By Deirdre Bourdet
While some say the recession has officially ended, the focus on back-to-basics, close to home recession specials continues, unabated. Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena recently launched a series of moderately priced, family-style dinners aimed at starting some new monthly traditions for this fall. Whether you're a fan of fish fries, intimate winemaker dinners, or whole hog roasts, Farmstead has a dinner for you. And as always at Farmstead, the ingredients for these dinners are entirely local, sourced from nearby purveyors and from Long Meadow Ranch itself.
The first Tuesday of the month, Chef Sheamus Feeley takes guests "Pig Pickin," offering succulent, slow-roasted whole pigs with fennel, as well as a slew of side dishes like potato salad and Rancho Gordo beans, and of course a homemade sweet dessert, all for $35 per person (food only). These pork-lovers' parties start October 5th, and will continue each month through December.
The restaurant is also hosting a series of cozy, family-style winemaker dinners on select Wednesdays, with special menus built to pair with the featured wines of the evening. On Wednesday October 13th, Tuck Beckstoffer from Seventy Five Wine Company will there to pour a selection of his excellent local wines with the locavore delights from Chef Feeley. November 10th, Brian Nuce from Vinoce takes a turn at the communal table, and December 15th will see Cameron Fisher of Fisher Vineyards introducing his wines to the assemblage. Winemaker dinners are $60 per person, including the full meal and the featured wines.
Last but certainly not least, Chef Feeley gets back to his Arkansas roots with Southern-style fish fry meals every month for the remainder of 2010. October 23rd, November 18th, and December 23rd, he will be frying up some swimmers and dishing out down home sides and accompaniments for the refreshing price of $35 per person.
All of these Monthly Traditions take place at the restaurant's communal table, so seating is very limited. Call ahead to assure your place at the family dinner table, and get more details about what the chef has in store for you that night.
Farmstead Restaurant, 738 Main Street, St. Helena, 707.963.9181.