I have to admit, a lot of Patrick and my’s “fun money” goes to eating out each month. I love nothing more than ordering takeout on a Friday night and cuddling up on the couch with a movie. (Or Friends/Grey’s Anatomy.) Sometimes my social butterfly husband can even convince me to put on real pants and go out to a “fancy” restaurant, but that’s not very often. My couch is just REALLY comfortable y’all.
Plus, most of the shmancy restaurants in Charlotte don’t even have vegetarian options, much less vegan. Our favorite takeout place is this dive of a vegan restaurant in what appears to be a former Pizza Hut. No ambiance, shoddy service, AMAZING food. Patrick prefers a little variety in his restaurants, but I’d be happy to just eat there the rest of my life. (True story.) This past Saturday, we stepped it up and went out on a double date with Kendra, Daniel, and our favorite 5th wheel Oliver. K + D made us a reservation at Fern, an all-vegetarian restaurant that has amazing vegan options. We ordered drinks, apps, amazing “chicken” parmesan (all vegan)…and then got kicked out of our table. Yep.
Our reservation was at 5:15, and around 7:15 we were just about to order dessert when the manager came over and informed us we had five more minutes at our table because there was a party of four that needed it. Let me recap this for you:
We. were. asked. to. leave.
I’m still extremely confused. I could maybe understand if we had been sitting there for hours after our plates had been cleared, but I’m pretty sure I was still chewing my last bite of chicken parm. We had been about to order dessert and another round of drinks. Plus, Patrick and I had a show we were going to that didn’t start until 9, which meant we now had almost two hours to kill. Not cool. Needless to say, I won’t be back. And I may or may not have left reviews stating as such on Yelp, Google, and Facebook. Lesson learned: never deprive me of my dessert, folks.
For Valentine’s Day, I’m planning on saving us the hassle (and $$$) for a cozy date night in. Since steak seems to be the go-to food for romance (mmmm, what says “love” better than heart disease?), I figured I’d go with the vegan version: delicious roasted portobellos in a red-wine marinade. Serve with some roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, and hearty bread.
Oh, and don’t forget the dessert.
Portobello Steaks with Red Wine Marinade
- 4 large portobello mushrooms stems and gills removed
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil preferably organic EVOO (this sounds like a lot-it's not! Promise!)
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- In a small bowl, whisk together oil, red wine, lemon juice, thyme, and garlic.
- In a shallow dish or ziploc bag, coat portobellos in marinade. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temp.
- Heat oven to 425.
- Place 'shrooms stem side down in a shallow pan (not a cookie sheet...some of the marinade will drip. Reserve some marinade for when they come out of the oven.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.