I finally cracked open my October issue of Gourmet Magazine and was delighted to find a feature on Farm to Table Restaurants. The article listed some of my favorite places like Henrietta's Table in Boston, Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hils, NY, and The General's Daughter in Sonoma. Of course, the list included Chez Panisse and The White Dog Cafe from whence hails tomorrow's guest speakers at Hendricks Chapel. This article will serve as a helpful reminder of all the wonderful places I'm hoping to get to--like Blackberry Farm in Tennessee and Cyrus in Healdsburg, CA. With the piece on Holly Smith's Cafe Juanita in Seattle (the restaurant that convinced my husband that Seattle rivals San Francisco for incredible food) this issue is clearly a keeper.
As we anticipate the Alice Waters and Judy Wicks lecture tonight (7:30 but get there early for a good seat!) I've received several requests for recommendations of our own farm to table restaurants. I haven't totally eaten my way around Central New York yet to know who sources from local farmers (if you read this blog regularly you can probably predict my list) but I hope my brief list will continue to grow. As I say often, if there is any region with the resources to provide restaurants and cafes with fresh, seasonal food it is ours. So if you haven't already made your pre-lecture dinner or lunch plans book yourself a seat at one of these restaurants--they are as important to the sustainable food reform equation as the farmers.
Arad Evans Inn, 7206 Genesee Street, Fayetteville, 315-637-2020
Brian Shore makes no secret of his dedication to local farmers (but just try getting the name of the guy who grows his famous microgreens!) I didn't go to Arad Evans prior to his return but folks who've been around for awhile proclaim that Arad Evans is back to its former greatness. We celebrated our wedding anniversary there last March and were impressed with the flavors coming out of Brian's kitchen.
Bill and Sarah Collins make an effort to source local ingredients as much as possible. Their thematic dinners are not to be missed--particularly if the theme is "tomato" or "harvest". Of course, their Asian theme dinners are always a hit, and well, you really can't go wrong here. For local and seasonal food--this is a great time of the year to enjoy Bill's culinary creativity.
Alicyn Hart continues to do wonderful things at her place which is all about the local ingredients--all year long. I had the oxtails on Saturday night and they blew me away, and I know from oxtails. The sweet potato pancakes and scallion butter were the perfect side--I gotta get there again before these leave the menu. Circa's sources includes Maple Avenue Farm, Smitty's Farm, and even draws upon Ali's own garden for tomatoes, onions and potatoes--they're local and they mean it!
Elderberry Pond Farm Restaurant, 3728 Center Street Road, Auburn, 315-252-6025
At Elderberry Pond the farm to table divide is bridged by crossing the road. There is a singular delight in being able see the food growing in the field as you enter the restaurant knowing it will be turned into something even more wonderful by the time it reaches your plate. In addition to the local and seasonal menu is a wine list that is comprised of mostly organic or bio-dynamic wines--including many New York State selections. The Country Store allows you to take home some of the Elderberry Pond goodness to cook at home.
Hawley-Green Bistro, 304 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, 315-423-0442
This is a fantastic newcomer to the Syracuse scene. The owners are serious about sourcing local producers and bringing the freshest ingredients to the table. You can read my recent impressions of the Bistro in the August archives--but let me say this: One week in late August I ate lunch or dinner there four times and it never disappointed. Plus when they're pouring my favorite roast of Gimme Coffee (Mexico) out of a French press, they've got me.
Did I leave someone out? Drop me a comment and let me know.