Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Guest Post by Susan McKellar

Susan is a sweet, caring, fun, silly, creative, talented, compassionate vegan yogi!  Oh and did I mention an extradrodinary VEGAN BAKER!  This woman can make any yummy treat vegan for everyone to enjoy!  So she definately knows some good vegan food when she tastes it!  This blog is about her visit to 17 North in Mount Pleasant.  They host VEGAN NIGHTS with all vegan menus.  Check out their website here and read Susan's post for the details of this lovely dinner!

17 North Roadside Kitchen
By: Susan McKellar
Nobody puts us vegans in the corner!
When I first became vegan going out to eat in Charleston usually meant a salad and french fries.  Despite the lack of dining out variety, I knew being vegan was the only choice for me and hoped for a brighter day in Charleston’s restaurant scene.  A lot has changed since then- thank goodness!  These days vegan cuisine can be found at almost every restaurant, and most kitchens lacking items on their menu are happy to accommodate you with advance notice. Now vegan dining has reached a new height in Charleston with a monthly vegan dinner series at 17 North Roadside Kitchen.  

On Sunday March 22, I was fortunate enough to attend the second dinner in this series.  I was immediately intrigued by the radical Chef Brett McKee who decided tackle all vegan dinners after receiving encouragement from several yogi friends.  Chef McKee is incredibly charismatic and truly makes you feel at home on his amazing backyard patio.  He admits he enjoys the challenge of learning to cook vegan, and he also sees this as wonderful opportunity to educate his staff on how to do so.   60 people attended this wonderful celebration of compassion, and Chef McKee hopes to see 100 people at the next event on May 8.  I believe we can make it happen Charleston!  Let’s show our support for this amazing forward-thinking chef.  You certainly don’t have to be vegan to come and enjoy this evening of smiling faces, great food and live music.  Just come and see what vegans are all about.  We already love you no matter what your food choices are and would simply be thrilled to share our way of life with you.  You never know what will happen.  You might learn something new about yourself or maybe you’ll be part of building the foundation for Charleston’s first all vegan restaurant!  Can you imagine it?  I can!
First Course: Vegan Spring Roll served with White Truffle Ponzu Sauce.  These vibrant rolls were light and full of flavor.  Filled with julianne cut yellow squash, zucchini, red onion, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, mung bean sprouts, avocado, red bean soba noodles, mint, cilantro, basil
rolled in a Japanese rice paper.  The sauce was a gluten-free soy sauce with the zests and juices of lemons , limes and oranges, grapefruit juice, sesame oil, truffle oil, pickled ginger and juice with a touch rice wine vinegar.  It had an incredible citrus taste.

Second Course:  Baby Spinach Salad with Fresh Strawberries, Mango, Candied Pecans and Raspberry Vinaigrette.  This was the perfect sweet summer salad.  The slightly sweet taste of fresh baby spinach was perfectly paired with the fresh fruit and candied pecans.  I also enjoyed the color contrast of the deep green leaves and the bright pink raspberry vinaigrette.
Third Course: Wild Mushroom Ratatouille served with a Creamy Basil Pesto & Smoked Tomato Polenta.  This was good but could have had more spice for me.  The polenta overpowered the flavor of the wild mushrooms, pesto and smoked tomato leaving the dish a bit on the bland side for my taste.  Nutritional yeast would have been a nice addition to the polenta.

Fourth Course: Vegan Chocolate Cake prepared by Andrea Boyd, co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga Charleston.  Wow!!!  Purely decadent but not sinful since it’s vegan!  This delicious cake is rich and moist- pure chocolate heaven.  You can taste the love and care in which Andrea makes it.

A special thank you to Chef Brett McKee for being willing to try something new.  I humbly offer my gratitude to you. Om Shantih- Susan

Megan, Chef Brett McKee and Susan

Happy Vegans!


  1. WOW! This looks really good. I am vegetarian so I was searching for Vegetarian Recipes, I am planning to make a fantastic vegetarian Meals for an upcoming Filipino singles party for all my filipinos here in Great Falls. As a filipino woman who just moved in America, I really dont have a lot of experience making some good vegetarian food. In the Philippines, we have different type of Food - filipino vegetables. So, Really glad to find some good recipes and try. Experimenting and trying new recipe is fun to do.:)

  2. And i do really like how u pointed out "Nobody puts us vegans in the corner!" :)