The fanciest dinner ever: Watercourse Foods

Sometimes your family just dunks all over you – you take them out to try your favorite beer and then they take you out to a place that serves what becomes your favorite beer. This is what happened when our esteemed Denver area hosts took Dr. Girlfriend and I out to the fanciest dinner ever at Watercourse Foods.

Sure, I’ve been to fancy dinners, but this was a six course fucking meal that included wine parings! I don’t even know exactly what that means except that people kept bringing me more wine based on the most recent food they’d brought me… well, that’s probably all it means. Anyway, here was the menu they served and you only had to make one choice down where it says ‘main course’ and when stuff was just vegetarian, they made a vegan modification for us. It was hard friggin core!

Watercourse was doing a tasting menu, which they don’t usually do, so we were in for a treat (an expensive one that our gracious hosts took care of) – a meal entirely based on the Pacific Northwest and the foods found there and HOLY SHIT did it live up to its billing.

Amuse: A “crab” cake bite with fried caper berry. Paired with Chehalem, Pinot Gris 2011 Willamette Valley v/gf

Soup: Smoked leek chowder served with lobster mushroom jus and oyster crackers with pear butter. Paired with Airlie, Gewurztraminer 2007 Willamette Valley v/gf

Salad: A crisp Brussels sprout salad tossed with smoky mushrooms and blue cheese served atop grilled Asian pears. Paired with Linen, Chardonnay 2009 Yakima Valleyvo/gfo

Small Bite: Grilled focaccia with mushroom pâté, quail egg, pickled Brussels sprout and balsamic. Paired with Airlie 7, White Blend 2009 Willamette Valley vo/gfo

Main Course:

Seared potato scallops with roasted carrots, squash demi, fava beans and mixed mushrooms. Paired with Illahe, Pinot Noir 2010 Willamette Valley v/gf


A deconstructed Wellington. Espresso rubbed seitan cutlet with pomegranate reduction, herbed red and purple potatoes and caramelized rainbow carrots. Topped with a puff pastry crisp. Paired with Revelry, Merlot 2009 Columbia Valley v

Dessert: Almond tuile with a vegan marscapone and a sautée of apples and figs. Served with a brandy-fig sauce and a hint of rosemary. Paired with Foris Vineyards, Moscato 2011 Oregon v/gf

We can’t stop talking about the “crab” cake – I’ve only had vegan “crab” a few times and I don’t usually like it, but this is the thing that seems to live in our memories. It was outstanding. The only bad thing I have to say about the entire meal is that the oyster crackers were hard, but maybe they’re supposed to be that hard… I really have no idea and I’m not sure if I’ve ever had oyster crackers before, so I don’t know exactly what I’m talking about. Anyway, I’m pretty sure the soup course came with additional eating instructions as opposed to the usual explanation of what the food was we were eating – the waitress explained that the chef recommended that we take a sip/bite of each food item and sip of wine and work are way around in a circle in that fashion – but if she said to go clockwise or counter-clockwise, I missed it.

I chose the ‘seared potato scallops’ main course while Dr. Girlfriend went with the ‘espresso rubbed seitan,’ and I believe she got the better end of the deal. This is not to say that the ‘seared potato scallops’ were bad, it’s just that the ‘espresso rubbed seitan’ was out of this world awesome. The ‘seared potato scallops’ were in a lovely sauce, but not really knowing anything about food, I can’t really describe it in a way that will do it justice. It’s just that… you know… potatoes are just fucking potatoes where as seitan is much more exciting and they cooked that stuff up beyond reproach. What I’m saying is that the ‘seared potato scallops’ were very good, very tasty, but the ‘espresso rubbed seitan’ was something special, something new. Both were good, but the seitan won the day. I enjoyed the desert, but I’m not much of a dessert guy (beyond cookies), so it was a bit wasted on me. Really good though. The marscapone was beyond impressive, it’s just that I’m not big on sugar in that particular vein.

Anyway, thanks to our hosts, thanks to the chef, and if you’re ever in Denver, we highly recommend Watercourse.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on November 14, 2012, in vegan stuff and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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