by Andi’s family due to sister Pam telling mom they resembled the famous tv host’s head) The bread salad was refreshing and I soon came to understand its moniker, as I discovered myself actually pushing the delicious veggies aside to swipe some more bread chunks.
A half-pint of delectable Loci Habitus brew later, the ravioli arrived (in addition to a whole-wheat crust pizza featuring mushrooms and fresh herbs). The ravioli’s presentation was attention-worthy, as the three sisters sat humbly beneath their feathery, fennel-frond hats and shaved fennel wraps. The pasta itself looked inviting, as it appeared to be the ideal density. Yes – the pasta was perfectly prepared, and its almond ricotta interior an interesting surprise. The filling was much firmer and more toothsome that I had anticipated, as my pre-vegan ravioli memories had prepared me for something similar to dairy ricotta cheese consistency. I considered this, as I dove in for bites 2, 3 and 4. Once my texture sensors were recalibrated, I was in. I got it. And I enjoyed it. VERY much.
The pizza was a welcome addition, especially as Kev and I split a plate of the pasta. It was definitely satisfying, and somehow accomplished the feat of filling us up, but not weighing us down. Who knew!
Kev – owner of a very sweet tooth – insisted we stay for dessert. Thus, an order of Organic Coconut Rice Pudding soon made an appearance. The extra-plump, warm, sweet raisins were lovely, and added nicely to the texture profile. Why no picture you ask? Ah – here’s the rub. Delicious dessert – but a face made for radio, not prime-time. Hence, its visage shall remain a mystery – dear reader – until you decide to go and see for yourself!
An added event highlight was a gracious visit with co-owner Barry Braden. He was making the rounds and we were so happy to have an opportunity to meet him. To Sir Barry and Chef Nick – THANK YOU! We are proud you call San Diego home.
Now – if you have yet to have found your way to Local Habit, please mark your calendars for August 9th. That is a magical day during which LOVELIKEBEER and Local Habit join forces to bring you Les Bon Temps – Vegan Beer Night VI.
What? Why are you still here? Go. Now. Enter that date. Under BUCKET LIST.