I hate, loathe, abhor trendy terms. Call it what you will, but I prefer the taste of good old fashioned home-cooked English phrasing over the microwaved TV dinner terms of the Internet Generation. For example, I stopped posting my personal writing on the internet the moment I found out I was a ‘blogger’. I have never once LOL’ed, and I will not purchase a drink made by a mixologist. Bartenders have served humanity well enough this long, thank you very much. So when I first started hearing ‘locavore’ and ‘farm-to-table’ being bandied about like so much organic soy, my first thought was, “Nnnnnope.” I may enjoy the meal, but I will not kowtow to the uber-hip references, no matter how fresh, nearby, and grass-fed the particular kow may be.
That being said, I’m not against the concepts per se, as I do prefer my food to be on the delicious side. And getting delectable ingredients from nearby sources doesn’t seem like a terrible idea. That is essentially what a locavore is: someone who sources all their food from within a 400 mile radius of their home. Julia Child once said, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces, just good food from fresh ingredients.” In essence this is the philosophy of farm-to-table, just stated in nice, long, classic, real English words. Now this is a thought I can get behind. Luckily for me (and by me, I mean Us… we’re totally in this together), this is an area of the world that not only has the climate to raise a huge variety of vegetation, but livestock and poultry as well; both of which are vital for any farm-to-table enterprise, for obvious reasons. If you can’t get fresh ingredients, you can’t embrace this trend. Sorry Death Valley. You know who can embrace this trend? Restaurants like Whisknladle in La Jolla, that’s who. Want to know where your shallots that are accompanying your charred bone marrow are from? They can tell you, because they went to the source and got them… probably that very morning. Mistral in Coronado is also on the cutting edge of freshness. Locally sourcing produce is a good idea. It’s good for the environment, it’s good for your taste buds, it’s just good. You know what’s even more local than sourcing locally? Try growing it yourself. Mistral boasts a 3,800 square foot garden that supplies the restaurant with everything from strawberries to broccoli, along with an impressive array of herbs. Fresh from the garden with ocean views to die for? This is clearly a no brainer …no offense to those out there without brains (Zombies- I’m looking at you here, sorry guys.)
Is farm-to-table a trendy restaurant fad that will eventually go the way of disco and terrible polyester pant-suits? I doubt it, it has historical precedence. Apparently, long before fast food and processed cheese, there was a group of fringe radicals that actually got food from farms. They would then take that food to the table aaaannnnd (Ready for this? Sure?)… EAT it! I did some internet research on these crazy hippies and it turns out they were originally called ‘People’, and this trendy phenomenon was happening world-wide. For centuries even. Who knew?! The thing about this restaurant concept that will make it last is that it embraces one of humanity’s chief concerns- Doing stuff that gets us dirty. Why pick carrots when you can pay someone to pick carrots for you? Brilliant! It’s along the lines of paying someone to come clean your room and change your sheets when you leave. Oh wait, that’s called a “hotel”, and apparently those exist already. You know what would be awesome? Farm-to-hotel. You would never have to lift a finger. Actually, that already exists and it’s called Kitchen 1540. Located inside the historic L’Auberge Hotel in Del Mar this farm-to-table restaurant offers everything from seasonal marmalades to house-made pickles.
So aside from the trendy tag phrase, it seems this concept of fresh, healthy and sustainable ingredients actually makes sense, and unlike cheese from a can- it tastes wonderful. I will however, refrain from kitschy phrasing and refer to this old-becomes-new eating phenomenon as simply, “Good.”
© Restaurant Agent Inc.