Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vegetable bartering

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 ;)


James Missier said...

hi, Just drop by from Blotanical.
Love your restaurant story experience.
That must be a meal to remember for life.
thanks for sharing.

Daphne said...

That would be fun. I'd be so worried that it all grew though. Right now when things fail, it doesn't matter. I just don't get to eat that.

Michelle said...

The General Store is fun, even with, or perhaps because of the drive to seemingly the back of beyond. I think I met your friend last time I was there, her mulberries and tomatoes were on the menu. She was sitting behind me and somehow we started talking about gardening and I came home with a baby rocoto chile plant!

Anonymous said...

Lucky you to know someone who knows someone :) Glad you were able to get in and have a great meal!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

It's interesting! I'd love to eat at least once in that place! Well, Jackie, would you go for it? Will you try to find such place near you? I think it is great to be a part of such thing!

Jackie said...

Hi James, nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by.

Daphne, I'm with you on the worrying. It would be better to just sell what you happen to have and not have to rely on everything to grow well.

Michelle, small world! I'm would really like to go back to the General Store sometime soon.

Thanks, Miss Daisy!

Tatyana, I'll definitely keep my eyes and ears open, but I don't think we have enough land to really make a difference to a restaurant's menu.