Do you hear that noise? That’s me – slow clapping for all those involved in putting together the 2nd Annual Farm to Table Dinner in Medina, NY.
Last year we followed along from DC the photos that appeared on Facebook and Instagram, read the Orleans Hub article, and then were finally introduced to Lori Skoog (who pens The Skoog FarmJournal) and read her blog post detailing the first annual event. Thanks to last year’s event and Lori’s coverage, we’ve since become great friends and were pleased to see her last night with camera in hand. (Yes, Lori, we clearly need to get to next year’s event earlier to sit together…)
We’ve waxed poetic about Medina dozens of times over this past year. But walking into the Farm to Table Dinner was truly a physical representation of the love, excitement, and pride that locals have for this historic village. As a fundraiser for the Canal Village Farmers’ Market and hosted by the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc in partnership with several sponsors, this event brought 200 diners to the restored WM J. Gallagher Stock Farms building (compliments of Martin and Jenna Bruning) along Route 63. Yes, the same building that now hosts weddings and is adjacent to the hill many of us would frequent with our winter sleds as children.
The men behind the culinary exhibition? Chef Michael Zambito of Zambistro and Chef Leonel Rosario of Mariachi De Oro are the artists responsible for the 5 course menu. Nothing delights us more than when talent meets talent, and these men put together a spectacular fusion of Italian and Mexican cuisine. Plated brilliantly and paired with local beverages, each dish was unique and received rave reviews from the diners.
Up first: theShrimp and Gazpacho Martini (tomatoes, green onion, bell pepper, cucumber, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, and a grilled shrimp skewer), and it went down fast. Schwenk’sGewurztraminer was a great pairing offering a slight spice to pair with the dish.The Schwenk’s were seated across from us at the table, and we had a lovely conversation about wine in the region and are eager to visit the winery and sample some of their collection. If you were wondering how Mike and Leo would collaborate on flavors, this was the perfect start. The dish seemed more reminiscent of a starter at Zambistro, while the flavors in the salsa showcased the Mexican flare of Mariachi de Oro.
In all honesty, the item that grabbed our attention when we took our initial look at the menu was the Fried Green Tomato (roasted beet aioli, crispy bacon, field greens, and goat cheese crumble). We miss these dearly from our time in the south and were reminded why we enjoy them so much. While I want to say this was the best on the menu, it might unjustly take away from the incredible flavors of the other dishes. The Schulze VineyardVidal Blanc paired beautifully with the flavors on the plate, and it was a reminder of why we adore Schulze.
If there was any doubt about the next course, this had Chef Leo all over it. The Pork Tamale (slow roasted pork shoulder, queso fresco, corn salsa, and ranchero sauce) was accompanied by RG Brewery’s Wit Bier. The pork was tender and flavorful, and the corn salsa offered a fresh component to the dish. Our only problem was that we couldn’t have two five.
The last savory course was the Beef Brisket (pulled brisket, romesco sauce, polenta ravioli, fennel slaw, and truffle vinaigrette), and while the meat was mouthwatering it was the polenta ravioli that really caught my attention and showcased the creative energy that Chef Mike brings to Italian cuisine. Alix and I could have eaten a dozen, and sincerely adored each bite. Another exquisite dish, paired with the Pinot Noir Reserve from Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, which will definitely find its way to our shelf.
Typically, we both avoid flan. Maybe it’s the texture or it might be that other desserts please us a little more, but this Honey Flan (honey, egg custard, strawberry mousse, and lemon crisp) was a perfect marriage of Mexican dessert and Zambistro’s pastry prowess. The Strawberry Patch mead from 810 Meadworks accompanied the plate, and we are eager to get our hands on a bottle for our collection.
The best part of the evening? Sharing it with those around us. From the Paynes (future piano lessons for Alix, maybe?) to the Gardners (owners of a lily & a sparrow), we had a wonderful time discussing everything from the meal to our joint love of all things Medina.
We applaud you, Medina, for supporting this event and coming together to share an evening of fine dining, well crafted beverages, and solidarity in our excitement of the renaissance Medina is experiencing. A special congratulations and thanks to Chef Mike Zambito and Chef Leo Rosario for curating an unparalleled evening with creations we hope can make future appearances on Zambistro’s and Mariachi’s menus (please, pretty pretty please?), as this town is hungry for more. Pun intended.
Thank you Orleans Renaissance Group for the event, and we are already looking forward to the 3rd Annual Farm to Table Dinner in 2018!