Slow Food Orange County: Luncheon in the Garden

In a world full of fast food and wide-spread impatience, there is one group in Orange County trying to slow things down, at least when it comes to food. Slow Food Orange County is a non-profit, community organization whose mission is to ensure equity, sustainability, and pleasure in the food we eat. They focus on ensuring that the community has access and knowledge about good (healthy), clean (free of pesticides and harmful chemicals), and fair (available to all) food.

Slow Food Orange County sponsored a luncheon this weekend at Il Garage, an extension of Park Ave restaurant in Stanton. Il Garage restaurant serves up locally grown Italian fare. To this restaurant, local does not just mean purchased from local farmers, but actually grown in their large garden located on the property itself. The chef David Slay allows the garden to inspire and create his dishes for the day. The majority of the meals feature fruits, vegetables, and herbs picked from the garden that day.

This past Sunday, Slow Food Orange County, hosted a lunch at Il Garage. Guests were greeted by a glass of champagne paired with a tomato tart, eggplant bruschetta, and baked clams. These delicious appetizers were enjoyed during a tour of the garden where guests were given a detailed explanation of the organic gardening practices the restaurant employs. In order to reduce the amount of pesticides used, specific flowers are planted at the end of each bed to help attract beneficial insects and minimize the harmful ones. Bees and lady bugs are especially important to keep the garden pollinated and aphid free.

The lunch was served family style at long tables. Guests could choose a white or red wine to pair with their meal, both selected by the chef to compliment the food. The lunch included: mixed salumi ravioli, garden herb gnocchi, pork loin with caper sauce, and fresh clipped greens straight from the garden. The meal was finished off by an amazing vanilla bean panna cotta with candied citrus. All of the food was fresh, delicious and served in generous portions.

Chef David Slay was greeted by applause at the end of the meal, it was so fantastic! What a great way to spend a sunday afternoon, slowing things down and eating delicious food.