YAWN. Oh, you know. No big deal. We just ate at Chef & the Farmer (www.vivianhoward.com) last night. Chef Vivian Howard. Stellar PBS show A Chef’s Life. GAH. Still swooning over the experience. Did I mention VH’s parents sat next to us?
I’m not a “foodie.” I don’t know about food. I just eat it and try not to drop any on my shirt. I’ve always lived in the South and most of my food experiences, whether at home or away, are based in Southern tradition. That’s not to say that I only eat foods or prepare for my family foods that are fried and covered in gravy; although, um delicious. What it does mean is I have a palate drawn to local flavors. I can appreciate a person’s world view of food and be in awe of those who eat courageously in places with names I can’t pronounce. The broadening of my culinary horizons is happening closer to home. And that’s okay. I like cornbread, and okra, and grits. I like the possibilities of changing up foods like these, dressing them up, making them feel special, and taking them out on a date. A date where I eat them.
We didn’t know how to order. How do you order when you want to try it all? We started with three shared plates:
1. Country Ham Wrapped Peaches with ginger goat cheese, spiced pecans, balsamic honey – we agreed this was our favorite of the three.
2. Fried Okra with buttermilk ranch ice cream – don’t judge. Loved it. Effing, YES.
3. Tom Thumb with marinated cantaloupe, Sea Island blue grits, peanuts – yes, the grits are blue. And, can I just say, HELLO PEANUTS. How perfect. You’re like, “peanuts? What the hell?” And then you eat and it just makes sense. OF COURSE, PEANUTS.
Then we chose two small plates:
1. Blistered Shishitos Peppers with butter bean hummus, corn relish, benne – screw you, chick peas! Butter beans can be hummus, too.
2. Eggplant, Corn & Mozzarella with charred onion, basil, okra – my husband chose this knowing that he is not a fan of eggplant. This is called FAITH, people. He loved it. So did I. There wasn’t as much sharing of these plates as when we started.
For the main course:
1. Pan Roasted Cornish Game Hen with spaghetti squash, kale, sorghum grain, and sorghum-glazed figs – by this point we didn’t know what to expect next. Can it really all be good? Yes. Yes, it can.
2. Seared Bavette Steak with roasted pepper sauce, field pea salad, lima bean cornbread cake. – CORNBREAD CAKE. We also discussed how VH would probably hate that we were ordering steak and HAHA, silly Vivian. Our good friend, Vivian.
1. Chocolate Chess Pie with caramel sauce, pretzel crumble, bourbon ice cream – silent eating because there were no words.
2. Blueberry and Blackberry Cobbler with vanilla ice cream – like being in a dreamy, fluffy pillow of berries, berry goo, and crust.
The team at Chef & the Farmer are just so good at what they do. I don’t know. I’m not a food critic. I’m a mom who doesn’t get to eat at special places with my husband very often. From the service to the food to the ambience, everything was worth it. Our server, Maryn (I probably botched the spelling) was delightful and knowledgeable, and most importantly, made us feel like we should be there.
I posted some pictures of food on Instagram, if that’s your thing.