You know how in The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell talks about the Hush Puppy shoes and how a handful of NYC hipsters started wearing them when they were all but out of business and then they became a huge national fad?
Hush Puppies are now food. Um, wait. As in, the Hush Puppy shoe. Not the delicious fried ball of cornbread. Which is, and always had been, food.
What I mean is, food has jumped the trendy shark. And I kinda hate when things I love jump the trendy shark. I have a deep fondness for the weird, the odd, the unique. (Am I stating the obvious? I did just move to SF.) So when something goes from quirky to mainstream, it absolutely loses its charm – at least for me.
The requester of this post inquired specifically about “farm to table” food. What’s absolutely gorgeous farm to table is its authenticity. It feels like a wholesome, approachable experience. A nice old-fashion way of dining (for which you’ll lay down a mortgage payment for the privilege).
You know where the food came from and you feel confident that it’s fresh and good for you. It may even be organic (but never assume, especially in a restaurant – they are notorious for offering a grey truth about the percent of what they serve that’s truly organic).
The meal is generally beautifully laid out on simple, distressed wood tables, decked with mason jars filled with lemonade and rustic country loaves with golden crusts. Don’t get me wrong; it is usually delicious. But it’s also pretty formulaic and it’s become a little… boring. I have to admit, I’m already seeking the next food fad – something that challenges me and is still low on the radar.
I still really enjoy farm to table, I’ve just become a lot more selective about which opportunities I pursue. We belong to a fabulous winery called Scribe, and they host a quarterly pick-up party. It’s got a lot of the elements that I just poo-poo’ed, but the thing is, it’s totally legit. If you show up on a random Wednesday, they’ll show you the same hospitality – it’s just how they live. When you go there, it just feels warm and casual and inclusive, like you’re part of the family. My demands for these experiences have become pretty strict, and Scribe delivers.
I hope you find a farm to table experience that remains special and cool. And when you do, please let me know – I promise to keep the secret between us.