One year ago, almost to the day, we attended our first Outstanding in the Field community dinner. Outstanding in the Field is a mobile culinary feast that travels the US and the globe to bring together local farmers, culinary artisans and food lovers to share an outdoor, farm to table meal. At each location, at these “restaurants without walls”, Outstanding in the Field chooses a local chef to manage the meal preparation to spotlight the local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and vintners. This group effort promotes the love of great food and celebrates ingredients that are chemical free and lovingly prepared.
Last year, we sat on a farm in Hollywood, CA (yes it does exist) with 150 other engaging, happy foodies, drinking wine by the light of mason jar candles, while eating a farm to table meal fit for a queen.
The bright glow of that memory lingered with us for months and we hoped we could do it again one day. In 2016 that “one day” came when I investigated the OITF website and found a dinner located close enough we could get there without too much difficulty.
This location in Santa Cruz was on the beach at the Secret Sea Cove, yes I am not kidding! A very long continuous table full of food fans from close by and far away joined together to enjoy a meal prepared by Jonnatan Leiva for Comedor in San Francisco.
We laughed, we talked, we shared about our lives, we swapped stories of past food experiences and marveled at the magic of this moment.
This was one of those wondrous experiences in your life you will absolutely never forget. The food was colorful and beautiful and tasty and we sat in wood chairs lodged in the sand with the roar of the surf within steps of the table.
The meal was served family style and it took hours and hours to enjoy. However, the pinnacle for me was when we simultaneously looked up to see a bright pink sunset. The cloud cover was thick and we had all but given up any hope for a special sunset. We were so wrong! Every guest jumped up from the table to take group shots and selfies documenting this incredible evening!
Because the details are the best part, this is how the evening went ~
The founder, Jim Denevan, welcomed us and told the story of Outstanding in the Field, from when it began in 1999 and this journey of connecting people, the farmers and the land it comes from. Just imagine the food they have eaten, the people they have met and the locations that have hosted them.
We were served an impressive buttery chardonnay by Donkey and Goat, winemakers from Berkeley, CA and yummy appetizers for the first hour of our arrival. Everyone stood on top of the cliff looking out at the shore to see that solitary, magnificent table, set for our outstanding meal.
The menu and wine pairings ~