There is a restaurant located deep in Carmel Valley. It's only open on Monday nights. There are no menus and the curtains are cut out of paper, like paper dolls. And you have to "know somebody" to get in. That's not to say that you have to know somebody who is rich or famous or powerful. No, you just have to know somebody who knows the chef. The General Store dinners are related to the chef's catering business - a chance to try out new recipes on friends. The cuisine is all about local, organic, seasonal food. A nice change from the typical catered affair. We have only been to the General Store once. It takes about an hour or so to get there on steep winding roads. When we arrived, the place was packed. A lively atmosphere inside the old wooden building. Bare bones everything, except the food. It was absolutely delicious! The meal was not particularly unusual. This is to say that I recognized everything on my plate: roasted chicken, steamed romano beans, roasted potatoes, and a salad with local organic tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. The beauty was in the freshness of the ingredients and the careful preparation!
I have a friend who lives in the valley near the Cachagua General Store. She grows loads of vegetables and has often been asked by the chef to bring in some of her extra vegetables...in exchange for dinner with her husband. That's a reason to live an hour away from civilization in the valley, if I ever heard of one. This year the chef asked her to grow out some Aji pepper seeds that he had acquired from Peru.
To be growing vegetables directly for a fantastic restaurant - what a thrill! Now I just need to find my own local, organic-type restaurant...and another half acre ;)