Thursday, April 15, 2010


Eastside Road, April 15, 2010—
LOOK UP "POP-UP restaurant" online using your favorite search engine, well, mine, anyway, and you'll start exploring some interesting territory. I think it's a very healthy development, a response to mindless bureaucratic administration of ultimately necessary regulation. It's a very complicated issue, and further evidence, as if it were needed, that ad hocity is the correct posture in an over-complicated, over-populated, over-urban society.


Anyhow: tonight we ate not too many miles from home in a barn at a table with a number of people we didn't quite know but might have. One, for example, was delighted to meet Lindsey: he'd treasured her book for years. Another is off next week to Amsterdam to eat at Marius. A third is somehow connected to a winery we visited a year or two ago near Ashland.

The kitchen was set up in a side alley of the barn, spotless stainless-steel and seriousness. These people absolutely know their business — but they're also proud and pleased with it.


All that was very nice: but best of all was the food. I began with Sopa de Raiz de Apio, celery-root soup with fava bean pesto. I nibbled at a friend's Ensalada de esparragos, warm asparagus salad with cara cara oranges and raw-milk feta; and then hr Pescado locale, pan-seared cod with piquillo peppes and safferon-flavored carrots.

Best of all, I feasted on Chicharron de pato, duck breast cooked almost as if it were in confit, with a masa polenta-like toast with crinkly chicharrones from the duck; it was a veritable Yucatanese cassoulet lacking the beans. An extraordinary dish, deep, rich, complex, but in perfect balance, and thoroughly healthful. Oh: pea and fava-tendril salad to garnish it.


Then, out into the night, chilly, darker than this twilight photo suggests, with a big Evening Star hanging just off a tiny paring of a crescent new moon. Magical.
Blanc d'Alsace, "Now & Zen," 2007; Pinot noir, Kenwood (Russian River Valley), 2007;
Syrah, Cowhorn (Applegate Valley, Oregon), 2006; Malbec, AR Guentota (Argentina), 2006


Lyndsay said...


I saw your blog entry about this barn and have a random question - where is this barn located? Do they let people use it for events? The reason I ask is because my sister is planning her wedding and wants to have it in a barn (50 people or so), but surprisingly, it has been extremely difficult to find barns available for events.

Just thought I'd try. Thank so much. Lyndsay

Charles Shere said...

Contrary to my usual practice, I deliberately concealed the location of this meal, because it seemed to me the nature of a pop-up was, well, clandestine. Enough time has gone by to reveal it: a barn on a winery on Eastside Road, about five miles south of Healdsburg, California. More than that I cannot say, as I don't know the people, their name, or their business name; I only know where it is.

In the meantime, the chef for the occasion, Mateo Granados, has just opened a new restaurant in Healdsburg. It's called Mateo. I don't know if they'd house a wedding, and it's a restaurant, not a barn. But he might be able to tell you exactly where this barn was; he might even be willing to cater it. And you'd be well fed.