Senior Sous Chef Colleen Blackburn is whipping up a vegan feast this Thanksgiving at Circa 55 the Beverly Hilton’s upscale restaurant. Named after the year the hotel was founded the atmosphere feels like something Frank Sinatra would be right at home in next to their grand piano.
As Blackburn prepares some impossible burger meatballs she notes:
“The weird thing to me is that it actually smells like raw beef. I have no idea how they do that.”
She’s prepping one of the dishes that will be featured in a large vegan buffet brunch feast that will be on the menu from November into December as the Beverly Hilton’s first vegan brunch.
“Vegan meatballs get a much darker color once they’re cooked than traditional meatballs,” said Blackburn.
According to Blackburn she doesn’t see much around L.A. when it comes to vegan options:
“We have one of the highest populations of vegan or vegetarian people in Southern California but Los Angeles ranks as number six for a vegan or vegetarian to live in.”
The menu features:
- Root veggie medley with parsnips, golden beets, and turnips tossed with a lemon vinaigrette
- Potato pot pie with baby reds, Yukon, and fingerling potatoes
- Green bean casserole topped with béchamel sauce
- Tomato tabbouleh topped with micro celery
- Bbq flavored chickpea salad
- Avocado pesto tarte
- Ratatouille gratin
“It’s really flavorful with the bright citrus from the lemon, but also has that heartiness from the beets,” she said.
Mashed potatoes are a must she notes:
“Mashed potatoes is a holiday classic, it has to happen in my house otherwise we riot.”
She’s excited at the challenge of using the nearly endless range of vegetables available:
“You can get the same flavors, the same depth, complexity and you can get it in a way that is lower calorie and has less carbs and has less chemicals, it’s amazing what you can do with a pile of vegetables.”