A "Range" Update ...
...From an 'Eat Local' Perspective
A 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
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.