Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chuck Sits Down, Looks Around, and Says…

“This reminds me of my grandmother’s (Lena Dannenberg) house when the family would get together for holidays.”

 But I am getting ahead of myself.

Our stay in Cortez, CO, is quickly coming to an end, and we are finally getting a chance to eat at the one local restaurant that I had earmarked as a “must visit”—the Farm Bistro, Cortez’ farm-to-table restaurant. Farm Bistro is owned and operated by Rusty and Laurie Hall and is an off-shoot of their original business, Seven Meadows Farm. As they explain on their website: “The diversity of Seven Meadows Farm includes organically grown produce, a farm-to-table lunch bistro, grass/alfalfa hay and just enough livestock and poultry to complete our farm’s circle of sustainability. Every summer our family farm hosts interns interested in learning organic farming, and we enjoy building relationships with other farmers in our area…” (sevenmeadowsfarm.com).

“The Farm Bistro’s mission is to consistently provide…customers with the highest quality food using as much locally sourced ingredients as possible in an environment that is fun and friendly….Farm-to-table is gaining in popularity across the country as people realize that agri-business on a big scale has many flaws. This farm-to-table restaurant, started in 2009, strives to use as much locally and organically grown food as possible and values the work of the grower” (sevenmeadowsfarm.com).

The bistro occupies a space that was once the post office from the early 1900’s through the early 1950’s and after which housed a variety of businesses. The side walls are beautiful rough stone with one wall off-set with large prints. The cashier told us that numerous customers have their photographs taken next to the majestic-looking chicken.

The opposite wall is decorated with a colored multi-paned window/mirror above which is a display of ceramic roosters.

And sitting atop the bottled beverage case was this large wooden rooster.

And it was wonderful to see that the magnificently patterned pressed ceiling was still intact.

The menu is a mix of salads, soups, pita sandwiches, grilled sandwiches, and daily specials (pasta, panini, salad, and farm pizza). Theirs is another of those menus where, although not lengthy, a multitude of choices abound. Making a decision had me bouncing from category to category.

Finally, a decision was made. I would start with the four-ounce serving of broccoli and cheddar soup (eight-ounce and sixteen-ounce portions are also available) and one of the salads.

The soup (shown here with Chuck’s) was a fairly fine puree of broccoli and medium sharp cheddar. It could have been a tad warmer but was still delicious. With the soup came one of the bistro’s house-made gluten-free blue corn muffins. Had the menu not said that these were gluten free, you never would have guessed.

I may have written here before that I am not normally fond of meat and fruit combinations. So I am not sure what possessed me to order the chicken salad made with chopped apple, dried cranberries, celery, and red onion. But I am certainly glad that I did.
This was excellent with the juicy chicken cubes balanced by the crisp apples and chewy cranberries. These were tossed in a light dressing that had a somewhat sharp but light and refreshing flavor. When asked, our server said that she thought the dressing was made with buttermilk which would account for the sharpness.

Accompanying the chicken salad on the plate was a serving of mixed fresh greens and radish sprouts with a cup of house-made ranch dressing.

Chuck chose one of the day’s specials—the roast chicken panini with chorizo spread, peach aioli, goat cheese, and sautéed chard and onions. First notice the thick slices of roasted breast of chicken. No thin-sliced deli counter meat here.
And the chewy bread developed just the right degree of toasty crispness in the panini press. This sandwich had a wonderful combination of sweet, spicy, and sharp flavors—none of which overpowered the chicken.

So back to the start. Why did Farm Bistro remind Chuck of Lena’s house on holidays? It was the wonderful and homey mishmash of furniture like every table and chair got dragged from the attic to accommodate a very large family.
A small table with short legs was quickly identified as the “kids’” table.
The larger tables were obviously for the adults.

And the cutlery with its assortment of patterns just added to the effect.

After resisting the urge to take home a pound package of Yak meat,
we went to pay at the front counter where the top of what I think was a Hoosier cupboard was used as a combination display/organizational case.

It was then that we noticed the array of photos tacked to the wall. It seems that a photographer came to the local Saturday Farmers Market and began photographing both vendors and customers alike.

Farm Bistro was a great 5.0 Addie spot for lunch and seems to have developed a following in the Four Corners area. For example, Faith W. at yelp.com writes: “I've lived in Durango for three years and the Farm is by far my favorite place to eat in SW CO. I actually drive to Cortez to eat here. Everything is good…Everyone is super friendly, and I love giving my money to a place that is so into providing me with good quality, locally grown food.”


To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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