Noble’s Restaurant held a special dinner on August 6th to benefit Slow Food Charlotte, and Charlotte Fresh and Hubby had a chance to attend. We jumped on it, of course, because it was Noble’s and local food. It’s too bad this great institution will be closing its Morrocroft location on August 21st – the new location is not yet announced. Chef David Himmelburger and his team did a wonderful job presenting the local inputs that evening – all transformed into delightful, elegant cuisine. My photos won’t do the meal justice due to the dim lighting.
Some of the local inputs came from names we’re quite familiar with. The first course was a Tega Hills Greenhouses micro greens salad with assorted local tomatoes (some from Fisher Farms) and Bosky Acres feta, accompanied by an heirloom tomato conserve. What a way to begin the evening! The chefs took the time to peel the tiny tomatoes, and just that small touch gave the tomatoes an unexpected, but lovely, texture.
Up next was probably my favorite course, although everything we ate was delicious. A trio of mushrooms grown by Rijad Jacic (aka Clover Mushroom Farm) was presented as sauteed oyster mushrooms with ratatouille, shitake soup with savory foam and roasted maitakes with Fisher Farms potato puree and thyme-mushroom jus. I had never had maitakes before this meal, but they were fantastic grilled. And the shitake soup tasted like pure shitake essence – unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. We were all trying to get the last drops out of the shot glasses while maintaining politeness. If you get the chance to head to Matthews on Saturdays, definitely try Rijad’s mushrooms.
Third on the list was the pan-seared Sunburst Trout. I’ve written about this trout from Canton, N.C. before. It’s got pink flesh and is absolutely wonderful. (You can pick up the fillets, whole fish and smoked trout locally at Earth Fare.) Chef David presented it on top of pink peas covered in a New Town Farms Ossabaw Ham Consomme, with Simpson’s Produce tender greens and some heirloom tomato chips. I got a chance to sneak into the kitchen to snap this pic before we were served.
When we thought we couldn’t possibly keep eating, Chef David announced the next course: Grilled Wild Turkey Farms Berkshire Pork Chops, served with Anson Mills polenta, local string beans, South Carolina peach butter and sprinkled with toasted Anson Mills Farro Piccolo. All dressed with a peach-pork jus. Yum. Did you know that toasted farro piccolo comes out with a puffed rice texture? Very cool. Use it at your next dinner party and impress your friends. The pork (which is from China Grove, N.C.) had been brined which made it extra juicy.
The meal had a very an interesting finish – rich, yet light. Chef David took Tega Hills squash blossoms, stuffed them with Bosky Acres Chevre and fried them. Ooh la la! Then to add even more surprise to the dish, he compressed local melons in a vacuum sealer to intensify their sweetness. Figs rounded it out along with some Rosemary Pete mint.
Altogether a wonderful meal and a beautiful time gathering with Slow Food members and farmers. Please support your local Slow Food chapter to ensure that experiences like these featuring heirloom, local food can continue for generations to come.
And if you haven’t had the opportunity to dine at the original Noble’s, please make sure to visit before the 21st. Otherwise, catch some local fare at its sister restaurants in town, Rooster’s and The King’s Kitchen. Jim Noble is one of our special chefs/restaurateurs dedicated to incorporating local food into menus, and if we don’t support these types of restaurants, they’ll have to go. And then local farmers will lose their biggest customers. And then these farmers might not be able to make ends meet and will have to reduce the volume for the growing season. And we will eventually have less local food available in the supply chain. It’s an ugly downward spiral. We’ve got such positive local food momentum in Charlotte right now – let’s keep it going. Support a local food restaurant this month. And every month, if you can.