Travel

Outstanding in the Field | travel

travel cecyj

My friend, and talented interior designer, Allison Dehn Bloom, invited my husband and I to Outstanding in the Field last week.  I didn’t totally understand what it was until we got there… but the idea of breaking bread with local artisans and friends, on a simple Wednesday night at a beautiful private beach near an organic farm in Santa Cruz, certainly sounded fun.  These adventures are the things that summer is all about, right?

travel cecyj

The founder and host of Outstanding in the Field, chef and artist Jim Denevan, began the phenomenon in the summer of 1998 with a series of “farmer dinners” at Gabriella Cafe in Santa Cruz, California.  To Jim, it just made sense to bring the famers cultivating the perfect ingredients, or catching the best fish directly into the restaurant to help tell the “story” of beautiful food.  From there, it wasn’t a big leap to turn the idea upside down and bring the dinner table directly into to the farm fields.

Like everything unique and cutting edge… the right formula takes a bit of time to evolve into a notable experience and then suddenly, everyone is talking…

Today the OITF tours the world partnering with the very best chefs and local farmers for a truly memorable culinary and inspiring feast.  And what feast it was…

travel cecyjWe walked a short trail to the edge of one of the most beautiful Northern California beaches I’ve ever seen, and were greeted with smiles and a Field Strawberry Infused Corpse Reviver #2 (i.e. amazing cocktail).  Passed appetizers included cornbread, uni, black garlic, perfect foie gras and rhubarb.  Jim and his partner in crime Leah (the vital glue behind OITF, it seems) hopped up on a picnic bench to address our group of food adventure seekers and explain the amazing story of OITF.  We also heard from the local farmers and fishermen who provided the ingredients we were about to enjoy.  We crossed a local stream via a single track makeshift bridge that I’m quite sure was sprung together that morning and walked to the beach below.

travel cecyj

travel cecyj

Our beach dinner at Secret Sea Cove included the best beet salad with house made ricotta, a tasty and unique grilled lettuce appetizer with fish sauce vinaigrette, garlic confit and squid.  The highlights were the fresh fish main courses served family style.  Amazing.  After we dined on the long casual tables that nearly touched the water (literally, Jim and his team had to build a sand dam so the waves would not come crashing into our tables), the group of a little less than 100 made its way to a giant bonfire for wine and dessert.

travel cecyj

The truth is I’ve always considered myself someone who is grateful for every bite of fresh food I eat, but after enjoying my first meal with the farmer who cared for the beets, the fishermen who personally cut out the cheek of the cod for me and told me to enjoy it because it was the one the very best sources of omega-3 oil in the world… I feel even more thankful, aware and inspired by the food I eat with family and friends every day.  I’m thrilled to have new friends in the Outstanding in the Field family and I’m eager to book my next dinner.

 

{check out UNTI winery here}