Although you may have read about some of these experiences here individually, seeing them gathered together in one large travel menu is a fun exercise. I have had the opportunity to reflect upon additional details and nuances of each experience or meal, plus you can compare and contrast!
The Future of Culinary Travel ~
Culinary travel is BIG and also a perfect way to get closer, to mingle with the locals and even learn something! I believe that this type of foodie discovery is here to stay and will only get more focused for future opportunities.
Location, location, location. This “restaurant without walls”, farm to table dinner feast was in Lillywaup, WA at the Hama Hama Oyster Farm. Just imagine dining on the west shore of the Hood Canal where the water was so close you worried the tides would rise too fast. It wasn’t scary, it was dreamy.
Although the was dinner was located in the state of Washington, notorious for rain and grey skies, we experienced none of that. Just bright blue sky and vivid green grasses and trees, with white puffy clouds sprinkled on top. Goosebump scenery. You know that other worldly feeling of discovering a new place that you can hardly put in to words how incredible that moment in time feels? This is how I felt and most likely everyone sitting at the one long table set for 150 food loving diners did as well.
“We are Outstanding In The Field: Setting tables at the source of ingredients, serving from farm to table across the country.”
Last year we attended an Outstanding in the Field farm to table dinner on the beach, at the Secret Sea Cove, in Santa Cruz, at the longest dinner table you have ever seen. The sunset unexpectedly turned bright pink as we ate crab and avocado salad, drank buttery Chardonnay and talked with guests from around the world.
“Since 1999 we have set the long table at rural farms and urban gardens, on mountain tops and in sea caves, on islands and ranches. Occasionally the table is set indoors: a beautiful refurbished barn, a cool greenhouse or a stately museum. Wherever the location, the theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table.”
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.
Isn’t it exhilarating when you stumble upon something fabulous that you didn’t know exist? My friend Jen sent me a link and video a couple of years ago about this unique dinner in a field on a farm. Fast forward to our busy, crazy life and we just did not pursue this opportunity… shame on us. But a couple of months ago another foodie and longtime friend Denise, asked me if I was attending an Outstanding in the Field dinner in Temecula, which was only about 90 minutes from my house. No! I wasn’t! Of course it was sold out, so I got busy looking at their upcoming schedule to finally find a date and location we could attend!
Combining our love for delicious, inspiring dishes and adventure, attending an incredible outdoor feast with Outstanding in the Field, would be the perfect food adventure for us! These innovative entrepreneurs of this new dinner idea knew that other people shared their love for authentic, fresh-picked, organic farm fresh food too. How much fun would it be to actually eat this food right there in the fields of the farms? Finding such an interesting, new foodie concept is like receiving an unexpected present! We were so thrilled to attend.
Our dinner location
A working community farm nestled in the middle of Hollywood? Yes, it really does exist. This charming site is called Wattles Farm and it has been a community garden since 1975. We found it so surprising that such a wonderful oasis of farmland was smack in the middle of Hollywood of all places!
The land on which the community garden is now located was once part of the grounds of an elegant forty-nine acre estate. “Jualita,” as it was then known, was the winter home of Gurdon Wattles, a businessman and banker from Omaha, Nebraska.
The current garden still contains the original citrus and avocado groves that were planted for the mansion in 1907. Through an initiative of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s community gardening program, the lower 4.2 acres were transformed into this wonderful, organic, community garden.
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