More Than A Meal

August 5, 2009

Outstanding In The Field

Restaurant closures happen at record pace these days, so it’s always interesting to see what chefs and restaurateurs are doing to try to rise above the clutter. People today often are looking for more than just a great meal — a great experience also has become part of the expectation.

One concept that’s getting a lot of buzz lately is Outstanding In The Field. Its mission — to “re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it” — resonates with a lot of people. Dinners take place “between the soil and the sky” near the source of the ingredients, which usually is on a farm but also could occur on a ranch, sea cave or winery. I think this is a fabulous idea, and I wish I could have attended the event that recently took place in Minnesota (unfortunately, I was out of town). A local version of this concept, Tour de Farm MN, has been created but is already nearly sold out.

Another unique (and very different) concept that caught my attention earlier this year was Kogi BBQ.  Unlike the aforementioned experiences, the idea here really doesn’t have much to do with the ambience but rather the quest to find the locale of this much-hyped taco truck.  A constant Twitter feed connects patrons with the whereabouts of the next stop. According to the LA Times, “the truck and its staff of merry makers have become a sort of roving party, bringing people to neighborhoods they might not normally go.”

And, if you’re looking for really unique dining experiences, you may want to check out this site, which describes some pretty far out concepts including a Toilet Restaurant in Taiwan, a Dinner Table suspended 50 meters in the sky (moveable locations), and even Dans Le Noir, where patrons experience a pitch-black dining experience.

Where have you dined lately where you experienced more than just a great meal?