Thursday, July 29, 2010

Farmers' Market Dinner

Who: VN Publisher Joseph Connelly and VN Associate Publisher Colleen Holland
What: Millennium Restaurant's 11th Annual Farmers' Market Dinner
Where: San Francisco, Calif.
When: July 28, 2010
Why: It's the season to celebrate fresh organic produce and the farmers who grow it

The Scoop: If "but what do you eat?" is runner up to the protein question, how about this retort: A five-course, fresh, organic feast also known as the Annual Farmers' Market Dinner, courtesy of San Francisco's Millennium Restaurant?

First Course: Mariquita Trio

Millennium's much-anticipated FMD is designed as a celebration of both the food as well as the local artisan farmers who grow it, many of whom were in attendance last night. Each course honors one or two of the producers, and for the first time the restaurant also paired the wines of Philip Staley, a small, family-owned vintner from the Russian River Valley north of San Francisco.

Second Course: Warm Butterball Potato & Purslane Salad

If for some inexplicable reason these photos don't have you salivating like Pavlov's companion animal, I can assure you that each course was perfection on a plate, combining the peek-season produce with the proper dose TLC to bring out the intricacies of the featured main ingredients. At the risk of cliché, it honesty tasted as if we were eating produce that had been picked five minutes previously from a garden outside the kitchen door.

Third Course: Scallion & Sesame Seed Pancake

Favorite course? Do I really have to choose? OK, I'd say the Cornmeal Crusted Green Zucchini (maybe because I'm so fried deprived?) with roasted fennel and garlic ragu accompanied by the absolute most buttery snap peas I've ever had. As an added bonus, many of the farmers brought their produce to Millennium, and guests were encouraged to take home a few items. Um, yes, I left with the Happy Boy peas.

Fourth Course: Cornmeal Crusted Green Zucchini

The Farmers' Market Dinner was just one highly anticipated annual tradition celebrated last night. July 28 also just happened to be the birthday of long-time restaurant Executive Chef Eric Tucker, adding an extra layer or celebratory-ness to the night out. Rumor has it that the kitchen staff baked Eric a cake, but the "family nature" of this blog prevents us from showing you a photo of it, so instead I'll tidy this up with our just-as-tasty sweet treat, the Blackberry Chocolate Bread Pudding, which I forced myself to finish, stuffed as I was.

Final Course: Blackberry Chocolate Bread Pudding

P.S. Farms whose produce was featured in the 11th Annual Farmers' Market Dinner included Maraquita Farm, County Line Harvest, Rancho Gordo, Terra Sonoma, Blossom Bluff Orchards, and Happy Boy Farms.

Millennium's owners Ann & Larry Wheat with birthday boy Executive Chef Eric Tucker

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