This week was unusually hectic and I’ve been feeling uninspired. I’m sure the Dark Days bloggers in more snowy areas are probably rolling their eyes at me right now, but the farmers’ markets right now seem to be having a bit of a seasonal identity crisis. There’s still a lot of winter squash, apples, and chard, which are starting to bore me. There’s asparagus and avocados, but there’s no peas or strawberries or rhubarb or other things that signify spring. I did buy some asparagus last weekend and roasted that to eat with my leftover pork on Monday night. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, very little cooking happened. There were a couple omelettes and some reheated frozen leftovers. So, rather than write a post about an omelet, I’m going to write about my delicious restaurant visit on Friday night.
Gather is a new restaurant in Berkeley. Their vision is very consistent with the values the Dark Days challenge. The feature local, sustainably grown ingredients and have an entirely local wine list. According to this piece from the San Francisco Chronicle, even a lot of other locavore-type restaurants eschew local wines for whatever reason, which strikes me as odd, particularly in Northern California, where the local wine is so good. And they stock an entirely organic bar.
The food was amazing. I wanted everything on the menu. My husband and I ended up split three dishes – a “small plate” of squid with black rice, the vegan charcuterie plate, and a pizza. It was a ton of food and every bite was delicious. The vegan charcuterie plate was probably one of the most interesting things I’ve ever eaten – five little creative vegetable spreads, and each was excellent. My favorites were the celeriac-potato-olive salad and the trio of beets with horseradish. I liked the latter so much I’d love to track down some fresh horseradish to try to recreate it.
I was taking pictures on my iPhone and they weren’t coming out, so I gave up with attempts to capture the food. The rest of the meal was just as great though. The squid dish was my husband’s favorite – spicy and rich, and it was nice to see squid on a menu and not have it be deep fried. Finally, the pizza. It was topped with goat meat, something I had never had before. It was really good, and I particularly enjoyed the little bit of fresh mint that was sprinkled across it, which really brightened up an otherwise earthy dish. All and all, a pretty spectacular meal.
And, I feel inspired to do more local cooking now and finish out the last few weeks of the challenge.