Eating (and Drinking) Locally
You can have your kale and eat it, too. Even if you’re not raising chickens in your backyard, keeping bees or storing a compost bucket under your kitchen sink, you’ll want to enjoy summer’s yummy fruits and veggies at their freshest. That means they’re grown within a 100-mile radius, rather than flown in from another continent. Lots of restaurants claim to offer farm-fresh ingredients these days -- and it’s worth seeking out a neighborhood eatery that stays true to its promise. Meanwhile, here are four restaurants with produce so local you can reach out and pluck it from the dirt while you’re having dinner (but leave that to the chefs!).
If you admire the lemon verbena, purple basil or gorgeous mint that flourishes in the on-site garden at Post & Beam your waitperson might just cut off a few sprigs for you to take home. The restaurant, from celebrity chef Govind Armstrong, is located in a shopping mall in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Baldwin Hills, but the vibe is pure southern, with dishes like shrimp grits, buttermilk fried chicken and black-eyed peas with house-smoked bacon and roasted yam. The produce is all freshly picked, not only by the chef but by the bartender as well, with garden-to-glass cocktails like a daiquiri made with just-snipped pineapple sage.
One of the pioneers in high-end meatless cuisine, Greens Restaurant has been dishing out fine vegetarian fare from a converted warehouse at the historic Fort Mason Center for 25 years now. The views of the San Francisco Marina and Golden Gate Bridge are stunning and so is the food. The seasonal produce comes from the Green Gulch Farm, a residential Zen community and organic farm located less than an hour away. The early summer menu included a farro risotto with morel mushrooms, asparagus, savoy spinach, leeks, green garlic and fava beans -- a veritable garden on a plate.
Homestead on the Roof calls itself “a literal farm-to-table restaurant.” The 80-seat rooftop patio includes a 1,000 square-foot garden, two massive vertical hanging gardens and dozens of planter boxes. The vegetables, fruits and herbs grown on the premises make their way into every course. You could dine, for example, on an appetizer of smoked asparagus with a fried duck egg, followed by a pig head croquette (yes, the menu is adventurous!) with pickled fennel salad and, for the main course, seared scallops and short ribs with wilted greens and chamomile-lemon jam. Dessert is also brimming with ripe ingredients like compressed rhubarb served with vanilla mascarpone panna cotta and pink peppercorn ice cream.
The Farm on Adderley in Brooklyn’s newly hip Ditmas Park neighborhood isn’t actually a farm, but all the ingredients -- meat, dairy and produce -- are sourced from local purveyors. The dishes are vibrant in both flavor and color -- a vivid chilled pea soup with pistachios, squid salad with sorrel, radish, spring onion and mint, and a burger made with pasture-raised beef on a homemade English muffin. You’ll also want to raise a glass to the Blue Ant, a cocktail made with dandelion wine, white rum, dry vermouth, rose water, cucumber and herb de provence.
Where’s the best place to get your locally sourced grub on? Tell us on Twitter at @thestyleglossy.
Shelley Levitt, managing editor of The Style Glossy, is a former West Coast editor of Self and senior writer at People.