For almost 200 years, the economic development of Southern Oregon has been derived from its natural resources. Ranchers and farmers were drawn to its fertile valleys, jobs were created and families made. That tradition continues today through the exciting collaborations taking place in Ashland’s culinary world.
Farmers and chefs are creating a holy alliance that is adding to the region’s appeal and growth. These plates represent a tiny taste of the myriad of ways Ashland eateries roll out summer menus. Local summer bounty is showing up in eye-popping plates, bowls… and more than a few cocktail glasses… at these dining establishments.
The results of hardworking folks at such farms as Pennington Farms, TerraSol Organics, Wandering Roots Farm, Rogue Creamery, Barking Moon Farm, and Fry Family Farm makes eating with your eyes a worthy first course….before you go.
Under the creative acumen of Chef Erik Brown and his culinary team of Courtney Greensill, John Mitchell and John Cader, local seasonal ingredients favor heavily in every dish at Amuse Restaurant. New on the menu this summer is this Slow Poached King Salmon, Fennel Puree, Snap Peas, and Blueberry Bordelaise, a full visual of the Pacific Northwest. Components also playing prominently in dishes this season include pickled cherries, chimichurri, cherry gastrique, lusterberry vinaigrette, and rose harissa.
As one of the Neuman Hotel Group’s three restaurants that are inspired and sustained by locally grown food and artisan products, Lark’s Home Kitchen Cuisine often features vegetable-centric dishes on the menu for diners to experience seasonal Southern Oregon. Basil fennel frond pesto, truffled arugula, fried green tomatoes, grilled corn relish, and roasted apple-fingerling potato hash are but a few of the creative standouts that bring diners closer to their farmers. Thanks, Chef Damon Jones!
Hot off the Midwest dining scene, Scarpetta owners Chef Petra Jung and Tony Travanty exemplify the “let’s move to Oregon for the food” trend. Intending to open a restaurant where they could achieve local sourcing of ingredients for their new dining establishement, Southern Oregon drew the first, and only, straw. The addition of Ashland’s 2014 Iron Chef winner and foraging fanatic, Josh Djorcak, to the kitchen team, brought immediate dining satisfaction from guests. Their take on the popular Italian bread salad, Panzanella, is simply satisfying, with beans, tomatoes, oninos and housemade croutons, nestled together, with shavings of Parmigiano bringing the salt factor. If you spy Petra or Tony out and about at the markets, you can bet it means they’re picking up the makings of your dinner. Fresh and just picked.
Fresh off a retro reno led by Neuman Hotel Group co-owner and designer-in-residence, Becky Neuman, Luna Cafe +Mercantile holds sway with the “casual dining with a view” group. Located inside the Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites, the cafe features a 70’s-themed chef+farmer-driven menu with fresh, healthy offerings, including their new summer salad replete with arugula, local strawberries, and honey balsamic dressing. The locally grown berry also forms the basis of a housemade ice cream, the perfect antidote to a hot Ashland summer day at Emigrant Lake.
Chef Thomas Beam and Lisa Beam reimagined their previous Italian-inspired restaurant, Pasta Piatta, into a new Ashland favorite featuring a menu of wood-fired dishes, locally sourced ingredients and housemade cheeses. Summer gives Chef Beam the chance to infuse his creations and those of Chef Sam Jackson, with local farm products. Their iconic Caprese Salad featuring freshly made, silky on the tongue, hand-pulled mozzarella and local heirloom tomatoes, Chef Jackson’s wood-fired chicken over a mound of hearty greens with white balsamic vinaigrette, and Peach Crumble baked humbly in a cast-iron vessel are but a few of the summer bites to be enjoyed at Pie+Vine.