Imagine you’re with good friends sitting outside at a long dining table. It’s draped with a crisp, white table cloth and set for a fabulous menu of fresh, delicious foods and amazing wine pairings that you’ll share over the course of a hot but not humid summer’s evening.
You see these scenes in movies set in Tuscany or a film like Chocolat, but when you actually eat outside yourself, you end up with a totally different type of evening. Paper plates, plastic forks and an endless supply of condiment bottles littering the table that you tend to knock down when swatting at the mosquitos that dive bomb you right as dessert is being served. And try as you might, you just can’t get Johnny Depp to RSVP as being in attendance.
Well, dream no more. If you’d like to have a place at the outdoor table all you need to do is make a reservation. Outstanding In The Field, is a moving restaurant of sorts. They find farmers and local food artisans and invite the diner to the source, so to speak. You get a tour of the farm, a meal made from local ingredients and dine with those that provide you with the meal such as the cheese maker, the local bread baker or the owner of the local vineyard.
Most of their summer dates are sold out, but I’m going to definitely keep these folks on my radar for next year. It’s a pricey evening with dinner starting at $180 per person. That’s for a five course meal with wine pairings, a farm tour, commentary by the food producers in attendance, Q&A time with the artisans as well as gratuities. So you’re paying not just for food, but for an education as well as an experience.
And yes, they have contingency plans for foul weather, such as tenting or eating inside the barn or at a winery rather than in the field. From the web site it sounds like no location is too remote, so if you can afford it or have enough folks to pitch in, they’ll do a private party for you anyway in the world.
If you’ve ever attended an Outstanding In The Field dinner, please leave a comment. Check out their photo gallery when you have a chance because the founder, Jim Denevan, has a cookbook on the market so you could also borrow some table setting ideas and try to recreate one of their fabulous outdoor evenings at your home as well – I can’t guarantee that Johnny Depp will show but if word gets out, you never know.