Posted by Tegan O'Neill
Four Seasons makes Ronald MacDonald's Happy Meal look sad -- very sad. Amid the vegetarian menu of tofu and kale, you'd be hard-pressed to find any food substance resembling a french fry, but I promise that what you will find at Four Seasons will make you happier than any potato drowned in oil ever possibly could.
Take, for instance, the mashed sweet potatoes. A menagerie of spices mingling in the smooth orange puree captures the flavor of autumn passing into winter. As I ate, I tried to draw out each bite for as long as possible, coaxing the sweet and the spice out of each morsel.
The noodles with peanut sauce were dizzyingly good. I recommend lathering the noodles liberally in the rich, creamy sauce until they slip and slide around the plate.
The hummus was smooth like a silk kimono. I am sure that it would jive well with just about anything else, but I was fine enjoying it au naturale.
The tofu encrusted with sesame seeds proved itself to be a textural wonder. The contrast of spongy tofu soaked in a sweet (possibly) soy sauce with crunchy little sesame seeds was a genius idea on the part of the kitchen.
Another tofu dish, this one a vegetable/tofu medley, was equally brilliant. The natural flavors of the ingredients were left untouched and, respected on their own, which is too often not done.
Also left untainted was the aforementioned seaweed salad. It tasted as though it had washed up on my palate seconds before - Nothing but the flavor of the sea could be detected.
The vegan cornbread is good enough to merit making a deal with the devil. The recipe gets all of the pieces of the puzzle to fit together just right. It is grainy, moist, sweet, and hearty. It makes me think of red mesas and black cast iron skillets. Amid a desert of bad cornbread attempts, the cornbread at Four Seasons is an oasis to parched travelers like myself.
The icy, aromatic rice pudding pops and prickles in the mouth and is the perfect to ending to athe meal.
If the buffet-style format makes choosing one dessert too hard, try the stewed fruit. The warm and cozy medley feels undeniably familiar. Yet, it is not something ordinarily available, so take advantage of the occasion.
I was less fond of the sweet potato pie with granola crust as it reminded me of a large Fig Newton.
Sweet potato pie in my system and all, dinner at Four Seasons made me feel like a happy buddha. My belly was satisfied, my heart contented, and my mind enlightened. Isn't this the ideal effect that food should have? And the entire meal was approximately $8. For an all-around excellent meal, it's an unbeatable deal. The pricing system is simple: you pay by however much your plate weighs.
It's up to you what your plate will look like. You go down the buffet line and craft your own mosaic of foods, picking and choosing thewhich gems you are most excited to try. It makes you think hard about what you want to put into your body (and how much of it). There are many different possible combinations. In one meal, food from all around the globe has the opportunity to meet and greet. On my plate, seaweed sat next to sweet potatoes next to hummus next to cornbread next to tofu next to rice pudding. My kaleidoscope plate reminded me of home in one bite and took me a million miles away in the next.
A sign with the message "Eat Good Food" dangles from the ceiling over the open kitchen. I could not agree more. As I sat basking in the cafée light, swirling beet juice around my plate, I felt that I had fulfilled that decree. The color of the food alone at Four Seasons is enough to signify that it is good food. My plate became a canvas for the magenta beets to bleed their luxuriously earthy blood into the deep black paint of seaweed salad -- mesmerizing to the eye as well as to the tongue.
I urge you to weave through the aisles of herbal tea and granola and find the treasure chest of food that awaits.
Read more of Tegan O'Neills outings at her blog