In Robert Lower’s tropical desert oasis, things are allowed to get a little wild. The straight lines of towering date trees are blurred by bright globes of pomegranates and grapefruit, edible greens and delicate branches gathered underneath their canopy. Robert tends to the soil by encouraging this type of biodiversity, rather than trying to control it. His permaculture approach to growing his Barhi, Medjool, Dayri, Zahidi and Deglet Noor dates seems to work quite well – the palms are heavy with clusters of dates every time we set the table, and the bright flavors of his citrus always inspire our guest chefs. Gabriel Woo, Executive Chef at Bar Cecil, will be taking a break from opening his newest project at the Palm Springs Art Museum to join us in the field kitchen for another spectacular meal.
Nestled up against Hollywood’s Runyon canyon is the historic hillside estate of Gordon Wattles. What were once the garden grounds of the property have been transformed into a vibrant community-run garden filled with volunteer-tended plots of flowers and produce, as well as century-old citrus and avocado trees. The inscription above the iron gate still reads, “Someone loves this garden and has lent it to you. Please respect this kindness and leave it as beautiful as you find it.” We are so grateful to our host, Toby Leaman, for lending us this magical space for the afternoon so that we can share its beauty with you, and with our guest chef, Nico de Leon. Nico brought his acclaimed Filipino flair to a collaborative dinner celebrating LA’s best chefs this past summer, but this will be his first time flying solo in the field kitchen. We cannot wait to see what he comes up with when he has five full courses to play with.
Reiana Onglengco and Evan Graham Arango started Ojai Roots in the backyard of their family property in Ojai. The farm, focused on soil biology and diverse, dense plantings, has steadily grown into a favorite of local chefs and Ojai residents for their stunning array of produce and regenerative practices. In the past few years, they’re added a farm box delivery service, chickens, a small herd of cattle, estate-grown olive oil, wine and a new 100 acre property, The Ranch. We will set the table overlooking The Ranch’s greenhouses and terraced gardens for a celebratory meal crafted by fellow Ojai locals, brothers Blake and Derek Ulrich, and the team from Model Citizen. They pair the freshest of the season with skillfully preserved ingredients for their lauded spin on coastal California cuisine.
The vibrant beach town of La Paz may be lesser known than the more crowded resorts of Baja, but offers some of the region’s most beautiful white sand beaches and sunset views. We’ll set the table on the sand overlooking the pristine waters of the Sea of Cortez, where our host Cody Requejo and the team at Omega Azul raise sushi-grade Baja Kanpachi utilizing a three-pronged approach to sustainability: environmental, economic and social. Cody is good friends with our guest chef, Javier Plascencia, who is considered the global ambassador for Baja cuisine. He’ll bring the best local produce from the sprawling onsite gardens at his restaurant, Jazamango, to go with the gorgeous seafood from Omega Azul. Did we mention, we’re visiting during the whale shark season? La Paz is one of the few places that you can swim with the largest fish in the world, and February is the perfect time to do so.
La vibrante ciudad costera de La Paz puede que sea menos conocida que los complejos turísticos más concurridos de Baja, pero ofrece algunas de las playas de arena blanca más hermosas y vistas al atardecer de la región. Montaremos la mesa en la arena con vistas a las aguas prístinas del Mar de Cortés, donde nuestro anfitrión Cody Requejo y el equipo de Omega Azul crían Baja Kanpachi de calidad sushi utilizando un enfoque de sostenibilidad de tres aspectos: ambiental, económico y social. Cody es buen amigo de nuestro chef invitado, Javier Plascencia, considerado el embajador mundial de la cocina de Baja. Traerá los mejores productos locales de los extensos jardines de su restaurante, Jazamango, para acompañar los deliciosos mariscos de Omega Azul. ¿Mencionamos que estamos visitando durante la temporada de tiburones ballena? La Paz es uno de los pocos lugares donde puedes nadar con el pez más grande del mundo, y febrero es el momento perfecto para hacerlo.
Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its astonishing beauty and contribution to civilization, the canal-crossed neighborhood of Xochimilco is one of the oldest in Mexico City. The chinampas date back earlier than the Aztecs, who built wood and clay rafts that would eventually root and become the human-made islands that form the lush canals of today’s Xochimilco, one of the world’s most historically productive and sustainable agricultural systems. We will take a ride on one of the garden’s colorful, flat-bottomed trajineras to see a slice of the expansive canal system, where mariachi music wafts through the air from floating fiestas drifting down nearby canals. Lucio Usobiaga, founder of Arca Tierra, will tell us a bit about the efforts to restore the chinampas and preserve the neighborhood’s agricultural legacy. We’ll sample some of the over 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables grown in the canals at dinner with our good friends, Donnie Masterston and Eduardo García. At The Restaurant in nearby San Miguel de Allende, Chef Donnie works with many of the areas best farmers and producers. He’s coming into town to cook with chef Eduardo, whose restaurant, Máximo Bistrot, regularly makes it onto the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants for their ingredient-driven seasonal cuisine with a focus on traditional Mexican cooking techniques.
Reconocido por la UNESCO como Patrimonio de la Humanidad por su belleza y su contribución a la civilización, el vecindario cruzado por canales de Xochimilco es uno de los más antiguos de la Ciudad de México. Las chinampas se remontan a antes de los aztecas, quienes construyeron balsas de madera y arcilla que eventualmente arraigarían y se convertirían en las islas artificiales que forman los canales del Xochimilco actual, uno de los sistemas agrícolas históricamente más productivos y sostenibles del mundo. Daremos un paseo en una de las coloridas trajineras de fondo plano del jardín para conocer una parte del extenso sistema de canales, donde la música de mariachi se eleva en el aire desde las fiestas flotantes que avanzan por los canales cercanos. Lucio Usobiaga, fundador de Arca Tierra, nos contará un poco sobre los esfuerzos para restaurar las chinampas y preservar el legado agrícola del vecindario. Probaremos algunas de las más de 50 variedades de frutas y verduras cultivadas en los canales durante la cena con uno de los mejores chefs de la Ciudad de México.
Murder Point gets its name from a legendary homicide over an oyster license. This was long before these namesake bivalves were grown there, but fans will still say Murder Points are worth killing for. Lane Zirlott’s family has been working here on shrimping and fishing boats for five generations, but he decided to shift his focus to trying to grow the world’s best oyster in his home waters. We met Lane (and tasted his oysters – petite, briny, buttery beauties like nothing you’d expect from the Gulf Coast) at our event on the Malibu Pier this summer and decided we needed to stop by and see where all his passion comes from. We’ve invited chef Sophina Uong to join us in the kitchen. The southern-tinged, globally-inspired flavors and tropical jungle atmosphere at her restaurant, Mister Mao, helped them earn acclaim as one of 2022’s best new restaurants by Bon Appetit and Conde Nast Traveler. We can’t wait to see what flavors Sophina decides to pair with the merroir of the Gulf.
We love this slice of paradise just outside of the bustle of Miami. Once an abandoned avocado grove, Paradise Farms is now a vibrant home to a variety of carefully tended specialty greens, medicinal herbs, tropical fruit and mushrooms. Their goal is to work in harmony with nature to produce the most nutrient dense and nourishing harvest possible through organic, regenerative practices. Chef Andrew Ayala from Michelin-starred Le Jardinier will be in the field kitchen showing off his seasonally-inspired take on classic French cuisine. Topped with Paradise’s edible flowers and microgreens, his plates are sure to be as beautiful as the meticulously curated grounds on which they’ll be served.
Venture just down the road from the vintage glamor of Palm Beach and become surrounded by the rich green of tropical fruit orchards and the gentle clucking sound of contented chickens at Holman’s Harvest. Marty and Liza Holman started farming by growing salad greens in an effort to provide healthy food for their family and friends. Over the past ten years, they’ve expanded their permaculture practices to include a variety of vegetables and animals to ensure that they not only provide healthy food to their community, but that they take care of the delicate soil ecosystems that help it grow. We’ll set the table in one of their colorful lettuce beds (or maybe in the shade of the tropical fruit trees) to enjoy a meal with Jason Weiner from Almond. Jason is Outstanding’s most veteran guest chef, and always manages to surprise and impress us.
On Anna Maria Island, sugar-white sand and cerulean waters stretch for miles. The charming towns are dotted with fishing piers, quaint family-owned shops and cafes mixed in with colorful beach cottages. While we’ve visited the island for years, we’re setting the table somewhere a little bit different this time, on the southernmost stretch of these legendary beaches. Dip your toes in the sand and watch the sunset over the Gulf while we enjoy the freshest catch from fisherman Brian Lacey, expertly prepared by Ed Chiles and the team from Beach House. They’re a local favorite for seafood, shellfish and sustainable practices. Chiles Hospitality even owns and runs their own farm, Gamble Creek, to grow organic produce and turn restaurant waste into compost to benefit both the soil and local watershed. They always serve a celebration of Florida’s bounty fitting the beauty of Anna Maria’s beaches.
After a year away, we’re so excited to return to Lake Meadow Naturals! Farmer Dale Volkert, perennially dressed in a pair of Carhartt overalls, knows more about chicken eggs than any one person should and is always happy to share his knowledge with us. We’ve invited Bruno Fonseca back to the field kitchen to craft a meal focused on local Florida ingredients. At Foreigner Restaurant, Chef Bruno crafts a tasting menu experience each week highlighting the best of the season, inspired by his multi-cultural heritage. He’s no stranger to improvisation and inspiration, and we can’t wait to see what he creates for us.