Muir Glen Organic tomatoes and the Garden at the Cellar proved to be the perfect antidote to the coldest day that Boston has experienced in a long time. From the minute I arrived at the restaurant after a bitter walk from Central Station, until the minute I left, I felt so warm and delightfully at home – not to mention full – that the weather outside mattered not.
Have you been to the Garden at the Cellar? In a small space between Central and Harvard Squares, this locally-focused restaurant features food that comforts and completely delights, all at prices that are more than a value for its prestigious location.
The focus of last night’s dinner was Muir Glen’s Vine Dining Tour. Muir Glen tomatoes and five award winning chefs have gotten together to inspire home chefs to cook up deliciousness at home using Muir Glen’s 2010 Reserve Tomatoes. As the sign below states, the chefs not only created recipes, but they also participated in the Muir Glen harvest. I am insanely jealous. Muir Glen blogger harvest next year, perhaps?
After arriving and meeting our hosts, I snapped a few photos while waiting for my blogger friends. Check out these gift bags, full of Muir Glen 2010 treats:
The Limited Edition Muir Glen Reserve Kit is available now. Experience the exceptional quality of this year’s exclusive tomato variety, Meridian Ruby™. Hand-harvested and hand-sorted in California’s Yolo County fields, these kits make the perfect gift for any tomato connoisseur.
And I had a glass of wine. The Garden at the Cellar was pouring a delicious Spanish red, Rioja Vega Crianza 2007, made from Tempranillo, Mazuelo, and Garnacha grapes. It was incredibly smooth with a little bit of spice and red fruit. Quite an easy drink and a reminder that I love Spanish wine.
Cauliflower and smoked tomatoes on a flatbread pizza? Don’t mind if I do.
Pork belly with sweet and sour tomato jam? Well, I sort of consider myself a once-in-awhile vegetarian, but when I am at the home of the Notorious P.I.G. pork belly is a must. And can I tell you, this is the second time I have had pork belly but the first time I have had pork belly the way it is supposed to be. Times two.
I was feeling a little oinky, but I persevered. I was a vegetarian for most of my life. Who am I? Oh yes, someone who really enjoys delicious, humanely raised local food. Oink.
And then there was Chef Gilson’s signature, tomato soup and grilled cheese, or as Chef put it, what pays his mortgage. If you have been to the Garden at the Cellar and indulged in the comfort that is this combination, you know. If not, go soon.
Megan had the brilliant idea of putting our wine down so that we could properly dip our grilled cheese. This is one of the reasons she is my friend.
After all of the passed appetizers, I would have been happy to head home, but Muir Glen had more in store for us.
In the form of a local seafood and tomato stew, dotted with flavorful cilantro and with the slightest spicy kick at the end.
And the rustic lamb with tomato and curry leaf confit. I avoided the lamb but completely loved the sauce and little roasted potatoes on the fringe.
But most of all, the aromatic, garlicky goodness of the pasta with tomatoes, grilled sausage, and parmesan won me over, bite after bite.
I think we all had significant garlic breath after this dish, and I am 100% sure it was worth it. Holy delicious, perfectly-seasoned, comforting warmth.
Each dish featured tomatoes from Muir Glen’s organic farms, and as a result, allowed us to indulge in that fresh tomato flavor and texture that we long for all winter long. As Chef Gilson said, we try to cook/eat locally grown and raised food, but that is difficult to do in New England during certain parts of the year. Like when the high never goes above freezing. Muir Glen’s commitment to organic, family farming gives us the next best thing: perfect tomatoes, picked and canned within eight hours, by US farmers and their families. And, of course, fabulous chefs who place significant value on food with heart.
The kind folks at Muir Glen hosted an amazing event and provided us with a sweet collection of Muir Glen canned tomatoes and recipe ideas. And one of Boston’s favorites, Chef Will Gilson, cooked us up a feast, dishes that will hopefully be coming to the Garden at the Cellar menu very soon!
I feel so fortunate to have been part of such a winter warmer that combined great friends and conversation with a company that embodies good food values and a chef that carries those values into the kitchen.
For more info on Muir Glen, check out their website.
- Muir Glen growers’ certified organic farming methods create healthy, nutrient-rich soil. Our products are all certified organic and bear the USDA Organic seal.
- We harvest our tomatoes in late summer at their peak of ripeness and deliver them to the processing facility within eight hours of picking. Our processing equipment is triple-washed to guarantee no cleaning agents are present.
- Our tomatoes are packaged without synthetic chemical additives of any kind.
- Once processed, we preserve Muir Glen tomatoes’ vine-ripened flavor, pure and intact, in our signature white enamel-lined cans.
Please note that my dinner was provided compliments of Muir Glen. However, as you all well know, I am very opinionated and my opinions are entirely my own.
We feasted on summery tomatoes last night. What food do you miss the most from summer?