Fresh, vibrant, and stunning plates at Tallulah's in Seattle. Photo courtesy of Tallulah's.
The season of road trips, backyard barbecues, CSAs, and farmers markets is finally upon us. Restaurants all over the United States are hopping onto the farm-to-table bandwagon and focusing on local, seasonal ingredients. A hot dozen foodie cities prove that the farm-to-table trend is here to stay.
In the land of big plates, big stomachs, and big slabs of barbecue, the movement towards locally sourced ingredients and seasonal menus is taking this food city by storm. HG SPLY CO focuses on the back-to-basics mentality of the paleo diet, with naturally sourced ingredients in dishes like pulled pork tacos with spicy pineapple pico and zucchini pasta with salmon and carmelized onions. Head to Wayward Sons for modern seasonal fare with a Southern twist. Homemade buttermilk biscuits served with his mom's handmade preserves is a must. For a sinful treat, check out Emporium Pies for a slice (or a whole pie) of sweet goodness made with seasonal flavors and ingredients.
With a tropical climate that provides year-round local produce, it's no surprise that Palm Beach is full of quality food made with quality ingredients. Chef and owner of Pizzeria Oceano, Dak Kerprich, lets the ingredients sourced from local farms and fishermen dictate his ever-changing menu. Cafe Boulud at the Brazilian Court Hotel serves a three-course meal for $36 with dishes like fried oyster hash with local eggs and hollandaise and a Kurobuta pork trio. Lastly, Buccan uses locally sourced ingredients and is so good, they expanded with Buccan Sandwich Shop.
From lush green mountains to scenic white sand beaches, Maui's got fresh seafood and produce year-round. Enjoy fresh sushi on the patio as the sunsets over the Pacific at Morimoto Mauiat the Andaz. Then hit the road and make a pitstop at Halfway to Hana where the owner sells homemade banana bread, made with home grown bananas and other ingredients supplied by the local agriculture community. Mama's Fish House is another stop for seafood that's as fresh as it can get.
Hipster happeings have made Asheville the perfect stage for new innovative restaurants. At Table, the menu is peppered with words like "local" and "heirloom" and "such-and-such farm." Try the burger, tempura fiddlehead ferns, and radishes with bonito butter. At The Bull and Beggar, orange-flower scented madeleines are baked to order and come out hot, perfumed, and rolled in sparkling sugar. For a sweet and savory treat, try the Belgian at The Gourmet Chip Company — locally grown sweet potato chips with Belgian dark and milk chocolates and sea salt.
The city's culture is slowly changing to incorporate creative, hip micro-neighborhoods and the burgeoning food scene is a great representation. At Leon's Oyster Shop, the daily catch and seasonal side salads are served fresh in a redesigned paint and body shop. Chez Nous has a northern Mediterranean menu that's handwritten daily, and Xiao Bao Biscuit serves experimental Asian soul food made with locally sourced ingredients.
Enjoy small batch brews and dishes like roasted pork ramen and poutine made with green chile gravy and bacon at Fire and Hops. Or visit Cheesemongers of Santa Fe for the perfect picnic fixings, including domestic cheeses, charcuterie, artisanal crackers, and fresh bread. At Vinaigrette, sustainability is a top priority and much of the produce is grown on the restaurant owner's 10-acre farm.
Hop on over to The Bachelor Farmer, where the vegetables are grown on a farm on the roof. Or to Borough for modernist cuisine based on seasonal ingredients. Wise Acre serves dishes with 75 to 95 percent of their menu sourced from the 100-acre Tangletown Gardens farm.
Chef Chris Himmel shares his favorite sustainable plates in the city, including his own& Post 390, where Himmel and his team visit farms and fisheries around New England for ingredients. Sweet Cheeks BBQ uses locally sourced Berkshire pigs (try the pork ribs with biscuits and honey butter and black-eyed peas). At Townsman, chef Matt Jennings creates sustainable versions of American classics, such as clam chowder, lobster rolls, and fried chicken.
It's no surprise that many restaurants in the progressive Pacific Northwest are farm-to-table focused, and they do it well. Terra Plata serves Mediterranean small plates with the best products from the Northwest. Lark serves New American cuisine and is a great representation of refined and elegant farm-to-table food. Tallulah'suses seasonal ingredients and has incredible craft cocktails.
There's more to Oxford than Ole Miss, and the burgeoning food scene is worth checking out. At The Second Line, ingredients are sourced from friends and neighbors to produce classic po'boys and true New Orleans fare. Oxford Canteen purchases regionally sourced products and services. They even have a Kitchen Sink Supper Club where reservations must be made at least two weeks prior for a multi-course ingredient-driven meal with optional wine pairings. Big Bad Breakfastserves inventive specials and old-school staples like house-cured Tabasco and brown sugar bacon, Coca-Cola-brined fried chicken, and local Grit Girl grits.
Who knew a farm-to-table scene could even exist in the middle of the Sonoran desert?FnB proves that farms and vineyards can thrive in the desert. At Paul Martins American Grill, seafood comes from sustainable fisheries, meat and poultry are natural and free-range, and cheeses are artisanal. Craft 64also uses local organic ingredients and makes mozzarella from scratch every single day.
Nashville's known for its historic music scene, but its food scene is bringing the competition. Reservations must be made in advance for The Catbird Seat, where chef Ryan Poli does not disappoint with his multi-course tasting menu. At Husk, chef Sean Brock prides himself on his use of local ingredients from numerous local suppliers in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. City House is one of the founding restaurants of the food scene in Nashville and the seasonal menu is always full of great flavors.