So far in my career as a food photographer I have been incredibly fortunate to photograph (and of course subsequently taste whenever possible!) some truly amazing cuisine. Two weekends ago I was invited to attend and photograph one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever experienced thanks to the team from Anaheim’s award-winning restaurant, The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon. Set amongst the beautiful farmyard backdrop of Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange Park Acres, we enjoyed a true Farm-to-Table Sunday Supper prepared by Executive Chef Michael Rossi and his team – all while sipping world-class wines with Master Sommelier Michael Jordan and relaxing with Owner of The Ranch, Andrew Edwards.
What made this meal particularly unique was not only the beautiful cuisine itself, but the opportunity we had to tour the farm prior to sitting down for our meal. It is a rare thing these days, especially in the urban sprawl of Southern California, to see where your food comes from. Too often we run into the supermarket and stuff our baskets full of plastic-wrapped produce and ingredients, completely removed from the process of where it was all sourced. That certainly wasn’t the case here. Led through the fields of the farm by Master Sommelier Michael Jordan, we were shown the ingredients that they were pulling out of the ground that were on their way to the kitchen to be incorporated into the dishes we would taste that afternoon.
These same fruits & veggies, as well as locally-sourced meats, dairy products and artisan breads, are what you will find in the cuisine on-site at The Ranch Restaurant. Chef Michael’s dishes are always seasonal – based on the freshest ingredients available, just as nature intended. So, needless to say, the menu for our Farm-to-Table Supper was sensational. Some of the most vibrant flavors I’ve ever tasted, as well as most vibrant colors I’ve ever photographed. 15 outstanding courses – each uniquely created to showcase the ingredients in a “less-is-more” approach. It reminded me of menus I experienced at the best “locals-only” (aka, non-tourist) restaurants my husband & I frequented while living in Italy. When you have spectacular ingredients, a true chef knows how to let them shine by not over-complicating things or overpowering their individual flavors.
Below, you can feast your eyes on this one-of-a-kind dining experience through photographs. (And you can read the full menu from this particular meal at the bottom of this post.) Then if you’d like to partake in some of this deliciousness yourself, drop by and visit the folks at The Ranch Restaurant, open nightly for dinner from 5-10pm at 1025 E. Ball Road in Anaheim, California.
GRILLED PEACHES – La Quercia Speck, Di Stefano Burrata, Wild Arugula, Lemon Verbena Honey
HOMEMADE CHARCUTERIE – Pickled Farm Vegetables, Grain Mustard, Country Toast
CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP – Hot Smoked Skuna Bay Salmon
HEIRLOOM TOMATOES – Sea Salt, Napa Valley Olive Oil
FARM BEETS – Lola Rosa, Watercress, Red Flame Grapes, Marcona Almonds, Manchego Cheese, Farm Valencia Oranges
TEMPURA SQUASH BLOSSOM FILLED WITH MUSCOVY DUCK CONFIT – Garbanzo Beans, Zucchini, Eggplant, Spring Onions
COUNTRY FRIED PETALUMA QUAIL – Fingerling Potatoes,Home Made Agave Mustard, Warm BBQ Bacon Dressing
ASPARAGUS CAVATELLI – Homemade Pork Sausage, Calabrian Chile, Yellow Squash, Ricotta Salata
COMPRESSED FARM MELONS – Valencia Oranges
CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE CHILEAN SEA BASS – Maine Lobster Risotto,Farm English Peas, Farm Spinach
COWBOY RIBEYE – Horseradish Cream, Bordelaise, Oregano Chimichurri
THE FARM PANZANELLA – Jalapeno Cornbread, Picholine Olives, Heirloom Tomatoes, Yellow Corn, Purple Basil
PEAS N’ CARROTS – Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, Lincoln Peas, Purple Dragon Carrots, Sweet Treat Carrots
HAND CRAFTED MACARON ICE CREAM SANDWICHES – Caramel Popcorn, Mint n’ Chip, Strawberry Swirl
BLACK MISSION FIGS – California Almond Cake, Drake Family Farms Goat Cheese