When I asked Angie and my team to brainstorm a best of list of 2013 they came up with a wonderful picture of our year. I've posted that summery below, with links for you to enjoy, but there is something that cannot be captured in a list that must be added before we wrap up 2013 and put it on the shelf.
It is yellow. Bright, almost orange. The color of the yolk of an egg from a chicken who eats the scraps from our kitchen.
It is black. Shiny and new. The color of the twisted, short hair of a newly born lamb, helped from its mother by a farmer who has sat up all night to ensure its safe birth.
It is red. Hot, fiery, almost volcanic. The color of Winter Moon beets, sliced with a farm knife and passed across a table at a farmers market.
It is white. Dusty and pearlescent. Dead ash after a roaring fire, still heavy with the scent of roasted spring onions.
We are a community, connected by color. Bound by love and trust, and happy to share an adventure in food and art.
Thank you for making this list possible. Thank you for supporting local farmers. Happy new year.
We love you,
JJ and the Cuisine en Locale team.
We could say this year flew by, but when you’re as tuned into the seasons as we are – putting a finger to the wind the predict the fate of our favorite fleeting crops week by week – one tends to remain acutely aware of time passing. While our hours-simmered Snow Farm beef and Slumbrew Porter braises are just about the only slow things we found time to do, we have marked each passing week with a package of meals, designed specifically from the food available from our farmers.
We started out 2013 with our third annual ONCE in Valhalla, and have come full circle to planning Valhalla IV: Worlds Collide – this year the monsters have their own realm! We are thrilled to be partnering again this year with Slumbrew and Green River Ambrosia and for the first time with old friends, Work Bar and Yelp. Once again Miri Rooney has created a fantastic design for us. If you can't make it let us know if you would like a poster.
On November 1st we opened The Modern World’s First Ever Locavore Function Hall (thanks to Zagat for the mention) Our first forever home is located at the historical Anthony’s Functions on Highland Avenue in Somerville, in a neighborhood we like to think of as WiSp (at the division of Winter and Spring Hills). We adore the ‘Ville and we’ve received the warmest of welcomes from the community: Scout Somerville named us Best Caterer in the city. We are not quite completely open yet, but our first public showing of our new HQ was ONCE Muertos, a soft launch party featuring Walter Sickert and the ARmy of BRoken TOys.
When we weren’t in the kitchen this past year, we squeezed in a bit of jetsetting, and brought back lots of cool ideas to meld other folks regional cuisines into our locavore repertoire. JJ went to Rome and returned enamored of dips made of whipped veggies. Since then everything from steamed, pureed romaine and fiddleheads to curried and crushed pumpkin and carrots have brought color and flavor to our hors d’oeuvre spreads. Ken and Angie went to Cuba and came back with fantastic Ropas Viejas and beans and rice recipes, as well as some interesting revelations about growing food without the aid of US industrial agriculture supplies. JJ and Angie traveled to Charleston, SC for the Chef’s Collaborative Summit, ate two stunning meals at Husk, hung out with the darling Lee Brothers and fermentation grand poobah Sandor Katz, and brought back Gullah cookbooks we cannot wait to pull ideas from once corn and okra come back in season. Katrina went to her hometown of Austin and came back more inspired than ever. Keep an eye out for her terrific pop up taco events. During our annual pilgrimages to cook in NYC and PDX, JJ played around with her old photo stock and even played some rock and roll. (Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and the New Yorker took notice.)
There you have it: our year in review. Look forward to great public events that bring together local food, drink and music and lots of other surprises to keep you well-fed and ever entertained. Thank you for making it all possible, because you do.
May your 2014 be bright
Cuisine en Locale