At the Taste of OC two weeks ago, I encountered a glorious feast - the OC Great Farm to Table Dinner.
The event kicked off with unending, whimsical, tray passed hors d'oeuvres (which at first seemed to whisk by thanks to the chef's fancy feet). Then after, everyone gathered into a tent with two long communal tables, while 9 Townley Wine-paired, local, sustainable courses of magnanimous family style portions were served.
Informal presentations were given by each chef (like Rob Wilson of Montage Resort, Paddy Glennon of Santa Monica Seafood, and Ryan Adams of Three Seventy Common) as each course was planted on the table to be dished out. Proceeds from the $149 dinner benefited chef Paddy Glennon's Culinary Liberation Front.
Everything from Oysters to Fresh Beets and Duck Canapes were served. But nothing was more delectable than the:
- inventive Raspberry Puree injected Pistachio encrusted Goat Cheese balls and simple Yellowtail Sashimi with Yuzu & Cantaloupe spoons
- fresh Green Garbanzo beans that popped, love the crunch of crispy onions, touch of spice, dressed too lightly, Micro Arugula, Edible Flowers, Fried Onions, Cherry Tomatoes, Chefmade Vinegar & Santa Barbara Joelle Olive Oil (Chef Paul Hancock - Avalon Grill)
- surprisingly one of my favorites because of the creaminess that cut the brine, Creamy California Olive Tapenade (Chef Paul Buchanan - Primal Alchemy Catering)
- needed some bread to soak up the goodness, Carlsbad Aqua Farms Mussels with Hopkins Farms Almond Milk, Local Garlic & Farmers Market Herbs (Chef Patrick Glennon - Culinary Liberation Front)
- unfortunately a little dry, perfect with the Candied Schaner Farms Citrus Rind, went overboard with dessert pie-like Pickled Green Strawberries, Barbequed Local White Sea Bass with Pistachios Coleman Farms Basil & Arugula (Chef Craig Connole - K'ya Bistro & House of Big Fish)
- my favorite of the seafood courses, tasted like Swordfish in a good way, can't beat the Braised Leeks, Seared Yellowtail with Shellfish Butter, Crispy Shallots & Petite Greens (Chef Ryan Adams - Three Seventy Common)
- brilliant, amazing addition of Pudwill Farms Blackberries, a little tough towards the center cut, Braised Vintage Beef Shortribs with Weiser Farms Pee Wee Potatoes (Chef Rob Wilson - Montage Laguna Beach)
- ridiculously large portions, love the char, Glazed Santa Barbara Berkshire Co. Pork Shoulder with Creamed Sweet Corn & Baked Beans (Chef Greg Daniels - Haven Gastropub)
- super necessary after all the indulgence, I especially loved the Kale, LBC Urban Farm Rainbow Roasted & Seasoned Vegetables (Chef Paul Buchanan - Primal Alchemy Catering)
- love me some lemon, but the crust was too hard, Backyard Harvest Meyer Lemon Tart with Lavender Creme Fraiche (Chef Justin Monson - Vine & St. Roy Chef's Pub)
Overall, the Farm to Table Dinner was definitely worth it, as it went above and beyond in terms of free flowing wine and food portions that never left you feeling hungry.
However, because the food was served family style and not cooked to order, the tenderness of certain meats & seafood suffered. Kudos to those chefs who managed to pull off perfect plates at priceless temperatures.