Good Taste

You are dying to know what I ate for my birthday. I know you are. You think I suspended my usual relative veganism and devoured a bacon bison burger with a side of pork rind-encrusted lard croquettes deep-fried in beef tallow. You think I indulged in a bachhanalian feast complete with slaughtered lamb that arrived at my table without mint jelly. At the very least you think I broke down and licked a spinning rotisserie recently denuded of shwarma.
Well, you’re wrong. I did indulge in quite a feast, but one that left the beasts alone, as always. I did not allow my brother to lead me astray and eat eggs again. After all, I may be 40 now, but that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily senile.
So what did I eat? Well, I’ll show you two lunches and one cake. There was more food involved during the week, but I did not photograph all of it. And I did not use my camera for my birthday dinner Saturday night. I draw the line somewhere with the photos. If I were to take photos at dinner, I’d be one step away from handing the camera to my waiter or another restaurant patron and asking one of them to take a picture of me and the DOG grinning maniacally over our Olive Garden breadsticks. There is, after all, a time and place for everything.
Here is some of what I enjoyed during the hours appropriate for taking food fotos:

Grilled seitan and onion and pepper in spicy lemon grass
peanuts [sic] sauce, served with steamed veggie and udon noodle

I dug into this delight at Village Natural, where I think I can now consider myself a “regular”. If you go through my recent archives, you will find pictorial evidence of my having been there before. You will also note, if you’re savvy, that a lot of the food looks pretty much the same. I assure you the similarities are only visual and do not cross over to taste.
Yesterday we had lunch at Gobo, where we’ve only been once before. It was sensational. I created a sensation by taking photos of my food. The woman to my left (it was banquette seating, which I loathe, but which I’m willing to put up with if the food is good enough, which it is) apparently was visiting from a land to which cameras have not yet been introduced. She kept looking over at me like I was dipping baby fingers into cheese fondue. Please.
Here is what was so photo-worthy:

Scallion pancakes with homemade mango salsa

Avocado tartare with wasabi lime sauce

Green tea noodle with broccoli
and smoked Beijing-style seitan

Not pictured are the seitan skewers with green tea mustard sauce and coconut whole grain rice with raisins. Trust me when I tell you they were stunners, both visually and tastebuddily.
To my right, a couple of women were celebrating one of their birthdays. They’d finished their lunch and were sharing a huge slice of chocolate layer cake, enjoying it with abandon. I asked them if the cake was as good as it looked, and they assured me it was. I told them it was my birthday too, and we shared shrieks and handshakes. When they left, I told them I was going to reach over and take the part of the cake they hadn’t finished, and they both said, “Oh! Would you like it? It’s delicious!” I was tempted, and I actually considered it, but I knew there was a cake waiting for me at home.
Here it is:

It’s a chocolate truffle cake. I’m willing to bet your life it’s not vegan. But you see, when it comes to baked goods, although I do like the vegan stuff, I do relax the rules.* Oh so “rich” (apologies to my mom and sister, who hate that description). So dense it has its own spot on the periodic table of elements. And tas-tay? You bet! (Each candle bore the responsibility of representing ten years. How ambitious!)
All of this food is bound to make you hungry, so, please, be my guest and lick your computer screen. I’ve arranged for today’s images to be tasteable. Consider it my gift to you.
* Note to my steadfast skeptic brother: Remember those fantastic apple crumb things and other treats that the DOG and I brought to your fun-time country house about a year ago? They were vegan. And you raved. So be quiet. Be. Quiet. Or else I’ll force you to eat tofu scramble.