A quiet Sunday in late August on a nondescript corner of Manhattan’s Alphabet City. The corner is walled by the branches of a decades-old willow tree and an array of urban flowers, and a sign sitting on the sidewalk reads “Farm Dinner.” A hundred-odd people have gathered for a dinner experience that has traversed the country and rests at this location for only two nights. The location is La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez Community Garden, the chef is Josh Eden of Shorty’s 32 and the host is Jim Denevan, founder of Outstanding in the Field.
Denevan and his Outstanding in the Field team travel the country in a bright red bus offering a roving five-course dinner with a simple concept: source your ingredients locally (including the wine), find a chef who is celebrated regionally, then invite all of your closest friends. OK, so the last part I ad libbed. The elaborate event was more like a wedding where everyone was giddily excited but no one knew each other. Fortunately, no one was seated at the kiddies table. After a glass of wine or two, it wasn’t a problem — we were all old friends catching up over a great meal. I was fortunate enough to be seated across from the photographer of the OITF website and cookbook, who was a host of knowledge on the food, which made my experience ever more fascinating.
More on the OITF menu, and some drool-y food shots, after the jump.