The morning of Saturday, July 7, I received a text from Mrs. McMc asking if I'd be interested in checking out the new(ish) gluten-free, vegan-friendly restaurant in Shadyside, Eden.
My initial response (in my mind) was "VEGAN? Um, thanks but no thanks. I love me some meat!" But then, the more I thought about it I came to the realization that I'm a FOOD blogger, gosh darnit, and if I can't give raw-vegan a try, who can?
And. Thank. Goodness.
It was the hottest day of the year. One of the hottest in my memory. Any other day I would have opted for outdoor seating. Their humble patio is adorable and welcoming. But it was just too darn HOT.
It was a Saturday afternoon, so Eden was serving Brunch. The unique thing about Eden is that, during brunch, they serve egg sandwiches and omelets - straying just a bit from their vegan persona. I think it's nice as it gives folks an option.
When I first read the menu, I instantly fell in love with the place. Not because of the food, per se, but because of their attitude. Knowledge and flexibility are two things that are often taken for granted at many restaurants. Kudos to you, Eden. We think you're "totally cool!"
Lucky for us, Mrs. McMc and I have no food allergies to speak of, so we dove right in.
We started with the stuffed avocado. Filled with napa cabbage and shaved ginger. I'll tell you now: I would go back to Eden JUST for this dish. I plan to attempt to recreate it at home, but I'm sure I'd never do it justice.
Mrs. McMc opted for the egg sandwich. Her cage-free, locally sourced eggs were perfectly cooked and the tomato and arugula gave it the kick she was looking for. A fresh arugula and cucumber salad with a creamy balsamic dressing accompanied the sandwich. It looked enormous and quite satisfying! (That's what she said.)
I mustered up my bravery and decided to go totally raw-vegan. I don't know what came over me! I was drawn to a menu item listed as "General Tso's Chicken," though I knew there was no chicken to be found.
Here's the conversation that went on between my brain and my tongue:
Tongue: "Wow, this chicken is delicious!"
Brain: "That's not chicken, you idiot. It's mushrooms and seeds."
Tongue: "No, this is definitely chicken."
Brain: "No, it's.... mmm....this chicken is delicious...."
WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED?!
The crunchy texture of the seeds and mushrooms smothered in a homemade acho baccherendi sauce tasted like the healthy twin of twice-fried General Tso's takeout. I was floored by the genuine creativity of this dish. I have to tell you that I am NOT typically a fan of cauliflower, but dice it and pair it with rice and coconut? And I'm sold. In fact, I'm invested. After cleaning my plate, I was dying for more.
I absolutely plan on heading back to Eden to check out their $15 sampler menu. For $15, you can sample one of EVERY food item on their menu. Unfortunately this option wasn't available to us at brunch, but aww shucks, it just means I'll have to head back and drag PID (the ultimate meat lover) along with me.
I am so excited to recommend Eden to you. Whether you're a hard-core carnivore or a raw vegan dying for a delicious night out. The fresh, modern atmosphere, friendly service, sheer ingenuity of the mostly locally-sourced food and just how durned good it all tasted earned Eden a place in my heart.
But It will also stay there for another reason...
Remember, back in the beginning, when I said I'd been a bit distracted lately? Well, though this meal was certainly a show-stopper, it was - in actuality - all part of a larger muse. You see, Mrs. McMc had been commissioned to take me to lunch.
Afterward, I returned home to an empty house. No PID. No TOP-Dawg. Just a flurry of love notes scattered all througout the house and a note telling me to pack an overnight bag. An hour later I was picked up in a chartered car and driven to Morton's downtown where PID was waiting and we ate yet ANOTHER outstanding meal. After dinner we walked across the street to the Fairmont Hotel where he whisked me up to the 18th floor, revealed a suite with a beautiful view and.....
POPPED THE QUESTION! Yes folks, I'm about to become Mrs. PID!!!
We cried, we laughed, we called our friends and family, we drank too much Prosecco. Afterward we celebrated across the street at NOLA.
(If you're curious, we had Tuna Tartare, Oysters Rockefeller, Rack of Lamb, a 12 oz. filet and - OF COURSE - the molten lava cake at Mortons and fried alligator at NOLA)
You guys, I totally can't wait to marry my very best friend and Partner in Dine. We're like peas and carrots. Peanut butter and Jelly. Ranch and pizza. It all makes sense.
If you'd like, you can read the entire story on my other blog. Now onto the big question... WHO'S GONNA CATER?!