Eastside Road, April 15, 2010—LOOK UP "POP-UP
restaurant" online using your favorite search engine, well, mine, anyway, and you'll start exploring some interesting territory. I think it's a very healthy development, a response to mindless bureaucratic administration of ultimately necessary regulation. It's a very complicated issue, and further evidence, as if it were needed, that ad hocity is the correct posture in an over-complicated, over-populated, over-urban society.
Anyhow: tonight we ate not too many miles from home in a barn at a table with a number of people we didn't quite know but might have. One, for example, was delighted to meet Lindsey: he'd treasured her book
for years. Another is off next week to Amsterdam to eat at Marius
. A third is somehow connected to a winery
we visited a year or two ago near Ashland.
The kitchen was set up in a side alley of the barn, spotless stainless-steel and seriousness. These people absolutely know their business — but they're also proud and pleased with it.
All that was very nice: but best of all was the food. I began with Sopa de Raiz de Apio
, celery-root soup with fava bean pesto. I nibbled at a friend's Ensalada de esparragos
, warm asparagus salad with cara cara oranges and raw-milk feta; and then hr Pescado locale
, pan-seared cod with piquillo peppes and safferon-flavored carrots.
Best of all, I feasted on Chicharron de pato
, duck breast cooked almost as if it were in confit
, with a masa
polenta-like toast with crinkly chicharrones
from the duck; it was a veritable Yucatanese cassoulet lacking the beans. An extraordinary dish, deep, rich, complex, but in perfect balance, and thoroughly healthful. Oh: pea and fava-tendril salad to garnish it.
Then, out into the night, chilly, darker than this twilight photo suggests, with a big Evening Star hanging just off a tiny paring of a crescent new moon. Magical.
Blanc d'Alsace, "Now & Zen," 2007; Pinot noir, Kenwood (Russian River Valley), 2007;
Syrah, Cowhorn (Applegate Valley, Oregon), 2006; Malbec, AR Guentota (Argentina), 2006