Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A "Range" Update ...

...From an 'Eat Local' Perspective
photograph picture of Range logo filed under restaurant Review san franciscoA couple of weeks ago I wrote a 'First Impression' review of much talked about new restaurant, Range, on Valencia. The Chef, Phil West, took some time to write to me and address my concerns about the noise levels in the back room and detail his passion for using local ingredients...

"As far as the noise is concerned we are sorry that it took away from your dining experience. We are taking measures to fix the problem (we only realized it was a problem when we had a full house a couple of nights before your dinner). We have installed some sound deadening material on the ceiling and we will continue to address the problem until it is fixed. We have had more than one complaint concerning the noise and we agree that it is far too loud to carry on a normal conversation and that it is detracting from peoples dining experience.

I also would like to let you know that we do support as many local farmers and purveyors as possible. Star Route Farms, Mariquita Farm, County Line, The Peach Farm, and Wine Forest mushrooms are just a few of the folks we use here. We often buy fruit from Hamada Farm as well. Rancho Gordo supplies our hominy and Happy Quail Farm has supplied us with amazing peppers. Our steak is supplied by Niman Ranch as is our pork shoulder (starting this coming week - they have not had any pork shoulder to sell to us). The chicken comes from Fulton Valley, and our ducks (when we serve them) will come from Liberty Ducks. We are using local wild king salmon when it is available. Some of our products are not from local purveyors (such as scallops and venison), but we try and keep the main focus of the menu centered on what is grown close by. We do not list a bunch of farms on our menu because I feel that the menu then gets too wordy and "proud". My intention is to let people discover the added benefits and taste of locally grown organic products without shoving it down their throats so to speak.
Phil West, August 2005

Locavores August Eat Local Challenge 2005

Yesterday, I didn't really get into the swing of the eating local challenge until the evening. Even then I wasn't 100% local. I fancied spaghetti. The spaghetti in the pantry is from Italy. The spaghetti sauce, however, was all gloriously local: Some slow roasted tomatoes I'd kept to one side when making Sunday's salad, Bacon from the Fatted Calf, mozzarella cheese from Belfiore and a nutless, cheesless handmade (in pestle and mortar) pesto made with Dirty Girl basil and garlic.

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A "Range" Update ...


  • At 16/8/05 09:39, Blogger Jennifer Maiser said…

    I LOVE this response. Ah! I am going to range asap. I think he's right about the "wordy and proud" thing. It's a fine line b/w giving the diner full information and just turning your menu into a who's who of farms.

  • At 16/8/05 20:53, Blogger Barbara Fisher said…

    And half the time, folks don't know who the who's who of farms is talking about in the first place!

    That is cool that the chef wrote to you! Good on you, Sam!

    And your spaghetti sounds good, too.

  • At 16/8/05 21:38, Blogger McAuliflower said…

    What an excellent find and thoughtfull correspondance! I'm glad this project is impressing itself on a variety of levels.

  • At 17/8/05 11:03, Anonymous haddock said…

    Glad to see I'm not the only one out there who thinks buying locally etc. is just how you do things, not a marketing angle.

  • At 17/8/05 11:14, Blogger shuna fish lydon said…

    You know when I went in there the other night Cameron, his wife (and GM of Range), told me that Phil had responded, but I couln't find where. Thank you for publishing it in full. unfortunately I thought the food was not very good, although I did get the Brillat Savarin souffle on your recomendation, so thank you. Too bad the pastry chef is not sourcing local or seasonal produce for that menu.

  • At 17/8/05 19:25, Blogger Sam said…

    jen - well I ope you enjoy it - seems Shuna wasn't so impressed.

    Barbara - you are right - personally I quite like a small note on the menu which says something like 'wherever possible we use local sustainable ingredients', but as Haddock hints below - some people may just do that as a marketing angle - who really knows?

    McCauliflower - yes - the most interesting thing about taking part in this is not the failure or the success, its the education.

    Haddock - I hope the truth wins through and those who do it from the heart, are the ones that find success. Thanks again for the 'Anaconda' !

    Shuna - sorry you didn't find it so great - i Hope you let them know where the problems were.



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