ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Prepare your taste buds for 12 courses of food that are good for you.
The Acre is offering a feast of plant-based food paired with vegan wines from St. Francis Winery on Thursday, Nov. 21. The Acre’s owner and chef Shawn Weed wanted to create a menu that catered to vegan diets and worked with sommelier Gabriel Ballantine on the wine pairings.
“We chose to do this the week before Thanksgiving to kind of say, ‘Hey this could be your Thanksgiving,’ ” Weed said. “This could be your festival of food. A little bit of gluttony perhaps because it is 12 courses and I think that it is also
significant culinarily that we’re at a place now where people actually want something like that. They want to say just because I’m plant-based doesn’t mean that I don’t want to get dressed up and have a beautiful dinner with a wine pairing and feel really great about it.”
The dinner is modeled after a French 12-course meal with a very specific lineup of dishes and how they are served.
“We have a croquetta as our fish course,” Weed said. “If you were having this in France, there would be a fish course and that’s kind of our fish course if you will. So we’re being a little playful with it and we have a cheese course which we’re making a vegan cashew cheese to go with apricot and we’ve got some fun white peach (marinated malt liqueur) to go with it. Just really trying to take it to as far as it can go I guess and also still being playful.”
The croquetta will be served with a St. Francis Chardonnay. It is the sixth course on the menu. It is preceded by an amuse-bouche served with Korbel Natural Sparkling wine; an avocado mousse cone accompanied with agua fresca; a pesto bisque complemented with a lemon basil spritzer; purple potato with carrot bacon, chive and sour cream. A pumpkin salad makes up the fifth course.
“Some of the dishes are playful,” Weed said. “They’re going to be very well appointed, beautifully presented and plated, but we have one where it’s going to be an avocado mousse in a cone like a ice cream cone. It’s not going to be a
traditional ice cream cone. I’m not going to tell you anymore of the secrets, but people are going to see it and go ‘oh my goodness’ that’s really adorable and we’re going to finish by giving them some lovely house-made chocolate.”
The chocolate with sea salt and prickly pear will be served with St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon. It is the final course of the dinner.
Courses prior to the chocolate will feature stuffed wild mushroom accompanied by St. Francis Pinot Noir; lemongrass sorbet with sparkling Mexican mineral water; braised vegan “rib” served with St. Francis Merlot, the cheese board, and a charred cherry tartlett complemented by Red Rock Roasters coffee.
The dinner is a fun and casual affair that commemorates The Acre’s second year.
“If you’ve been to the restaurant we’re not a serious white tablecloth kind of place,” Weed said. “In fact I’ve had people say are you going to pull out the white table cloths for this? I’m like absolutely not. We’re going to showcase our culinary skills and our beverage team and all of these great things without having to make you feel intimidated or like it’s something so elevated you shouldn’t be part of it. We’re still going to make it accessible because that’s part of our brand.”
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