In her editor's letter in the April issue of Gourmet magazine, Ruth Reichl announces the arrival of a new feature devoted to hearty vegetarian recipes. With more and more restaurants offering a variety of vegetarian and even vegan dishes on their menus, in combination with the growing concern for environmentally-friendly living, the appeal of fresh, locally-grown, seasonal vegetables and legumes is suddenly extremely important in the food world. I recently decided I had better give in to the trend and veg out. Okay, it wasn't a conscious decision - I was on my second date with the boyishly charming Mr. I'minlikewithyou and he invited me to dinner at his favorite vegan place in San Francisco, Millennium. He promised me it was haute vegan cuisine with not even the slightest hint of hippie and an atmosphere that was chic, sophisticated, and elegant; boy was he right.

For the rest of my vegan escapade and all of the images of the scrumptious food, read more.

With its dim yellow lighting, wooden panels, tall ceilings, and crowded tables, Millennium turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. The menu was overwhelming to someone who is normally frightened by bulgar, borlotti beans, and seitan sausages but with the subtle encouragement of my handsome new friend - and since this was an adventure - I blindly chose a starter (the smoked portabello collard roll) and entree (artichoke al cartoccio). The food was excellent, a multi-cultural culinary masterpiece that was flavorful, complex, and romantic. The service was impeccable and the surprise dessert sampling course was the perfect finish to a wonderful evening (the white chocolate tiramisu = to die for). I would love to say that Millennium is the city's best vegetarian restaurant, but seeing as this was my first adventure in vegetarianism I can't. What I can conclude is that it was one of the most refreshing and enjoyable dining experiences I've had in a long time - in both cuisine and company.