A year ago my neighbor attended the Outstanding in the Field Event in Temecula, CA and I was positively green with envy. This year, though, she is the green with envy girl and I am the one with a truely wonderful evening spent in the valley and filled with "outstanding" food, wine, views and friends!
Since 1999, Outstanding in the Field has been reconnecting diners to the land and bringing us closer to the origins of our food. Held literally in a field, or on a beach, or for us in an apple orchard on a farm, an extraordinarily long dining table is dressed with linens and ready to receive the local delicacies of the day. Using as many local ingredients as possible noted Chef Paul McCabe, of Del Mar's Kitchen 1540, dictated a menu featuring the bounty of Crows Pass Farm in Temecula, CA.
Serving a scrumptious Heavenly Nectar cocktail as an alternative to the wine brought smiles to the lips all those who partook. With chandler strawberries ripening on the berry plants at Crows Pass the cocktail was indeed heavenly with an infusion of crushed berries combined with sweet Chartreuse, gin and homemade bitters. Word on the farm had the bitters containing some 20+ herbs in an infusion of its own. Passed appetizers and bowls of farm fresh snap peas worked as nibbles before we headed out on a farm tour with Crows Pass Farm owner Tina Barnes.
Heading to the top of the farm little doubt was left in our minds as to what was growing as the scent of sweet, ripe strawberries greeted us on the knoll. Shiny, red berries dotted the field, and with urging from Tina many of us took the rare opportunity to pluck a juicy berry (or two!) to taste warm from the field. Fresh strawberries just don't get any better than that!
|Thomas Curry and Temecula Olive Oil|
|Compressed Fruit and Vegetable Salad|
Next up the local white Sea Bass topped with verde and chorizo sauces had me at the edge of my seat. Surrounded by Cross Pass baby new potatoes and snap peas, the fish and sauces melted in my mouth. My favorite course of the evening, I was lucky enough to score seconds from the family style serving platter. Cooked to perfection on the outside grill, the fish was tender and flavorful, but it was the verde sauce that held my full attention. Bright and tantalizing with flavors somewhat reminiscent of pesto, my inquiry discovered the main ingredient was parsley and not the basil I had imagined. Again, pleasure washed over us as we awaited the next course and polished off what was left of our Palumbo '07 Mourverde/Syrah.
|Sea Bass with Verde and Chorizo Sauces, Snap Peas and Baby New Potatoes|
|Alpine hog, slow braised with smoked Romesco, Temecula Honey Onions and Cherimoya|
Our Outstanding in the Field experience was indeed truly an outstanding evening. From the food to the wines to the service and the most wonderful company (thanks Deb and Keith!), the evening is one I won't soon forget. The guys don't know it yet, but Deb and I have already planned next years experience. We'll have to surprise them with the location as the time draws near...
|Outstanding in the Field|