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Yesterday, Ryan & I celebrated 10 years as a couple! We kicked things off by exchanging gifts at midnight, due mainly to impatience, but it was a fun way to start the festivities. I was floored & impressed by the matching "Key to My Heart" necklace & bracelet I received; it's very much like a tattoo I recently added to my love themed collection with a heart padlock to Ryan's key. Less sentimental, but still fun, I gave Ryan the gift of Rock Band, which has already distracted us from getting places on time or getting tasks done! ha.
We started the morning with French Toast (Ryan's favorite) & Farmers Market Strawberries, then headed up to Napa to try ubuntu a newcomer in Wine Country serving vegetarian & vegan dishes with a focus on local, sustainable practices. They have a biodynamic garden & grow many of the items you find on your plate themselves! The restaurant is beautiful & welcoming, a lovely place to spend a special night. They knew it was out anniversary & immediately came to the table with complimentary champagne!
We started with the Chickpea Fries with herbs & Romesco sauce, a recommendation from friends, & we weren't disappointed. Crisp, delicious, & flavorful, we had no problem polishing off this dish. Also as a starter, we had the fried Padrons with maldon salt. They were soft & slightly sweet with a zip of lime & while the first few were great, I found them a bit too oily for my liking after a bit.
Next, we shared the Grilled Peach & French Bean Panzanella. Garden grown french beans sat atop a grilled peach puree & bread cubes, garnished with basil stem vinegar & 25 year balsamico. Not only was the plating lovely, but the dish was as well. Nice & refreshing, we enjoyed it, but wished there was a more pronounced peach flavor, as we're such fans.
For our entrees, we started with a Strawberry Margherita pizza. ubuntu has cheese on the menu, quite a bit actually, so we asked for this vegan, as it stated "vegan cheese available by request". When we found out the cheese was Follow Your Heart, we opted for no cheese, as we couldn't see a processed soy cheese adding to the flavors of the dishes here. In the end, it was more like a flatbread with a bit of cooked strawberry jam & basil on top, a very tasty flatbread nonetheless. Next time I think well skip the pizzas or hope that the chefs discover the wonders of cashew cheese!
Our other entree was the Anson Mills Grits finished with Corn Pudding & a Friarelli Pepper relish with more fried Padrons. We loved the creamy corn flecked grits & I found myself scraping for every last bite! The relish was sweet & wonderful with the grits & the peppers worked well with this dish, although I left most of them to Ryan.
Finally, were ready for dessert! Typically the restaurant only has one vegan dessert, from what I can tell, which is a float of some sort, but we spied "vegan carrot cupcakes" on the tasting menu & asked if we could order them along with a float. Luckily, they obliged! The cupcakes were adorable, bite sized, & topped in a swirl of cream cheese frosting, pistachios & a mini sweetened carrot. They were moist & spiced, though a bit heavy on the ginger for Ryan's liking, & a nice little treat. The frosting seemed to contain vegan cream cheese of some sort, possibly Follow Your Heart.
The Raspberry Sorbet Float was our final selection & was downright delicious! This refreshing treat started with a base of rosewater soda & contained a scoop of raspberry sorbet, pieces of fresh watermelon & raspberries, tiny tapioca balls, & was garnished in mint. The flavors all melded well together & we marveled about how lovely it down to the very last sip!
Overall, ubuntu is a nice place to dine if you find yourself in Napa. I'd like to see some vegan entrees on the menu, as every entree had cheese on it & the removal of it seemed to leave some of the dishes low on the flavor scale. That being said, their green practices are to be commended & their food is fresh & won't leave you feeling heavy & overly full. We would certainly dine at ubuntu again & it was a lovely place to spend a milestone in our lives.