Seattle has the most amazing network of community gardens that you could find anywhere. The P-patch system sponsors 40+ gardens in different neighborhoods that you can “rent” for $35 a year. Each gardener gets a 10 x 20 plot for your green thumb to go nuts in. Some are quite elaborate with their own colony of honeybees, composting, or lavender fields, and all feature communal plots that grow food for the local food banks. It’s a pretty neat deal.
I was on the waiting list for my plot for over 2 years when I finally got my own piece of dirt this past spring. Though I have a ton of learning to go, it was a fun experiment in playing in the dirt and watching things (sort of) grow.
The culture of nurturing a connection between food and table runs deep in Seattle. We have one of the largest networks of neighborhood farmers markets in the country. Some are year round, some are only during the summer; some are all produce, some feature local artists and businesses. All are a blast to wander through. On a sunny day, the neighborhood farmers market is jam packed with produce, kids, dogs, and laughs. It’s one of my very favorite ways to spend my weekend morning.
I’ve had August 22th circled on my calendar for weeks. It’s the annual Incredible Feast. 30 of Seattle’s hottest restaurants are each paired up with one of the local farmers to create a bite that highlights the amazing food cultivated in the Pacific Northwest. It’s akin to a food lover’s orgy.
So my friend Alex and I quickly nabbed tickets and have been waiting ever so patiently for the day to come. We really went in like gangbusters with no plan, which was a serious mistake. You really do need a strategy when there’s that much delicious food in play.
The unofficial theme of the night (and maybe this entire year) apparently was pickling. Practically every savory dish had some sort of pickled element on it. My favorite dish of the evening was La Medusa’s meatball – and I’m not really even a meatball fan. The red sauce was rich with a deep tomato flavor that had to have taken hours to develop. It also had kale in it, which I’m a huge fan of. Any way you can sneak dark leafy greens into your diet is a great idea in my book.
My favorite sweet dish had to be the melon ice cream. Delicate and light, though it didn’t hurt that they served it in mini ice cream cones. First place for appearance was Robin Leventhal’s (of Top Chef fame) red white and blue panacotta. Especially with her checkered tablecloth, it was about as much summer as you could pack into a picnic table.
The tickets weren’t especially inexpensive, though we both agreed that we certainly ate our money’s worth. Plus all the money benefits the organizers of the neighborhood farmer’s markets. And that’s one check I’m happy to write. The Feast is an annual event, so be sure to put it on your calendar for next summer!