Dole Salad Summit Part Two of Three: The Food. You've read part one of my adventure - now onto your favorite part: the vegan food!
From start to finish, Dole always far exceeds my expectations on "the food" portion of their events. You may recall how impressed I was by Dole's Nutrition Institute cafeteria and vegan-friendly options. Well on this trip, I was the only vegan in the bunch. No "power in numbers" for me! But I was pleasantly surprised when each chef personally prepared me separate plates of each course. And I even think many of the bloggers were impressed by the "vegan versions" of each plate. I certainly was!..
Food. Food. Food. Your favorite part right? Well here are all the vegan eats (and amazing people I dined with!) on this adventure..
Lovely blogger ladies outside La Bicyclette in Carmel..
Cheeky Kitchen's Brooke and I - she is such a sweet thing..
La Bicyclette - lunch spot (my fave)..
First Dinner. The first night of the Summit, jet-lagged and all, we went to The Sardine Factory - a Monterey, Cannery Row institution. I was a bit worried about what I would be eating at - the "sardine" factory - but luckily the waiter knew exactly what vegan meant and brought me a lovely vegan salad, pasta and in the end: a giant glowing swan ice sculpture - housing my mango raspberry sorbet dessert. I think I even beat out the smoky "bon bons" and "flaming dessert" dishes as most brilliant presentation - although it was close. Fun dinner. I love being surrounded by food bloggers and Dole employees - we all talked shop - veggies, food science, fitness and photography.
Sardine Factory Eats..
Breakfast. The next day we enjoyed a lovely breakfast at The Clement Hotel's restaurant. I had a giant bowl of berries, green juice and a bagel. This was simple, but at least they had soy milk for my tea. And looking back I am thrilled that I took it easy on my breakfast because the goodies to come later in the day were plentiful!
First thing on the menu: Dole's version of "Green Juice" - "yay" says this vegan..
After breakfast we popped over to Dole Fresh Vegetables - which I will speak more of in part three of this wrap-up. But now, onto lunch!..
Strolling Carmel - onwards towards lunch..
Lunch. La Bicyclette. In Carmel. We strolled through the sunny, breezy streets of Carmel - a charming seaside community in the heart of Monterey. Just miles from the world famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row - by our hotel. We ended up at a sweet little restaurant called La Bicyclette. I could say that name over and over. La Bee-sea-clett. I knew at first glance that I was in for a treat. Charming french-styled windows and an Alice in Wonderland feel to the adorable rustic interior -- if you are in Carmel - go here my friends.
Now at first glance, the prepared menu was not vegan. Oh boy, my rumbling tummy was worried. But after a swift mention to the sweet waitress about "the vegan guest" she quickly informed the head chef in the kitchen and said with a smile, "not a problem." So I was personally prepared vegan versions of each course.
Oh-my-gosh, you know I am quite the foodie and have dined at a nice array of amazing restaurants - but this meal will easily secure a spot in my all-time favorite meals. And it was only lunch!..
This entire menu was veganized for me. Yay!..
First: Salad, Dole greens, beets, luscious vinaigrette with subtle truffle oil. (image shown at top of this post)
Then an amazing steamy-hot vegan Carrot Risotto..
Vegan Pizza with fresh marinara, mushrooms, sliced mini potatoes and more veggies. And a few of the non-vegans even wanted to try a slice of my vegan pizza because it looked so good. Cheese? Who needs cheese?
My compliments to the amazing La Bicyclette Chef John Cox!..
And the day ended with a glamorous three course dinner at The C restaurant at The Clement Hotel where we were staying. Yes, another 3-course meal - paired with local bay area wines. Good thing we were so busy that day! Here is the amazingly creative and surprising vegan meal I had. And much of the produce was Dole produce which really rounded the entire trip out nicely.
Thank you Chef Jerry Regester for this Dole-produce infused vegan meal!..
Vanilla-infused salad, with grilled apricots, sliced grapes, Dole greens and more. If you do anything this summer, grill some apricots and stick them on your salad!..
Grilled romaine, thinly sliced radishes, more. Grilled romaine = so good.
And the entree really spoke to my heart. Spinach and lentils. Wow, so healthy and so filled with protein, iron, fiber and more. I usually don't make lentils - because they can be tricky to get perfect - but these silky soft bits were indeed perfection.
And my last course was a berry dish infused with a berry sauce. Perfect end to a perfect day of food. And into bed I collapsed. A big fat smile on my face.
Whew! Yummy food right? I'm stuffed just writing this post! So next up in the final post from my trip (part 3) I'll tell you about my trip to the salad plant as well as a few tidbits from what I learned in Salad 101.
Meet the other Food Bloggers in Attendance at the Dole Salad Summit!..
My Fave Everything
Food for My Family
Three Many Cooks
Dine and Dish
More from Dole Salad Guide:
Facebook: Dole Salad Guide
Also follow @DoleNutrition
Full Disclosure: Dole took care of my transportation, accommodations and meals for this 3-day trip.