Several months ago, I attended a Verdant +Vernal pop-up at The Cellar in San Clemente. The brainchild of Chef Tony Trujillo, the predominantly vegetarian menu was innovative and creative with bright, in-season produce featured across the board.
On Monday, June 24 (cancelled will be rescheduled for July), Verdant + Vernal returns to The Cellar with more plant-based dishes, and a few CBD-infused ones as well. I highly suggest you go check it out. Here’s a look at some of the offerings from the first pop-up.
Spring Pea ($11) was a stunning display of in-season produce with whipped ricotta on a slice of thick toast, dotted with sweet spring pea, preserved lemon, and garnished with pea tendril and radish discs. Light, yet satisfyingly rich on the palate.
Don’t like eating vegetables? Well, Tempura Flowering Broccoli ($9) will absolutely change your mind. The batter on the broccoli stalks was airy and cracked with ease the moment you bite into it. An umami-filled miso aioli was sprinkled with bits of crispy nori (seaweed) adding another element of flavor to this already savory-packed condiment.
Kampachi Crudo ($16) was the only non-vegetarian item on the menu. The sliced kampachi sat on top of charred loquat aguachile (more of a puree than aguachile), with hemp oil and sea salt. The varying preparations created layered flavors from each component, building a complex experience from a seemingly simple dish.
My friend and I ended with Nasturtium Rice Balls ($11), a take on arancini, but so much better. I am extremely texture-centric, and this dish was an absolute delight, with a combination of crispy and creamy dancing in my mouth. The Meyer lemon aioli added another layer of piquancy to an already delicious morsel.
If you’re looking for something unique, and are interested in tasty and creative plant-based dishes, definitely check out the next Verdant + Vernal pop-up on Monday, June 24th at The Cellar in San Clemente. CANCELLED! WILL BE RESCHEDULED FOR JULY!
156 Avenida Del Mar
San Clemente, CA 92672