Eat Your Veggies

I had a friend visiting from out of town last week who had, on more than one occasion, expressed to me her frustration with the response she was getting from restaurants in Denver when requesting a vegetarian meal. Having spent many years cooking in restaurants whose philosophy was always, give the customer what they want, I was shocked and disappointed to hear that my friend was receiving such a negative reaction to her simple request.

When my friend recently announced that she would be coming for a visit I knew that it was my duty to show her that in San Francisco vegetarians are treated as equals.

In addition to many local eateries, I secured us a reservation at Ubuntu, a hot new vegetarian restaurant (and yoga studio) in the heart of Napa. Frank Bruni, the New York Times food critic, named Ubuntu one of his top 10 picks for new restaurants in the country in 2008 so I knew we were in for something special.

Ubuntu did not disappoint. We started our meal by ordering a selection of small bites — marcona almonds lightly coated in lavendar, sea salt and sugar, massive, meaty green olives tossed in a luscious arugula pesto and chick pea fries with a romesco dipping sauce. All three were delicious.

We followed next with a number of different dishes, the best of which was a beautifully composed beet salad adorned with surprises like ‘dirt’ made from hazelnuts, an ‘egg yolk’ made from golden beet puree and thin strips of pickled rhubarb. Other highlights were grits topped with shaved, firm goat cheese, a slow cooked egg and arugula beignets; a fresh fava bean stew adorned with peas, garbanzos and micro greens; and their signature dish, cauliflower cooked in a cast iron pot which, that evening, was scented with a subtle curry flavor.

We were underwhelmed by a strawberry-burrata pizza that was somewhat bland and a palate confusing dessert that was composed of mango sorbet, beet tapioca balls, hibiscus juice and fresh fruit. We were, however, blown away by the comfort and beauty of the dining room and by the stellar service.

I would definitely go back to Ubuntu if given the opportunity because chef Jeremy Fox is doing some of the most creative food I’ve come across in ages. The fact that the menu is all meat free and the majority of the produce used is grown by the restaurant or locally sourced just makes the experience all the better.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
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            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
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            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
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            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
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            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.