“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
Nanci Alexander, the owner of Sublime Restaurant & Bar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, could easily have chosen a life of sipping martinis all day long at her local country club, or even on her own personal yacht. Instead, Nanci Alexander, ex-wife of billionaire and Houston Rockets’ owner, Leslie Alexander, chose a path less travelled. In 1989, Ms. Alexander, a longtime vegan and animal rights activist, founded the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF), and has volunteered as its president ever since. With over 4,000 members, ARFF educates and advocates on behalf of animals abused for food, fashion, entertainment, and experimentation, as well as for wildlife and companion animals. The long list of positive results achieved by the ARFF towards ending animal cruelty are numerous and immeasurable, and includes a leading role in the successful battle to ban the use of gestation crates for pigs in Florida. This was the first time a specific factory farming practice was banned in the United States. It is no wonder that Nanci Alexander was the first recipient of PCRM’s Art of Compassion Award.
I had the great privilege and pleasure of meeting Nanci Alexander a few nights ago while dining with my husband and youngest son at her wonderful vegan gourmet restaurant Sublime located at 1431 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The creation of Sublime was an extension of Ms. Alexander’s efforts to reduce animal cruelty and to show that plant-based food can really be “sublime.” Significantly, 100% of Sublime’s profits go to organizations that promote animal welfare and a vegan lifestyle.
While my family was chowing down on our yummy vegan sliders and crispy cauliflower appetizers, the lovely Nanci Alexander came over to our table to introduce herself as the restaurant’s owner. A long conversation ensued, during which time Ms. Alexander proudly talked about her animal rights activism, her founding of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF), her volunteer work as President of the ARFF, her 25 years of veganism, and her creation of the amazing all-vegan Sublime Restaurant which has been frequented by Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Joan Jett and many others. I had the wonderful opportunity to look through the very extensive and impressive book of press coverage about Sublime and Ms. Alexander’s other numerous achievements as an animal rights activist.
I sat in awe as Ms. Alexander spoke of the PETA building which was named after her, the Peter Max original artwork which he gifted to her in honor of her devotion to preventing animal cruelty, and her other lifelong accomplishments as an animal rights activist. But what impressed me the most about meeting Nanci Alexander, was the compassionate and thoughtful approach she took while talking to my teenage son about eating delicious and healthy plant-based foods and her gentle plea asking him to continue dining at plant-based restaurants with his friends in the future. Her wisdom was apparent, as Ms. Alexander clearly recognized the need for her work to be carried on by the younger generation.
I am bowing down to my computer at this very moment in honor of Nanci Alexander, an exemplary figure of what it means to be a compassionate person and to lead a life of meaning and true accomplishment.
Here is a photo of Ms. Alexander with Ingrid E. Newkirk, President of PETA, at the ribbon cutting ceremony of PETA’s Washington home, The Nanci Alexander Center for Animal Rights…
Before I talk about the “sublime” food at Sublime, check out the Peter Max original artwork he gifted to Ms. Alexander which is displayed in the restaurant, including the note Peter Max wrote to her thanking her for her devotion to the animals…
Quite impressive. Right? Now let me talk about the luscious food at Sublime. I began the evening with a delicious Watermelon Margarita made with muddled fresh watermelon…
As an appetizer, my husband and I shared Sublime’s legendary “Frito Misto” which is a crispy cauliflower dish made with sweet chili sauce and sesame seeds…
My son ordered the sliders and french fries as his main meal, although they were offered as an appetizer on the menu. He loved them! I took a bite of the slider and loved it too!
Although we were already full, we just had to share the scrumptious looking desserts. We devoured every last bite of the delectable Coconut Cake, the Chocolate Nirvana, and the Ice Cream Sundae…
As you can see, Sublime offers gourmet vegan food at its finest. As Alec Baldwin once tweeted, “Sublime Restaurant is the ‘Le Bernardin’ of vegan food.” I could not agree more! Please visit this divine vegan restaurant if you find yourself in the vicinity of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and support organizations that promote animal welfare and a vegan lifestyle at the same time.
I found this recipe for Sublime’s legendary Cauliflower Frito Misto on the website Vegans Are Cool…
SUBLIME’S CAULIFLOWER FRITO MISTO
Makes 8 appetizer servings
For the Sweet Chili Sauce:
1/3 cup water
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
For the tempura batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 to 3 cups ice-cold soda water
2 heads cauliflower (about 4 pounds total), florets only
4 cups vegetable oil, for deep frying
For the garnish:
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons chopped thinly sliced scallions
To make the chili sauce: Combine water, garlic and chili flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the vinegar, sugar and paprika. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly and is the consistency of syrup.
To make the batter: Combine all-purpose flour, rice flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of the soda water and mix just until it is incorporated. Do not over mix; batter may be lumpy. If the mixture is too thick, gradually add the remaining soda water until the batter is the consistency of syrup.
Separate the cauliflower florets by breaking them apart by hand; a small stem portion is OK (Save the core and stem portions of the cauliflower for soup). Dip the cauliflower florets into the batter until they are evenly coated. Heat oil to 350 degrees in heavy-bottomed saucepan. Deep-fry them in batches so as not to crowd pan, until brown and crispy. Drain well on paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the sesame seeds on a baking sheet and heat in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, just until golden brown.
Toss the cauliflower with the sweet chili sauce, and garnish with the sesame seeds and chopped scallions. Serve at once.